Losing Weight and Losing Your Panties on the Courthouse Steps.

Losing Weight and Losing Your Panties
on the Courthouse Steps.

by Boyd Jentzsch

HEART PLAN weight loss logo

Strange things happen, sometimes, that can call into question how you view your body. Like Leila losing her panties on the courthouse steps, the effect can be surprising.

Hawaiian Weight Loss When you look in the mirror you don’t see yourself. You see who you used to be. Or how you want to be seen.

Seldom do you look at yourself and objectively see what others see – what strangers see.

Even your friends and closest intimates don’t see the “real” you anymore. They are blinded by the same image-morphing problem that makes them not see you objectively.

Past impressions, personality traits, and affection can get in the way of seeing what is plainly there to be seen.

You Don’t See Your Bottom
When you look in the store’s long mirror trying on some new jeans, you see the jeans, and how they fit around your bottom. But, seldom are you looking at your bottom. Nor your waist. Right?

Of course you are aware that your bottom and waist are not what you want them to be. What you see is what they are “NOT”. Not small enough. Not tight enough. Not attractive enough.

What you see is frumpy where you don’t want frumpy to be. What you see is too much of this, and too little of that – and all of it arranged in the wrong places.

But are you really seeing the body that others are seeing, unfiltered by your personal body judgments?

Shareen’s Reflection in the Store Window
After Shareen’s complicated pregnancy (“the last 3 months seemed like 9 months all by themselves,” she said), and a difficult post-partum recovery, she was finally making real progress on losing her excess weight. Walking past a row of stores on the way to an appointment, she noticed a woman’s fleeting figure reflected in the window out of the corner of her eye.

“I want to have a shape like that,” Shareen said to herself. When she paused to admire the reflection again, she stopped. She did look like that. The reflection was Shareen’s.

Have you had a similar experience?

Shareen’s body image was still pregnant. She was thinner now, not exactly svelt, but a lot thinner. Her mind, however, kept telling her she was bigger, although she was trying on new, smaller clothes. She was feeling proud that she was smaller than she had been in a long time.

Phantom Limbs and Body Image
A friend lost a leg below the knee in the war we both fought in. He said he could “feel” the sweat dripping from the missing limb in hot weather. He could “feel” the cold in Winter. And, at times when he fell asleep on the sofa, he would wake up with the absent leg “feeling” very much asleep.

There were times when he would “feel” intense pain coming from his lost leg, which would only go away after taking a double dose of Tylenol.

If phantom limbs can hurt, isn’t it like when we don’t see your true body image? Do you do things that “hurt” yourself because you don’t see what is really there?

Would it matter if it did?

Part of the problem with eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) is an overpowering body image that sees cellulite where there is none, that sees the contours of fat-stripped-away muscles and sees excess fat.

I am certainly no expert on the treatment of the tragedies that are eating disorders (the #1 risk factor for eating disorders is dieting as a young teen). But I see the logic of what my friend was taught to do by the Army rehab people. They told him to bare his leg where the amputation occurred. Then rub the area where the removal scars were. They told him to rub it frequently and long.

Over time, the mental image of what was no longer there, the phantom limb, went away (although it still goes to sleep once in a while).

Crossing The Threshold Of 200 Pounds
All of us hide our true shape from ourselves, from time to time. Sometimes it is deliberate. Frequently it is a strong hidden desire to see a different reality. Mostly, it is a deeply ingrained subconscious non-reality.

The difficulty is we act each day as if that non-reality is truth. We grow accustomed to what is not there, act in ways that ignore what is taking place in our bodies. Which makes it easier to cross one of those psychological barriers – like going over 200 pounds, or moving up 2 dress sizes.

We say to ourselves, “200 pounds doesn’t look much different than when I weighed 199.″ Or, “I like the way this new dress looks on me.” What we don’t do is mentally compare ourselves to when we were ONLY 175 pounds. And certainly not when we were impossibly slimmer at 150.

If your weight is still moving up, or not moving down, or has moved down a lot, do you see the reality of your present size? What would you do differently if you did see it?

Rub The Phantom Limb
Once you have a clear idea of your true scale, you need to “rub the phantom limb.” You need to convince your sub-conscious that your excess weight is really more than just about bathroom scales and dress sizes. You can take responsible steps to change your body shape…just keep your reality in view.

If you don’t do that, you will always be trapped in an illusion, an illusion that can prevent you from taking responsible steps to change what so obviously needs to be changed. (Or, in the case of 1 in 6 who cross the 250 pound line, become morbidly obese and possibly needing surgical help.)

How Leila Lost Her Panties On The Courthouse Steps
Which leads us back to Leila on the courthouse steps in Honolulu.

Leila was over 300 pounds when she first asked for my help. She had gotten serious about finding a way to healthily lose weight. A wonderful Hawaiian lady, with a great heart matched to an infectious smile, Leila was making great headway in losing weight, slowly, steadily…healthily (which is not easy, given wonderful Hawaiian cuisine and Islander genes).

Down almost 40 pounds, in a hurry to not miss her cousin’s court date, she decided to take the broad marble courthouse steps rapidly, two at a time, in spite of her bright red and yellow floral-printed mu-mu.

On that crowded sun-lit day, when it seemed half the island had business on the courthouse steps, suddenly something grabbed at her ankles. As she fell forward, bewildered as to the cause, she realized her panties, her “old” panties, had fallen off and ensnared her feet. Surely it was the work of akua (a ghost).

“My first thought,” she said, “was whether or not my panties had puka (holes). My second thought was, I’m going to be late.”      

Hawaiian Weight LossOvercoming her surprise, Leila quickly unraveled her feet, stuffed her obviously over-sized panties (ka pale ma’i) into her purse, and resumed her rush up the stairs, unfazed by dozens of curious and amused onlookers, who had stopped to watch her scurry up the remaining steps.

Leila had lost weight. She knew it. But she hadn’t made the complete shift in her mind. She still dressed as if she were 40 pounds heavier. Getting dressed that embarrassing morning, she had forgotten how much weight she had lost. (And maybe would have checked for puka, just in case.)

Acknowledge The Size Of Your Body
An important step in the consciousness raising process necessary for you to achieve permanent weight loss is acknowledging the size and dimensions of your body. How far it is from where it ought to be – where it can be – if you worked at it steadily?

That is not an excuse for anorexic or bulimic behaviors. Seeing the reality of your size – whether moving up or down, or stalled for too long – is your personal call to action, to enliven your quest to unleash the wonderful human energy hidden behind your excess weight.

Be aware, however, that as you lose weight you will be constantly adjusting to the new reality of your slimming body. Watch your body regularly, “rub the phantom limb,” and be aware of the real progress you are making. It will be your greatest motivator. And your protection from allowing yourself to regain it.

If you don’t adjust your body image regularly, could you be the next person losing your panties on the courthouse steps? If that is even a remote possibility, be sure to check for underwear pukas each morning.

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© 2009, 2014 Boyd Jentzsch. All rights reserved.

-by Boyd Jentzsch
View Boyd Jentzsch's profile on LinkedIn
Boyd, a recovering Attorney, turned to weight loss research 20 years ago when he lost his mother to the lifelong effects of obesity. He has spent the ensuing years searching the science, and formulating a comprehensive metabolic map of the body — the only complete map of its kind. The map reveals the causes and effects of obesity and related chronic lifestyle diseases. It shows the only proven pathways to preventing and losing excess weight. From that unique foundation, he and his team created a weight loss education program that has helped tens of thousands to lose weight and keep it off. Plus, they created innovative and fun fitness and nutrition education programs for elementary school children, proven to reduce the early bio-markers for childhood obesity. HEART PLAN is a collection of his observations over the years of the emotional impact and motivational challenges nearly everyone faces when trying to keep lost weight off permanently.

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  1. Rebecca Swenor says

    With age I have found that people are not just looking at you or judging you. It is almost selfish behavior to think this way. I want to dress how I feel comfortable and not how I feel people see me.

  2. How far it is from where it ought to be – where it can be – if you worked at it steadily? – I’m too scared to answer this one, brilliant post and inspired me I just need that first step.

  3. I have been up and down so much in my life that I really don’t notice what I look like anymore! One of these days I am going to take a good look!

  4. When you are young, you lose weight for vanity. When you are older, you want to feel good again. I noticed my aches and pains, then the weight.

  5. I lost some weight cause i noticed i gained allot.. and that weight gain caused allot of pain in my back.

  6. Same story here, until I dropped a few pounds (or 40), I ached and ached. Now I have 200% more energy and feel 10 years younger!

  7. This is so true! Our inner perception of our self image at times fogs our reality. I like the awareness that you are promoting. I am not sure I knew my measurements until I started sewing again, but you are right, it is a great practice. Your stories bring it all to life!

  8. I unfortunately latched onto the other spectrum of the not-so-good body image. I used portion control as a means to control my mercurial moods of bipolar disorder. It became an obsession. I really wish that I could see me the way others do and that I could be happy for who I am. This is a great post with great perspective. I love that you wrote about this. Thanks

  9. lisa jones says

    What A Adorable Story Love It Thank You For Sharing It!!LOL!

  10. I see myself at my worst. I have trouble seeing me as I change.

  11. That’s a cool story about the window reflection. 🙂 We can be way too hard on ourselves sometimes.

  12. Time for a change! Lol

  13. I love this story! Such a great inspiration to take an honest look at where we are currently and progress…because when I see progress I’m inspired to lose more. I just have to take a good look and see it!

  14. We need to pat ourselves in the back once in awhile.

  15. katrina G says

    most of my life i hated how i looked in the mirror. 3.5 years ago, i decided to make a huge change and in less than a year i lost 130 pounds! i still have days that i don’t want to look in the mirror. i need to learn to love myself.

  16. I want to be happy within myself and don’t care what other people feel.

  17. I have good days, bad days and real days. Days where I look at my body and see only flaws, days I look at my body and appreciate what I see and days I look at my body and see whats real.

  18. I guess you’ll have an easier time when you accept yourself based on who you are and what our body structure is.

  19. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, but still have about that same amount to lose. I do need to take a body/dress check of myself. My clothes are way to baggy and I know I look frumpy. I would love some new clothes anyway!! Thanks for the post! LUV the Leila story!!

  20. I can totally relate. I have lost almost 50 pounds so far and still see myself as I was before I started my weight loss journey.

  21. Looking at the mirror can be very tricky. I rarely rely on it. If you ask me, inches are always the best measure if you’re weight loss journey is a success.

  22. I’ve definitely looked in the mirror only to criticize what I saw. I’m glad I escaped worrying about dieting as a teen, but I do worry now.

  23. LOL, what a funny story. Funny but it’s a serious matter. I have taken your posts serious lately and I am going to do something about it, I so need to be a healthy me.

  24. I am at that crossroads now. I need to lose some weight just to make myself feel better.

  25. I can definitely relate. When I look in the mirror I don’t see what I am, I see what I am not. That’s why I use measurements to prove to myself that I am making progress toward the body I would like to have.

  26. Wow, 40 pounds lost! That’s a great feat!

  27. great post, thanks for sharing it. and cute pic too, lol (funny!)

  28. I always say do you and don’t worry about others. But it is nice to be healthy.a

  29. up and down is how it’s always been for me, whether it’s up or down though i’m never happy lol

  30. I know my perception of how I should be and what I see are so different—you’d thinkI’d drop 30 lbs fighting with my self to do better =]

  31. 40 pounds is really inspiring! I know that just making the commitment is difficult enough and I think you’ve nailed it! Thank you for sharing this!

  32. congrats! great post and thanks for sharing

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