Cognitive Dissonance

cog-ni-tive dis-so-nance

noun:  The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitude,  esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

This morning, after getting dressed, I happened to glance in the dresser mirror. For a moment, I was confused by what I saw. I looked like a different person. The shape of my body was considerably different from what my brain expected to see. My first thought was, “how did I never notice that the mirror doesn’t reflect accurately?” Almost immediately, I knew that was wrong. The mirror is fine; it reflects exactly what is before it. It’s not some funhouse mirror that alters the image.

My next thought was, “oh crap, my inner fat girl is back.” But I knew that wasn’t true either. The inner fat girl really is gone. Perhaps for the very first time, I was really seeing who I am, and seeing that I’m a new person. Karen 2.0, as a friend calls me.

I know I’ve lost weight; a lot of weight since I started losing in mid-July. I can see it on the scale at the doctor’s office, and the graph she keeps in her computer that shows my weight dropping at an amazingly steep angle. I can see my face is thinner. My cheekbones and jaw line are back. And my clothes are falling off. Literally. The skirts I wore all summer no longer fit at the waist. They drop down to my hips and then fall to the ground. My hips are smaller than my waist was in July. That’s pretty cool. I need to drag out the sewing machine, and take everything in.

Change is a funny thing. I can either resist, or go with it. Since I chose this change, I’m cheerfully going with it. Some of the people I know aren’t as cheerful about my changes. Almost everyone has a comment or criticism. “You’re losing weight too fast.” “I heard that’s a bad diet.” “You’ll never hit your target weight range.” “You can’t write this book and get it published.” They’re suffering from cognitive dissonance too. The Karen they knew is gone and the new Karen doesn’t tolerate personal criticism, yelling, or belittling. I’ll give them time to adjust to the new me, and go with it. I don’t think anyone really believed I was going to follow through with losing weight for the last time in my life, and writing a book about it.

Karen 2.0 is not an idea or theory. It is, I am, reality.

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13 thoughts on “Cognitive Dissonance

  1. Julene Bair says:

    Yay, Karen. I’m rooting for you and think that you can both lose the weight and find a publisher for your book.

  2. Thanks Julene. So far, I’m down by more than a third of what I want to lose, so I’m very happy with the results.

  3. Debbie says:

    I’m cheering you on, Karen! I was reading Priscilla Stuckey’s book, Kissed by a Fox, earlier today, and that got me down on the beach for a good listening session. And what came to me was that I love the ocean because it changes dramatically every day. I don’t mean just the tides, but the whole shoreline, its shape, what washes up, what is exposed and hidden. The changes are enchanting and make every visit something special. I’m thrilled to hear that you are enjoying your changes and allowing in the people who celebrate them.

  4. Go Karen! Rooting for you!

    • Jody Berman says:

      I’m rooting for you, too, Karen. You’re undertaking a big challenge, but you can do it! Thanks for sharing your story. Keep getting support from those who believe in you.

  5. Wow! I’m so moved by all the kind words of support. Thank you all.

  6. Gail Storey says:

    Karen 2.0, full speed ahead on your diet and writing your book–I just know you’re going to succeed splendidly on both counts, given your courage and talent!

  7. Marian Thier says:

    I admire your openness and willingness to share your story with us. So many people suffer alone and having a strong voice like yours is the kind of support that just might help others turn their own corners. Keep talking!

  8. Leigh Ann says:

    I like that–Karen 2.0. That’s a neat concept. Very brave too because, as you said, change …

  9. Hi Karen,

    I just found your blog and wanted to say hi and tell you how much I appreciate your insights. My physical fat girl is almost gone, but my emotional fat girl is still around sometimes, so I can really relate. On June 1, 2011, I weighed 354.5 lbs. As of November 1, 2012, I weighed 159.8. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog and your book.

  10. Daearen, welcome to the blog, and thank you for your comments. Congratulations on your impressive weight loss. You should be very proud; it takes a lot of work. For me, a big part of losing the inner fat girl has been to recognize where her voice came from, forgive, and finally realize that I don’t have any use for that voice and I’m sick of hearing it.

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