02/02/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Big Fat Denial

Perhaps it has happened to you, or someone you love. You wake up one morning and OMG you're fat! How could this happen? You thought you looked OK and then BAM, you realize that you are, in fact, overweight. For some it is 10 pounds, for others it is a 200 pound weight gain that went "unnoticed." I call this fat denial.

Generally there will be some event that causes one to wake up to the fact of their current size. For Ellen, she was out walking with her husband one day when she caught a glimpse of a woman in a store window. Her immediate thought was, "That is an overweight, middle-aged woman." Then she saw her husband in the window too. Then she realized her husband was walking next to this fat, middle-aged woman. Then she realized that woman was herself. She couldn't believe it. She didn't think of herself as fat or middle-aged. Ellen had always been thin and very attractive. She was 38 when she had this revelation and wasn't ready to see herself as middle-aged, or fat.

For Bill, he thought he looked good. He knew he had put on some weight, as his clothes stopped fitting, but he didn't get on the scale and didn't want to. He loved to eat and didn't want anything to interfere with that. It wasn't until Bill saw a photograph of himself that he came out of fat denial. He told me that when he looked down, his legs looked the same to him, so he was shocked at what he really looked like.

If you are in some form of fat denial, you may find yourself avoiding the scale. This can go so far as avoiding going to the doctor as they always weigh you there. You may avoid having photos taken, or hide in the back if you have to. You most likely avoid wearing a bathing suit or shopping for clothes. This all takes energy to keep it going.

If you think you might be in some form of fat denial, I challenge you to get on the scale. You have to face it to change it. You weigh that number whether you choose to look at it or not, so go ahead and get honest with yourself. It is the first step on the road to changing your weight.

That's it for now. Good luck and let me know how you're doing.

If you'd like to participate in the research for Irene's new book about the process of weight loss, please visit and take the survey.

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