Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Jan 03

Hate Loss Challenge 2013 Topic List: Week One

hatelossbadgeTopic for Group Therapy Thursday, January 10th:

The Mirror Exercise


If you were here for my previous years’ challenges, you’ll remember the positive reinforcement sheet I created. Basically, we used verbal affirmations to help rid our vocabulary of words that aimed to destroy our self-esteem. That simple exercise was very powerful and I was torn about not using it again this year, but ultimately decided that our Gratitude Jar was a nice change of pace and could be just as powerful a tool.


Many of you know Karen C.L. Anderson’s presence very well within our weight loss/maintenance community. For those of you who don’t, she is a witty and compassionate blogger, successful author and was given the honor of having one of the Top 20 Inspiring Weight Loss Blogs by Shape Magazine. She is also passionate about acceptance and self worth. While reading her blog a few weeks ago I noticed something called the Mirror Exercise on her sidebar. I was intrigued by this and decided to give it a try. I found it to be a very helpful way of promoting healthy self esteem and it reminded me of my positive reinforcement sheet from years prior. I decided to ask if Karen wanted to collaborate with me on this year’s challenge, and she graciously accepted.

So, for this week’s Hate Loss Challenge exercise, we will complete Karen’s Mirror Exercise which can be found on the left sidebar of her blog. She offers it to anyone and everyone – free of charge, when you sign up for her newsletter. For those of you who are concerned with giving your email address to Karen, rest assured that she values your privacy and will only use that information to send you an occasional newsletter which is filled with words of acceptance and uplifting quotes.  The Mirror Exercise is available immediately after you confirm that your email address is correct and you can unsubscribe at any time (though I doubt if you will want to!) This is a simple, yet powerful non-verbal affirmation. All you need is to take a couple of minutes to read through it and then follow the directions – all you need is your willing self and a mirror.

Make an attempt to repeat the exercise several times before Group Therapy Thursday. On the 10th, you will either post (if you run a blog) or comment here (if you don’t own a blog) about your thoughts on the exercise and how it made you feel each time you completed it. What were your thoughts on the science behind self-acceptance? Did it soften your perception of yourself?

In addition to this exercise, Karen is providing one challenge participant a copy of her book titled After (the Before and After).  I bought a copy of this book when it first came out and it really spoke to me on many levels.  I could identify with many parts in Karen’s book – her struggles with weight and ultimately learning how to love herself regardless of what she weighed.  (You can read more about the book on Amazon here.)  All you have to do to enter is either link to, or comment about your thoughts on the Mirror Exercise here on my blog next Thursday. A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, January 14th.


How’s the Gratitude Jar coming along?  One thing I decided to do was pre-date my slips of paper.  I’m so used to keeping a dated journal that I kind of miss not having that frame of reference handy. Other than that, I’m finding it very a very rewarding task so far and hope you are, too!

Since next week is our first Group Therapy Thursday, you may just continue adding to your Gratitude Jar and work on your Mirror Exercise, and we’ll meet up here next week to give updates on how things are going for everyone.  If you do decide to write a post or would like to comment here, please feel free (and bloggers, please link back from here so other participants can visit your blog).

Thanks everyone, and have a great day!


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  1. Brenda says:

    Just downloaded Karens exercise. Strange, I am a little afraid of attempting this, going to give it a try right now. Maybe I’m afraid of what I will see in the mirror when I turn around.

    • Ellen says:

      Brenda, you are not alone. Isn’t it strange how uncomfortable we can feel when we need to interact with ourselves? Sometimes exercises like this can be the most difficult – yet the most rewarding. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

  2. Vickie says:

    I was just about to add what Brenda said – looking ourselves in the eye in mirror can be TOUGH for a lot of people.

    • Ellen says:

      Absolutely. Our very first year when we did the positive reinforcement sheet – I simply could NOT do it. It takes practice, practice, practice doesn’t it?

      • Vickie says:

        I started out not being able to deal with mirror or photographs. I am perfectly comfortable with both now. It took a very long time. Last year as I worked my way into long, full sweaters, I purposely stayed away from mirrors until I got used to the sweaters. This season I am in the sweaters and able to look in mirror and not think “hulk/bulk” I can tell what is me and what is sweater. Next year I may transition into pictures of myself in sweaters. It is a process.

  3. Brandi says:

    Hey Ellen! I really can’t wait until next Thursday! I just downloaded and completed the Mirror Challenge. At first I was a bit intimidated at staring at myself, but I am telling you there was so much emotion there! I will share more Thursday! :) Thank you!!

  4. Hanlie says:

    I haven’t done mirror work in ages! It’s about time, I think.

    I found some pretty yellow papers to write my gratitude notes on. Love them!

    • Ellen says:

      Mirror work is one of the hardest things to do. I think if we can surpass that, then there isn’t anything we can’t do.
      I’m glad you found some lovely yellow paper for your gratitude jar, Hanlie. I hope one of your papers says: Grateful to be feeling better and better from surgery. I really hope so, too :)

  5. Beth says:

    I don’t think I did the Mirror exercise right…when I turned around and looked at myself, all I saw was my mother, and I thought how old I looked :( Maybe I need to do it in the morning after I have done my hair and put on make-up, instead of at night when I am tired. I will keep trying though, and hopefully I will get the hang of it :)

    • Brenda says:

      Beth, I saw my dad when I opened my eyes! I don’t think you did it wrong, try it again..look longer till you see past your mom 😉

      • Vickie says:

        That is so interesting. I can see how it would happen, but had not thought of it. My kids comment on the genetics they see in themselves regularly. Three kids and I have very similar coloring in our eyes, mine are bluer, two of the kids have more gold flecks, one child has a very different shape to her eyes. Walking down the hall of the kids’ grade school, I could often place an unknown child to the right family tree from bone structure.

        • Ellen says:

          This is very interesting! That alone can make this exercise a bit harder – but also more rewarding if you can get past it. It can be a big fear to feel like we’re turning into our parents.

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