Weight loss and what no one talks about
Few things are as inspiring as a drastic change in eating and lifestyle habits.
In the typical narrative that wraps around the weight loss issue, we usually focus on the obvious, like the health benefits, that good dose of self-esteem it brings, or a higher quality of sleep. Although it is true that losing a few pounds has a lot of benefits (stronger bones, less prone to diabetes and heart attacks, to name just a few), there are also some challenges that we do not always hear about. And I know this is not easy.
A radical transformation should make you feel great, but what if it doesn’t?
Losing the weight is the easy part; realizing the changes and being able to perceive the new me, that has been a daily struggle. Your perception of your body will not change overnight. But in reality, you are still you. At first, I thought I would discover a confidence that I never had. I thought that when I was thinner, I had this fantasy in my head, that one day I would wake up with the body that I had always wanted to have and that I would feel comfortable wearing a bikini. I thought that I would never feel any kind of shame about my body again.
This does not mean that it will be impossible for you to reach your goal, one day.
It will take time for your perception of yourself to catch up. It wasn’t until very recently that I had some kind of inexplicable epiphany and realized that, wow, I’m doing pretty well! I really deserve to feel better!
If you’ve lost a certain amount of weight, you may have to deal with a visible reminder of this: sagging skin with stretch marks. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any kind of lifestyle action you can take to prevent excess skin. Some choose surgery. Any type of surgery can have serious health consequences, and surgery to remove excess skin is usually not covered by insurance.
However, body image is also an important element at stake. Sometimes when you look in the mirror, your brain plays a trick on you. The mental representation of your body may not be entirely accurate. Body image is a separate journey best served by good therapy, a supportive community, and daily practice.
As your habits become healthier, you may find that you have less in common with certain people around you.
Some of your relationships may change.
Maybe your new favorite spin class will conflict with that old TV show you religiously watched with your partner, accompanied by some snacks. Perhaps because of your radically vegetarian dinners, your partner feels that you are pestering him to change as well.
- Are you or someone you know suffering from a co-occurring disorder to eating such as substance use disorders or alcoholism? Let us at La Jolla Recovery provide more answers into finding out if you have a problem and when to get help.
While relationships that have been forged in the gym or office weight loss group can be inspiring and empowering, research indicates that older relationships, particularly love ones, can be affected if one of the people loses weight and the other does not. Once the goal is reached, you will likely find yourself in need of looking for a couple of new things to wear. Even though it’s expensive, it gave me such joy to go shopping for smaller sizes!
You are also probably going to meet some people who will realize that you are going through a series of changes. Most will be supportive and others not so much. From unsolicited advice to invitations to meals that will lead to feelings of guilt. Remember, not all forms of care will be welcome.