What did you think was going to change once you had lost all the dreaded weight? Did you think that it would be like waving a magic wand over your life and everything would suddenly be perfect? Most of us attribute things which are going wrong in our lives to be somehow caused by the fact that we are overweight, and we imagine that once the weight has gone, so have the problems. Well unfortunately, that is not always the case.
You might think it strange for me to say that losing weight is the easy part, especially if you have found it to be darn hard work! But once the weight has gone, that’s when a whole new set of problems can surface. Problems which you may never have thought of before. Problems like suddenly getting attention when you have been used to almost ‘melting’ into the background. Problems like your spouse suddenly getting irksome with you. Comments such as “don’t lose any more now; you’re starting to look ill.”
These and various other ‘helpful’ comments can all make you feel like turning back to the comfort food and re-gaining the weight you’ve worked so hard to get rid of. So, as I am a great believer in ‘forewarned is forearmed,’ I’m going to take you through some of the things which may occur after you’ve lost weight, and give you some helpful hints and tips to help you overcome them.
All attention is good attention, right?
Wrong! When you were bigger you probably felt like you were almost invisible at times. You could literally melt into the background and not have to think about anyone looking at you or paying attention to you, unless it was in a negative way. And now, suddenly, you are attracting all kinds of attention and don’t know how to deal with it. So why does this happen and how do you cope with it?
Well firstly, the attention you get from the opposite sex may seem almost overwhelming, especially if you aren’t used to it. While it’s nice to receive admiring looks, this can lead to you feeling almost ‘naked’ in front of others and you may not know how to handle it. Many people who are scared of sexual intimacy unconsciously gain weight in an effort to keep people almost at ’arm’s length,’ and then don’t know how to deal with sexual innuendo or overtly sexual comments.
If you have used your weight as a ‘comfort blanket’ in the past, then you will relate to this. So how to deal with it? Well, firstly, do not let the attention go to your head. This is when cracks can start to appear in the strongest of relationships. Always try to remember where you have come from; did your partner meet you when you were at your heaviest, or did the weight go on after you were ‘comfortable’ in the relationship? It is possible that they were attracted to the bigger you for a variety of reasons. Some people find it comforting to be with someone who they assume will not receive a lot of attention from the opposite sex and can experience powerful feelings of jealousy when others do start looking.
You may need to ask yourself some heart-searching questions, such as whether you chose to be with them because you thought you couldn’t do any better, or do you really love them, no matter what? It can be really hard to scrutinize your relationship in this way, but in order to move forward, you might have to. If your relationship has a strong foundation and you are together for the right reasons, then you will get through this temporary blip, I promise you.
Keep telling yourself that you are worth something, even if your partner now starts being derogatory about your appearance. This can be far more down to them feeling insecure about themselves, than anything to do with you. And don’t take ‘come-ons’ from others seriously. Yes, it’s nice to have someone wanting you, but do you really want to pursue something which is based purely on your appearance? I think not. Partnerships which are strong will work through these problems together. Keep telling your partner you are losing the weight for your health and self-esteem, and not in order to attract attention from anyone else.
Clothes everywhere and not enough closet space?
It can be easy to get carried away with the thrill of being able to go into a ‘normal’ shop to buy your clothes, instead of going into a ‘specialist’ clothing store and hurriedly purchasing whatever will fit, rather than buying something which flatters you and looks good. BUT, there are those who suddenly feel overwhelmed by the choice available and may not know how to deal with the fact that there are now so many nice clothes which actually fit.
This can lead to impulse buys and the tendency to hide things from your partner, which in turn can lead to financial difficulty. To overcome this, try and set yourself a monthly budget and stick to it. If necessary, then place your credit card into a container of water and freeze it! Yes, this might seem extreme, but it also means that you have to think carefully before you make a purchase as you won’t be able to impulse buy.
Also make sure you utilize thrift and charity shops. Don’t forget that there are many people in the same position as you who may have got rid of clothes which no longer fit them. I myself have been able to source bargains which are brand new and unworn and even still have labels attached. Buy these and then re-donate them when you lose more weight and everyone’s a winner! You are getting clothes at a great price and the charity also benefits, as does your purse!
I thought I would love my new body, so why do I feel disappointed?
When you were overweight, the chances are that you absolutely loathed certain parts of your body. Be honest, how many of us actually adore all the lumps and bumps? The truth is that there are not many overweight people who love their body. You probably thought though that you would be absolutely thrilled with the ‘new’ you when the weight had gone. So how do you now cope with the changes that have occurred? What if you now have sagging body parts and have lost your booty? What about the roll of skin that now hangs over your underwear which wasn’t apparent before the weight loss?
It can be extremely hard to deal with the fact that you still don’t have a perfect body, despite all your hard work. Those of us who have had children can find it even more difficult to cope with, especially if you’ve had one or more C-sections. One of the best ways of getting your skin to shrink back to pre-overweight days is to try and lose the weight gradually, along with exercise for maximum health benefits. In general, the slower you lose the weight, the longer it stays off, and the more chance you have of your skin going back too.
So-called ‘wonder’ diets and pills and potions tend to help you lose weight not because they are magic, but the ‘diet’ plan which goes with them is so restrictive in calories that you will lose weight swiftly. Unfortunately the truth is that as soon as you come off them, the weight you’ve lost, plus more, will come flooding back.
And so the best way to get everything back to normal is to lose weight gradually through a healthy eating plan, (note I do not use the word ‘diet,’) plus some exercise, as long as you are physically able to. In this way, you are making a change for life and not looking for a quick fix. This also allows for your mind to catch up with your changing body, and for you to accept, slowly, the changes which are taking place physically.
Sadly, there is no magic wand which will make your life perfect, either while you are overweight, or after you’ve lost the weight, but with love and support from family and friends and a gradual change to your habits, it is possible to feel a lot better about yourself and your appearance and to build your self-esteem to the extent you can look in the mirror and be happy with what you see. And just as important are the health benefits which are gained by losing excess weight. Just give it time.