So you’re on a weight loss journey or you’ve been on one for a while. Things are starting to really feel amazing. Your body is changing, your clothes are fitting, hell, clothes shopping is kind of fun now. People at work and your family are being supportive and making comments on how great you look. Why didn’t I start this sooner!?! You start to wonder.
What people don’t talk about and what before and after pictures don’t show is how deep a transformation a health and fitness journey really is. You don’t just change your physical appearance and your ability to say “no” to Cheetos, but every aspect of your life changes from your friends, to your outlook, even down to how people start treating you.
I know. It’s crazy to think about but you’re not alone and you’re not going crazy. Transforming your body transforms your mind and when you start reaching major goals, some things start happening and it can be nice to know you’re not the only who who’s thought about them.
You Don’t See Your Own Progress
How many times have you been shopping, picked out a few tops, pants, maybe some dresses, when suddenly you’re in the fitting room and everything is hanging off of you. What? There’s NO way I’m actually a smaller size. And then that moment hits you when you realize all this time, you have had no actual logical perception of what you look like or the size and shape of your new body.
Adjusting to a new you is hard. Sure, you look better and people look at you in admiration of your hard work. But no matter how great you look and feel now, it’s a whole new world to get used to. Clothes start to fit you differently. You’re suddenly more aware of fat in different places because you’re wearing more form-fitting clothes and not hiding under baggy sweatshirts and loose pants. In many ways, you may find yourself MORE insecure and misguided than when you had 30 more pounds on you before.
It can feel incredibly disheartening and frustrating. Where did all of my confidence go? I felt SO HOT in that skirt 6 months ago and now I have one in a smaller size and I don’t feel the same way. The key is to focus on what you DO love about your new body. You may not be happy with excess skin or a lack of definition in your arms, but don’t you FEEL better? Think about what you’re capable of doing now. The YOU a year ago couldn’t do push ups, heck, the you a year ago made fun of people who did push ups. HA! Super-obsessive fitness people, trying to push the earth down. ::inserts Doritos in mouth::
You Feel MORE Insecure
When you were heavier, you didn’t think about your weight, in fact, you completely avoided it. Fit people in TV and movies you didn’t even think about comparing yourself to or getting jealous over because that would never be you, not even close. When you start reaching goals and realizing that you ARE capable of dramatic changes, it can be terrifying. Suddenly you feel accountable for your body, which is amazing and encouraging but also downright painful to realize.
Does this mean I’ve been a failure all of these years I’ve been overweight?
How much time have I wasted?
What if I actually can’t do this? What if I start to gain all the weight back? Maybe I should just go to Baskin Robbins and give up my dreams of asking that cute guy/girl out.
The fact that weight loss and fitness REQUIRE you to be aware, to be present when you eat food and make choices, puts you in an entirely new mental zone. Go easy on yourself and realize that you’re having to adjust more than your portions. You’re going to be more aware, therefore, you’re going to be thinking a plethora of new thoughts and having new experiences with your body and your mind that can feel kind of jarring at first. Take the word “insecure” and replace it with “more aware.” You’re not insecure about your stomach, you’re more aware of it. Be kind with your thoughts and let the ones go that aren’t nice back to you.
You Enter the NO-MORE-SUPPORT Zone
THIS is the biggest issue that I hardly hear people talk about. When you are first losing weight, family, friends, co-workers, they are ALL supportive. OH MY GAWD, Janet, you look fanTAStic! What are you doing? We should go get drinks! It’s fun and easy to watch the “chubby” girl lose weight and start to feel good in her own skin. It gives other people motivation and reason to praise their own bodies, especially if you are just now getting down to their size.
But strange things start to happen (especially with women) when you get further and deeper into your fitness and nutrition goals. Suddenly those comments can become negative digs. Janet! You’re getting so tiny! Are you okay? Are you only eating carrots or something? You should have a donut. People are suddenly aware of your potential and can become “threatened” by your determination. Suddenly you’re not a motivational poster for health, but a reminder of how hard THEY aren’t working. You’re the one making healthy choices and a reminder to everyone who’s still eating Burger King that their choices reflect their health and their weight.
People get less supportive and fewer comments are made about your appearance and instead comments are made about the “weird” things you do like eat salads or run on your lunch break.
It’s important to not let these comments or remarks get you down. Your motivation shouldn’t lie in what other people think or say about you. A great thing that my friend Lindsey said to me today was:
Don’t be any less of who you are because other people can’t be more of who they want to be. Don’t waste your precious time and energy second guessing yourself and wondering how to accommodate people who won’t step up to the plate to accommodate themselves.
Maybe you’ve reached your weight loss goal or you are “super skinny and perfect” according to all of your friends but you still want more of a challenge. It can be hard to be “that” person who’s always going to the gym or striving to see what his/her body can REALLY do when people around you already think you look great. You must be crazy or obsessive to think you still need to workout or lose more fat. Finding the right support groups can be hard in this phase. Just remember that this is a journey FOR yourself WITH yourself and not everyone is going to understand your reasons or feel the same desire or need to get in amazing shape.
Just as everyone’s opinions and thoughts are different, so are everyone’s bodies. There are an endless array of shapes and sizes that are gorgeous, sexy, defined, toned, lean, muscular, and curvaceous and not just one is the best one. These are all decisions we need to make for ourselves and we are certainly not going to have the same body our entire lives either.
The key is figuring out what YOUR goals are and realizing that many things will always change along the way. You may always have to battle with subtle insecurities and new clothes and people. But look at that as a challenge and a positive way to grow and nothing will stop you!