Remember the post I made at the beginning of the year about improving my health? I’m still at it. I’m still about 15 – 20 pounds away from “goal”, but I’ve lost 60 pounds since I made that post and 80 since my heaviest non-pregnant weight in 2011. There have been a lot of unexpected side effects from weight loss that I wasn’t anticipating. All of my life I’ve been big, I’m smaller now than I was at 19 when I got married. I’m smaller than I was at 14.
I’ve complied a list of unexpected things that happen while you’re losing weight:
– You have no idea what size you are.
There’s a huge myth that 10-15 pounds = 1 dress size. That’s totally not true, at least for me it’s not. If it was true, I should be a size 8-10 right now. I’m not. I’m still hovering between a 12 and a 14. It can be disheartening because I was a size 14 at 180 pounds, how on earth am I still a size 14? You think that once you lose weight all your problems will disappear with it. You’ll be able to shop in straight sizes and just pluck something off the rack and have it fit fabulously. Not true. You still end up with things fitting oddly or having one size on the top and another on the bottom. I am completely lost with regards to bras. No idea at all.
I recently picked up 3 tanks because I was getting sick of the too-big XXL maternity tanks that I’ve been living in sliding off my shoulders. I didn’t try them on because I have some other shirts from this brand so I figured I knew what size I was. I got home and put one on, my first thought was instantly “oh god this is too small”. Then I had to step back, look at myself and say “No, tanks are supposed to be tighter than tents.”
I’m trying not to beat myself up about what dress size I am and what dress size I want to be is still an ongoing process.
– This body feels foreign.
I have days that I look in the mirror and think “Gosh, is that me? Am I really this small?” My husband can pick me up and throw me over his shoulder now. I feel lighter, I have more energy, I’m sleeping better. There are other days that I catch my reflection and see the old me. I think that I look huge, I focus upon the skin overhang on my stomach, I feel like I’ll never be attractive, I feel like I’ve not lost any weight at all.
Logically I know that’s not true. I know because I can look at old pictures of myself and see it. It still happens though and it’s upsetting when it does.
– All those comments you were looking forward to don’t feel as good as you thought.
When I started this I was so looking forward to people noticing my weight loss. The first 20-30 pounds, nobody noticed. I noticed, I just wanted someone to say something. I wanted someone to acknowledge my hard work. And then they started to. And now I hate it. Comments have run the gamut from the benign “You look great” to the somewhat offensive “Wow! I didn’t recognize you at first!”
I’m a shy individual, I don’t like being looked at, I don’t like being the center of attention. People commenting on my body makes me more uncomfortable than I assumed it would. Sometimes I just want to say “Stop looking at me.”
There’s a person in my life that says “Oh my gosh you look so good! You keep losing that weight girl!” every time she sees me. Every time. Sometimes multiple times during the same interaction. I don’t enjoy it, it makes me feel self conscious.
The problem with this is that all of these comments are well meaning. People think they are being nice or being encouraging. I don’t want to make them feel bad by asking them to not comment so I keep my mouth shut about it and shift about on my feet, blush, and mutter “uh… thanks”.
– The idea of maintenance is scary.
I figured out how to lose weight, I’m awesome at losing weight now. I’m 2 pounds away from “goal 1”. I pushed my goal lower another 15-20 pounds so that I’ll be in the “normal” weight range instead of the “overweight” weight range. I’d be lying if I said that was the only reason that I pushed my goal lower. With another 15-20 pounds to lose, I don’t have to worry about maintenance.
Maintenance scares me. Why? Because all the statistics out there say that people who have lost weight are very likely to gain it back. The likelihood that you’ll lose weight and keep it off is discouragingly tiny. I need to find the sweet spot. I currently weigh myself every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I’ve read that this habit is the best one to keep up for weight maintenance. Part of me feels like that’s obsessive and unhealthy, but I never ever want to be 232 pounds again.
My journey isn’t over yet, but I’m closer to the finish line than ever before. I’m starting to realize, however, that it’s not a finish line. That this isn’t a sprint. This isn’t even a marathon. It’s a treadmill and the ground will keep moving under my feet.