14 Things No One Tells You About Losing Weight
Are you looking forward to losing weight? If so, there are some things worth knowing and keeping in mind that are involved in the process of losing weight. Below you will find things no one tells you about losing weight and that are generally un-emphasized.
1. You will still be the same person.
This one may seem like common sense, but we are led to believe that once we lose weight we will be funnier, charismatic, more magnetic versions of ourselves. We will have great personalities and our outsides will now reflect our wonderful insides. We are led to believe that once we lose weight we will look and feel as happy as the smiling people in weight loss ads and like the people in before-and-after pictures.
The truth is that you will still be the same person. Your good traits will still be your good traits and your bad traits will still be your bad traits. A makeover on the outside will not give you an inside makeover. Only you can build upon your good traits and work to improve your bad traits; losing weight does not do this for you.
2. You will get to shop for (and not "settle for") clothes.
While this one may fall on the materialistic side and may seem like no big deal for people who have been able to shop for clothes all their lives, anyone who is or has been overweight will understand that there is a distinct difference between "settling for clothes" and "shopping for clothes," which for an overweight person makes having to buy clothes a dreaded task.
Getting to shop for clothes, clothes that you actually like and that actually fit you, is a welcome change and is something of a new experience for anyone who has been overweight. Being able to shop for clothes also impacts how you view yourself as you go from finding clothes to hide and cover yourself in, to finding clothes that you look forward to wearing and that you feel comfortable and confident in. You realize that you don't have to hide your body; and while it would be nice to make this realization when one is overweight, it is a hard realization to come to.
It is a small pleasure, found outside of oneself and in a material thing, but it is a positive thing (given that one does not place all of one's value in it).
3. Even though you can shop for clothes, some clothes will still not look nice on you.
While it may seem that once you finally lose weight you will get to wear what you weren't able to wear before, this is only partially true.
Because there are many different body types and much of the clothing is designed for those with only one body type, it does not matter how much weight you lose, some clothing will still not look nice on you. And because of how much of clothing today is just outright questionable, some clothing will not look nice on anyone.
4. You will be able to eat without being [as] judged.
There comes a time in every overweight person's life when other people start visually and verbally policing what he or she eats. Some will mean well in their own way and many will not. Some will have the decency to not say anything, not stare, and let you eat in peace like they would to anyone else, but most people will stare and scrutinize what you eat, how you eat, how many servings you have, the size of your servings, etc. and will very often comment to you or to others about it.
This does not really ever go away completely, but people tend to ease off when you have lost weight and when you are thinner; which means you can finally have some nom nom and not be so judged while you have it.
This is the information I can give for when people want to talk weight loss and how I went about it:
- 30 Ways to Lose Weight on a Budget and Busy Schedule
How to eat healthy on a budget and busy schedule. How to lose weight on a budget. Healthy budget eating. Healthy habits. Healthy weight loss.
5. People will want to talk about your weight loss.
For me, this has been one of the most surreal things about weight loss. While being overweight is the elephant in the room, losing weight is the celebrity that's just arrived and that everyone wants to talk to and talk about. People will talk about your weight loss to you and to others with a liberty and enthusiasm that is surprising, and at times uncomfortable.
Sometimes people will want to talk about your weight loss because they are interested and would like to try it for themselves or to give you positive words and encouragement, but sometimes people just want to talk about it to talk about it.
6. It is ok to look in the mirror and to like what you see (even before you lose weight).
I do not know when it happens, but at some point the message becomes internalized that overweight people should not spend time in front of mirrors or to appreciate what they see. Being in front of a mirror becomes perfunctory, and only to be done when absolutely necessary. Mirrors become something to be avoided, and if they cannot be avoided, at least not to be looked at for long.
In losing weight one comes to realize, in a slow and gradual process, that it is ok to look in the mirror and it is ok to like what you see. And it is ok to look in the mirror and like what you see even before you lose weight. Unfortunately, this process does not normally happen when it should or when it could, and so often it is only after losing weight that this realization comes.
7. It will take time to get used to your new and changing body.
Losing weight will change your body, but it will take time to get used to it; especially if you were overweight for a long period of time. The way you walk, the way you take up space, the way you carry yourself, your body language, the ways clothes fit (both new clothes and old clothes), your posture, you name it--will take some time to get used to and to adjust to.
It will be like driving a new car and your body is your vehicle. Turning, braking, parking, speeding, accelerating, decelerating--just takes time to learn how to drive it and get used to it.
8. You can lose weight and still look fat.
It's really not all about looks, but for many losing weight does have a tie to physical appearance, especially when considering how rampant fat discrimination and fat shaming are in society.
However, the reality is that while many people have had weight loss success stories with dramatic before-and-after pics, not everyone's weight loss trajectory, or body type and genes for that matter, will have the same result or will look the same.
You can feel, think, and look better, healthier, more empowered, and stronger than before but to some, or perhaps even at times to yourself, you may still be reduced down to your appearance and may still be fat.
9. You can do everything you're supposed to and still not lose weight.
This is one of the most challenging, difficult, and disheartening things about weight loss. Despite what society and medical professionals will tell you, weight loss is not as simple as calories in and calories out. One can do everything that he or she is supposed to in order to lose weight and may not see any progress.
Weight loss is complicated, affected by genetics and environment, other health issues, and the alignment of the planets. It's really not as simple as non-overweight people will tell you, and anyone who has tried to lose weight and failed, and even those who have tried to lose weight and succeeded, can tell you that you can do everything that's prescribed for weight loss and still not lose weight.
10. How much weight you lose does and does not matter.
On the one hand, how much weight you lose and keep off is an accomplishment. It is not easy to do and you should be proud of yourself and the healthier you. You have every right to know and keep track of how much weight you have lost and kept off.
By the same token, it is important not to let how much weight you have or have not lost define you. How much weight you have lost matters and matters to a point, but after that point it does not matter. You matter more than how much you have lost and you matter more than trying to reach some "ideal weight."
Not All Differences in Treatment Are Positive
Each celebrity has his/her own set of "haters" and losing weight can bring out the green-eyed monster in others.
Watch out equally for those who only treat you better because of your progress as well as for those who try to get you down because of your progress!
11. Losing weight is like becoming a celebrity.
People will take notice of you that did not pay you attention before. Some people will be friendlier, more flirtatious, more approachable, more interested in you--all because you lost weight and look more socially acceptable.
This is disappointing because you would hope that people would pay you attention and be interested in you because they are genuinely interested in you and because you have value as a person and not just because you are a thinner, more socially acceptable person but as it turns out this is not the case.
It won't be as drastic a life change as becoming a celebrity, but there will be different kinds of people that will come out of the woodwork who would not have given you the time of day before and there will be differences in the way people treat you.
12. It takes nothing to gain weight and maintenance is hard work.
It's true. It is so very easy to gain weight and to gain weight back that you've lost. It's so easy, it should be a crime. Keeping the weight off and any efforts towards future or continued weight loss is hard work. Sometimes you have to work harder and be more disciplined in pretty much everything from eating to exercising than those around you for minimal results. It stinks.
So know now, that losing weight, like most things in life, is only the beginning of the climb.
13. Losing weight does not solve your problems.
Weight gain is often the symptom or a symptom amongst a myriad of problems. Financial hardship, poverty, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, self-esteem issues, coping mechanisms, dysfunctional relationships, bad habits, life patterns--losing weight does not solve these problems.
Solving problems in your life require the same commitment, dedication, perseverance, and motivation that losing weight did; and more often than not, it requires more.
14. Losing weight is not the destination.
Somehow we think that once we have lost weight, the work is done and we can finally stop and take a break now that we have reached the end goal.
But losing weight is not the end goal and it is not the destination; it is only part of the journey.
Being the best you you can be in every aspect--mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual--and making the most of yourself in a positive way, for a positive you, a positive life, and a better world, that is the destination.
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© 2014 Nalini Marquez