If you follow my blog you’ve read about my weight loss journey this year that started with a comprehensive fitness and nutrition Whole30 challenge at my local Pure Barre studio in January. Fortunately, in 42 days I lost 15 lbs and several inches and managed to gain a better handle with foods I ate without much self control i.e. sugar and carbs. When the challenge ended mid February I was elated with my results but didn’t realize there would be a downside post weight loss including, fears of weight gain, a skewed self-image, and new expenses.
After finally figuring out how to lose weight, my biggest fear immediately after the challenge fixated on the possibility of gaining that very weight back. Frequently I had conversations with people that revolved around the weight loss. This confirmed how much people do pay attention to one’s appearance. In fact, since my weight loss it seems that diet and fitness are the only topics people want to discuss with me.
Given these encounters, real worry set in that people noticing my changes would also notice if I gained the weight back. While I continue to worry that the weight may return, I remind myself that I have self-control and that I’m capable of watching my food intake and I can remain motivated to exercise for more results. I no longer workout every day and avoid food groups like I did during the challenge, but I haven’t gained weight, and slowly the fear, and one of the downsides of weight loss subsides.
For years I convinced myself that when I lost ten to twenty pounds many of my problems would go away. I believed I would gain more confidence, find a loving relationship, and all of my goals would come true- this woman can really dream! The reality is that life is truly a journey, as is my progress with my self-image, and 3 months and 20 lbs later my self-image remains skewed.
Words like skinny, thin, or tiny do not sound as wonderful as I imagined. I simply don’t believe people when people say those words. If you know me well you know that words like fit and strong match my goal image, nonetheless, I’ve realized a clear disconnect between how I look to others and what I see when I look in the mirror. I assure you I’m working on this disconnect. Like most things in life, weight loss was not the Bandaid cure for my body image.
Recently, when trying on spring clothes, it finally sunk in that I must really be a size or two smaller now. Things don’t fit. Likewise, even though the scale shows a smaller number it is taking me a while to adjust my self-image. In other words, the instant confidence, loving relationship etc. weren’t bundled into a package that dropped from the sky after my weight loss. Instead, I continue to work on change and positive self talk to make progress. I admit, ultimately, that weight loss is only one step of the self-improvement process. Being Fat Doni ingrained messages that I continue to decode. But I want to decode them and one day possibly see my true worth in the mirror.
The final unexpected downside, three months post weight loss, is the cost of buying new clothes. I’ve heard, ‘you must get to buy all new clothes, how exciting!’ countless times. Trust me, I do enjoy shopping, but in exchange for weight loss I didn’t win the lottery to pay for it. In other words, its been expensive to replace clothes I really liked. Plus, its been a challenge figuring out what size to buy. Add in the fear of gaining the weight and the hope of losing more weight and I ponder my investments. I also face trade offs to buy new, buy used, or get alterations. Recently I’ve faced more decision fatigue than I expected related to picking out outfits. I admit there are worse problems to encounter in life, but the costs should be mentioned as a downside. Likewise, if anyone wants some awesome clothes in sizes 10, 12, or 14 I have plenty!
My post in no way is meant to discourage others from losing weight, rather I wanted to share the reality of my journey in the past three months. Of course the positives outweigh the negatives and knowing that I may have inspired some serious changes to other’s lifestyle as well amazes me. My desire for more results may never go away but I won’t disregard the reality that there are always trade offs and downsides to progress that must be noted in the equation for net change.