I Lost the Weight. Now What?

Lisa and Kelly at FitBloggin'13

Lisa and Kelly at FitBloggin’13

Sometimes your weight can be used as a scapegoat, as in, “My life would be wonderful if I just lost X pounds.”  But the people sitting in the hotel room in Portland, Oregon knew first-hand that losing weight didn’t equate to immediate happiness.

The bulk of people in this emotionally charged session at FitBloggin ’13 aptly named, “Dealing with your “Before” now that you’ve reached your “After” had lost significant amounts of weight ranging from 40 to almost 200 pounds.

“I lost 124 lbs.  That’s a whole person,” said Kelly Espita leading the conversation.  By going to Weight Watchers and joining a Crossfit class her pounds shed quickly, but the emotional weight remained.

No Longer Invisible

“When I was no longer invisible, I kind of wanted to be invisible again,” she said to heads nodding in agreement.

It seems like a paradox – how someone could be over 200 lbs. and feel invisible.  Aren’t they the largest ones in the room?  But as person after person explained, when you’re heavy it feels like people avoid looking at you in an attempt to be polite.  Men ignore you to try to date your thinner friend.  Once you become fit, suddenly people you’ve never met before are complimenting you and everyone seems friendly, and you wonder why they weren’t friendly when you were heavy.

Susan (Foodfoodbodybody.com) said, “When you’ve been invisible for so long, you feel like ‘Hello, where were you?’ When people are nice to you after you have lost the weight, I get pissed off. You get upset on behalf of your ‘before’, your former self.”

A widow mentioned that after her husband died she lost a lot of weight and men began to flirt with her, and it was just jarring.  People shifted in their chairs and looked away.

Emotions in the room were raw and vulnerable.  No one it seemed had any idea how many feelings would be released once they got fit.   Trainers and dieticians could help you reach the goal but once you obtained your ideal weight there was a sense of abandonment.  I lost the weight…now what?

FitBloggin'13 Before and After Session

FitBloggin’13 Before and After Session

Dani Holmes-Kirk (@irisheyes1982): So, I didn’t really have tough times growing up. I just never liked myself and I was never happy. I was one of those people who thought ‘If I just lose the weight, everything’s gonna be awesome’. And then I realized that just wasn’t the case.”

Kelly echoes her statement, “I’m trying to find myself. When the protective layer of fat is gone, that’s when the real stuff starts. And it’s hard.”

The Real Stuff

Certain fears and ideas kept getting mentioned, they included:

  • While happy to have lost the weight, there was an overwhelming desire to be unnoticed again
  • Intense fear of gaining all the weight back
  • Feeling undeserving of friendship
  • After always being known as the “funny fat girl” now what would my identity be?
  • Intense fear of social situations – not sure how to handle compliments, flirtations and thinking the person is only being nice because I’m in shape

Sitting in the room and looking around it was hard to imagine that some of these women and men were ever heavy a day in their life, they looked healthy and chiseled even.  But some found it difficult accepting their new identity as fit and continued to perceive themselves as obese.

Brooke (BrookeNotOnADiet.com) “I lost 177 lbs with Weight Watchers. When I was 327 lbs I felt like I wasn’t good enough. And I still feel that right now. I don’t feel like I’m worthy of friendship.”

Some people felt if they lost weight people wouldn’t like them as much.  Another person had to stop hanging around some of her friends because they only wanted to meet in restaurants and bars, and those were situations she wanted to avoid.

I lost the weight.  Now what?

I lost the weight. Now what?

Others offered advice about how they handled the changes.  After losing 160 lbs, David (Keepitupdavid.wordpress.com) said, “Then came the attention and the social situations and I just remembered I don’t need to put pressure on myself to make a certain impression. I just decided to show up. It’s worked really well because there’s no sense of failure when there’s no sense of expectation.”

I Lost the Weight.  Now What?

Now that the weight was gone as well as the excuse as to why life wasn’t perfect, the group suggested the following things to people dealing with these emotions right now:

  • Accept yourself no matter what the weight on the scale said that day.  If you can make peace with yourself when you are 230 lbs. it will be that much easier when you are 130 lbs.
  • Consistently choose healthy eating and exercise as a lifestyle.  That is the only way to avoid yo-yo dieting and remove the fear of gaining all the weight back.
  • Force yourself to get into social situations to regain confidence and make supportive friends.  You are no longer invisible and that’s a good thing, because you’re someone worth knowing at any weight.

How about you?  If you lost weight, how did it impact your life?  Did you feel similar emotions?

Lisa ;)

Sheslosingit.net (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

15 responses to “I Lost the Weight. Now What?

  1. Such an amazing post Lisa. I am struggling to everything you mention above right now and still trying to find my way through it. Thank you for posting!

  2. What an amazing event you attended. The things that these people are going through, is sometimes things I feel and experience as well. 119lbs is the number I lost and now that I too am visible to many, I too feel that sometimes it would be cool to be invisible again. Now everyone seems to “see” you, even in the gym where I want to be invisible. Social gatherings are something that are difficult as well. I used to be the shy one which was fine because no one really wanted to talk to the “fat” woman/girl. Now that I am thin, everyone seems to want to chat to me and still trying to finding my way to be more social, I find it difficult to interact. But … there comes a big thing that is so cool regarding our weight losses and that is that we can relate to those who still need to lose the weight or are in the quest of trying. We can support them, know what they are going through and help them. This I love so much, being able to relate, support and help them.
    http://marleensbodybuildingjourney.blogspot.com/
    http://livelifewithus.blogspot.com/
    Marleen

    • If you are able, I highly recommend attending next year’s FitBloggin conference. The mornings were filled with exercise classes, afternoons dealt with more emotional aspects of blogging, such as this session, and afternoons focused on the tech side with courses on building a better blog and understanding social media.

  3. I love this post. I can relate on the social front because I feel like people closest to me are disappointed in me when I don’t want to drink. Seems like every weekend we are out in those situations where everyone is getting drunk and eating crap. When I don’t, they actually treat me differently. Very sad and a cause for regular anxiety for me.

  4. This was an awesome post, very eye opening, and really helps a lot. I could relate with the whole thing! It’s like you verbalized everything that has been going on in my head my whole life. It gives me food for thought as continue on this healthy lifestyle journey.

  5. I totally still see myself as weighing 300 pounds. I see cute clothes (short dresses especially) and I feel like “pfft I can’t wear that!” and then my husband makes me try it on, I feel naked but.. on it fits. And it looks ok (I would never say good) so it throws me every. single. time. And probably always will. But I’ll take that over actually weighing 300 pounds any day since I was soooo… unhealthy then.

  6. It seems you really hit on something here lisa. For me I enjoy females looking at me where they wouldnt have before. Is it wrong to enjoy that? No its good for the ego he he he

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