Last week Michelle asked me this question in the comment section:
I would love a post about how you ‘found’ yourself in your thinness. I think that people freak out when they lose the weight and fill into their fat suit again. How did you start to recognise yourself?
I found this question absolutely fascinating. I have a huge list of possible topics for blog posts that I have jotted down over the past year or so, but this particular question hadn’t made it on my list. Finding myself within my new found thinness. How did that feel?
What makes this question extra interesting to me is that it wasn’t just after the initial 150 pound weight loss that I had to find my thin self again, but also after the birth of the four children I had AFTER I had lost all the weight. So really, I had five chances to rediscover my thinness and feel comfortable with myself. (Not that I had 150 pounds to lose after those pregnancies, but I definitely had baby weight!)
But the initial drastic weight loss was the time that I had to work the hardest at not being afraid of my new body and attitude. I know we don’t like to talk about fear or worry, but it’s part of who we are. It’s how we handle the fears in our lives that matters, not whether or not we have fears. So there were some fears when I lost the weight and could fit into smaller sizes clothes, ride the roller coaster at Disney World, and swim in a public place.
Initially, I was so excited to be the size I had dreamed of for years, that there wasn’t a lot of fear. But there were times when I didn’t recognize myself. I’d catch a glimpse of my reflection in a store window and be surprised. I’d be washing my face and pull my hands away, surprised that I could feel the bones in my face, and sometimes I’d look at my hands and wrist and be startled how thin they were. And thin in a healthy way, not in an unhealthy way!
There was an adjustment period for me once I lost the weight. It probably took a year for me to stop being surprised at how I looked. It took a year or so for me to feel that I deserved to be healthy, fit, and active. I worked hard at putting the negative voices aside and usually succeeded. During that year, there were times when I wanted to eat a lot of chocolate. But I resisted. Why?
Because even with some of the uncomfortableness I was experiencing with my new self, I knew didn’t want to go back into the world of obesity. That’s really what it came down to for me. I didn’t want to go back. The desire to not go back was stronger than the fear and uncertainty of facing my new future. I could learn to live with the new Diane. I didn’t want to live with the old Diane again.
So as I stayed thin, continued to work out, and tried to make good life choices, I made a conscious effort to put any fears about not maintaining my weight aside, and really focus on life day by day.
In some ways, weight maintenance isn’t a lot different than weight loss. The doubts and fear can be there on both sides of the equation. But those doubts and fears can be handled by focusing on all the positive things that will happen as you get healthier and stay that way.
As I was writing this I was thinking about the many of you whose blogs I read. Where are you today? Can you imagine how you will feel when you get where you are going? Any concerns that may make you want to not finish your journey? Any concerns that are strong enough to make you feel as though you may not be able to find yourself within your new thinness? Diane