Finding Myself In Thinness

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

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About Diane Carbonell

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Comments

  1. Diane, you are so very right when you talk about “the desire to not go back” being “stronger than the fear and uncertainty of facing my new future”.

    I want to finish my journey although still get scared that I’ll slip back into the old me, and still have periods when I struggle a lot. But I NEVER want to go back to the fat old days and all the problems (physical and mental) that went with them.

    Staying strong, focused and positive really must be a plan for life. It’s the only way I will remain the person who I lost under the fat for so many years but have finally found again. I find I like this new woman so much more than the old one.
    .-= Deniz´s last blog ..A bit stronger… and working on it! =-.

  2. I think we all have concerns. It will take to long. It’ll be too hard to maintain. We’ll have to do this for the rest of our lives. I am not where I want to be, but I never want to go back to where it was. Do I have what it’ll take to make that happen? Yep. Will it happen over night? Nope. Will I have set backs? Yep. Will I get back on program? Yep.

    Awesome post.
    .-= Debby´s last blog ..Let them eat cake! =-.

  3. good suggestion for a topic – thanks to Michelle for mentioning it!

    Me personally – I was very scared for nearly a year after my initial loss. I can sum it up succinctly – I was afraid someone was going to overpower me.

    Parking lots were my biggest fear.

    The old me – NO one could have grabbed and pushed in a van. All I would have had to do was play like a very large rock and they would not have been able to get me off the pavement. I suppose TWO guys would have been able to grab me – but my fear always pictured ONE and I didn’t think one guy could.

    The new me felt like ANYONE could grab me. Picture thin, wiry, maniac with wire rimmed glasses – I could picture that even he could drag me in a van.

    What is very interesting about this is that I am not a ‘fraidy kind of person. My oldest had a wee hours of the morning paper route for 5+ years and I went with him 365 days a year and was never scared. The old me felt like I was safe even in the wee hours. And when he had finals or was sick and I went by myself to throw papers – I felt perfectly safe.

    The new me was afraid (for a while) to go to the store in the middle of the day. And (sort of) afraid to be in my own house – alone.

    This feeling did go away. I think that I am more cautious now – I watch where I park and who is around me (and boy do I check out the vans – Would NEVER park anywhere near one that had tinted windows or looked out of place).

    But I am not (still) walking around afraid. I do not feel vulnerable.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..In the beginning/original class it is effortless to stay in sync – at the new facility I am a newbie again =-.

  4. LOVE the blog post title as that is entire it, huh?
    being able to see that you (one) are the same person just lighter in spirit and pounds.

    I had one client whod frequently say she was afraid to lose weight because she feared becoming a FAST WALKER.
    It took us a while to unravel that she feared loving her new self so much that she’d never make time for others anymore.

    I WAS SO GLAD we focused on that WHILE she was shedding weight as she has now maintained for 12 years an 100 pound loss.
    if we hadnt done the mental at the same time as the physical I dont know if she’d have maintain for so long…
    .-= MizFit´s last blog ..First Person Friday: A day in the life. =-.

  5. I think you nailed it with the word DESIRE. Once you get a taste of what looking good and feeling good is like you don’t have the desire to go back.

    A healthy lifestyle takes work, but it’s worth it. We’re all worth it.
    .-= Joanna Sutter´s last blog ..Steve & Stevia =-.

  6. This was so good to read because although I have a long way to go, I do already worry about this a bit. Thank you so much for the positive reminders!

  7. This post is amazing to me. That you lost all that weight and were able to keep it off. It shows the struggles and work aren’t quite done when you are done, but that we need to remember how strong we want where we are going and not forget those desires.

  8. When I got to my lowest weight, I too had the experience of seeing myself in a reflection and not recognizing it as me. For me, it was a fun thing ! I was also gifted with a couple of bags worth of clothing by a cousin who suddenly gained a huge amount of weight, and I remember having loads of fun wearing a lot of things that I never was able to wear.The discovery of hip bones was a whole red letter day for me as well ! Now as I work back to that place and beyond, I am noticing new contours and such, and i am discovering my hip bones once again, but they have been transformed through the whole child bearing process as well. It’s sort of like meeting an old friend for the very first time ! One bad thing has returned- I am less tolerant of cold than I was at my heaviest ! I am considering in investing in head to toe polar fleece for the winter months.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Grocery antics =-.

  9. I worry that I’ve set my goal weight too low for my age, which makes me not want to finish my journey. Mentally, I want to be 160 lbs., but I’m not sure I can maintain that. So, I keep eating healthfully and if I stall out somewhere I guess I’ll re-evaluate.
    .-= Amy H.´s last blog ..Walking =-.

  10. I have experienced all the fear you talking about… I cant imagine having had babies after having lost the weight, I’m too scared to miss a day at gym or eat a pizza incase I gain it back…having babies one gains..full stop, even if its only baby weight..I ADMIRE YOU FOR THIS PART OF YOUR JOURNEY.

    I find I hated the mirrow when overweight, now I love it, its become my friend…I love to wake up in the morning,walk over to the mirror and check incase over night I gained it all back or losing the weight had been a long dream…

    I also catch myself thinking like a fat girl, but then when I see myself in the mirror is * you not a fat girl anymore *
    What a wonderful feeling.
    I had a thin moment today that was very painful.
    Was lying back in the bath, as I pushed myself to sit up my cosex rubbed against the bath and it was soooooo painful I screamed and had to rub the bones…I’ve always had fat on that area, now no more…was painful…my first thought was…oh no it can be very painful to be skinny!!! hehehe
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..I’m moaning again… =-.

  11. It’s hard for me to imagine what it will be like when I’m at my goal weight. I have been overweight since I was in like Jr. High, and have struggled with it for so long. I am a little nervous about what it will be like to not have to worry about trying to lose weight and how I will balance my eating. I’ve gotten somewhat of a competitive streak with myself in running, so I think that has helped me somewhat in that department, but there are some days where it’s really a push to be able to go work out. Right now, I still have 40 lbs left to lose, so I have a little while to try and figure it out, but I am getting to the point to where I haven’t been to this weight before in my life. Strange.

  12. Hi Diane,
    I think it really comes down to experiencing the feeling of healthy. Sure, part of that is how we look. It’s also how we feel, too, though. I think back to when I was overweight, and how lethargic I felt. And that’s not a feeling I want again. And that makes maintenance so much easier (not that every day is easy)…
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Finding My Yoga =-.

  13. I’m still in the midst of my weight loss and re-discovering myself. Sometimes, it’s a struggle to “SEE” the changes I’ve made outwardly, but I am doing a good job of seeing / feeling the inner changes.
    It does take time a fair amount of soul-searching to reach the point where you are truly “in your own skin” and not on the outside, struggling to look inside.
    .-= GeorgiaMist´s last blog ..How to eat Pizza… and not pig-out? =-.

  14. It’s such a head game for me that I still haven’t mastered yet – and I’m talking about losing the weight first. Some initial progress will be made and then I stall. What’s holding me back? I haven’t figured that out yet.
    .-= Gigi´s last blog ..New Exercises For The Insanely Busy =-.

  15. Great question and great post!

    I think part of the difficulty is that sometimes we have a goal that involves a certain weight or dress size and then we see the goal as the end point and think once we have reached goal “we have/should have made it”. However, the goal should incorporate daily life and making good choices for the rest of our life. I think by looking at weight loss and maintenance as a journey that will never end (and involves daily choices, struggles, happiness, disappointment…) it’s easier to learn how to live with a new self forever.

  16. I’ve been maintaining my weight loss for about a year now, and I am only just now getting used to seeing/feeling myself. I mean, sometimes I still get shocked by my reflection, and I ALWAYS grab sizes that are too big for me at stores because I forget how small I am. Often times, I’ll touch my stomach and be startled that I can actually feel my ribs, or my spine on my back (again, not in a bad way – I just couldn’t feel those things before!). I don’t really think of myself as a “thin” person though. I would call myself more of an “active” or “athletic” person. My love for running, biking, and exercise is instead just reflected in my body :)
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Looking for a brave soul (who likes free stuff!) =-.

  17. <>

    This is really true.
    The feelings change, though. My biggest struggle was never having a former size to refer to as a goal. I had no idea of what I would like like at 140 pounds. I weigh less now than I did in high school.

    I think this still is an issue with me because I know that I do not see my physical self as it really is.

    I do marvel sometimes at what I can do now versus what I couldn’t and I do keep going because I wonder just what is possible!
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..3-day weekend and bleeping cold! =-.

  18. You know with me the sad thing is I was once skinny and I can remember being in the shower and thinking to myself, “I will NEVER be fat again.” Well, a husband and two kids later and I am the heaviest I have ever been – more than 100 lbs over that “skinny” weight. I honestly don’t know what happened with my mindset. Obviously I started eating way more than I should have, but I am not sure how I got so off track.
    It is very humbling and I must find a way to start the journey again, but I must figure some things out as well. I am having a very hard time just getting started.
    And I do not think I will ever be so bold as to say NEVER again. IS that wrong?

  19. I have no idea how I would feel at all as I have lost weight before but never in a healthy way, this whole journey is brand new to me.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Not Another Learning Experience =-.

  20. During the initial loss, a few months in, my dad and I went to a church rummage sale in a very expensive neighboorhood. We were looking for “real” clothes and my dad found a beautiful black suit- designer, fitted, stunning and 5 bucks. I told him we should get it for my daughter and he said “no, get it for yourself, you’ll get there” I remember thinking I will never be that size….A few month later, I was wearing that suit and that day, it sunk in that I was worth it!

    Now after 3 surgeries in 3 years and maintaining with the extra 15lbs, when I catch my reflection, I don’t see 150, I go back to seeing 200 and those feelings pop up all over again-
    I do now understand though what 15lbs extra feels like and am more motivated than ever to get back down, to help my knees, instead of being focused on a clothing size.

  21. wow….I loved this post. I am struggling to see myself smaller and I am no where near the amount of weight loss that you have accomplished. I keep thinking when I get to my goal I will be more comfortable adn not see a FAT girl in the mirror. I can see that I dont look the same but deep down I am always going to be THE FAT GIRL like I have always been. I really hope my mind adjusts as my body changes.
    .-= tj´s last blog ..Food Today =-.

  22. Just reading what you have written has been such a blessing. I have really shifted my focus from soley about food–to–being healthy and active. Thanks so much for writing this. It is obviously something that people struggle with.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..SuN!!!!!!! =-.

  23. Diane, love the post and this: “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.”

    I think that some people believe just because you have “maintained” for a while or a long time that you still don’t have trouble finding the thinness OR see that old heavy person in the mirror. But focusing on what you have accomplished, how much healthier you are & better you feel & how much more you can do is the way to keep you positive & moving forward. Plus for parents, such a great example for the children!

  24. My only fear is ‘how will I maintain my goal weight when I get there’. As far as what I like about being fit/thin; I love the confidence that pours out of me. I’m not afraid to get out there and do more active things. I am just starting out jogging every other block in my morning walks. I stress morning because I only do it if it’s still dark outside. I’m afraid someone will see me in my ‘not-so-fit’ body right now and judge me. Which is crazy when I read this after typing it. By next spring I will be more fit and ready to run my first 5k.
    I’ll get there. I just have to stop listening to that little voice in my head holding me back right now.
    .-= brenda´s last blog ..Fingerprint Friday and weigh-in day =-.

  25. Its funny that you mention this, because that was one thing my doctor asked me when he told me he would like to see me get to 175, could I remember ever being that weight. I said yes – when I was 26, so about 12 years ago. He said that that was a nice head start because so many of his patients that lose weight have nothing to reference and get totally freaked out once they get thin.
    I am currently the weight I have been most of my adult life, and pushing past it is a little intimidating, which makes me wonder how I will handle being 100 pounds less than this. But I can’t wait to see how I do!
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..A Look Ahead to Upcoming Angst =-.

  26. I know that I can’t even imagine what it will be like to be thin and actually stay there. I know that I am a bit scared to think about it much and I’ll just have to take it day by day.

    Sometimes I know that I can’t imagine being there because I felt that I was just meant to be heavy and don’t deserve to be anything else. Whew! There I said it. It’s hard to see that written out.

    Anyway, I appreciate this post very much and it was a great question to answer.
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Weigh-In … Comfortable? =-.

  27. “It took a year or so for me to feel that I deserved to be healthy, fit, and active.”

    BAM! That hit me squarely between the eyes! Diane, I’ve never heard anyone say that (except me), and when I say it out loud, people are usually really quick to try and make me feel “worthy” — they don’t “get” what I’m saying. I’m not saying I don’t have value or worth…I’m saying that I have to work hard to deserve the body that I inhabit every single day. From the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed, it’s something I have to work at. I don’t know if that’s exactly what you meant by that phrase, but it just jumped off the screen at me, because it’s precisely how I feel — still. Okay, so I’m not 15 years out; I’m 2 years out, but I guess I view my weight loss surgery as a miraculous gift — something fragile and of great value. Like my fine china that my grandma got as a wedding gift in 1936, or the extraordinary crystal goblets that are 150 years old. When we use these things at my house, we hold them a little differently…with more care and greater respect. I guess that’s how I feel about my new body. I hold it differently — with more care and greater respect. Your comment called all of this to mind for me — in a really good way. Thank you for your wisdom and insight. As always ;-)
    .-= Cari (aka Gastric Bypass Barbie)´s last blog ..Be Proud of Who You Are: Tea Bag Wisdom =-.

  28. There is no way I want to live that life again. After just 59 pounds lost my life is transforming. I feel like a butterfly emerging from a coccoon of fat that has encased me for 20 years. What I think is incredible that after all the years you have been maintaining, you still write for this website. No, I think it’s wonderful. You help me and countless others. Big hugs to you!
    .-= zaababy´s last blog ..Day 152–Weigh Day and yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, this IS an extremely short post =-.

  29. I just don’t know what it will be like or how I will feel. It still scares me, but I’m ready to push through it…
    .-= MackAttack´s last blog ..take the stairs =-.

  30. I believe we are not supposed to ‘find’ ourselves in this life but rather ‘create’ ourselves as we desire… great post diane – loved it!
    .-= my kashi diet´s last blog ..tabata….. I think I hate… um I mean…. love you =-.

  31. Hi Diane!

    No concerns or worries at all, re my weight! For the first time ever that I can recall! I am firm, committed, and feel too good about my progress so far, to EVER, EVER turn back!
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Dinner was a Chocolate Chip Cookie =-.

  32. Loved this post and it’s wonderful to hear from someone who has taken the journey already. I hope when I reach my goal weight I’ll be a happier more confident person but I do have fears about losing.

    I’m worried about my skin and what I’ll look like as the weight comes off. After having 7 babies and nursing them all I have nightmares of saggy-deflated-balloon-like breasts. The sad part is I know the nightmare is going to become a reality. This has been a fear that has kept me from losing the weight. As I begin this progess again I have to push that nightmare out of my way of thinking.
    .-= KiKi´s last blog ..The Little Child Shall Lead You! =-.

  33. This is such a fascinating subject and one that I have been thinking about a lot this week… I’ve decided to start living as if I’m “there” already. In other words, walk, sit, talk and act like I would walk at my balanced weight. It’s been interesting so far!
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..OTT =-.

  34. Thank you diane for a great post. Sometimes I think it’s fear of failure (regaining) that has kept me from the finish line. Blogs from maintainers are very important. D