June 19, 2010….Dealing Emotionally with Weight Loss….Why Some People Need to Take Some Time to Get Comfortable in Their Leaner Body!
I got an email today from a woman who has lost 40 pounds on MM. I asked her permission to post the email to better address this topic. ( Her name is changed )
I have lost 40 lbs, people are noticing, I feel a lot better but one thing is bothering me. I have noticed that sometimes, I don’t want to be “noticed”, I want to be invisible, sometimes all the attention paid to me for losing weight makes me feel vulnerable. Since I have lost most of this weight, I just want to be a recluse. I find this distressing, Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with the emotional changes that come with losing weight? How do you “accept” this new person you have become? This may seem silly, but it is so surprising to me- I thought I would feel happy and confident now, I am thrilled to have lost weight, but I am struggling with these feelings – any suggestions? ….”Barb”
After losing an appreciable amount of weight, I’ve seen many patients have difficulty adapting to their new body image. A 40# weight loss on The Metabolism Miracle program is comparable in inches to an 80# weight loss on a typical diet program. Barb was taken by surprise that she wasn’t thrilled with her new and improved physical appearance and was not entirely comfortable with the attention (albeit very positive attention) she was getting from others. As her body size returned to a healthy size and shape, people took notice and complimented her regarding her appearance. Suddenly, she found herself in the “spotlight” regarding how she looked.
I think it’s important for dieters to realize that weight loss does not change who they are as a person, they are the same person, just healthier. It takes dedication, persistence, focus and determination to get to this new place. People are used to knowing a person looking a certain way. When a person changes something about their appearance, whether it’s their hairstyle, their hair color, their clothing style, etc., it takes everyone a while to get used to the “new look.” Sometimes when a person who is now thinner, has a new hairdo, or changes hair color passes a mirror, they don’t even recognize themselves. In time, as with all things, they get comfortable with their new look. People (and Barb) will get used to the “new Barb” and in time, she won’t be the center of unsolicited attention. She will get accustomed to her new look, too.
I always advise people to take a picture of themselves against a plain wall at the beginning of every 8 week period. The progression of their body’s metamorphisis will be caught in a series of pictures..objective pictures that will document the physical changes. Someday when they take a minute and look at the pictures that objectively document their progress from their pre-MM look to their current look, they smile are finally proud of all that they’ve achieved. I try to enourage people to mark their progress in 3 ways….the visual (decrease in pounds/inches), improved labwork, and improved sense of well-being. Other people are only able to see the visual….but Barb is also benefiting from the program in terms of her 24/7 quality of life and the positive changes she has made regarding her health.
If Barb was in my office today, I’d give her a big hug. I’d congratulate her on all she has accomplished, on her own, with her own steam. I’d advise her to give herself credit for what she is doing. I always advise people who are changing their lives to speak positively to themselves. Don’t laugh…I mean this! I would recommend that when she wakes up in the morning and right before she goes to bed at night, Barb might look in the mirror, directly into her own eyes and say the following: “I love myself and I love my body…I am working hard to get healthier, stronger and better….my body is responding beautifully to the care I am giving it….I take care of myself because I deserve it”.
I would also suggest that if she feels it might help, Barb might consider seeking counseling with a therapist who has experience working with people who are learning to adapt to body image change. Some people need to talk it out with a supportive person who can help them get more comfortable with the adjustment to a leaner, meaner body! Diane