Now that I’m down 180 pounds and maintaining my weight loss there are things I’ve noticed a change in both my physical and mental being. Please, see this list as a means of showcasing motivation and not an attempt to brag.
1. People are nicer. When I go shopping or anywhere in public I notice that more people smile at me. I’ve told others this and they don’t believe me, but it’s true. Clerks and sales people ask me if I want help with something more readily. I don’t get the judgemental side glances. I knew people judged me for my obesity, but I didn’t realize how differently I’d be treated in a slimmer body.
2. Not everyone is happy that you’ve lost weight. Sure, friends and family are proud of my work and they are happy I’m down the weight. Some people even gush over my transformation. But I have noticed that some people don’t talk to me as much anymore and some people flat out ignore my weight loss. However, I am reconnecting with friends who I ignored when I gained the weight. I was embarrassed by how much weight I put on and I didn’t want them to see me like that.
3. You’ll need to buy lots of clothes. I love shopping now! I’m a standard size and I can shop in any store. I’ve now redone my wardrobe 4 times. Even down to underwear and socks. My old socks were too stretched out. My old shoes are even too big for me! They were stretched out from the near 400 pounds crushing into them. My leather shoes were the worst. Belts. Pants. Shirts. All of it needed to be replaced every 50 pounds. It’s expensive to keep buying the same clothes. I keep tagging Gap hoping that they will sponsor me! I’ve given up buying suits and sport coats because I’ve had to replace them so many times. “I can’t get any smaller” is a joke around my house, because when I bought a size 44 suit jacket I truly thought that I couldn’t get slimmer. Now I’m a 40 slim fit, and I’m too nervous to buy a jacket.
4. You’re always cold. My co-workers made fun of me for this. But this was the first winter where I was near/under 200 pounds. I lost a lot of insulation. I would regularly wear a dress shirt, sweater, gloves, and scarf during the work day and still have to sit by the heater. Hopefully by this winter I’ll be acclimated to my new body.
5. People will question your food choices and stop offering you treats. I love treats. I love cake. I love candy. But when there’s a snack out at work people tell me, “oh, I brought in cookies but you won’t want to eat that.” I do. But I don’t.
6. People will be embarrassed to eat next to you. In the same vein as the last one, people often change their eating habits when they eat with me. They even say that they are embarrassed by the food they brought. They order a “healthy” option instead because they don’t want to look bad.
7. Skin conditions will go away. During obesity I had skin tags on my neck and arms. Those are gone. I had a weird dark patina on my ankles. That’s gone too. Sure, I have loose skin, but my stretch marks are fading. I don’t (and as soon as I say this I get one) have acne anymore. I’ll still the occasional pimple but they are few and far between. The eczema on my arms has completely gone away.
8. You’ll smile more and feel contentment more often. I still get into lapses of being “down” but being human is hard and who doesn’t feel bad once in a while. Overall I wake up ready to take on the day. Looking at old pictures I see that I rarely smiled. My aunt even commented last week that my whole personality has changed! I can’t stop smiling.
9. You’ll sleep less. I still aim to get 8 hours of sleep, but I’ve stopped napping. I can’t sleep in anymore. When I was overweight I’d regularly sleep in after 10 am and still take a long nap in the afternoon. I’m more energetic during the day and I wake up feeling refreshed. My snoring has also gone away and I’m certain I sleep better in general.
10. Your taste will change. Not just your taste in food but you’re taste for everything. When I was over weight I chose clothes that I thought hid my weight and body shape. Now I’m very comfortable wearing clothes that are form fitted. I still love sugar things but I often opt for non sweet treats or fruit as a snack. My students teased me because of my banana addiction this past year. I just couldn’t get enough of them.
11. You’ll want to be more active. The thought of walking anywhere used to be daunting and a punishment. I wouldn’t even walk a couple blocks to go to the coffee shop. Now I find myself walking everywhere. Even walking the mile to the grocery store is an option. This is great for my active child and I’m happy to be able to mentor him in an active lifestyle.
12. You won’t recognize yourself. I still catch myself checking out that dude in the window. It’s me. I’ll see him out of the corner of my eye and I genuinely don’t recognize him at first. Some people think I’m being vain, but I really haven’t gotten used to that being me in the mirror. When I had my big belly I’d often draw imaginary lines on myself to try and envision what I’d look like without all the fat. Now that it’s gone I have a hard time believing it’s me. I still think of myself as a fat guy and I know that will change with time. That’s part of the mental and emotional healing that needs to take place.