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Home » Confidence Building, Featured, Headline, Inspirational, On the Lighter Side, Problem Solving, Self Esteem

The Psychological Effects of Losing a Significant Amount of Weight

Submitted by on May 13, 2012 – 9:56 pmNo Comment

Author: Mike Hedrick

So you’ve made the decision to change and have already made great strides in the direction towards a significant lifestyle change. That’s great!

There are some issues, however, that I’d like to discuss about the psychological effects of losing so much weight.

I will try to outline some of the things I’ve dealt with in hopes that I can provide some guidance to those of you who are struggling.

First, I want to discuss identity and personality loss.

When I was bigger every thought process involving weight loss I had would invariably lead to the conception of what type of person I would be once I lost the weight.

I had already carefully constructed a personality around being the big kid.

I always decided that if and when I lost the weight I wouldn’t turn into a cocky asshole, I would instead try my best to be the gentle and kind hearted man I always had been.

What I didn’t realize was that nobody wants to be a cocky asshole and everybody’s just trying their best to get by and be good without freaking out. I’ll get more into that later but for now I want to return to the concept of identity.

First, get ready to be noticed.

It may feel when your big, at least it did for me, that you’re some hideous beast that no one wants to look at and that you’ll never find love.

I think it’s normal to have low self esteem when you’re big though.

Anyway, as your journey progresses you will notice that not only do more people acknowledge you, they also welcome you as a member of society and respect your opinion if you choose to give it. Further you may even find that people find you attractive which is a complete mind trip in and of itself.

Why is this a problem?

It’s not necessarily, but if you’re on the more introverted side of things, as I am, this may come as a shock and you may find yourself wanting to isolate and trying to regain the sense that you are anonymous.

There may even be moments where you don’t exactly know who you are because you’re not comfortable being skinny yet, but you’re no longer big. So who are you?

In moments like that where there’s a little personal crisis going on, just recite what you know to be true about yourself starting with the most simple and moving to the more complicated.

For example, I am Jack Smith, I am 26 years old, I live in Anytown, USA, My parents are Jane and John Smith, I have two dogs, I enjoy books, hiking and music, I am a nice person, I think people who are mean are insecure, I feel conflicted who I am right now but I know that this feeling will pass as all feelings do.

On the flip side to the overwhelming sense of society paying too much attention to you, you may feel depressed and annoyed that nobody gave you this respect and attention when you were big.

It may feel like you’ve been being insulted for the duration of your “fat life”. I’ve heard many people comment that it’s quite a sad state of affairs that this type of discrimination exists, and it is, but there’s not much you can do about it.

Going into my weight loss I was doing it for health reasons and the fact that I didn’t want to live with a chronic illness and threat of death for the rest of my life so I made a change. There was absolutely no thought about looking good or attracting a girl when I decided to change although I admit it would’ve been nice to have those things.

The fact that all these psychological and anthropological changes came along with the weight loss was a side effect that, although pleasant at times is a bit overwhelming for an introvert with a mental inclination towards paranoia.

The attention is very different and doesn’t feel very natural at first but eventually I’m sure you’ll get used to it.

I suppose the problem lies in how you deal with the attention. It may feel that now that you are an attractive member of society, you are pressured to get into a relationship and be, in essence “normal”. Hell, you may even find yourself getting attention from people you don’t want attention from.

It can be very difficult for someone dealing with paranoia and anxiety problems, as I am, to come to the realization that nobody is really keeping track of you and further, making fun of you. In fact you may never fully digest it and perhaps forget it, but if you think about it hard enough, it’ll come back to you when you need that information.

That was the basis for saying everyone’s just trying their best to get by and by good people with freaking the hell out.

The truth is, nobody is thinking negative things about you, there may be things they notice on first glance but nobody you pass on the street pays any further attention to you beyond that.

It’s easier said than done, but my best advice is to just relax and be who you know you are.

Now for the awesome psychological effects of losing weight.

First you’ll feel like you fit in, whereas you never did before. This is where you can make the decision whether you want to fit in or not and there’s some serious self esteem power in that decision.

Not only will you feel like you fit in to society, you’ll also literally fit in more places.

This includes restaurant booths, airline seats, small patio chairs and especially good looking clothes.

Now that you fit into these good looking clothes you can make the decision whether or not you want to wear them and you can decide how you want to look instead of just wearing whatever fit.

This is also seriously rewarding and great for self esteem but be careful, if you’re still struggling with the identity thing, you may not want to attract as much attention by looking good.

Still it’s empowering to actually be able to choose how you look from day to day.

Also, the potential of love where there was none before feels amazing, no longer do you have to feel like it’s a struggle to meet someone you like.

I’ve heard the term “beggars can’t be choosers” before, but now that you’ve lost all this weight, you have the right to be a chooser. Be as picky as you want. You deserve someone and something amazing.

Lastly, you may be extroverted and have no trouble at all with the extra attention and it may feel amazing to you.

Relish it if that’s how it makes you feel and make the decision to never go back to the prison of being a heavy person.

These are all things to look forward to when you’re losing a significant amount of weight, I wish somebody had told me what to expect in my journey and I just hope I have provided that service for someone out there.

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About the Author

I am a 26-year-old writer in Boulder CO. I have written for a variety of different magazines and newspapers across Colorado’s Front Range area. I have two books published. One is an autobiographical novel about my struggles with mental illness and the other is a collection of short prose.

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