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The emotional aspects of a large weight loss

msharrington315
msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
edited August 2015 in Motivation and Support
I never dreamed I would be here telling all of you that since June 2014 I have lost 209 pounds without surgery or being on a "diet". The feeling both physical and mental is amazing. And, as you can imagine, people around me are inspired by my accomplishment. This only motivates me more to continue on this journey.

Having been morbid and super obese since early adulthood, I had a lot of emotions wrapped up in all the fat my body was carrying. I was ashamed of my body and myself and eventually to the point of giving up the will to live. Compound this with all of the co-morbidities I had developed: pre-diabetic, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastric reflux, fungal infections...

I had a number of things that triggered me to lose all of this weight once and for all, but the biggest factor was the loss of my dad in 2010 to lung and colon cancer. He was a heavy smoker, drinker, and ate poorly. The event was so traumatic to us all that I told my mother that I wasn't going to let his death be in vain. We need to learn from his poor health habits.

After I lost a large portion of my weight I still felt "fat". I have read that many people felt that way after a large weight loss. Especially if you carried it for the majority of your life like I did. Now that I am "normal" I am starting to feel normal. But it is still taking time to adjust.

The other interesting thing that I had not considered when I embarked on this journey was how others react to me. The majority of people are very happy for me and inspired to take on their own health journey... because of me. But there are others who have had strange and even negative reactions towards me. I still find it puzzling, since I saved my own life and would think they would be happy for me.

I want to hear others' stories about your emotions and the reactions you have gotten from others after your weight losses.
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Replies

  • gonettie2015
    gonettie2015 Posts: 52 Member
    congratulations on the success you've had in taking your health into your own hands and turning things around. I don't understand the negative reaction people but it's all fascinating.
    keep up the good work!
  • healthygreek
    healthygreek Posts: 2,139 Member
    I "only" lost about 60 pounds and I was of normal weight for years before I lost it. I've only had positive reactions, although, at certain points, a couple of people told me don't lose anymore.
    I just wanted to congratulate you on your tremendous accomplishment and say how happy I am that you saved your own life!
    Well done!!!!!!
  • Beanogirl
    Beanogirl Posts: 97 Member
    edited August 2015
    Congratulations.

    I can relate to some of your post. I have lost 58lbs. UK size 20 to 10. I am convinced I have a big tummy and still disregard some clothes I like when I try them on because I think I look fat in them. I have also had negative comments from some people, but I must say mainly the ones who have tried for many years to lose weight and haven't been able to.
  • misterdale67
    misterdale67 Posts: 171 Member
    edited August 2015
    Since February 2014 I have lost 172# and I can relate to everything you say here. Great job!
  • tomaspetro
    tomaspetro Posts: 1,523 Member
    I lost 140 pounds in about a year starting in February 2014. I'm 65 and Carried all that weight for almost 30 years. It was surprisingly easy to lose the weight and mostly because I chose to be single-minded about it, flipped the switch...made a decision. Normally I'm not so decisive but similar health issues to your own and just a tiredness of being fat helped me to flip that switch. It's not your point of discussion and I'm not making an argument but, in my opinion, those emotions you mentioned come after the fact and are secondary to a similar decision made to get fat in the first place. In my own case there was a highly emotional triggering event or series of events and the self apathy and shame crept in afterwards.
    I can't think of anyone who hasn't given me a cheer for losing the weight but there have been several who thought I should stop but really couldn't tell me why other than looks. One kinda funny thing I've noticed...whenever the subject of weight loss comes up and I'm talking to someone even slightly overweight, 90% of the time they start patting or rubbing their stomach.
  • msharrington315
    msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
    congratulations on the success you've had in taking your health into your own hands and turning things around. I don't understand the negative reaction people but it's all fascinating.
    keep up the good work!

    Thank you. I think in some cases my loss makes others feel bad about themselves and their inability to lose weight.
  • msharrington315
    msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
    I "only" lost about 60 pounds and I was of normal weight for years before I lost it. I've only had positive reactions, although, at certain points, a couple of people told me don't lose anymore.
    I just wanted to congratulate you on your tremendous accomplishment and say how happy I am that you saved your own life!
    Well done!!!!!!

    "Only" 60 pounds is still a lot of weight! Congrats to you!

    Thank you and, yes, it is a tremendous accomplishment. I didn't realize how far down I had gotten until I look back now. As you can imagine, going from over 400 pounds to the 190s I look like a completely different person (and almost no sagging skin). This plays with people's minds who knew me all these years as "Big Mike"... which brings me to another subject... the power of labels...
  • msharrington315
    msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
    Beanogirl wrote: »
    Congratulations.

    I can relate to some of your post. I have lost 58lbs. UK size 20 to 10. I am convinced I have a big tummy and still disregard some clothes I like when I try them on because I think I look fat in them. I have also had negative comments from some people, but I must say mainly the ones who have tried for many years to lose weight and haven't been able to.

    Congrats on your loss. That is exactly what I think is going on- it's the people who cannot lose it themselves who are reacting in a negative manner.
  • msharrington315
    msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
    Since February 2014 I have lost 172# and I can relate to everything you say here. Great job!

    Thank you. 172 pounds is amazing! Congrats to you! You must feel fantastic!

  • jodi664
    jodi664 Posts: 3 Member
    Great job ladies
  • msharrington315
    msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
    edited August 2015
    tomaspetro wrote: »
    I lost 140 pounds in about a year starting in February 2014. I'm 65 and Carried all that weight for almost 30 years. It was surprisingly easy to lose the weight and mostly because I chose to be single-minded about it, flipped the switch...made a decision. Normally I'm not so decisive but similar health issues to your own and just a tiredness of being fat helped me to flip that switch. It's not your point of discussion and I'm not making an argument but, in my opinion, those emotions you mentioned come after the fact and are secondary to a similar decision made to get fat in the first place. In my own case there was a highly emotional triggering event or series of events and the self apathy and shame crept in afterwards.
    I can't think of anyone who hasn't given me a cheer for losing the weight but there have been several who thought I should stop but really couldn't tell me why other than looks. One kinda funny thing I've noticed...whenever the subject of weight loss comes up and I'm talking to someone even slightly overweight, 90% of the time they start patting or rubbing their stomach.

    Congrats on your amazing loss. So many people say "it only gets harder as you get older..." and you did it over 60! Wow, proved them wrong!

    Yes, "flipping the switch" is what I had to do. I call it "reinventing myself". I actually wrote an article on the subject as it was something I had to do in order to lose all the weight and never go back.

    And, yes, I hear "don't get too skinny..." all the time... NOBODY ever told me "don't get too heavy..." when I was over 400 pounds... what if I want to be skinny? :smirk:
  • NikiChicken
    NikiChicken Posts: 576 Member
    Congratulations and fantastic job on all of your hard work! What an achievement. You should be so proud of yourself.

    I can relate to much of what you wrote. I have lost 96 pounds so far with another 20 to go to reach goal. I also was morbidly obese most of my adult life. 3 1/2 years ago, a light went on in my head. I can't really say what it was that changed. I'd had health concerns before and they never bothered me and I'd always been obese, so I hadn't suddenly gained. The best way to explain is that I just finally turned on a light. I had tried crash diets before and had been successful, never getting to goal, but losing significant amounts, but had always burned out and gained everything back. This time, I just slowly started changing thing and making changes that I could easily live with. The result has been a very slow loss (averaging about 1/2 pound/week for 3 1/2 years now) and now I'm closer to goal than I have ever been in my life and I can actually see myself sustaining this lifestyle forever.

    I can say that I have had all positive reactions. I really can't think of a single negative reaction. The biggest reactions I get are from the people that I see rarely because my loss has been so gradual, it's really not noticeable on a day to day (or week to week) basis. However, people I see only once or twice a year, tend to be shocked by the difference, but shocked in a positive way.

    Like you, I don't "feel" not obese. I'm still often shocked at pictures of me and how I look now. I also tend to be surprised when the smaller sizes fit and I don't have to shop in the "big girl" stores to find clothing. However, I always get a thrill over trying on clothing and seeing that I can actually zip it/button it/get it over my hips!

    I am so much more adventurous now. I was always afraid to try new things before because I was afraid that 1) there'd be a weight limit that I was over or 2) I physically wouldn't be able to do it. I went zip lining a couple weeks ago. That's something that I wouldn't have ever even considered 3 years ago. We went on a cruise a year and a half ago. I was about 60ish pounds down at the time, so still obese but certainly down enough to have made a huge difference. I was so excited because when I was picking out excursions, I didn't have to double check for weight restrictions on anything and could do everything that I wanted, which was far different that the cruise we had taken 4 years before that one.

    I have discovered that I'm an inspiration to some, but that really kind of embarrasses me. I don't particularly like the attention. I feel more embarrassed that I didn't do something sooner and that I let myself be so obese for so many years, so I tend to change the subject when people start asking questions and advice.

    I have also discovered that most people really just want a magic pill and when they discover that my answer to losing weight is to "eat less, move more and be patient" they don't like it and that tends to end the conversation quickly. ;-)

    I don't often talk about my weight loss in real life. In fact, I really kind of avoid the discussion. As I said, I don't like the attention and am embarrassed by it. When someone says something, I thank them for the compliment and change the subject. I certainly don't take offense to it though! I do look dramatically different and it is quite shocking to see if you haven't seen me in a while. I also know I looked terrible before and this is a definite improvement. I just don't want to talk about it beyond acknowledging the compliment and moving on.

    Wow. I wrote a book! Sorry about that. Congratulations again! Your accomplishment is fantastic and you should be proud!
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,256 Member
    Congratulations on your success! Truly amazing!
  • mrron2u
    mrron2u Posts: 919 Member
    Wow! Very inspiring! Great way to turn a negative (losing your Dad) into a positive (becoming so healthy)! At my heaviest I was almost 400 pounds. I am now down to 332 and am working my way down slowly. Any advice on maintaining? I have slipped several times and gained back weight I had lost. I think I've got a better handle on things this time around and am trying to make permanent lifestyle changes vs. "dieting" but love to hear from people who've accomplished their goal and how they maintain after that. Thanks for sharing!
  • caroldavison332
    caroldavison332 Posts: 882 Member
    People are illogical. Some hate your success, are jealous, want to be the prettier friend, etc. The sooner we stop trying to figure the knuckleheads out, and make room for the healthy loving ones, the happier we will be.
  • NikiChicken
    NikiChicken Posts: 576 Member
    People are illogical. Some hate your success, are jealous, want to be the prettier friend, etc. The sooner we stop trying to figure the knuckleheads out, and make room for the healthy loving ones, the happier we will be.

    It always surprises me when I hear of someone who has encountered negativity or jealousy about their weight loss. I just haven't seen it in my life. Maybe it's age? I am in my 40s and my friends and acquaintances are all also in their 40s or older. Or maybe I'm just lucky!
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,256 Member
    People are illogical. Some hate your success, are jealous, want to be the prettier friend, etc. The sooner we stop trying to figure the knuckleheads out, and make room for the healthy loving ones, the happier we will be.

    Best advice I ever received - "Find those people in your life who are continually negative and remove them from your life".
  • BZAH10
    BZAH10 Posts: 5,578 Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    People are illogical. Some hate your success, are jealous, want to be the prettier friend, etc. The sooner we stop trying to figure the knuckleheads out, and make room for the healthy loving ones, the happier we will be.

    Best advice I ever received - "Find those people in your life who are continually negative and remove them from your life".

    Generally, those negative people are the loudest and therefore the easiest to find and get rid of! Great advice. I live by this as well.
  • msharrington315
    msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
    Thank you everyone. I feel truly blessed to be here. Sometimes when I look back I feel bad for the person I was, suffering mentally from the shame and self-hate. I use to go to bed wishing I would have a heart attack in my sleep. It was no life for me or for my family.

    I have written articles on my experiences. I will do my best to try to respond to anyone who has questions for me, or feel free to contact/friend me from my profile.
  • msharrington315
    msharrington315 Posts: 200 Member
    Really great responses and stories. I need some time to read them all, but I find them all helpful and inspiring!

    Thank you for sharing!