Rediscovering Yourself After Major Weight Loss
I’ve spent two days thinking about whether or not I should write this post. I know there will be a few folks who read this and think “I wish I had that problem” or “Boohoo, #weightlossproblems”. I get it. I’ve always been very open and honest about my weight loss journey however, and rediscovering myself is part of it.
It’s been 5 months since my gastric bypass RNY surgery, and I’m down a total of 87.6 pounds. That’s super fast weight loss, and yes, those are my measurements and stats on the left. If you want a closer look feel free to check out this file. Tiffany’s Progress
Even though I’ve seen a psychologist for months, the changes can be overwhelming and hard to deal with. Although I knew about some of the challenges when I was pre-op, going through it has opened my eyes quite a bit.
Rediscovering the mirror
At my highest weight, I avoided the mirror at all costs. I stopped caring about my appearance at all. I quit wearing makeup and told people that it was so that my daughter wouldn’t feel a need to wear it. The truth was much darker; I didn’t see the point. Some women are beautiful at a heavier weight…I’m just not one of them.
Now that I’ve lost so much weight already, when I catch a glimpse in the mirror I hardly recognize myself. I like this new and still evolving body of mine, especially compared to my heavier self. I even considered trying to stay at this weight a month ago because of how much I am enjoying my body!
Wrinkled and sagging skin on my belly, arms and thighs is becoming more apparent. It’s a small price to pay not only to look good fully clothed, but to have my health back. Will I need skin removal surgery? Maybe, but that’s way down the road and I’m concentrating on today.
When I had more (ahem) girth, I always read about bigger girls loving their curves. I’m here to tell you that I am curvier now than I’ve ever been. All of my curves melded into one another at 263 pounds, and at 175 they are independent.
I even have new curves that I hav
en’t known since I was a teenager. I have a collar bone, ankle bones and ribs. No, I don ‘t look anorexic or anything, but actually noticing my rib cage has been a bit unsettling. I even thought my ribs under my breasts were lumps a few times. When I lay on my side, my knees hurt where they come together.
Rediscovering Clothing choices
At near my heaviest, I went to the mall with my family just to walk around and look at things. I saw a sale at a store that had cute clothes, but when I went into the store I realized I couldn’t fit into anything they sold. Then entire mall was like that. From then on I either just wore what I already had or shopped at plus sized stores. The problem is that plus sized stores don’t sell the same styles as “normal” clothing stores. Their prices are much higher as well. I just wanted more choice.
Now I can shop anywhere I want. I am resisting buying many clothes right now, because I know I’ll lose more weight. I think I’m in a size 14 and that’s down from about size 24. It’s amazing to have choices again…but leads me to wonder where to people my age shop? I’m not in my 20s but I’m no where near having grand-kids. Rediscovering my own personal style is challenging because I’m just not used to having choices.
When Lahna died I wanted to hide from the world. If I made new friends I’d need to tell them about her, and it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Eating my grief also made me feel physically uncomfortable in public. I was always afraid that people would know me as “the fat girl”, and standing next to my tall and thin husband made it more obvious. In a crowded room or restaurant, fitting between chairs or being able to fit into a booth was damn near impossible. In a decade since losing Lahna and gaining weight, I because extremely introverted and anxious in public settings.
Now that weight is coming off and I’m dealing with my grief appropriately, I feel myself coming out of my shell a bit. I’m not an extrovert by any means. A friend of mine has invited me out dancing and that just seems incredibly…well it’s just not me at all. Being with more than a couple of friends at a time is overwhelming and exhausting. Slowly though, I’m coming around to wanting to be with a few friends. I’m not afraid of people noticing me because of my weight. I fit into booths and can squeeze between most chairs (although seriously people…pull your chairs in).
This leads me to wonder…who am I? Am I still introverted? I’m certainly not the outgoing and sometimes obnoxious crazy 20 year old that I used to be. It’s just something I am working on rediscovering.
Is Fat Shaming Real?
I used to hear about fat shaming on the internet when I was obese. I never thought it was a real thing, until I got thinner. I’m still in the overweight category, but people really do treat me differently now. You could say that it’s because of the confidence I have and that people respond to how a person carries herself. That might be true some of the time.
There is a woman that I tried to get to know earlier this year. I could always use a new friend. This woman shunned me and was down right rude to me several times. The past few weeks though, she suddenly talks to me. Men never used to hold doors open for me, and now they even wait and hold a door if I’m not there yet.
It’s sad, but fat shaming is a real thing. I wish I could convey how it feels better. Please trust me though; I’m still the same person that I was six months ago, but people treat me much better now.
All of these changes are overwhelming at times. What do I want to look or feel like? Am I okay standing out in a crowd? Am I introverted or extroverted? Why are people so nice to me now versus then?
All I can do is keep working on myself and taking care of my family. I hope that with time these changes feel more comfortable to me. I’m very lucky that I have a family and husband who support me though all of these changes, not everyone has that.
By reading this blog and connecting with me online or in real life, you are supporting me and I really appreciate it more than you know. What drives me to share these things is the hope that I can help someone else who is rediscovering themselves or getting ready to. Please share my story if you think it might help someone, and as always, if you need me I’m here.