We talk a lot on our blogs about how our body’s change and our changing habits and actions. We talk about the happiness we feel when our hard work pays off. But there’s not a ton of talk on health and fitness blogs about the emotional and psychological changes you go through as you lose weight — particularly a substantial amount of weight. It can be a crazy mind-altering experience. I really think that learning how to deal with that aspect of losing weight is just as hard — if not harder — than the actual weight-loss part. And I’m beginning to see that it’s going to be key in my continued success at losing the rest of this weight and keeping it off. I do not want to be one of the majority of people who regain their weight loss within a few years. And I definitely do not want to slide back into unhealthy habits.
I’ve realized lately that there are some things that I’ve also lost while I’ve been losing weight:
- I’ve lost friends. Some can’t deal with me being healthier (read: skinnier) than they are. Some just can’t deal with the ways I spend my time differently (read: no more late nights, dining out and drinking lots of wine).
- I’ve lost a long-term relationship. Now, I can’t attribute the end of the relationship completely to me losing weight and changing my lifestyle. But, I know for certain that this was a contributing factor.
- I’ve lost a feeling of community I used to have — the things that are important to me aren’t important to the people I interact with on a daily basis. I no longer feel like I have any unifying topics to talk about with most people. Sure, there’s the weather — but they don’t care how it affected my run. There’s celebrity gossip — but, in all honesty, I couldn’t care less. We take for granted as a community of health and fitness bloggers that most “regular” people don’t talk about running marathons or take pictures of their food or discuss workout playlists.
- I’ve lost (some of) my balance. Working out and losing weight almost became a second job — albeit part-time — because that’s what it had to be in the beginning. I had to fully throw myself into it to make it stick. (That’s just how I am.) But now that I’ve lost the majority of my weight and know better what I’m doing, I’m starting to focus on overall health and fitness. And I want some of that balance back. This is part of my life. But it’s not everything.
- I’ve lost my sense of self. I don’t know this person in this body. It goes much further than I don’t know how to dress — cuz I don’t. But I honestly sometimes don’t recognize who I see in the mirror. And that can be a wee bit scary. As much as I’ve tried to work on this myself over the past six months or so, I can’t reconcile the reflection I see in the mirror with the person I know I’ve become.
Of course, I have gained A LOT more than I’ve lost by losing weight, becoming stronger, taking care of myself and living a healthy lifestyle. But, that’s the point of almost all of my other posts. That’s not the point of this one.
So, what’s this long post leading up to? I’ve got the whole take-care-of-my-body thing down. It’s time for me to take care of my mind. So, I’ve taken the plunge and called in the help of a professional. Starting next week, I will be seeing a therapist who can help me deal with some of these issues — with the major changes I’ve undergone in the last year and a half, I’m finally at a place where I can admit that I can’t do this myself. But it ain’t gonna be easy.
Yeah. I blog. I share my most intimate thoughts and feelings with lots of people, mostly strangers. And I do it without anonymity. But I do not like talking about myself on a regular basis. I don’t like sharing, face-to-face, personal details of my life. I don’t have many close friends, and some of the ones I do have probably don’t know me as well as they could because of my unwillingness inability to share.
Plus (and this is a BIG “plus”) I have a super hard time asking for help or admitting I don’t have all the answers. It’s true in all areas of my life: my family, my friendships, my career and my health. So I don’t know how this is all going to work out. But I need to do this for me. I know this is the next step on my “journey to well being.” I don’t know if I’m ready. But, I’m ready.