6 Surprising Things About Losing 60 Pounds
1. You get a new face.
I was a chubby toddler, who became a chubbier child, and steadily gained weight throughout my preteen and teenage years. While growing up and developing, the only constant thing I saw in the mirror throughout my first 22 years of life was a big tummy, a round face, and a bit of extra chin. I knew I could lose my tummy, but I truly believed my round face would be part of me forever. I thought that that was just how my genetics shaped me and that there wasn't anything that could be done about it. While photo evidence proves that the changes in my face were gradual, it seemed to me to be a far more sudden change. One day, I looked at an ID photo I'd just had taken and saw my face looking a way I'd never seen before. It had seemingly become narrow, single-chinned, and cheekbone'd overnight. That discovery was amazing. I couldn't stop looking at that photo and then examining myself in every mirror I passed. I suddenly had a new face; one that looked almost exactly like the one I'd wanted so badly for over a decade.
2. You lose self consciousness over your appearance
Perhaps this isn't everyone's experience, but as a larger person, I was self-conscious practically all the time. I'd examine myself in the mirror before going out, trying to make sure my clothes didn't show any of my lumps and rolls. In public, I'd stand with my arms strategically placed to try to hide both my muffin tops and my big tummy. I'd be too embarrassed on public transit to reach up for the high bar in case my shirt rode up even a little bit, so if I didn't have anything to hold on to, I had to rely on balance and hope that I wouldn't fall into anyone. I even went through multiple Canadian winters without doing up my jacket, because I'd gained weight since I bought it and doing it up would reveal a shape I found unflattering and didn't want anyone to see. Even things as insignificant as sweating on a hot day or pausing to pull up my pants caused me great embarrassment. It didn't matter that likely no one was looking at me or judging me for my size. I felt embarrassment anyway. As I started to lose weight, and as my body changed shape, I slowly lost those habits and worries. I no longer feel embarrassed just for existing out in public. I don't feel like I have to constantly hide myself. For the first time in a long, long time, unconstrained by (probably unrealistic) ideas of how I look to others. I feel like I can go out and not worry about my clothes or my arm position or a little stomach peeking out. I feel free.
3. You lose self-consciousness over food
I used to have a love-hate relationship with going out for ice cream or going to buffets with friends. The sweets and dessert would make me very happy, but I'd have the nagging feeling that other people were judging me for what I was eating. Whether or not it was actually the case, I felt like they'd see me with dessert and assume that that's the kind of food I ate all the time, or think to themselves 'Wow, she certainly doesn't need any more of that.' It was also always a battle between wanting seconds and not wanting to be judged for getting seconds.I don't feel this way anymore. Now, I feel perfectly comfortable eating as much dessert as I want and I never worry that someone's giving me side-eye for it.
4. You can go incognito
Anyone you haven't seen since beginning weight loss still has an outdated idea of what you look like in their mind. They don't always immediately recognize you, and if you've spotted them first, it gives you an advantage - the choice to either go and say hi, or walk away quickly to avoid them.
5. You still have bad body image days
When I was bigger, I wanted more than anything to lose weight. I'm not saying that this is everyone's experience, nor that it's a good or healthy thing. It certainly made me sad from time to time, and I felt like all my problems would disappear if I were only 170lbs. Once I hit that weight, I felt my problems would disappear at 150lbs. And then 140...and then 135. This isn't the case. Even at my lowest weight and the smallest size I've been since grade 7, I still feel like all my problems would be solved if I just hit 125 lbs. I still feel like I'm bigger than I should be and have more weight to lose. Sometimes I have to consciously remind myself of all the progress I've made. I am immensely more athletic and healthier than I used to be. If the person I was a few years ago could see me now, she'd be so immensely proud of everything I've accomplished.
6. Every step of the way is rewarding
I used to think that I wouldn't feel satisfied until I reached a certain end goal. Despite what I said above, I still felt a great sense of achievement with every small improvement to my athleticism and change in my size. Realizing you can now jog two consecutive laps on the track without getting winded is just as satisfying as reaching my 50th lap. Feeling my clothes loosen is just as satisfying as later realizing I've dropped one, two, and eventually three whole sizes. Every small step felt like just as much cause for celebration as the bigger change.