Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Weight loss consequences nobody talks about

Losing weight was the best thing I ever did for my well being. It was not all shiny and happy though. I have kept off the weight loss for 18 months now and I finally notice I start getting used to being thin. In this post I'll mention some of the unexpected things I found difficult about being thin and living healthy.

  • My body image did not resemble my body. For a long time, I still saw myself as fat. I knew I had lost weight, but I'd still try clothes two sizes too large. When I saw myself in the mirror or a shop window, I did not immediately realize it was me. This is weird and I do not think anybody who hasn't experienced it can understand that.
  • I still could not buy the clothes I want. I always thought it was difficult to buy clothes when I was fat. Now I know it is just as difficult to buy clothes when you are thin. It is best to have a size M to XL. Most general stores do not carry anything smaller than that. Of course it is irritating to still not being able to buy a decent bra in a normal store, but this is more than a superficial convenience issue: it impacted me also because I do not see myself as that thin. I always thought people who wear size XS are extremely skinny. I am not. I honestly considered if I was hiding an eating disorder from myself, but I am sure I am not.
  • I felt uglier than before. I did not have many body image problems when I was fat. I just did not know better, I had always been fat. I never had a problem getting a job; I always had friends and relationships and did not notice any discrimination at all. My body was fat, but it was firm, and I was relatively happy with it. Now, there is loose skin around my belly, my face looks harsher and my breasts are saggier. That took quite a bit of getting used to.
  • I missed being nonchalant about food. I always liked supermarkets. I am one of those people who try new products first. I used to love it when there was a new flavor of potato chips or cookies. Now, 80% of the supermarket has no foods for me to eat. I do not miss the foods themselves at all; I have no intention of ever buying a bag of potato chips again. But I sometimes do miss the innocence I had. I miss not having to worry about trans fats, sugar, salt, sweeteners, refined flours etc. I guess you can compare it to ex-smokers who do not miss the cigarettes themselves, but who miss the act of lighting a cigarette after dinner.

I think that for people who desperately want to lose weight or who are naturally thin, those consequences may look like whining. You're not doing this to become a supermodel; you're doing this to become healthy, right? And that's true. But still, I cannot imagine I am the only one who struggled with this, so maybe my ramblings are useful for somebody.

In the end, I am sure I will never ever go back to being fat. It feels great to be light on my feet. To be able to jump and run without the floor trembling beneath me; to sit on a swing with my daughter; to fit in public transport seats; to be able to walk up three stairs without being exhausted. My body fits me now. That's a wonderful feeling that mitigates all the negatives I wrote about.

May 19, 2006