Last week you walked past the store and spotted a gorgeous, slender woman. Never in your wildest dreams would you ever be that slim and toned, you thought. Feeling down and drab, you walked away and glanced back one last time. Your jaw dropped.
That woman was you.
“I’m not that slim, am I?”
“My legs aren’t that toned, are they?”
“Jeez, when did I start looking like that?”
You hurried away from the shop window, feeling embarrassed. How could you not recognise yourself, you wonder. Who doesn’t know their own reflection?
Most people focus on staying within their maintenance range, watching their calorie intake, drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day, etcetera, but this distracts them from the top secret weight maintenance problem every maintainer must face: Adjusting to life as a slim person.
It’s a misconception that you’ll reach your goal weight and instantly know exactly how a slim person lives. After years or decades as a fat or skinny person, you either have no idea what it feels like to be slim and healthy – if you’ve been overweight since childhood like I was – or you’ve forgotten what being light and slender felt like. Now your body is slim and trim, but your brain still sees a fat or skinny person in the mirror. Adjusting to life as a slim person is tough for two reasons: attention and regain.
What problems might you face as a newly slim person?
- More Attention
- Weight Regain
How does being the centre of attention make you feel? When people meet their goal weight they’re forced into the spotlight. Loved ones, friends, and sometimes even strangers suddenly feel compelled to comment on your new body.
So what’s the problem?
Some people don’t want to be the centre of attention. It doesn’t make them feel adored and beautiful, but shy and nauseous. More attention also shows the shallow side of society. People who previously ignored your fat or skinny self now want to be best friends. Then romantic affection comes along. The girl who used to be ‘one of the guys’ is asked out by her male friends, who suddenly think she’s girlfriend material. Some losers will even holler at you in the street to get in on the action! Finally, the work promotion that slipped through your fingers year after year is now yours, but the only thing that’s changed is your dress size…
Would someone purposely regain (or relose) the weight? It happens. Some people would rather end weight maintenance altogether so they can go back to their old life and how they used to be treated. More attention? Not anymore. The excess fat acts as a shield that protects the sufferer from ‘harm’.
For others the regain is unintentional because old habits can creep up on you. Emotional eating (or starving) – using food to overcome emotions ranging from anger and sadness to stress and happiness – will send you spiralling back to your starting weight. These people don’t notice their old life is returning because it’s still normal and familiar to them.
How do you adjust to being a slender person at a healthy weight?
- New Clothes
You’re probably used to baggy clothes to hide your body, but your old wardrobe doesn’t show off your new figure. Figure-hugging clothes will showcase your new body so you get used to seeing it. The new clothes don’t have to be uncomfortably tight or revealing, but clothing that fits your new body will help you adjust to being slim and boost your confidence.
If you’re experiencing hard times financially, keep a close eye on your bank balance. Stay within your monthly budget just like you stay within your calorie intake range. If you don’t have the money (calories) for it then don’t spend (eat) it. Take as long as you need to replace your old wardrobe. Weight maintenance is forever, so you’ve got lots of time.
Clothes weren’t the only thing we hid behind. Stop taking pictures and start being photographed! All those years hiding behind the lens are over. Looking in the mirror isn’t good enough because you see your reflection on a regular basis, and the brain still controls what you’re seeing i.e. the same fat or skinny person from months ago. Photographs show your new look from an outside perspective, so take lots of pictures (you don’t have to keep them) and take a good look at yourself. Burn that new slim, healthy image into your brain until the old memory fades.
Be patient. Special moments during weight maintenance – wearing that little black dress, being carried by a loved one, the bikini, etc – will happen for the rest of your life. There’ll be regular moments when you’re reminded of your new size, and it’ll take your breath away. Getting used to being a healthy weight takes months or years, so be patient and give your brain time to catch up with reality.
Those are the 3 easy ways to address and conquer the top secret weight maintenance problem: Adjusting to life as a slim person. Take your time getting used to weight maintenance, just like you did with weight loss or weight gain. Also remember to have fun and enjoy your new body! You’re a success story, so don’t let this setback ruin your hard work. Good luck, maintainer!