Ever read the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”? Why don’t they make these books for other areas of life? Straight forward and to the point. Well, here’s my weight loss edition!
What to Expect When You’re Losing Weight… the things no one told you would happen! For as long as I’ve been on my journey, my body has been doing things that no one ever told me it would do, and it continues to do strange things! Why does no one warn you about these things?
I have compiled my list of top things that no one warns you about and that catch you off guard every time! I’m sure there are more… hmmm… I’m smelling NY Times Best Seller!
1. Foot shrinkage
Problem: “I need to buy new shoes… wait, what? My shoes are too big? How did that happen?”
Well, when we lose weight, we lose weight all over… and guess what that means? You lose weight on your feet, too! Your feet have fat pockets, so it’s perfectly normal to drop anywhere from a half size to two whole shoe sizes! My feet went down almost two sizes from where I started!
How to deal: Take it easy when shopping during your weight loss journey – sizes will change often. Wait until you level off in your sizes to take that shopping spree. Until then, just buy the essentials during the journey!
2. Sagging skin
Problem: “I’m squatting like crazy and my butt is still saggy!”
Here’s the deal: When you lose body fat, it comes off faster than your skin’s elasticity can recover. You’ll notice your skin sagging until it has time to firm back up. The time it takes for this to happen varies depending on the person, their age, skin elasticity, how much the skin stretched when the weight came on and how fast the skin had to stretch (how quickly the weight was put on).
How to deal: Be patient. It will take time for your skin to pull back in. I haven’t found a cream yet that solves the problem, but cocoa butter does help with lightening stretch marks, which are also normal.
3. Popping veins
Problem: “Why are my veins popping out of my arms?”
As you lose weight, you’ll notice that your veins start to show through your skin and become more visible. There is fat tissue that forms between your skin and the veins, and as that fat “melts” away, your veins start to show through your skin.
How to deal: It’s OK! If your veins are really prominent, painful, or you notice a ton of bruises, then contact a doctor. But for 99% of us, visible veins are normal.
4. Losing weight where you don’t want to
Problem: “Where’d my boobs go?!”
There is no “spot training.” You cannot target a specific area… you must burn body fat from your entire body – so guess what? You tend to lose inches where you don’t want to first. Ladies, that means that the girls are usually the first to go, and the thighs and belly are always the last… it’s just the way the cookie crumbles (mmmmm, cookies!)
How to deal: Just keep at it. Even if your boobs seem to shrink away, as the rest of your body gradually shrinks down, it’ll all even out in the end.
5. Dealing with Debbie Downers
Problem: “My best friend keeps giving me flack for my new habits!”
Not everyone in your life will support your weight loss journey. If someone doesn’t, find someone else who will! We all have those people in our lives who are constant Debbie Downers: “Why don’t you have some cake?” “Who are you trying to impress?” “Are you sure you want to lose all that weight?” “Don’t you want seconds?”
How to deal: Support is key to success, so surround yourself with those who support you. Cutting the weight isn’t just something you do to your body – you can cut the unsupportive weight, too. I don’t mean remove everyone from your life who says something unsupportive, but don’t call them on the tough days!
6. Dealing with strangers
Problem: “Strangers are smiling at me, holding doors open for me and approaching me more – what gives?”
The way strangers treat you will change! As you lose body fat and fit into smaller sizes, you’ll notice that people treat you differently. Doors will be opened, you will be invited to more events, and more people will smile and say hello on the street. There have been studies done on these behaviors – thin people put in “fat suits” go through the motions of day-to-day errands before doing the same tasks without the extra weight. The affects are surprising. Some say that we are wired to be attracted to things that are aesthetically pleasing and symmetrical. Regardless of the “why,” the changes can be surprising and unsettling.
How to deal: There are many factors engrained in the human brain, as well as common social stereotypes that affect the way the general public sees us. Luckily, not all people see things in black and white, but it’s important to be aware of the discrimination you’ve likely been receiving. Simply understanding that things might change, and mentally preparing yourself for the change, is likely to go a long way in helping you take new advances in stride.
7. Dealing with addiction
Problem: “Addiction? What? I’m not addicted!”
Some people go from one extreme to another. They start with an addiction to food, or the feelings that food brings them, and end up getting addicted to working out. There is a huge difference between working out regularly and being addicted. Again, those people who are not supportive will make comments like, “What are you, addicted to the gym?” which can ultimately confuse the differentiation between healthy exercise and addictive exercise.
Working out regularly is completely healthy, but there are ways to take it too far! Balance is key to achieving long term health. You need to keep in touch with your body, know how you’re feeling, and be aware of the changes taking place. Key signs of exercise addiction include; excessive aging (you’re 20 and look 40), hair loss, sunken eyes, lack of energy, constant irritation, and many, many more.
How to deal: If you’re unsure of your balance, please find someone to help you. If you have a history of addictive behaviors, get help on your journey. If you’re not feeling right, contact a doctor!
8. Dealing with distortion
Problem: “I still feel like I’m 10 sizes bigger than I really am.”
You have a distorted view of yourself… you look in the mirror and see a different person looking back at you! I still catch myself walking past a mirror and doing a double take, or seeing a picture and not recognizing myself. I saw a pic of myself at my sister-in-law’s wedding, and actually asked who it was posing with my son. Guess what? It was me! I still, to this day, get caught up in my head, forgetting that I have changed. And shopping – well, I don’t know how many times I going in with the wrong size to try on. Recently I went shopping for jeans and grabbed a pair, took them to the fitting room, and .they were too big. I asked the girl to grab me a smaller pair. She looked at them and her comment was “Why did you take a 16 in there? You are what, a 6?” I just got so used to buying a 16, I didn’t think of it…
How to deal: Keep a tab on your thoughts. The brain is a powerful thing – when you catch yourself thinking something about yourself that’s no longer true, redirect the thought into something new and positive. And applaud yourself for having this “problem”!
I wish someone would have clued me into these along my journey… I was completely caught off guard, and I’m sure I’ll continue to be thrown some curve balls as I continue! I would love to hear the thing that caught you off guard on your journey…. comment below and let me know!