The Continuing Weight Loss Journey – After Weight Loss Ends

I’ve been in maintenance for going on 3 years this month. I lost, at my max, 115 lbs, and have kept off more than 100 lbs of that this entire time. That 10 lb regain? A lot of it is muscle, because I’m a physically smaller size than I was when I hit my goal of 160 lbs. While I’m extremely proud of my weight loss and keeping it off, losing the weight has been the hardest part.

I’ve been overweight from birth, so being at a healthy weight for the first time ever at 33 years old was a strange and wonderful thing. I quickly realized, however, that my brain had adapted quite well to being the fat girl. You know how they say you didn’t gain weight overnight so don’t expect it to come off overnight? The same is true for your mental state. You don’t just wake up on the day you hit your goal weight and think like someone who’s never been fat. Your brain is still a fat girl. A fat girl in a fit girl’s body.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been 3 years since I hit my goal weight. In those three years I’ve gone from only walking to someone who works out 5 days a week. I can do one arm swings with a 40lb kettlebell. I can deadlift with 52.5lbs per hand (and probably more but that’s as heavy as my dumbbells get). I have gone from the baggiest clothes possible to preferring slimmer fit clothes, from covering up on the beach to owning FOUR bikinis.

I call this my uncomfortable pose.

Now let me tell you: wearing a bikini on the beach at the Jersey Shore in the middle of peak season is terrifying. I can’t speak for the never-fat, but I felt scared and exposed and paranoid that people were whispering about me behind my back about how grotesque I was. This is the third year I’ve worn a bikini to the beach, and this is the first time I really felt like something changed inside me.

This past Sunday The Hubs and I spent the afternoon and evening in Ocean City, NJ. The weather was blissfully perfect and we found a nice spot on the packed beach and I stripped down to just my bikini… and my anxiety set in. Were people staring? In a bad way? The Hubs assured me that was not the case. When we were done roasting ourselves I decided that I didn’t want to put my tee shirt back on because the sun was beating down something fierce. So I pulled my jean shorts up and folded my tee and stuck it in my bag. And at first I was really, REALLY self conscious. But after a while I started to not think about it. We walked the boardwalk and went into shops and just enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean.

I put my tee back on to eat dinner, but when we got back outside it was just so wonderfully breezy and the temperature was perfect that I took it off again and just enjoyed the feeling of the sun and wind on my skin. And I stayed that way until we got back to the car at the end of the night.

I’m not saying my insecurities are gone now, far from it. But I think I crossed a threshold on Sunday. I think my brain is slowly catching up to my body, and I’m proud of that. I’ve come a really long way, and while there’s always someplace higher to go, I know I’m moving in the right direction. ❀

 

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13 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Andrea πŸ™‚ People don’t talk/write enough about that mind adaptation to being slimmer. I’ve been morbidly obese and I have been at my goal weight for about 5 years, and I still get surprised when I cross my legs while sitting, or stuff like that. It is incredible how long we remain overweight in our head… Great post πŸ™‚ And congrats on the bikini wearing πŸ˜‰ I am not there, yet!

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  2. I think that you are amazing. And always beautiful. I love this post, and I am so glad that your brain is catching up to your body! You remain inspiring. πŸ™‚

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  3. You are such an inspiration! For those of us at the other end of the scale it’s difficult to imagine a beautiful fit woman being self conscious… thank you for sharing your story and reminding us that we are all in this together.

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  4. very well said. that “naked” feeling is very hard to get over–and I wonder too if the “never fat” experience it. I think part of it is we are so used to covering ourselves out of self defense that it feels very strange not to have that protective gear on. you DID cross a big threshold in your comfort zone, congrats!!

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    • When I was at goal I was so happy that I didn’t mind walking around in my bikini with a cover-up or a little sundress. I *knew* I worked hard and looked pretty good. I slid into that really, really easily. Probably because I used to tell myself, ‘if I looked like that (pointing at some fit, slimmer girl) I’d wear a bikini or whatever I wanted!’ And I did. Now that I’ve gained the weight back it sucks so hard. Glad you are gaining your confidence. There’s probably some chick out there telling herself what I did/do while looking at you on that beach. My biggest problem is maintenance- glad it’s working for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for sharing your story! The biggest thing I’ve come to realize is that even healthy weight women are sometimes uncomfortable showing their body. I watched people’s body language a lot that day and saw a lot of insecure people with fantastic bodies. Maintenance is often difficult, but I’ve built up so many healthy habits that it’s harder to backslide now than to stay the course.

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    • Thank you! A lot of it too is also this idea that we’re being show offs or slutty if you are proud of your body. I tell myself that no one on that beach knows my story, so they have no room to judge. πŸ˜‰

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