I remember, very clearly, the first time I went shopping after I lost my weight. I did not know what size I was anymore. I started off in size 16 jeans. The smallest pair in my closet was a 12. After people started to tell me it looked like I had a “load” in my pants I decided to be brave and go shopping!
I nervously chose a size 10. I went into the dressing room and slowly, and carefully put those pants on. They went up, zipped, AND buttoned! And they were loose! I stood there in the dressing room. Shocked. Scared. Happy. Sad. Confused. Then, I did the unexpected, I asked the sales lady for an 8! An EIGHT!! I had not been in single digit clothes for almost my entire adult life. I was shaking inside. Unbelieving. I put that size on my body… timidly, and with intent. THEY FIT!! I cried! And, I remember thinking to myself, “if I stay a size 8 for my whole life, I will be so happy.”
Well, then the problem started. My body was an 8, but my mind still said, “fat girl”.
Logically, I knew I was in a new size, one I only had dreamed about, but my mind said, “no way, you are not that small.” I still could only see my flaws. I saw the loose skin, and the leftover stuff. I could not see past the mirror. What my eyes saw, was not what others saw. When the sales lady referred to me as “small” I literally looked over my shoulder to see whom she was talking to; there was no one there! She was talking about me!!
For at least a year post my weight loss, I would refer to myself as “a fat girl”. I knew I was keeping my weight off based on my clothes, but I had a hard time accepting that I was really going to stay the new size. It was foreign to me. This is particularly hard for people like me who have been “yo yo dieters”. Is this time permanent? Is this real? Can it stay??
So, I had to adopt some new thoughts. And, I had to take some action steps.
Here are a few things I did to help my brain catch up with my body. You might try some of these “tricks”.
- I took a before picture, and placed it next to an after picture, and placed it on my mirror in my bathroom.
- I kept the largest pair of jeans I owned and I put them on once a week at first; now I put them on once a month to remind myself of the “old me” and so I can appreciate the “new me”. I still have them, 9 years later. They keep me grounded.
- One of the hardest adjustments you will make is accepting compliments. Learn to just say “thank you”. Don’t ignore or dismiss others compliments. That is disrespectful and could come off as rude. You might have to practice in the mirror. This can be a hard one. Don’t shy away from compliments. The other people see something about your new look and size that you don’t see.
- When you look at other people, look for people who might be your same size and shape. If you are in the gym, look in the mirror at other people and compare yourself to them. What do you see?
- Ask your significant other to point out someone who reminds them of your body type/size? You might be surprised.
- Practice good self-talk. I started calling myself a “former fat girl”. Just changing the way you speak about yourself helps your mind change. You have worked hard. Honor your efforts. It’s not about perfection. It’s about health and being comfortable in your new skin.
- Change your style. Redo your closet and your clothes. I had to redo everything from pants, shirts, under garments, bras, and shoes. It can be fun to see what you will pick with your new body, versus what you used to choose.
For the first time in my life, I have been able to stay in a size 8 for over 9 years. I still have to remind myself that I’m doing well and maintaining good health habits. It took me over a year for my mind to catch up with my body.