Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Ugly Side of Weight Loss

I have been on a mission, the past year, to lose some nasty weight gained from having children. Having lost 80 lbs in the 4 years prior to my marriage, I looked at this as a fairly easy challenge. I mean, I only have 1/2 that to lose, this time around. That shouldn't be too difficult, right? In my mind, I expected everything would go as it did before and I'd be back in my old clothing in no time. Now, 28 lbs in to round 2, I've learned some interesting things about my body and how it's adapting to my shrinking size.

1) Your body changes after having children. Just because you wore that dress and looked good in it, before having children, you can't assume you will look good in it, after having children. Even if you can fit back in to it, it mostly likely fits you in a completely different way. There are those lucky enough to escape this problem, but for most, having children has left it's mark in some strange ways. Though, I admit I've kept a few things from the past, just because, due to lack of closet space, I was recently forced to take a hard look at the amount of ill-fitting wardrobe I've been holding on to. In the end, I sent 3 garbage bags to the Salvation Army, stuffed with items that were either out of style or made for a much younger version of myself.

2) Our skin loses a certain amount of elasticity as we age. This is a fact of life, unfortunately. Having lost a significant amount of weight, followed by back-to-back pregnancies and breastfeeding, my skin is shot. While daily exercise has helped to tighten up some areas, I've found the sagging more accentuated as the weight has come off. This is especially true around the middle, causing a few issues in the clothing department and a general dislike of bathing suits. There's really no inexpensive or easy fix for this problem. A friend recently joked that I should invest my money in a "mommy makeover." If I could afford the cost and downtime necessary, I'd be totally up for some nip and tuck. For now, though, I'll have to be content to wear clothing with a little added spandex.

3) At some point, you will have no idea what to wear. While I'm rarely a speed dresser, I've recently hit a point in my weight loss where nothing fits or if it does, just doesn't fit right (see point #1, above). This is a tough one, since replacing an entire wardrobe is an expensive undertaking. I've tried to stick w/necessity items, figuring I'll add more upon reaching my ultimate size goal. However, it seems as soon as I replace a pair of pants, for example, I find I need shirts. And, what about undergarments? As I realized on 1 outing, they are just as important as everything else, and there is no inconspicuous way to deal with a pair of underwear that has fallen down inside your shorts. As body parts have shrunk at their own pace, my wardrobe has become a bit of a piece meal. I've tried to stick with similar color patterns, but there are still items with no matches, from buying an outfit and then, losing a size on top or bottom shortly after. I've spent hrs trying on clothing, emptying my drawers and yanking things out of the closet, only to end up with a pile of give-away clothes and maybe 1 outfit to wear the next day. It's a bit frustrating, even if it isn't an entirely awful thing to have to deal with.

4) Shopping for clothing can be an overwhelming and time-consuming experience. As a larger person, I found a certain comfort and ease when it came to buying clothes. I'd simply see something I liked, try on the largest size available, and either work down from there or put it back on the rack. I knew just by looking at something whether or not it would fit, often times purchasing an item, without trying it on first. I could always return it, if it didn't fit. A few days ago, I made the decision to go shopping for a couple new tops, to go with some jeans I'd purchased in the spring. I'd been putting it off, due to lack of time, but with the weather changing, I needed something other than tanks to wear. I never anticipated it would be a stressful experience, but upon walking in to the store, I was immediately overcome with a sinking feeling. I walked around the racks, pushing a few items around, pulling others out and holding them up. Am I an M or an L or an XL? I can't be an XL, anymore. This looks about right when I hold it up, but when I try it on, there's just too much skin showing. Is it supposed to fit like that? I'm not ready for that. That style used to look good on me, but is just wrong, now. Brain overload kicked in and I simply gave up. I never expected to feel so lost and so utterly confused about buying clothes. I've lost weight. This should be fun, right? In the end, I grabbed a pair of exercise shorts and some inexpensive tanks to workout in. I didn't bother trying them on, since it's likely no one will ever see them. Maybe next time I'll get something I can wear outside of the house.

What comes of this is that, while it's great to lose weight, it can also be an ugly experience. Unless you have money and a lot of time to burn, at some point, you'll end up at an odd place where you hate your wardrobe, hate your body, or are just fed up with the whole process. It's an inevitable part of weight loss, especially if you've lost a good amount. Right now, I'm doing my best to push past this strange place I'm in and just keep on doing what I'm doing. In the end, I know it will all work out. I'll reach my goal and once again get to the point where it becomes familiar. Changing my body has been the easiest part of this process. Changing the way I view my body and accepting those things which are unchangeable has been far more difficult to accomplish. Patience...

1 comment:

  1. I'm right there with you! I've put on about 5 lbs. and am definitely feeling the result of it. Just feel blech...not a real technical term, but the best word I know to describe it. Perhaps we should arrange a regular walking time on as close to a daily basis as possible...something to give us stay-at-home moms to look forward to :)