Looking For Happiness (part 2 of the Body Image series)

I feel like I should be happier. I feel like losing 60 pounds should have made me happier. But weight loss doesn’t always equal instant happiness. I had mistakenly thought it would. I had a vision in my mind of how things would be, how I would look and how happy I would be once I made it to my goal weight. Now after losing the weight I wanted, I am finding that instead of being instantly happy with my new body I am having to accept it and try to find happiness with it. For me, this is not an easy task.   

When I first decided to start the Atkins way of eating, I had a vision of what my body would look like or what I wanted it to look like. I wanted to have the flat belly I haven’t had since I was 20 (I’m 37 now) and arms and legs that showed my hard earned muscles. I had this so strongly in my mental vision that when reality hit I was disappointed.  I am disappointed. I don’t look like the vision of myself that I created in my mind. I see so many success stories on social media about how people have lost so much more weight than me and are so happy with how they look and don’t seem to have the same skin issues I am having. I think it’s partly those stories that lead me to believe that I to could look like them after my weight loss. I had considered stopping Atkins because I was so disappointed in how my body looked.  

Even though others have told me how proud of me they are, have complimented and praised me, it’s hard for me to believe. For the most part, I don’t take it necessarily as a compliment. Compliments are hard for me to accept. I don’t feel like I’ve done enough to deserve that compliment.

When I look in the mirror I still see the effects of weight loss.  I still see skin that use to be full of fat now wrinkled or hanging.  I still see my stomach area folded over from where my c-section scars are.  When I go for a jog I can hear my folded over stomach slapping against my body.  It’s embarrassing. I look down when I walk and see my thighs jiggle in waves. I point to something across the room and see the skin on my arm sagging and swaying. I’ve lost my boobs. My pride and joy boobs, gone to virtual nothingness.  If I can hear and see all of these things I know that the public can too. If this was someone else I wouldn’t care. In fact, I would congratulate them on their effort and their weight loss. But for myself I can’t be that supportive person, I find myself disgusting.   It makes me want to hide my body in clothes that don’t fit so you don’t see my sagging skin. I can’t help but feel that I am not as attractive now that I’ve lost weight. I feel like I look like a melted candle.

When I speak of myself I still refer to myself as a big girl.  My spacial awareness is still that of a much larger individual and I don’t see myself as the thinner person I’ve become.   When I go to the store and look at clothes I see the smaller sizes but still, I gravitate towards the plus sizes because that is my comfort zone.  Being a plus size person is the only way of life I have ever known…until recently. I sometimes miss it.

But as I write this, I’m finding it therapeutic. Over the past few days, I’ve noticed myself looking at myself differently now that I have written down how I feel. Granted not all my days are perfect. Some days I still feel down but for the most part, I’m finding that now that I’ve spoken and written about how I’m feeling I’m able to process better…easier. Lately, I’ve been able to look at myself and see how much I’ve changed, how different I look, and be proud.  I’m coming to realize that even though weight loss doesn’t equal instant happiness, being proud of oneself and one’s accomplishments can equal happiness…for me at least.

By Stephanie R


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