Real women share surprising mental and physical changes that they faced after they achieved their weight loss goal
Lost some weight recently? Nice work. But while you're feeling and looking amazing, you’ve probably noticed that shedding pounds comes with a few unexpected surprises. Your skin might squishier, your breasts might be droopier. And even though you appreciate the extra attention, sometimes you want a break from all the questions about how you did it.
Psychologists say there’s a phenomenon called “weight-loss shock”: It takes our minds time to get used to living in our new bodies. Here are nine common physical and mental changes you might not expect when you reach the other side of your weight-loss journey. (Also, read more weight loss tips from real women in The Most Inspiring Weight Loss Success Stories of 2014.)
You refuse to take off your parka in a movie theater, and getting stuck under a restaurant air conditioning vent feels like torture. Fat is a natural insulator, so you become more sensitive to changes in temperature as you lose pounds. Get into the habit of keeping a cardigan in your bag.
The next time you rub lotion on your paws, you may notice your fingers have shrunk. Sparrow, 44, a textile designer from Hoboken, NJ, found that a 15-pound weight loss meant that she had to get her engagement ring re-sized.
It may sound like a miracle, but you might actually lose your desire for sugary or fattening snacks after dropping pounds.
It’s a well-known fact that when you eat less sugar, you lose your craving for it. (Find out how to break the habit in Your Easy Guide to the Sugar Detox Diet.) So if you’ve gotten used to eating less of the sweet stuff while losing weight, you’ll have conditioned yourself to be satisfied with a smaller amount. “I couldn’t believe an apple was sweet enough or that I could stop after eating one piece of chocolate,” says Sparrow.
Perhaps you thought you’d be wearing low-rise jeans and crop tops as soon as you dropped a few pounds. “I thought when I lost weight it would solve my endless problem of always being in between two sizes,” says Rachel 34, a nurse from Medford, OR. “But I’m still smaller on top and I still have to buy different sizes for the top and bottom of my body.”
When you lose weight, you lose fat from your entire body. That includes your feet. So don't be surprised when your heel starts slipping out of your favorite shoes. The good news: Boots will be easier to zip up around your slimmer calves, and heels won’t hurt as much, since they’re be supporting a lighter you.
Although Shannon, 40, an epidemiologist from New York City, had been steadily losing weight over the past year, she only started getting compliments as she got closer to her goal of 30 pounds. That’s when her cheekbones popped from her face, and she started wearing fitted pants. “I think when you lose slowly, people don’t notice until you wear something that shows off your body,” she says. "I didn't realize how much I'd been hiding under dresses.”
At first, you can't hear enough of “You look fabulous.” But at some point, enthusiasm (“No, really!”) can become annoying. (It's one of the 6 Stages of Weight Loss Grief.) Christine, 45, a real estate consultant from Atlanta who recently lost 40 pounds, struggles not to interpret compliments as a reminder that she looked heavier than she thought she did. “I try not to hear ‘Wow! You’ve lost a lot of weight’ as ‘You used to be so big,’” she says. “Instead, I take it as a recognition of all my hard work.”
You lost weight to be healthier and look like a better version of yourself. But Rachel was shocked when a surgeon who’d been away on sabbatical introduced himself after she lost 30 pounds. “He asked who I was and how long I'd been working for the organization,” she says. “I had worked with him directly for two years caring for his patients. I couldn’t believe it.”
After Rachel lost her weight, people who had ignored her during her fat days were suddenly friendlier. “People who knew me before started acknowledging my presence or consulting me on things,” she says. “It's like living your life being a lefty in a righty's world and suddenly waking up a righty. It’s made me more aware about how I treat others.”