Weight loss is good for you, yes? Getting healthier, stronger, slimmer are all great results and motivation to start or continue a weight loss program. But what happens when your weight loss outpaces your body’s ability to keep pace with it?
What happens when your body starts, continues, or fails to change in ways you anticipated? How do you keep your head, your heart and your emotions on an even keel when the reflection you see in the mirror seems to change every single day?
Here is some easily implemented advice for dealing with the physical side effects of weight loss.
While your body is changing, you’ll notice that your clothing will fail to fit you at some point. Regular clothing is good for perhaps two (2) size changes, but beyond that, you’ll notice challenges in the fit - especially if your weight loss is concentrated more in one area (like your lower body) than another. Be prepared for this by saving some money aside each week to prepare you for the inevitable shopping trip - and plan ahead so you can enjoy it.
Keeping your skin moisturized is a great way to make yourself feel pampered as well as helping to extend your skin’s elasticity. Depending on your age, your skin may shrink and tighten as you lose weight, but if you’ve been heavy for a while, this may not happen right away. Find a favorite lotion that helps your skin feel supple and soft, and use it daily. If you need help reaching certain areas, find a long-handled sponge applicator and use that to make sure you don’t miss a spot.
Shapewear has evolved quite a bit from our Grandmother’s time when they were heavy and hard to wear. Losing weight means that your body may become ‘softer’ as the underlying fat is lost. Your body will likely change shape many times before you reach your goal weight, and while exercise helps a lot, it may take a while longer to do so. Using shapewear is a great way to keep your silhouette smoother and tighter as you continue on your journey.
While you’re losing weight, and during your maintenance period, exercise is a great way to build strength, increase your endurance, and tighten up your body by helping you gain muscle. You may be ready to do quite a bit more exercise mentally than your body can handle physically, however. Make sure to ease into new physical activities and exercise, and make sure you are wearing proper footgear to avoid injury and help you enjoy your new, more physical self.
Protein is a terrific building block for your body and critical to your good health. Track your protein intake and make sure you’re getting enough on a daily basis. Healthy curves are built in part by eating enough protein - and if you’re not getting enough, you can see the effects in your skin, hair and nails.
Losing weight can cause major changes in your body alignment and movement pattern. As your body gets smaller, you might notice an increased range of motion, stamina, and strength. Give your body time to adjust, and make sure you are getting quality rest. Consider taking a week off from strenuous workouts or training every 6 weeks to reset your body and avoid injury.
You are far more than the size tag in your clothing - don’t let the anticipation of wearing a smaller size encourage you to make bad choices with your wardrobe. Going from a conservative, covered-up wardrobe to one full of spandex, bright colors and tight garments will not serve you well or honor your efforts - just as the number on the size tag did not define you when you were heavier, don’t let them define you as you continue on your journey to better health.
Let’s take a realistic look at it - you didn’t just wake up one morning as a heavy person. Your weight loss - if done in a healthy and sustainable manner - will take a specific amount of time to be accomplished. Don’t let your desire for results set you up for disappointment. In every transition, there will be periods where nothing seems to happen. Stay the course and be consistent with your nutrition, eating and exercise. You will see the results you desire.
Your journey will be different from anyone else’s - no two people will lose weight at the same rate, in the same way, or in the same areas of the body. You are an individual, and your weight loss will be very individual. Comparing yourself to anyone else - and feeling like you are falling short - can be destructive to your self-esteem and your confidence. Don’t let the natural impulse to compete set you up for a negative thought pattern that will make your journey harder.
Whenever you stumble, take a step back, or experience a temporary halt in your progress, it will be oh-so-easy to be hard on yourself and relate this perfectly normal slow-down with your past challenges. This time is indeed different - don’t let your past rule your present. Just because you’ve tried one time, several times, or many times to accomplish your health goals does not mean this time you won’t make it. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t give up.
The physical side effects of weight loss will vary from person to person, but there are some things you absolutely can anticipate - the need to take care of your skin, easing into new physical activity and incorporating shapewear into your wardrobe are all part of your new journey. Similarly, avoiding comparisons to others and avoiding injuries are important considerations for your continued progress.
Consistent positive action and commitment to your plans will yield the results you desire - stand strong and don’t give up!
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Photo Credits: old jeans by Flickr: potamos.photography; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com