Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What Happened To Me

I was looking back through my blog today. I was trying to remember when, exactly, I escaped obesity. And trying to figure out... put into real words... WHAT made the regain start. I know it was not about food. It was not a cake or a bag of chips or diet fatigue. It was 100% mental and emotional, I've always known it, and those feelings manifested in an inability to stick to a plan. I knew that, but never really put down on paper WHAT it was that sent me spiraling back up the scale.

If I do not address those things, it will happen again. I don't want to waste another year losing all this weight just to go through the same challenges and gain it all back. It doesn't matter how I lose the weight. If I do not address this I AM going to regain.

I think the #1 reason I began the regain was this: I was extremely uncomfortable with the way my body was changing as the weight came off. I wrote this post, I Don't Like My Melting Body, in September 2010... just a month before I reached 100 pounds lost. When I read it, it *still* gives me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I *know* I did not resolve that issue. Well, I resolved it by gaining enough weight to make all of those things go away. I didn't do that on purpose. But I was so, so painfully uncomfortable with my shrinking body and didn't know how to cope.

I am not sure how I will deal with it this time around. Something has to be different. All the other issues I had that were keeping me fat.... fear of being hurt, associating thinness with death... I have been able to work through and they don't really seem to crop up anymore. But the discomfort with my thinner body needs some more mental work. I am not sure how to handle that. Obviously, telling myself (and believing) that it is better to be a healthy weight than to be fat did not work. How did you handle it, if you had this issue? Did any of you lose a bunch of weight and not like the changes you were seeing? Did you figure out a way to be truly okay with it?

I am still trying to figure it out. I have about 30 pounds before I am going to start seeing those changes again. My reaction needs to be different this time.


Anonymous said...

I bet your skin has tightened up more in the past 2 years. If not, you can get surgery!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I've commented here a few times before. About five years ago, I started losing weight at 375.6 pounds. I'm sure that wasn't my top weight; that's just where I got on the scale, after a few weeks of dieting. I am six feet tall, incidentally, so those 375.6 pounds were stretched out over quite a long distance. I mention this so you can get an idea of what my relative size was when I began. I was 40 when I started, and am now 45, again, just to give you a bit more data. I was morbidly obese for at least twenty years, and overweight as a child, so that's a long time to be fat, yes?

It took about two years to get to my present weight range of about 156-161, depending on the time of the month, how much salt I've been eating, etc. I'm mostly in the high 150s, though. So I've been maintaining for a few years now. I'm pretty sure my skin is just about done in terms of naturally snapping back. It HAS improved over the time my weight's been low and pretty stable, but yeah, I have loose skin, and the sort of adipose tissue remaining within it that just isn't going anywhere without surgery, which I have no intention of having. I would dearly love to know how much of my body weight resides in that surplus skin/redundant adiopse tissue, because I am really quite thin now, and suspect I would be verging on TOO thin, without the extras.

I live with it and most of the time it doesn't bother me that much. All my bones sticking out freak me out much more, honestly. Dressed, I look fantastic, if I do say so myself. Supportive undergarments -- and I don't mean hideously uncomfortable supportive undergarments at all -- really help a lot. I have the batwing problem pretty bad, but it really doesn't show much, if at all, under the right clothes. No, I don't like it, and wish it weren't there, but oh my gosh, I'd never take the fat back willingly. It helps that I adore clothes and fashion A LOT, so keeping my thin body, for all it's flaws = clothes I love. I know it may sound shallow, but it makes it easier for me to live with the scars of my past morbid obesity knowing I look stylish in a way that NEVER was possible before, when I was confined to the plus-size ghetto.

This is getting really long, and if you'd like more details, or have any specific questions you'd like to ask, I'd be happy to answer them via e-mail. Please just respond specifically to this comment with an e-mail address where I can contact you, and I'll be glad to tell you what I can.

I won't sugarcoat it; yeah, the extra skin is not something I'm ever going to love about myself, but oh god, it's worth it.

i should be full said...

Lyn, I was just writing about this yesterday. I know exactly what you mean! Part of me looks at my deflated, flabby, saggy body and hates what I see. I even wrote about how I apologized to my husband for looking like this! But I've decided to see my flabby, saggy, deflated body as a testament to my accomplishment. I don't know exactly how I made that mental switch, but I did. I can't believe my amazing accomplishment and the "ugliness" in my body is the proof of that accomplishment and that makes me not hate it as much any more. I didn't even cringe when looking at myself naked in the mirror this morning! I hope you can see it differently over time too.

Bonita Gordita said...

I could have written your post, and I'm not even there (weight-wise). I'm 60 pounds down and can see that in my skin. Don't get me wrong - I'd rather be smaller with softer fatty places than large and tight.

Still, there is a lot in my head that speaks to me regarding weight loss. It isn't just about losing weight and being smaller.

beerab said...

I feel ya, going down the skin was getting looser and looser, but now I've gained a few pounds I don't like it, so I'm really trying to get back on track. I'd rather have loose skin and be healthy! :)

Bonita Gordita said...

PS - Anonymous - thank you for your comment on here. I rarely read comments, but I read (and reread) yours. I hope to get under 199, and I know I will have saggy skin - and know I will not have surgery. Your post gave. me. hope.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

No one talks about this but it is true. I felt like I was trapped in a costume several sizes too large when I lost 84 pounds. I knew the fit body was under there but all I saw was the "melting flesh." It is very disconcerting. I am in a stall and have not dealt with it yet. If you figure it out let us know.


Lou said...

Lyn, I lost 70 pounds three years ago and then gained them back. I felt that it was actually something physical driving the regain. This past year I did Medifast successfully and re-lost that 70 pounds. This time around my skin is much saggier (but I am 53, a bit older than you-could have something to do with it.)
Anyway, two things:
First:I was very concerned about regain this time around just as you are now. I spent a lot of time and money trying to find out as much as I can about success in weight maintenance. My best conclusion is that one needs to always be mindful and also stay away from sugar and white flour as much as is reasonable (I do eat it on occasion, but in very small portions. I fill up on vegetables and protein. Oh and exercise, there is no way around it. You need 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent in other activity. You know all these things.
Second: the excess skin is a badge of honor. Sorry it isn't society's idea of gorgeous, but it is a beautiful thing when you think of all the suffering, both mental and physical, that you have endured when the "bag" was full. Every pound gone is pain gone. Seeing that emptiness makes me grateful. It really isn't so bad at all. It hides easily with clothes and I'd rather have it than the alternative. Arms are the worst. Legs/thighs second worst. My tummy is still a bit pudgy, so no real sagging. My boobs aren't bad at all, oddly. I plan to lift weights over the winter to tighten up those arms and legs. You will be fine when you set your mind on how to think about this melting idea. You are not melting you are giving your pain back to the universe. But you still have the bag it came in.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I have been very frustrated with you of late. I say that so you know that now I am proud of you because now, it seems like you have gotten your head on straight and are ready to lose. I have no doubt that you are going to lose now and losing two lbs already shows that it is going to work (losing your glycogen stores first Imho shows you are in defect).

I lost weight as well and I am also disappointed about the extra skin. It is disappointing. But one problem at a time. I feel like losing fast / losing slow you are going to have the extra tissue. It is improving a little. No matter what... my health has improved so much just by losing the weight that I likely added 10 years on to my life to figure out how to lose the extra skin.

Karen said...

I was able to deal with the extra skin, the attention from others, etc myself. But if there is any situation I feel I cannot deal with , I would get a shrink for 6-8 sessions. The therapist would give me assigments and I would work through it.

I recommend this, even if you spread out the visits if you had to travel to a far away city. Getting the mental support you need is a key step. It needs to come from a trained professional in some cases- IMO. Much personal growth can come from this. Hope you'll consider.

MargieAnne said...

Hi Lynn.

I relate to your thoughts about your body as you lose weight. When you first wrote about it I thought you were being a little too intense about it all but I have lost around 60 pound this year off my 5'1.5" body and also have days when I look at the results with dismay.

Last time my weight was around this level, about 6 or 7 years ago, I freaked over wrinkles and proceeded to regain, plus more. My weight gain had many causes but the wrinkles were a significant factor.

Maybe because I'm a little older I accept the wrinkles even though I dislike them intensely. It's not always easy because I still have 60 pounds to lose before I am at what I believe is my healthy weight.

I'm now 73 and the health benefits are helping me to accept the ugliness. Clothes already look so much better on me and just as I learned many tricks to disguise the fat and feel good so I am learning tricks to disguise the wrinkles. I will never wear a body suit but I do wear stretch pants and longer sleeves loose and floaty in hot weather. I love being able to show off my waist and I've discovered I can wear long ropes of beads again.

I don't look too hard at myself in the mirror until I'm dressed.... most of the time.

When I do notice the wrinkles and loose, baggy, saggy skin I make a point of telling myself that I am doing a good thing and other affirming and comforting words. I do think it's important to be able to comfort ourselves with words.

It's not going to be easy accepting the new look. It's very different from the 25 year old who was normal weight. We are not only dealing with the results of weight loss but the results of bodies that have grown older.

I believe that you will come through with a healthier perspective about your body this time but it takes adjustment.

All the best as you think it through and work on living in a different body.


Kathleen said...

Dear Lyn.

I lost over 100 pounds and have maintained the loss for a few years. Yes, I do have loose skin. I don't let it bother me. I think it would really bother me a lot if the reason I lost weight was to look like a model. However, I lost weight in order to be healthier and more flexible and active. These goals have definitely been achieved. So, for me, loose skin is no big deal. Being morbidly obese was killing me. Having some squishy, melty parts is not killing me - it's not even hurting me. It's just a small annoyance. I am proud of what I look like now. I know it is nothing like women in magazines - but who does look like that? All I know is: now I can run, now I can bend and twist, now I can climb stairs, now I can wear "regular" clothes. Life is good. I would not be fat again. IF LOOSE SKIN IS THE ONLY PROBLEM I HAVE AFTER BEING MORBIDLY OBESE, THEN I AM BLESSED. I could have ended up with diabetes and lost my feet. I could have had a heart attack. I could have gone blind. I will take the loose skin and be happy with it.

I hope you can come to the same sort of peace that I did.


CatherineMarie said...

I do understand where this is coming from, and I think in part this is where I stalled out. For me it was also not knowing how to cope with the world from behind the veneer of fat, too. How to cope with men hitting on me, etc. I find the slower I go but the more I tone, the better for me, and for my skin. The other thing that helps me get a better sense of my body (although I've slacked off) is getting regular massages...

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I remember that post. You wrote it about the same time that I wrote my own post of dismay. It was called something like, "I was okay until it got to my face."

Well, like you, I cured the wrinkly, saggy skin on my deflated thighs by re-inflating them and my face is no longer troubling me because of the weight loss. It's bothering me now because of the weight gain. :(

Those "corrective actions" don't seem like much of an improvement, especially since, in the process, I gained weight on my hips and bottom that I've NEVER had before. Great. Now I am the great pear-shaped woman. Like I said, not an improvement.

Nonetheless, I know that that post marked a turn in the wrong direction for me. I can't help it that it sounds nuts.


Anonymous said...

And here's the link:

I haven't read that post for over a year, so I reread. I am embarrassed to say that tears came to the surface as I did.

So nuts. I mean, really, weighing 30 pounds more than I did when I wrote that post is MUCH worse. And, yet...

Anonymous said...

This excess skin can happen, not to everyone though, but it happened to me. I struggle a little bit even now with seeing it...BUT would soooo rather be at a normal healthy looking great weight that I deal with it. I wish I could get rid of it all...I say all because I have had a tummy tuck and while he was down there anyway an inner thigh lift......HUGE self confidence bolster!! arms and the back of my legs still have some excess. Surgery isn't for everyone nor can everyone afford it, I'm still paying for mine after a yr and half BUT for ME it was something I HAD to do. I wanted him to do my boobs too at the timne but he said no, they were just fine, at their constant C cup, not much sagging at all, thank goodness there:))It is all how YOU FEEL when you look in the mirror....I felt great inside and I wanted the outside to match up a little:)