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I've Worked My Butt Off...So When Do I Get to Start Feeling Good?

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Old 07-12-2010, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default I've Worked My Butt Off...So When Do I Get to Start Feeling Good?

I hit my goal.

Wahoo.....?

I don't mean to whine, I don't mean to complain or seem ungrateful for my success and my health. I am really proud of myself and I certainly DO look and feel better overall...but it doesn't feel like I thought it would. And I find myself wondering if I will ever feel totally comfortable, if I will ever be satisfied. When I hit my original goal of 170, I felt awesome, but wanted more...so I said, "10 more pounds!" And now I've lost that 10 pounds...and want to lose 10 more. It's scary that I don't see much change in myself in 54 pounds. It's scary that my body still makes me sick. It's scary how thirsty I am for more, more, more pounds lost. When does that end?

I guess my question is for maintainers and those who have hit their goal: Did it take a while to adjust and feel good and successful? Or did you wake up one morning and take a look in the mirror and realize you had "arrived"? I'm concerned that I won't be able to stop and that I'll never be ok.

And how do I KNOW if I have body image issues or if what I see in the mirror is really as bad as it looks? Everyone tells me I look good....but they told me that at my heighest weight, too, so that's hard to trust.

I feel like I'm chasing a high. With each pound lost, I get a little burst of energy and motivation...which is quickly replaced with a fierce obsession with losing the next. I'm not as easily satisfied as before, when I was proud of myself for each little milestone and pants size dropped. I'm mean to myself now.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:05 PM   #2
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You're right to be concerned about this. Often a sign of an eating disorder is not wanting to stop.

At your height, you're just under the overweight line and into Normal BMI. Of course, BMI is only a very rough sort of guideline that doesn't take into account body type. But, one strategy would be to set your bottom line weight at 150, which would be about the middle of the normal range.

As for your body's appearance, you might have BDD (body dysmorphic disorder), in which you don't see yourself as you really are. Or, it might be that you expected weight loss to change your body's shape completely. It won't do that, usually. If you were, for example, pear shaped to begin with, you'll probably still be pear shaped.

Above all, don't "be mean" to yourself. Perhaps it's time to consult with a professional, such as a Registered Dietitian or a therapist who specializes in food issues. It could be that your desires are unrealistic.

Good luck in any case! And congratulations on your weight loss!

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Old 07-12-2010, 06:26 PM   #3
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Thanks Jay. And I did mean to throw that into my original post...I know that I am by no means anorexic or in danger of becoming a skeleton any time soon. I still have weight that can be lost safely and in a healthy way. I just thought I'd be...more satisfied at this point.

And I definitely think my desires are unrealistic. I wonder sometimes if other women feel this way...
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThicknPretty View Post
Thanks Jay. And I did mean to throw that into my original post...I know that I am by no means anorexic or in danger of becoming a skeleton any time soon. I still have weight that can be lost safely and in a healthy way. I just thought I'd be...more satisfied at this point.

And I definitely think my desires are unrealistic. I wonder sometimes if other women feel this way...

Yep, I am one of them.

Congrats on all you have achieved and good luck with whatever else you choose to do
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:56 PM   #5
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When I started feeling that way I got 2 things. One was a reasonably reliable way of measuring body fat and the other was a person I could trust not to lie either direction. I figured as long as both the body fat and the friend felt that it was safe & healthy for me to lose more I would just not set my goal yet.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:19 AM   #6
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Nice Post. We have similar stats - so I can really identify. I don't have any suggestions. For me personally, I had to change my perspective. Instead of wanting to lose weight, I now have this goal in the back of my head of being the "healthiest person" I know - which includes jogging 5 miles outside 5 days a week (even when its hot), some weight lifting .... and focusing my diet entirely around plants, whole grains, and plant-based protein. I also lay off the alcohol - all my friends can drink me under the table now.

And I had to put my scale away. Instead, I have a pair of tight jeans that indicate to me immediately if a pound or two has creeped up.

Jogging gives me a rush and makes me feel like i can fly.... and eating only whole, plant-based foods has cured all of my acne - I just decided, instead of wanting to spend time "losing weight", I would rather spend time making choices that would make me feel good and powerful.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:20 AM   #7
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TNP, I've been thinking a lot about your post. A couple thoughts:

I definitely know I've "arrived." I have reached the point where I really don't want to lose any more weight. I wasn't there 5 lbs ago, but I know I am now.

I think being satisfied at goal can have something to do with how you imagined your goal, or what you expected. It's one thing if you imagined yourself being healthier, stronger, and fitter. It's another if you imagined your self jogging on the beach in a string bikini with nothing bouncing but your boobs. A lot of us pick goals based on a number chart, or remembering a weight we were way back when, and think, "When I get there, I'm going to be skinny!" Only to find that, yes, we are smaller, and yes we look bettter, but yes, we still have love-handle-overhang in that bikini (my personal experience from bikini shopping a couple weeks ago). This has led me to adjust my goal more than once.

On a different note... I just started reading The End of Overeating by David Kessler. He talks about how fatty/salty/sugary foods activate the reward center of the brain, making us crave more. He describes how the brain's motivation and reward system is incredibly important in our day-to-day functioning. It occurred to me that weight loss activates the reward center, giving us that high you talk about every time you step on the scale and see a loss. That's a powerful motivator! However, maintenance does not have that same sort of reward. Instead, you have to learn to tap into the reward of feeling healthier, stronger, fitter every day. But that can be hard. I think that's part of what makes maintenance challenging.

I've decided to create new goals and rewards. One is fitness -- training for and running races. I'm looking to improve my speeds. Just like weight loss, this gives me a goal and concrete steps to take toward that goal. I know from experience that running goals are very fulfilling for me.

The other thing I will give myself is maintenance rewards. I will reward myself when I've stayed under 125 for 30 days, 90 days, 180 days, etc. Haven't figured out what those goals will be yet... jeans, facial, massage?

HTH.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:11 PM   #8
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When I reached my initial goal weight I did find that I wasn't happy and wanted to lose a little more. I did lose a little more, and then discovered that I still didn't like the appearance of some parts of myself. I turned my focus from the pounds themselves to my shape and body composition. I added in running and strength training, saw some real differences in the first year of maintenance. I actually weigh more now than when I reached my goal weight but I am wearing smaller clothes.

It is hard to see yourself as you are, it took me some time. I still don't always see myself clearly actually. It does get easier over time.

Like Ennay I track body fat. I also take my measurements once a month and log them on a chart. I'm more comfortable when I continue to weigh regularly, so I daily weigh and log on a chart as well.

It does get easier - you transition from the losing phase to the maintaining phase. I know that is a hard switch to flip sometimes. You will do it. Do try to not be mean to yourself, though. You have worked hard and don't deserve it.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:46 PM   #9
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As someone who's gone through major weight loss twice, and on the first occasion, struggled with an eating disorder that I developed because I was hypnotized by the high you've so astutely identified, I can give you a couple questions to contemplate.

- Is it a problem with the body, or the mind? That is, are you really talking about a need for a pacified mind & attaining some level of self-acceptance, rather than anything more that you need to do with your body? Or is it actually purely a body thing -- can you clearly see a way in which your life & your feelings would be improved in a measurable way if a bit more weight came off somewhere on your body?

- Do you know the difference between the lowest weight attainable & the lowest weight sustainable? I had to discover this through my own life experience. I could get to a certain weight, but the cost of staying there was more than I wished to pay. So yeah, I hit that lowest ever number for a while, but then understood, over time, as I tried to stay there, that the aesthetic payoff was not high enough for the lifestyle modifications I'd need to make (pretty much forever) to remain there.

- Can you look at your body neutrally, without any kind of mental photoshopping or self-criticism or praise? Just a sort of neutral, benign self-acceptance. Just a gaze of taking it all in: There it is, that's me. That's who I am.

I guess these are just things to think about & I have no answers for you. I think this is such an individual thing. But my own experience with this has been so fraught, that it may help you to see what subjects I had to start thinking about to arrive at my own answers.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:11 PM   #10
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TNP, others have given you great advice. I was in a place close to yours when I neared goal. Still wasn't happy. Then I really saw myself. I saw a reflection of myself from the eyes down but wearing new (way different than my usual style) sunglasses. So I couldn't see my critiquing eyes, and most of my face or hair (it had been in a ponytail). I saw a stranger. It finally opened my eyes to what I truly looked like. I asked my DH, is that me? And you can guess the answer.

Maybe something like that can work for you. Wear something totally not your usual style and have a friend take a pic of the chin and down. Maybe it will help get your perspective straight.

My perspective looking full face is still a bit warped but I remember that reflection and it's trumping the warped look I have of myself.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:36 PM   #11
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ThickNPretty. Photos help. In general, pics don't lie.

Secondly, I lowered my goal again and again until I was comfortable. I first wanted to leave Obese. Then, I wanted to leave overweight which was 164. Then, I wanted 150. Then, I still wasn't feeling quite right, so I went down again.

Another thing that helps--go to your doctor! I did this. My doctor that delivered both my kids couldn't help but to ask me WTH? How was I doing it? Where did I buy my produce, my fish? In addition, I had full lab work done that showed how different levels had dropped. That was really motivating to me and inspirational.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:01 PM   #12
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#1: Congrats on hitting your goal!

#2: We had a similar thread on the maintainers forum a little while ago, you might want to check it out: Reaching goal...somewhat anticlimactic??

#3: We are just people on the internet. We can't tell you if you have an eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, etc. These are things only a professional can tell you, and if you're concerned about it you should consult one. That said, here are my thoughts on the matter.

Hitting goal is not as exciting as you expect it to be. It is just another number on the scale -- no fireworks, no cheering crowds. On the day you hit your goal weight, you probably look and feel exactly like you did the day before. Because weight loss is so gradual, it takes time for your mental image of yourself to catch up to your body, or to realize just how different you look now than you did before. I actually had a moment where I pointed out someone heavy to DH and said that that was how big I was when I started. He said, "No, you were never anywhere near that big." I pulled out a photo of myself from my high weight and he was shocked and tried to pass it off as a bad photo. The fact is that after seeing me every day as I gradually got smaller, he forgot how big I was in the beginning.

So yes, it takes time to get used to your new body and be comfortable in it. Of course there are still going to be things you are unhappy with -- flabby upper arms and thighs, belly, whatever your particular concerns are. Losing more weight may or may not improve those. Changing your body composition (typically via strength training) may help.

As for the "high" from losing weight, I think when you get to maintenance you have to find something else to replace that. Many of us turn to fitness goals. Beating a personal best time, completing a hard race, lifting more weight than you ever have before -- these all can give you that same "high" that you had from seeing a lower number on the scale before.

You may want to try maintaining for a while and just see how it goes. You can always go back to lose more weight later.
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