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Author Topic: the effects of weight loss
A Flower
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Okay, so this is something that has been bothering me for a while and I wanted to put it out there on the boards to get some advice/feedback from people.

Okay, so most of my life (21 right now) I've struggled like crazy with my weight. Growing up I was always the "fat girl", the one who was always picked last for P.E., picked on by other kids and never got any attention from the opposite sex. I'm 5'2-ish and at my heaviest I was well over 200 pounds and always felt just terrible about myself whenever I have to buy clothes or looked in a mirror.

Things started to change when I got into college. It wasn't a conscious effort on my part to start taking better care of myself, it was actually the result of something terrible. A girl on my campus was attacked, a girl I knew fairly well and it scared the crap out of me, so I started going to self-defense classes three times a week; lots of safety training, kicking, learning, how to get out of holds, and such. That coupled with all the walking I had to do to get to class and that my student budget did not allow for large portions at every meal meant I started to loss weight. Skipping ahead a few years to make a long story shorter, I'm now a happy 125 and very much into being active and taking care of myself. I love running, dancing, and swimming; I'm even staring to get into kickboxing and rick-climbing and I'm really happy...mostly....

And this is were my new problem comes in. Sometime after I really started to notice my weight loss I noticed other changes to my body that were results from that weight loss that were unexpected. Namely my breasts started to really sag, leftover skin around my abs and stretch marks.

I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but these things bothered me and they still do. The stretch marks I can live with cause I know few people ever avoid them, but what weight loss did to my breasts and stomach has really become a hang-up for me. Pardon my for getting really descriptive, but I hate being barely into my twenties and having Granny Boobies (please excuse the phrase, it's all I could come up with) or the odd feeling that my skin is ever so slightly melting when I touch my lower stomach.

Yes, consciously I know and can feel that despite these changes the weight loss was totally worth it, I'm healthier and in general much happier this way; the perkiest, most gravity defying breasts on Earth are not worth diabetes (I've got a family history of it) nor is skin that snaps back like a rubber band worth the low self-esteem that comes from being "the fat one" (high school was one great big long lesson on that) and I love the feeling of being healthy and active and knowing that I'm taking care of my body (plus I love my arms and shoulders). But I still feel incredibly uncomfortable with these aspects about my appearance. I part of my really feels that at my age I should look a certain way and that the way my body is now is not the way I'm suppose to look. Feeling this way has really held me back from having a physical relationship. I keep worrying about what the other person would think, about how they would react and it just makes something inside me breakdown.

I want to get over this, I know there are somethings that can't be changed (unless you have a good plastic surgeon, which does fit into my wallet or my personal beliefs) so I know I have to learn to accept and love myself as is, but it's just so hard and I don't know how to go about doing it, it's just so hard.

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"The life you live is your own. Life was meant to be lived." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 3 | From: England and soon to be NYC | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
copper86
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I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your friend; but I want you to know that I'm really proud of you for stepping up and taking self-defence classes. And getting in shape in general - and not just for weight loss or protection against attacks, but just exercising in particular - is often a tough thing to fit into a college schedule and into a busy life, so I congratulate you for that, as well!

I completely understand what you are going through about your body. There are a few things about myself that I actually do not like at all; but I too kind of think like you do - "I have to learn to accept it" - but I think that you do not have anything to be ashamed of. You take good care of your body, you're healthy, and you have amazing stamina. Also, since we're right in the thick of things with our bodies (we can't take a neutral, objective look at them, since we're in them and they're our own), I think we can be overly critical of ourselves or make things out to be more "not attractive" than they are in actuality. I am sure that if you were walking down the street, someone would look at you and NOT think what you're thinking. As my mother always says, "You're your own worst critic!"

As far as physical relationships go, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Everyone has some detail about their bodies or personalities that they may not like; and that I think is normal. Try to think more positively of yourself; and perhaps this fear of what the other person might think would diminish a little bit. But I always think this way too - "what if I had gained a little bit of weight - would it show?" - so I really understand what you mean. But I think intimacy is a very important and personal thing; and partners who respect you will NOT think anything negative about your body.

I really hope that you are feeling better; and know again that I think you're doing a great thing by taking care of yourself. Also, I was picked on a bit in school too; so I know how that feels. Luckily, high school ends and the real world can be different! Try not to think so negatively about yourself. One thing to maybe try is to look at yourself in the mirror and pick out all the things you like about yourself; and make a list of those things. Next time you catch yourself thinking negatively about your body, remember all the things about yourself that you like.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
A Flower
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Thanks for replying, I do actually feel better. My mom has given me the same advise about being more critical of myself then anyone else. Obviously when most people first look at you they are not automatically looking for flaws and thinking "OMG her pores are huge" or "I wonder if she has cellulite or stretch marks?" LOL.

I guess it just eerks me because I really feel like I've earned the right to be proud of my body and I shouldn't let this hold me back. It's all very frustrating, but I feel better now [Smile]

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"The life you live is your own. Life was meant to be lived." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 3 | From: England and soon to be NYC | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Also, a reminder?

The way breasts look isn't actually mostly about aging. Breasts with more "droop" or less can and do happen for people of all ages, and is more about genetics than anything else. It might be that that was happening when you were larger, but it was less apparent because you had more fat on and around them.

Also, the changes to your skin that happened with weight loss would be one thing were you a couple decades older, but given your young age, it'll probably actually adjust itself in time, especially if you're good about hydrating yourself and also hydrating your skin.

But you might benefit from taking to a doctor about all these concerns so they can clue you in. Sometimes having that information can go a long way in helping a person feel better.

One last thing to add? People with any kind of emotional maturity and understanding that bodies are diverse, and people you really connect with, are likely to connect to your body just fine. In other words, your worries about the reactions of lovers is probably more projection of your own feelings about your body unto them -- and don't forget, weight loss often doesn't change body image issues, so if you had them before, you probably do still unless you did work, emotional work, on that, too -- than what others who like you will think.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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WesLuck
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Yes, I learned that too from these boards - weight loss doesn't magically stop making you worry about your body image. I unfortunately was initially unhelpful in a certain thread, but I got in the right groove by the end of the thread. [Smile]

[ 06-10-2012, 06:37 PM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

Posts: 540 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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