One of the most interesting – and exciting, to be honest – side effects of weight loss is having the opportunity to adapt to a new body.
After losing so much weight, it feels like everything is different. Your face changes, your hands and wrists change, your hips change, your feet and shoes change… everything is different, and you’ve got to get used to it. Quickly.
Entering into my journey, I had major body image issues. I wasn’t a fan of looking at myself in the mirror because, now that I can finally admit it, I wasn’t excited by what I saw. I wasn’t excited by my figure, because I knew I wanted to lose weight and didn’t know how, so I spent as little time as possible dwelling on it. When I looked in the mirror, I knew what I’d be seeing. No reason to gawk at it every day.
It took a long time for me to get over that, and an even longer time to understand why that was the case, but I’ve learned better, now. Here are a few important tips for figuring out how to adapt to a changing body, and learn to love your new physique:
1) As your face is changing, the way you will put on your makeup should change. That means, as your face thins out, the arch in your eyebrows will be too wide, and you’ll need to shrink them. You won’t need to use as much blush. You may even need to put your eye shadow on differently. I had to treat myself. I went to a professional makeup artist, and had him teach me how to give my new face the looks I liked best. It helped make it easier for me to transition into my new body while leaving the old baggage behind.
2) I invested in a full length mirror, and I put it in a very present spot in my house: the bathroom. Step out of the shower and admire my hard work, and encourage myself to keep going! Not only because I may have more work to do, but because only hard work will maintain what I’ve earned through hard work.
3) I bought new clothes (yes, clothes other than my “progress dress”) that could be easily tailored as I shrunk down, and I bought proper undergarments for them. Pants with clean lines, wrap dresses, blouses in bright-but-solid colors, skirts with simple shapes… all of which became staples in my wardrobe. Slips and underdresses helped me invest more in my appearance – smoothing everything out, making everything look neat and “proper.” I, of course, wanted to be healthy, but after I got past the point of health, I wanted my body to look the way I wanted it to look. Now that I knew I had the ability to change it myself, I felt more comfortable investing in it in that way.
4) I even changed my hair – I figured, hell, if my body can look differently, so can my hair. I had the opportunity for a complete reinvention, and I took it. Short and cropped soon turned into big and fluffy, and I rocked it happily.
The fun thing about weight loss is that you don’t always know what’s going to turn up looking differently, next. One month, it was my tummy, the next month, my arms… next, my thighs and hips. I felt encouraged to embrace my body because I no longer felt like a runaway train – I could manage my weight, and be excited about it and what came from it.
Any person who dives into a weight loss journey headfirst should do so with an element of self-exploration in mind. You can learn a lot about yourself, if you do it the right way, and you can have plenty of exciting experiences of your own, too. Losing weight can be challenging, but if you treat yourself with love and care, your body will thank you for it!
Erika Nicole Kendall is the writer behind the award winning blog, A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, where she blogs her journey of losing over 150lbs. A trainer certified in women’s fitness, fitness nutrition and weight loss coaching, you can hit her up on Facebook and Twitter.