Feel good ideas from the experts
in your new body
It may take adjusting
Just give your mind and body
a chance to catch up with each other
Getting comfortable with your new body takes a little adjusting. These tips will help.
The moment is different for everyone. You might notice that your fingers are thinner and your rings are loose. You might realize that a necklace sits lower on your chest. Or you might need to tighten your belt a notch in the morning. Whatever signal you get that your body is changing, it’s a welcome event. Because while you’re losing weight and getting healthy, you’re probably thrilled that you look better than ever!
But don’t be caught off guard if you experience other emotions as well. “When patients are focused on weight loss, they only think of positive aspects and assume it will solve all their problems,” explains Alexis Conason, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Manhattan and a researcher at the New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. “But it’s sometimes hard adjusting emotionally and physically to a new body.”
And even if you’re thinking, “Damn, I look great!” you might be overwhelmed when everyone from your bus driver to your sister-in-law tells you the same thing. With your closet full of oversize clothes, the thought of shopping for new ones might leave you panicked instead of excited! Some people find they are caught in a quagmire. Shed those nice warm sweaters to show of their svelte new shape. Or freeze! You’ll be shocked when you feel how good fit-for-you fashions boost your body image.
Get over that “weight loss shock” and enjoy your healthier, slimmer shape. Just give your mind and body a chance to catch up to each other.
1. Congratulate yourself on your success.
Feel good about your success. Congratulate yourself on reaching or moving toward a newer and healthier you. “Recognize what your new body can do for you,” urges Conason. “Every morning, think about one thing you’re grateful to your body for what it does for you. It can be ‘I love the way my body is strong’ or ‘I can lift a heavy weight’ or ‘I can walk up stairs without losing by breath.’ To help your muscles and skin keep up with your weight loss, help the process along by taking toning, yoga or strength training classes. As for those expensive firming creams, the jury is out on whether they work, but it can’t hurt to show your skin a little love with some essential oils and salves with a coconut oil or shea butter base as long as they aren’t replacing a walk, bike ride or whatever movement you most enjoy.
2. Prepare yourself for attention.
If you’re not used to getting attention and tend to lean toward staying in the background instead of center stage. After you shed the unwanted weight, you might feel unprepared to deal with attention. Janis Rosenberg, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Culver City, Calif. who specializes in body image, recalls treating one client who wasn’t used to well-meaning flirting from men. “After she lost weight, all the attention almost felt like an assault, so we worked on her feeling more powerful on the inside,” she says. Rosenberg suggests visualizing an inner “wise woman” who can deflect the come-ons for you: Think about what she looks like, how you feel when she is present, what words she would say to you to help you tolerate the uncomfortable moment. Over time, you’ll feel stronger inside.
3. Accept awkward compliments gracefully.
It’s hard to believe, but after a while, you might tire of friends and family remarking on your new look. After all, you’re still the same person inside. “If someone says you look better now, it can feel like they’re saying you didn’t look good before,” explains Rosenberg. Her advice: Quit taking it personally. “Wow, you lost a ton of weight!” may sound more like a backhanded compliment than a sincere one, but always assume the source has good intentions. “You’re in charge of how you take it in,” she says. If you’re uncomfortable receiving praise, Rosenberg suggests practicing by giving yourself compliments in the mirror so you get used to them. And remember that fame is fleeting. Eventually, people will get used to your slimmer shape, and you’ll become “you” again.
4. Get cozy in your skin.
Having a morning and nighttime routine that’s dedicated to being grateful is an amazing way to boost your self-love. When you wake up every morning and each night before you sleep, write down three things for which you’re grateful. It’s a beautiful way to honor yourself and your life. It’s a perfect time to say thank you to your body! The relationship you have with yourself requires nurturing, patience, and kindness. There are many ways to practice self-love, and these are just a few. Explore different methods of caring for yourself, and find what makes you feel joyous and healthy — in your mind, and body.
5. Shop your comfort zone.
You need new clothes—that’s a fact. But if shopping hasn’t been fun in a long while, you might be reluctant to head back to the dressing room. If that’s the case, go easy on yourself: As soon as you have the time and money, head to a store where you already feel comfortable and just grab a handful of smaller sizes. Then head to the dressing room. Try on everything and don’t obsess about numbers; many stores engage in their own unique “vanity sizing”—meaning you could be a size 12 at one place and a size 8 at another. Once you’re feeling bold, experiment with different clothing styles. Go ahead and try on that strapless dress you never thought you could wear. It just might look terrific now.
Every morning, think about one thing for which you’re grateful to your body.