This article is dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight, or knows someone who has. This article is a straightforward and real glimpse into the ugly side of beauty. You may be entertained, shocked, or simply relate and recognize yourself in one of these vignettes.
A little background about myself first. After losing a significant amount of weight myself, I became a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. Very quickly, I became extremely successful and busy with more clients than I imagined. Aside from the fact that people loved the results they were seeing, they loved that I had been on a similar journey and was able to listen and empathize with them. This article could really be a whole big book. It is based on years of stories from hundreds of women of all shapes, all sizes, all saying the same thing, that they will never feel fully happy and content in their own bodies, no matter how far they’ve come. Read on to learn some of the common phenomenon and struggles these women go through:
MY BEST FRIEND (OR WORST ENEMY), THE SCALE
On my diet plan, the rule is that you are not allowed to weigh yourself more than once a week. I do this because on most women’s daily plan is to weigh themselves every single day and play what I call “The scale game”. The scale game consists of trying your luck in different outfits, at different times of the day, even moving the scale to different parts of the room, all in hopes of getting a better result.
WHAT WILL I EAT FOR LUNCH? (thought about during breakfast),
WHAT ABOUT AT THAT WEDDING? (thought about a month ahead).
These are constant thoughts that run through a dieter’s mind. It is all about the next meal, or the next big event, or the next holiday. This could be a great thing as it helps people be in control of their meals. Or it could take over an entire family’s life. I once got a call from a frantic husband telling me that his wife has gone nuts and that it is my fault. When I calmed him down, he explained that ever since I told her she should plan her meals ahead of time, she has been making lists for Chanukah, Purim, and Pesach (this was July time).
IS SHE SKINNIER THAN ME?
In one of my classes recently, I noticed a usually happy (and very thin) lady looking worried and glancing nervously to the sides. When we lay down to do floor work, she lay down next to me and whispered: “Tell me honestly, is she thinner than me?”. Shocked, I realized she was referring to a new (also very thin) lady who had joined my classes recently. I reassured her that they were both very thin but she was not content. She absolutely needed to know that she was thinner.
THE FEAR OF… ONE DAY WITHOUT EXERCISE.
For people who lost weight with diet and exercise combined, often exercise becomes a major part of their daily routine. I know people who rather than skipping a workout because all the kids are home from school, will run up and down their one flight of stairs 100 times. One of my clients who was extremely disciplined to exercise every day went running close to midnight every night after her very own Sheva Brochos.
NOT BELIEVING COMPLIMENTS
In my gym, I often overhear a lady complimenting another lady saying something like “Wow! You look great. You lost tons of weight/inches”! Almost always, the response is something like “Nah, I’m just wearing black”, or “There was a fast day this week, that’s why”. Meanwhile I had personally measured and weighed the woman receiving the compliment and know for a fact (and so does she) just how much weight and inches she’s lost. And no, this is not a trait of humbleness either. When these same women are complimented on their cooking, or houses, or jewelry, they proudly smile and say “Thank you.”
FEELING LIKE AN IMPOSTER IN YOUR OWN BODY
I remember the first time ever that I was officially a size “small”. I went shopping, and the saleslady asked what is my size so she can help find the garment I was looking at in the correct size. I took a long moment and then finally said “Uh, small”. I waited for her to laugh, roll her eyes, and look me over with disbelief… something to show that she knew I was a lying skinny wannabe. But she did none of those. She simply went ahead and got me a size small to try on. It’s almost like the first time I wheeled a stroller on the street. I thought the whole world was completely aware that I was a brand new mom and had no clue what I was doing. However, as everyone passed by without so much as a second glance, I began to realize that hey, maybe I fit into my new role quite well.
THE RACE FOR PERFECTION… BUT IS THERE AN END?
It’s always the same scenario. A client comes in and says “I’d like to work on my stomach (or back, legs, arms….) this is the body part I am not happy with. I say “No problem”. So we work on it. Within some time, the client says “Wow, I really love how my stomach looks now, however, I’ve been noticing my arms (or a new body part never mentioned before) and would love to work on that”. I say again “No problem”, and so the cycle continues. I am always newly amazed by this phenomenon. It never fails and I have seen people go down more sizes than my age and still say that.
WILLING TO TRY ANYTHING
If there is a new video promising to make you sweat like never before, you buy it. A new piece of equipment comes out, you order it immediately. Any new health shake, supplement bar, tea, or vitamin that claims to do the trick and you’re hooked. This is a common trend I see amongst women who normally, in their regular lives make clear and rational researched decisions. I had a very mature and logical client tell me once that she’d do “anything” for a flat stomach. Jokingly, I asked “Even eat a turtle?” She looked at me completely seriously and asked “Alive or dead?”.