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Struggling To Overcome A Lifetime Of Bad Messages

Saturday, January 05, 2019

I'm having a hard time.. I have lost 61lbs now, and am only 4 lbs away from hitting my original goal. But I am very sad about what's happened to my body. And I'll be honest, I'm feeling really insecure. I wish I never got sick and added all these lbs with medications and metabolic problems. I wish I could have just kept the body and the skin I had before I got sick.

After starting the dessicated thyroid, I was averaging about 4lbs per month loss, which is lightning fast for me! But then, last month, I only lost 1 lb, and it was excruciatingly difficult to lose even that. I did my very best to lose a 2nd, but I just couldn't get there. And then, despite working out around the clock and being very careful about what and how much I ate, I started to gain weight. And I don't think it was muscle, because clothes got tighter and it didn't look better. So in very rapid time, I gained about 7 lbs! I was having hormonal issues. Maybe it was also water weight. I know I was under a tremendous amount of stress in the other areas of my life. But it freaked me out.

Because in looking at my body now, it is apparent that rather than losing 4 lbs to goal, I really need to lose more like 15, or possibly even 20. The fat percentage of my body seems much higher than when I was healthy at this same weight. And I just think, I don't know if I can ever get there. And it makes me sad, because I have worked so hard for 3 years, and I just wanted that shred of my identity back.

I don't want to discourage anyone who is on a journey of losing a large amount of weight. But in my case, the massive gain, and then loss, has damaged things. I am in my late 30s now. I left an abusive marriage, and have been single and sick for a number of years. Now that I am seeing some progress in my health (but not cured) I wonder if perhaps it is not too late to one day actually try to be in a relationship again. But, my last partner was so hyper critical of me and my body, and it was a pretty great body! I was in good shape, and thin, and curvy in the right places... and short of just wanting a completely different type of person, I don't see what else I could have done to improve myself. But all those words are still in my head. And before I got sick, I looked BETTER naked than I did with clothes... but now we have crossed to the other side, where the clothes are flattering because they cover all the stretched skin and misshapen-ness of lumps and cellulite that I never had before.

(This bothers me particularly because all that time I looked great, I was criticizing myseIf, and I was very conservative so never showed any skin to anyone, until I got with my ex. And that was the only person I showed my body to. Now I'm older and less conservative, and in a place where people wear very little, and now that I want to wear less clothing too, I feel like I missed my chance to feel good about my body! And I feel a lot more judged, because being single I'd have to start from scratch impressing strangers, who will only judge based on the body/face first if they even want to get to know you better. I feel like I am living life backwards!)

My inner thighs, particularly, shrunk down and just hung and got discolored by the change I guess... the look reminds me of elephant skin. My outer thighs are lumpy. Behind my legs is now a bunch of cellulite so I don't want to wear shorts. My butt is not a recognizable shape. This just does not look like my body to me. It looks in my mind like someone else who is some 30 or 40 years older than I.

Plus, weirdly, my knees seem to have significantly weakened with the weight loss. I never had knee problems, even when I was officially obese. But now that I am officially in the "healthy" BMI category, my knees hurt every time I try to do anything with them! They feel like they are separating from themselves... maybe a loss of cartilage. I don't know, just another problem I didn't want to deal with that is slowing me down.

I always looked very young, had tight skin, had a good amount of muscle mass... the kinds of things you don't think about when you're young and in shape, because you're so used to it it's just normal life for you, and instead spend all your time comparing yourself to other young in-shape people, and noticing how in so many ways you're not as attractive as they are. But now, all I want is that old, not-good-enough self back! lol I'm sure many older women relate. I remember my mother at one point before she passed looking at a picture of herself, and saying, "I was so miserable, I always thought I was so fat! I WISH I could be that size again!" But I was a kid and was tiny, so I didn't really know what she was talking about. I was like, just work out if you want to be smaller! Ah, but I have her same genetics, and I see that it's not that simple when you're older and sick, and have a larger curvy frame to start with.

So I don't know. Being single for so long, and living in a remote place so I don't meet a lot of people who could be real dating prospects, now I feel horrified at the idea of being unclothed in front of someone ever again! I'd like to think if they liked me, they'd get over it. But, I can't get over it myself. When I look at my body, I feel physically nauseous. It does not look healthy to me. I didn't even get to have a kid yet, to justify all the changes.

All these years of being sick have caught up with me. And I no longer have this cool career and tons of energy at least to compensate with. I am a very loving, affectionate person, and I still have some intelligence left, but I don't really have anything else to offer someone in a romantic relationship. And so I'm sure for many people, losing weight is not only about health, but also about attractiveness to others, and value in society. And I just didn't expect that the smaller I got, the fatter I would look! At least when I was fat, all the skin was stretched taut and I looked oddly healthier and like I had better shape for my size. I just looked fat. But now that I'm less, I see that my face is kind of hanging for the first time in my life, and I feel like I need to cover up a lot more in a hot climate, because I'm embarrassed about how I look with more skin showing. For the first time, I actually am starting to wonder if I want to move back to a cold climate so I can wear more clothes! And that is when I know things are really bad, lol, because all I ever wanted in my life was to live eternally in the heat and humidity and blazing sunshine! :)

So I guess this sounds like a bit of a whinefest. But I'm just having a hard day. And those come sometimes with this journey. I see that I have a very high standard for myself, and the perfectionism hasn't really gone away... so I don't really allow room for myself to change, to get older, or to do things in a different way. I thought by this age I would have an incredible career, live in an amazing place, have a stable relationship, and have kids - because 10 years ago I was absolutely on track to do all of those things. And now, I don't have any of it, because I made a very bad choice in who to give my heart and my life to. And ultimately it cost me my health, my career, my finances, my friends, and my body shape. I did not value myself enough to realize that if I did not demand more of the people who took up my time in this short life, they could actually suck out all the energy and health and ability that I took for granted, and I could be left with nothing.

On the one hand, I am enormously grateful to be alive. A few years ago, when I was dying in the hospital, that alone seemed like an impossibility. But like, I also wanted to live for something - to be able to enjoy my time while breathing! And so far, although I see a lot of improvement, I just don't have the energy to make new friends, get my career back, much less then add a romance and eventual family life to that. And realistically, I don't have a ton of time left for the family part of it at this age, which makes me sad. When I was in my early 20s, I had a lot of time to start over, so I think I was not so concerned with making a mistake in the relationship department. I thought, "Well, this is what I want right now, and if it doesn't work out, oh well, I'll just start again." But starting again at nearly 40 is very different from doing so at 24! Particularly for a woman. I should have left when I first had the inkling to, back when I was 22 years old and still had plenty of time to reinvent my life. But I was too stubborn, and also afraid, to leave. Instead of leaving, I got married soon after, and further entrenched myself in disaster. Because everybody around me was pushing me to do it, and I was nothing if not a people pleaser. I stupidly thought things would get better if I just worked hard enough. But there are 2 people in a relationship, not just one.

I just don't want my body to hold me back now, in my career, in my social life, in enjoyment of life, in any of the things I choose to do with it. But I still feel too sick every day to do very much. And without any family, and fewer close friends than I once had, I worry that this life is going to be more and more unsustainable as I age, and start to have the new medical issues that come with aging. If it is this hard to manage in my late 30s, how will I handle anything if I am lucky enough to live into my 60s? How will I manage if I have no career money to fall back on, no family, no solid local friend network, and probably the dating scene will be even more limited?

Maybe I'm thinking too far ahead. Maybe things will get better by then. But I've been sick almost a decade now, and when you feel like you're dying every single day, it's hard to enjoy life! Is it really so awful that in the midst of everything else in my life not working, I might want to look super hot to compensate? :) I think life owes me at least that much! lol

So yeah, I better be one of these pin-up grannies or Masters bodybuilders or something when I get older! Or set some kind of records for sporting events when I'm in my 60s, or 70s, or 80s! I feel like I'm wasting a ton of time - all my 30s which was supposed to be the most productive I spent just lying in bed trying to keep breathing. I want to be ridiculously successful when I'm old to make up for it. If I could just have my energy back, I would give anything!

And yeah, if you also want to take away my cellulite and sagging skin at that point, I won't complain! :)

On The Plus Side:

I fit into smaller clothes now. I want to be appreciative of that, in this long rant of things that are not going right! I still want to be a bit smaller, but I am average size now. Just very flabby for my size. And this illness is making muscle building nearly impossible at this point. I am considering further increasing my protein intake, but I don't want to overtax my kidneys. I suspect too that I might be taking too much thyroid medication, because I am sweating a lot, and clearly rather irritable if this post is any indication. And that could be actually a reason for the weight stall. But I really didn't want to try lowering the medication until I at least hit the first goal, because I feel like I'm in such a hurry for a win, so I can feel more confident. And then at least if all I do is maintain, I'll be able to accept that reality a little better. I just can't afford labs to find out if I am in fact now hyperthyroid or not, so I just have to guess. Overall, I do feel like I have a bit more energy than before I started them, so that is still really positive.

February is my 3rd anniversary of joining this site. So I hope I have some good improvements to report by then! I know my body reacts badly to stress, so it is very possible all this happened because I had a bunch of really bad luck in row, which financially nearly put my out of my house. So now that crisis has temporarily been averted, and things are a bit more stable going into this next week, hopefully that will reflect in my body's progress!

Just Needed To Vent:

In any event, I think this rant kind of helped me to calm down. I am very surprised to find that my insecurity seems to have INCREASED with the weight loss, rather than getting better. I think it's bringing up a lot of very old things for me. When I was last at this weight, I was trying to overcome anorexia so had reached the same number from GAINING a significant amount, and my ex was very vocal about the fact that it rendered me utterly unattractive and unlovable.

So is it any wonder that now, not having been with anyone else since that time, I am at the same weight but with lower muscle mass, plus 10 years older and with none of the great career I had then, and I'm freaking out that I'm not good enough and no one I want, will want me! The person I loved most in the world said a better version of this body was not good enough... not even to love as a human being (regardless of whether I no longer met the expected level of physical attractiveness as a partner), which I thought was very harsh. It still hurts today. Because I want to feel happy about reaching this weight. I am normal sized. I could lose more and still be healthy, but I am decent sized. All I want is to be happy about that. And this person - who frankly wasn't even as attractive as me by conventional standards, if we want to talk superficialities - ruined it for me. And I'll be honest, I don't really know how to get over it. Because the majority of the people in my life, starting from my parents, to my bosses, and even a number of my friends, all heaped on the criticism of nearly everything I worked hard to be. And that was before I got sick and lost everything, including my contact with most people. My body is just one of the many things that was not good enough. And now when someone says something nice, I don't believe them.

And now when I want to love and value myself for who and where I am in this moment, despite illness and many physical limitations, I'm not really sure how. I really want to believe I'm worth something. Even if the people I called my family members in the past, one after the other, didn't think so.

I am not surprised my immune system collapsed under the weight of all this, but I think I need to overcome it, if I want it to start to be able to heal itself. The best I can do at this point, is be brave enough to try. To start questioning, if maybe everything I have ever heard from the people around me, is wrong. To start wondering if perhaps I had more value all along, than people who spend their lives trying to tear others down.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I didn't read the whole post, (it's a lot) but I will come back to it later on another day, just other stuff to do right now, but it sounds like you are conflating 3 things, because they are all located in the locus of your body: health+disease; aging; losing weight. PLUS there is stuff about your ex & change about being less restrictively conservative AND moving. Those are a lot of different issues. They will sort themselves out with time, it just happens.

    As to loose skin...EVEN fit 30-year-olds don't have their 20-year-old skin...skin looses some elasticity. BUT the good news, you do get some of elasticity back, some of it literally takes time*...if you read the 100 pound+ weight loss articles on spark, especially the comments, even areas like the area under the arms ('wings'), with time, WILL spring back somewhat, even in your 50s & 60s. (I'm COUNTING on that, lol).
    *For example, geologically, the state of MI is STILL springing back from the last ice age's glacial weight on it...it rebounds about an some fraction of an inch a year....

    Also, if someone is judging your body negatively, & doesn't want to get to KNOW who you are, they aren't worth sleeping with, and probably suck in the sack anyway, because they aren't a deep & creative enough thinker to judge beyond externalities, shallow measurements. (I speak from experience!) ttyl
    744 days ago
    You have a lot going on - in your life, and in this blog.

    Keep in mind that fast weight loss often doesn't give our skin enough time to shrink adequately. I don't remember the ration, but skin definitely takes a while to shrink to fit our new bodies. Exercising helps. I think drinking water helps. And I would guess fruits and vegs help.

    There are a number of articles here at SparkPeople on ways to help shrink skin after weight loss - can't list them all here. But if you do a search for "how to shrink skin", you'll get a list of them.

    Hope all of that helps. And keep remembering that you've lost about 50 lbs - that's phenomenal!!!!!
    748 days ago
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