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When the "new you" becomes the "new normal": Then, what?



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I'm at goal now and reveling in the compliments, the stellar labs, the fashionable clothes, and all the benefits that come with dramatic weight loss.

I know, of course, that will all die down as this "new me" becomes the "new normal." People will just expect that I'm no longer fat. I'll get used to being a smaller size. Life will be about maintenance with fewer "victories."

Those of you who have been in maintenance for awhile, how did you handle the transition? What keeps you focused and motivated when you no longer have the external validation? Have you found it to be difficult?

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Good question, and I've never really thought about that. I'm almost four years since surgery, and at this point my healthy eating habits are essentially second nature. I've completely changed the way I eat and think about food, and I no longer think about how much Protein I need every day or about avoiding carbs and sugar. (During the first year after surgery, I couldn't imagine that I would ever get to this point.).

The people that knew me when I was fat say that they no longer think of me as that person and are used to me looking the way I do now. Even I am shocked when I see my "before" pictures, and I no longer relate to that person. I'd say that this is not the "new" normal--it's just normal.

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1 minute ago, Recidivist said:

Even I am shocked when I see my "before" pictures, and I no longer relate to that person.

I'm just 10 months post-op, and I feel the same way. I don't recognize that person. Others say the same thing. Even though I have been fat basically my whole life, this "new" me feels more like the "real" me.

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1 hour ago, losinglosinglosing said:

Have you found it to be difficult?

Not really. The only thing that's sometimes difficult to manage now and then are the "I'm feeling fat" days.

However, I don't believe in an "old me" and "new me". Of course we all change and evolve as time goes by (or hopefully we do) but the distinction between an "old me" (usually the fat one with all the undesirable and bad attributes) and the "new me" (usually the now thin, "good" one) can IMO be problematic if not to say quite toxic.

Quote

Those of you who have been in maintenance for awhile, how did you handle the transition? What keeps you focused and motivated when you no longer have the external validation?

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "transition" so I can't say anything in regards to this.

Regarding the focus and motivation: why would you need that? After reaching a normal BMI you most likely have already settled into a lifestyle that enables you to maintain your weight (and hopefully health) and there should be no need to have to keep any special focus or motivation. That's something you need when you're white-knuckling something. The slight vigilance you might most likely need to maintain your weight (and I personally know practically no one who doesn't need that past a certain age so I don't consider it something "WLS-specific", mind you) should not be something that drains your energy significantly. If it does, maybe have an honest talk with yourself why that is.

The feeling of "being thin" though has in fact the potential to vanish into thin air. That's when the "I'm having a fat day" can settle in. As I said that's something I tend to struggle with.

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Good question but no real difference here either. With the exception that when I buy clothes, I often think I need a bigger size. That's my own perception (or deception). Through the years though, I have found it interesting that no one seems to remember I was exceptionally heavy until they see an old picture. I avoided the camera when I was over 300 so those are far and few between. My first surgery was 2008 so it's been awhile since they saw me heavy. I stayed around 150/160ish the past 10 plus years. I do remember I was glad when the questions stopped. I never liked the extra attention.

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6 hours ago, losinglosinglosing said:

Life will be about maintenance with fewer "victories."

I think the victories continue but in different areas. You may now have the mental space to focus on other things besides weight loss and that itself can be liberating.
I’ve seen some amazing posts where people are climbing literal mountains, changing careers, running marathons, having children, traveling, beginning or finishing school, becoming novice mechanics (me), starting to date, ending suboptimal marriages, buying homes, etc. The new victories are countless.

Congratulations and Good luck ❤️

Edited by GreenTealael

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Honestly, the thing that keeps me here is that I never, ever want to be morbidly obese again. NEVER! Everything is so much better now!

I don't know that I'd say it's necessarily difficult, but I know I will have to monitor my weight and my eating for the rest of my life so the pounds don't creep up.

Edited by catwoman7

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Just maintaining has become it’s own reward for me. After years of seeing the scale go back up every single time I lost weight, actually keeping a fairly stable weight makes me feel great & keeps me motivated.

While it’s really nice to have people comment on your weight loss & how great you look now, it’s true they don’t happen as often as the years pass. It”s why the little things that happen & remind me of what I can do now which I wouldn’t or couldn’t before are more important to me. (Though I can’t say someone telling me I’m slim, need a smaller size or similar doesn’t make me glow with happiness I am a vain human.) Most recently, jumping on a trampoline with my young nieces & nephew at Christmas was a reminder of what I’ve achieved & why I did it. It might be things like realising or reminding yourself you’re more confident in how you hold yourself, dress, makeup or hair styles or in how you interact with others. It could be a physical achievement like how far you can run or cycle. Or life changes you’ve made - gone back to school, changed careers, dating, etc. These are the sort of things that remind me that the surgery & subsequent changes i’ve made have been so worth it.

Personally I don’t want to forget where I was because it helps me appreciate where I am now more. And yes, I continue to be careful about what & how much I eat & weigh myself several times a week. It keeps me on track & honest. The main battle may be over but I need to remain vigilant of possible stealth attacks from my own head: old habits, complacency, etc.

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I am enjoying the different way strangers treat me now. On a recent crowded, train journey, I was invited to sit by people and was smiled at. Its great to feel normal.

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Maybe I'm in the minority, but at 3 years out I still struggle sometimes with my image of self - I often "feel" like the biggest person in a room even though I know I'm not. It seems to be exacerbated when I don't do the self-care things like regular exercise or eating well. When I'm in routine with exercise and healthy meals my mind set seems to settle and I just think less about my weight than I ever have.

Having said that, I just started a new job and it is a mind trip that they will never know the obese me I was for most of my life.

Lori

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