Psychological Effects of weight loss
Losing pounds and becoming a healthy weight is undoubtedly good for your physical health. Your risk of a whole host of diseases is reduced for a start.
Many people feel fantastically proud to have achieved their . They have extra vitality, better self-esteem and a renewed zest for life.
For others though there appears to be a weight loss backlash where negative emotions can creep in.
1. It doesn’t always make you happier
Weight loss doesn’t always make us feel great emotionally.
A study of almost 2, 000 people in the UK in 2014 who were overweight or obese found the participants that actually lost weight were unhappier in the longer term than those who remained within 5% of their starting weight.
Four years on they were in better physical shape but didn’t have a benefit from weight loss as they were less likely to be .
2. You may feel more vulnerable
Once you have lost weight you are physically slighter so can feel more vulnerable. As a bigger person you had a larger presence, which may have given you a degree of emotional protection. You could also hide behind your extra flesh, but with the weight gone you can feel more exposed.
"For some people, especially those with low self-esteem, carrying extra weight can feel like having an emotional 'buffer' which can feel protective, as if others don't really see or know the real person. When weight is lost, so is this 'buffer', which can leave the person feeling emotionally exposed and vulnerable, " says chartered psychologist Dr Rose Aghdami.
3. You don’t like the attention
Some people hide behind their weight. When you lose it you may not like the fact that people comment on your physical appearance and tell you how good you look. You may get more attention from the opposite sex at your new weight, which can be difficult to deal with.
You may experience a change in society’s attitude to you if you have lost a lot of weight. If you’ve been morbidly obese you may have been generally ignored or even passed over for promotion at work perhaps. When you are slim you become more visible.
"Losing weight can mean the person faces unfamiliar and, for them, unpredictable reactions from others, " says Dr Aghdami. "Many people prefer to stay within their comfort zone, knowing what to expect, so being seen as a slimmer person can seem welcome but at the same time it can be unfamiliar, and therefore challenging."
4. You may become self-absorbed
When you’ve worked hard to lose weight, understandably you are proud and happy with your new body. You may buy new, smaller clothes to show it off, have a new hairstyle or change your image entirely. When you lose weight you may go out more socially and want to show off your new image. Your focus may be more on yourself and your achievements.