Self-confidence and body image after significant weight loss

Logic (or maybe it's the pressures of society influencing how you think) that when you lose 60+ kg your self-confidence should sky rocket. Well it may surprise you to know that my self-confidence is probably lower than ever in some ways. This is not something I expected. How can you anticipate that "looking better" will make you feel worse?

I'm not complaining. I love my new body and new look in so many ways. As long as I'm wearing clothes. Standing naked in front of a mirror (I still try to avoid this at all costs) is a whole other story. For one thing, without clothes on I still see the old me who weighed 140kg. You may not believe me but there are plenty of days where I can't even tell the difference. That is until I go back and look at those photos in my underwear that no one else will ever lay eyes on. Then I can see the difference. Even then though, I don't necessarily think I look better.

Now, I can look at myself with clothes on and think I look good. I am happy with how I look. Well most of the time. Sadly, I'm still highly critical of myself at times. But I can definitely see the difference. And don't get me wrong it's not all about how I look, it's mostly about how I feel and knowing how much healthier I am, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't wanting to look a certain way.

My body has changed so much over the last 18 months, inside and out. Part of it is that my mind still hasn't caught up with the physical changes. I've gone from constantly having to assess every situation I'm in, (such as wondering am I the biggest person in the room, will I fit in that space, how does everyone else see me, what will they think if I eat or don't eat that), to not needing to but still thinking this way. I'm still cautious getting on a trampoline (always asking myself what the maximum weight it could hold is), wondering if I'll be turned away from a ride because I'm too heavy, sitting down cautiously on the new shoe rack and bench I just put together. Even now when my chair is squeaking at work I wonder if it's because I'm too heavy. I think once you've been in that frame of mind you really struggle to change it.

Every time I try on a new outfit or walk into a room with new people, I'm wondering what they see and what they think of me. I still think they are seeing me as and judging me as the fat girl. I go out with friends and think that others look at us and see me as the fat, funny or nice friend. It is unfathomable to me that a guy might look at me and think I was cute, or God forbid sexy. I still assume no one will be interested in me, and if they are, I wonder what's wrong with them.

I'm riddled with self-confidence issues, but I'm great at faking it. I don't think many people would look at me and realise that. I can pretty much go and make conversation with anyone. I'm a good listener and great at asking questions and making people feel at ease. You may or may not have noticed I spend a lot of time asking how you are and what's going on with you (a few people who I feel very comfortable with are the exception). This leaves people coming away from our interactions feeling good, like I'm a people person (and in many ways I am) and that I'm fairly confident. The confident part is an act. I know that most of my life I've been judged based on appearances and that a lot of the time it won't have been "favourable". I was once kicked out of a friend's wedding because of how I looked. Even as a kid I was overweight, the majority of my life I have been overweight. It has left me with lots of self-confidence issues. I'm trying to improve them.

A lot of it is internal. I compare myself to other people, and wonder how I appear to others. Is that how people see me? I'm not judging anyone else but I assume people are judging me. I honestly do try to look at what's on the inside of everyone else. Someone's amazing personality can make them the most beautiful person in the world. Someone who treats others badly instantly becomes hideous to me. Yet I don’t give myself the same consideration.

As I said before, I'm single. And one of the really daunting things post weight loss (well not done yet so let's say during weight loss) is the thought of dating. In this regard my self-confidence is lower than ever. Prior to losing the weight, what you saw was what you got. You could look at me with clothes on and have a rough idea of what you would be getting yourself into. If you were attracted to me with my clothes on then chances were you would be without them. Now I feel like I'm hiding a massive secret, because the way I look with clothes on is nothing like when I take them off. I honestly can't even bear the thought of getting that far with someone now. I think it would be the most vulnerable I've ever felt, and those of you who know me, know how much I hate to feel vulnerable.

Here's the honest truth, after losing 60kg I don't look how I wish I did. I'm never going to look good in a bikini, I've killed off, and buried very deep that dream. Loose skin is an issue, but I'm not done yet so I can't do anything about that. Maybe one day. Clothes can hide so much, and I do like how I look in clothes. I can't help but wish that was reflected in the mirror when the clothes are gone. Would someone still be attracted to me when I don't even like how I look naked? I feel like I'm deceiving people on this front and will be judged if it ever comes to anyone seeing me like that. I guess though, it will be a great test, a way to find someone who likes me for who I am under all of the outer shell, someone who sees me and appreciates me for who I really am underneath.

I know people who wear their new body as a badge of honour, showing what they have gone through and what they have achieved in their weight loss journey. I admire that. My self-confidence issues so far won't let me get to that point, but I hope I do. I really did think losing the weight would be the magic bullet, that it would be the thing that made me feel good about myself and to love myself. And some days it does. None of that has changed who I am as a person though. I am still kind, thoughtful, supportive, fun, and probably some other things too. These are the things that matter. I'm trying to learn to love myself as I am. I'll keep working on it.

Has it been worth it, the weight loss? Totally. I wouldn't change a thing in my journey, and I'm learning so much about myself along the way. I am worth so much more than just what I see in the mirror.

I always thought my self-confidence would be much higher when I looked how I do now


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