After a significant weight loss, the relationship to the body is often complicated and depression can point its nose. But why is it so difficult to feel comfortable in this new body, when the goal has been achieved? In reality, it is not enough to lose weight to feel thin in your head. When you have built yourself on an image of a very plump woman, it takes time to tame a new reflection, regain self-confidence and accept a new identity.
Andréa, 52 years old, 60 kg: “Sport has helped me to express my emotions”
4 years ago, following a gastric sleeve, I lost 60 kg, half of my former weight. In my head, I imagined my body relieved of many kilos as “pretty”. Only, after several months, I found myself faced with a deformed body, distended skin, a lot of surgical alterations to do, eating habits to rehabilitate… I was very depressed. I wondered why I had chosen to inflict this on myself: I felt even worse than before. My family and friends encouraged me, but not in the right way. I would have liked to be pitied, but they were virulent and direct, telling me to make an effort, that I had to know what I wanted… My couple also began to waver. I couldn’t stand my spouse looking at me, touching me. My body disgusted me even more than before. I had an abdominoplasty, but that didn’t fix everything. It took me a long time to learn to accept myself again. I’m starting to appreciate my new image, less hiding behind baggy clothes. Sport particularly helped me to externalize these negative emotions that overwhelmed me.
The psychologist’s opinion
Like many people, Andréa focused on the nutritional and mechanical aspects of the operation, experienced as a miracle cure. She neglected the psychological dimension of weight loss: the construction of a new body image does not evolve as quickly as the weight. This discrepancy between her expectations and her final satisfaction plunged her into a severe depression. Not to mention that society values weight loss: her relatives did not understand what emotions she was going through. Rebirth takes time. Andréa would do well to turn to activities that put her back in touch with her body (dance, yoga, self-massage) to make her body image evolve more easily in her mind.
Elisabeth, 54 years old, 58 kg: “I regained confidence thanks to a support group”
In my family, everyone is chubby… As a child, I didn’t suffer from it, but as an adult, I had many periods when I was not well, especially when I reached over 90 kg… There were At three years old, accompanied by a nutritionist, I managed to lose 35 kg. A victory. Except that for two and a half years, I had a hard time accepting this thin body. When I saw my reflection in a shop window, I didn’t recognize myself. These new curves, these new expressions, it was not me. I was also destabilized by these emotions which arose without warning. One day, I was angry, one day, I was sad… Every time someone complimented me, I got offended by telling myself that I must have been really ugly before to be congratulated so much. My self-esteem was fading along with the pounds, it was paradoxical… Relationships with others became complicated. I was no longer the smiling girl who made everyone laugh. Seeing me diving, a friend invited me to a discussion group. I realized that it was going to take longer than expected to regain my self-confidence: the way I had built myself with this weight all my life influenced my relationships, I had to relearn everything… Today, I go a lot better.
The psychologist’s opinion
When you come from a round family, the weight is something of identity. There is a conflict of loyalty in wanting to lose weight: you feel like you are betraying your loved ones, at the same time as you lose the benchmarks on which you have built yourself. The weight loss has brought out unknown, disturbing emotions in Elisabeth. When you’re plump, you also compensate with humor, to exist outside the “showcase” of weight. Elisabeth had to reinvent herself. It goes through a period of weakness. She had to understand herself to be able to accept what her loved ones sent back to her. If she continues to work on what this weight loss brings her, she will be able to ignore the gaze of others.