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The Emotions of Change

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Honestly, I never expected so many changes when I decided to take my life back.  Oh sure, I expected to get skinner, but that is where my thought process stopped.  I am not sure I expected or even understood the “healthier” aspect of it all yet.  I’d set out to lose some weight and wouldn’t you know that I lost a ton of baggage as well.  Who knew there were emotions involved with this journey, NOT ME!

I remember being about 20 pounds into my journey and my boss asked me if I had lost some weight.  It shocked me initially that anybody had noticed.  Then I was filled with pride that someone had noticed.  I used that one very quick two minute conversation as motivation to keep going.  Like a lot of people, my weight loss started at my face and worked its way down.   My wife noticed some emotional changes already as I instantly became more pleasant to be around.  I was really pushing myself more than I had in years to be active, and it brought me joy.  By the end of the first four weeks, I was obsessed with fitness and was walking at least twice a day, typically more.  

The first four months of my journey was amazing. I remember the day in March that I called my dad and told him I’d found something I hadn’t seen for a number of years.  He asked me what that was and my response was, “my feet.”  I could look down and see my feet!  I could sit on my stool, bend over and tie my shoes with my foot flat on the floor!  No longer did I have to struggle to pull my leg up and cross it over my other knee.  No longer did I have to tie my shoe strings on the side because that’s the best I could do. I could tie my shoes right in the middle and I was proud of that! There were frustrating moments too.  I remember one trip to buy new pants.  I had lost about 55 pounds at this point and had not purchased any new clothes.  I looked like a vagabond my clothes were so baggy. I was wearing 38-40 and thought that I should now fit into 34s.  The 34s were still just a little tight. I look at the store clerk and said, “WHY can’t I fit into these 34s yet?  I’m so upset that these don’t fit, you just don’t understand.”  Then I apologized and explained my situation.  I remember my wife explaining to me that most of the weight I had lost was above the beltline. The weight loss hadn’t made it to my waist yet.  I left the store wearing my 38-40s and frustrated.  I had set myself up to buy 34s and didn’t want to settle for 36s.  Yep, I was still wearing baggy pants. 

Remember that song, ”Pants on the Ground”?  Well, I wasn’t far from that. 

When we set out to change our lives, sometimes we STILL have blinders on to reality and that’s OK. I would recommend that we at least have our eyes WIDE open and accept that changes are going to create emotions, as they come into our lives.  Your relationships with your spouse, your children, your co-workers, will change.

Sometimes the emotions of this journey will hit you at a moment when you aren’t expecting it. Below is an excerpt of a blog I wrote over a year ago, but I still remember this day like it was yesterday.  I was on a run in July 2010, when this happened:

…As I got near to the house I was close to 3.5 so I kept running toward the park across the street from my house. I quit running at 3.57 and kept walking as a cool-down period.

This is when the emotions hit me out of the blue. You see, this park I was walking around is where my journey started in December 2009. I started by doing nothing but walking(I've said that before) and this park is where I walked nearly EVERY morning for several months, around and around the 'island' as I called it. I've not walked around this park since I was probably about 230lbs, a completely different man than I am today. It was the strangest thing that I was having "flashbacks" and sort of watching my fat self huff and puff up on the sidewalk as I walked in the street today, seeing myself struggle to keep the walking speed at a rate that would do any good to burn calories. Today I was using this as a nice slow cool down period after running fairly hard for 3.57 miles, I found myself fighting tears this morning, it was the strangest thing, very surreal to experience the whole thing really. Even now as I write this, my eyes fill with tears as I am completely amazed at what has taken place

Tears filled my eyes as I sat and wrote it all down as soon as I walked in the door after that run.  Like I said, sometimes the emotions will catch you when you least expect it.  That day was amazing for me and I pray that I never forget it.  I also hope that YOU have your moments.  If you are just beginning your journey, maybe this blog will give you a very small window into what you’re about to go through.  If you’re already knee deep, hip deep or arm pit deep into your journey, maybe this blog will bring back a few memories for you.  Yes, this journey you are in has emotions and physical changes so get ready for them.  As a man, sometimes I didn’t face those emotions and deal with them as I should.  I would caution the men who read this to get ready to deal with some unexpected emotions.  Learn from the emotions as they come, confront them, accept them and move forward.  If we push them away, throw them to the side, have we really changed?  Will we do the same things in the future if we don’t understand what is happening on the journey?  I venture to say that if we don’t deal with them, we’ll go right back to where we came from.

I finished that blog with the following paragraph and I’d like to close with that same paragraph today.

I felt it necessary to purge these emotions and share this story to encourage those who might be struggling, those who might want to give up, those who have no/little support to NOT GIVE UP! I didn't like "watching" myself this morning in those flashbacks, I wasn't healthy, it was scary. DON'T GIVE UP. DON'T EVER GO BACK.”

Did you experience any emotional change when you started out on your weight-loss journey?

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KOALA_BEAR 1/22/2020
I'm not a very emotional person, I tend to he quite logical in my thinking. However there are certainly fond memories of being thin & way more fit (simply by virtue of being young then too) than I am now. Perhaps I will uncover some further feelings once I am closer to my goal weight. Report
KOALA_BEAR 1/22/2020
I'm not a very emotional person, I tend to he quite logical in my thinking. However there are certainly fond memories of being thin & way more fit (simply by virtiecof being young then too) than I am now. Report
Thanks. Report
Very interesting. It is amazing how emotions can control our lives so greatly, even to the point of hurting our bodies by over eating. Report
I believe in that too, we have to have the courage to look at the reasons why we are here and not push it down or away. That is also part of the healing that will help us keep the weight off. Great blog.
I can work on this..good advice Report
I've ABSOLUTELY been experiencing a roller-coaster of emotions since embarking on my weight-loss quest some three months ago. Actually, it was emotion that got me started. Not all the emotions have been positive, however; nor are all of them necessarily related to weight loss. I've chalked some up to mid-life crisis issues: menopause, hormones, remorse about roads not taken, grief over lost youth. This has actually been a VERY emotional time for me -- but whatever's going on inside my mind, I'm determined NOT to allow it to derail my progress. Report
Good article. Report
thanks Report
Ohh, this was good. It was like getting a hug! Thanks! Report
Wonderful blog! Thanks for sharing all of your feelings! More importantly, congratulations on letting yourself feel all of your feelings and recognizing them. Keep up the amazing work, and you know you'll fit into those pants soon! Report
Thanks for sharing. I needed to hear "don't ever give up" and especially, "don't ever go back."
Keep blogging... Report
Thank you for sharing with us! It's just what I needed this last day of the year. CONGRATULATIONS! Report
Great blog! I also enjoyed the comments. It seems that most have experienced joyful emotions due directly and indirectly to their success, but many mention that the reason they ate was to stuff / bury their emotions. I grew up doing that, and am only now (in old age) learning to be honest with expressing my feelings .... but to express the negative ones gently and kindly. It's amazing how freeing it is to express oneself and not fear being annihilated! LOL No anger to hide under fat. No self-loathing to comfort with sweets, etc. I'm still struggling with 72-year-old habits, but your blog reminds me of the GOOD emotions that come from success in life-style change, whether they are due to compliments from others or from deep seated self-respect.

Thanks for sharing! And, CONGRATULATIONS on your changes! Report
Great blog! Thanks for sharing! Report
Beautiful! Thanks. I love your story, and the fact that you shared a very personal emotional moment with all of us. That whole shoe thing with the laces being tied in the middle instead of settling for the side....oh I could relate to that one! The pants story at the store was so real to me. Keep on writing!...Jane Report
Thanks for sharing Jman!!! You continue to inspire me.

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” ~ Plato

Tony Report
You never cease to motivate me Jerome. I always tell my friends , i started this journey because of you and in then end, i have motivated about couple more and they did the same to their friends ..its like a domino effect !
I am an emotional eater. In the past, rather than feel my feelings, I ate them. Happy, sad, mad, glad -- all those feelings got stuffed. It was like flat-lining. Since changing my eating habits, I have had to deal with all those emotions -- and feel those emotions! It hasn't always been pleasant, but the only way to remain healthy and free of emotional eating is to feel those feelings.

Great blog, Jerome. I'm grateful for your honesty about this journey. There is a lot more to weight loss than the physical component. Report
My fitness roller coaster has yet to be as profound as yours has been...but my breakthroughs have all been fitness related - no weight lost, but it has remained steady for the last few months.

Depression and I are wrestling...not sure when I will win tho...but I am sneaky and stubborn. Report
I am a girl who loves it when people share their heart. So THANK YOU for doing that. My emotions on this journey have been excitement. I rememeber the other day when I had bench pressed 40 lbs for the first time. I was SO EXCITED I just had to call Dennis and tell him. I also had moments of disbelief as well. Today I ordered a pair of running shorts and I was not sure what size I wore so I told the sales lady what size I usually wear in jeans. She replies back to me that I neede to order a x-small. What disbelief I had when she said that. I do know on this journey to better health emotions do come up and dealing with them is so healthy. In my past I use to stuff them away with food but not anymore. Report
Most definitely emotional. I have been over eight all of my life. Always athletic though. After kids I could not lose weight, was even told not to try just stay where you are since you are healthy. I wanted to lose the diabetes diagnosis made me determined. Spark has helped me so much [eolple keep saying how young I look and they disbelieve my age. I was positively euphoric when I put on size 14 pants. Definitely is an emotional journey, Tears of happiness though and pride in accomplishment. It is a bit addictive wanting to exercise so often at 68 years young. Pat in Maine. Report
I was in the clothes section of a store the other day and a skinny gal started complaining to me that "they're discriminating against us skinny people cuz they don't have small underwear." I looked around to see who she was talking to and it was me! It's going to take me a while to see myself as thin again. I am in shock that I am wearing smaller sizes than I remember wearing 25 years ago. It's great! Report
Great Blog.. very helpful to me.. my emotions are my biggest drawback.. and hinderance.. i am hoping it will improve as i succeed..
thank you Report
I literally stopped getting depressed when I started exercising regularly--even before I lost any weight. Now when I'm feeling down, I know I can deal with it by getting back to frequent vigorous exercise. It is wonderful how the body's health can change our emotional life! Big WAY TO GO to you! Report
Awesome blog! Report
great blog to read this morning.... =) Report
Yay Jerome! i love that shopping story. gonna share it for sure! Report
What a great blog and inspiration that you are. I am just starting (again). It's folks like yourself that make me really believe that I can do this! Report
Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful journey. I am at the very beginning, but have noticed I have a lot more energy and am more positive and happier. Report
I can remember the day I took a pair of size 14 capris into the fitting room and they fit. I cried that day, and the other ladies shopping (who I did not know!) cheered for me when I explained. One day it will be a 10, and I will cry again! Report
The weight loss emotions are mostly good (some are great) - but I remember trying on what was once my favorite suede suit - and it didn't quite fit yet. I thought I was looking pretty good - but when I couldn't get into clothes that had been MADE for my body - well, I just hid in long flowy tops like Bea Arthur in Maude and Golden Girls. UPDATE: I wore the suit on Christmas Day - love it more than I did when it was new. Report
Thank you for sharing, I REALLY needed to hear this today. Report
Imam I love this tears still in my eyes Report
What a motivating blog!! Good job and keep up the good work!!!! Report
Wow, still speechless!!! So many emotions... and coming from a guy ...That is so special. Keep up the good work. You have done sooooo well! Report
Thanks for such an inspirationals blog. You've given me the motivation to keep trying. Keep up the good work. Report
Great blog! Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to moments, like that. Report
"As a man, sometimes I didn’t face those emotions and deal with them as I should. I would caution the men who read this to get ready to deal with some unexpected emotions. "
* Amen! Dealt with and am still dealing with. Report
change is a good thing! Settling for the same just does'nt feel right now & it does wonders to your self esteem! fun ride!! thanks for sharing this great article. Report
Nice job.

Yup, while it is the day to day mechanics of the process that moves the train forward, there are emotional issues to be dealt with too - it's like the engine needing oil to continue running.

And it's not just the guys who can have problems with this - lots of us women learned to bottle up our feelings and stuff them down (literally) rather than deal with them.

I had an emotional moment sort of like the one you describe, after a DXA scan. I'd gotten down to about 155 lbs and was aiming for 25% body fat or less. I had been using a scale to estimate my % body fat and those are very inaccurate so I had no idea how close the 25-27% estimate was to reality.

That day I learned that my body fat was 19%. I sobbed in the car on the way back from the scan. I was overcome with emotion - I had gone into the scan thinking it would be a baseline and that I still had more work to do, but by my own standards I was already done. I couldn't believe it. It was wonderful and scary and simply overwhelming. And it caught me completely by surprise. Report
Great Blog. God Bless You ad Have a Wonderful Week. Report
Thanks! Someone at the gym stopped by my treadmill to tell me that they noticed I looked better, that I'd lost some weight (I've lost 19lbs) It was a motivating moment for me too. I appreciate you sharing your feelings. I will not quit this time! Report
Thank you for sharing. You are an inspiration. Keep up the great work. Report
Great blog. I hope to have moments like these in the future. Report
Great read. Hoping I can have similar moments myself. Report
Great read, thanks for sharing! Report
So true. I've been through some of this already myself. I have a bad case of pants on the ground too. I'm slowly replacing my clothes with ones that fit as I can. Getting ready to donate some 3x shirts soon. I'm in an XL now and they look ridiculous on me. Report
So many emotions! Boy did I experience them! First it was the feeling that I had so much more energy! I could get through my day without feeling exhausted! Then it was the compliments from co-workers and the guy who runs the tanning salon and so on and so forth....these compliments kept me motivated! I achieved my goal, but the hardest part is maintaining it! I now may or may not have the compliments, but it doesn't matter, because deep inside I am that changed person! I know I can do it! The compliments were just a motivator to get me started, but all I need now is my self-worth! You see you are worth the obstacles you have to go through to achieve your goals! You CAN be healthier then you have ever been! Just believe you can fly! It is amazing this journey! Report
This was beautiful to read Jerome!
I had a moment similar as we rode up to my brother's house to spend Christmas eve day with them... I said "you know, in 2010 was when I got my *stuff* together and started working on my health..but 2011 has been a fairly healthy year from start to finish." and I was filled with a sense of wonderment and pride.. and knowledge that 2012 was going to be as good or better! Report
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