Almost every single person who has direct messaged me through Instagram, Facebook or this site has said that the fact I am not negative about my body before I started lose weight made them want to talk to me. Not only do I not post before and after photos, I don't berate myself for any weeks that I put on weight or stay the same, I don't talk about how horrible my fatter body was and I try not to alienate those who are bigger or who are trying to lose weight - all of which I have seen other people who have had a gastric band do both on social media and in blogs.
While I wasn't completely happy when I was bigger, it was at my largest that I truly started to think about body positivity and what parts of my figure I liked. I knew I wanted to lose weight but I didn't hate my body, in fact, it got me a long way just as it was and you have to respect everything that it went through. This is something I've kept in mind throughout this whole process and it's good to hear that other people see that.
The comments about being positive about all the changes I've gone through and refusing to compare myself in a side-by-side before and after images got me thinking about my old body. It made me realise that there are some things I do miss about being larger, which I think is just as important to admit and discuss as the things I love about my body now I have lost weight. As with most of the random thoughts that pop into my head, I figured this was as good a topic as any to cover in a blog.
Having full boobs
This was a bit problematic when I didn't want to have a cleavage but by boobs gave me confidence and made me feel sexy. While my cup size hasn't changed, the fullness and shape of my breasts have. They now need a lot more help when it comes to being pushed up and feel a bit sad and empty.
I still have issues like needing to size up in tops and dresses to accomodate them but I don't feel like look as nice as they used to. This may seem like a silly thing to miss, but when your boobs have effectively doubled as pillows for the last decade, I think it's fair.
Knowing what suited me
I know that I'll get back to this once I reach my goal weight, but right now it is incredibly frustrating to put on a style that I loved several months back and that looked great on me only to find that it no longer sits right or isn't as flattering as it was. I now second-guess my outfits a lot more than I used to and often walk out the door feeling a bit uneasy.
While being able to try new looks is great and does give me confidence to be a bit different, the uncertainty is also hard to deal with. It also means that I have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes that I can't wear, which is quite hard for someone who put so much time, money and effort creating a collection of clothes that usually made them feel beautiful.
Not feeling the cold
As I live in Leeds, not feeling the cold that much came in handy. Now, my hands and feet get incredibly cold, I find myself freezing in my office, which was very rarely the case even when the heating wasn't working, and I sometimes have to wear several layers and socks to bed.
I used to take the piss out of my husband as he hates the cold and constantly moans about it being freezing even in the summer - I'm hoping moving house to a building that isn't super old will change this a bit. However, I now have a lot more sympathy, especially as I often get cold when he's totally comfortable with the temperature.
The biggest issue with feeling the cold more, especially in my hands, is that I already have arthritis and this makes it flair up and hurt so much. Even wearing gloves can't solve this completely and I've found that my hands have been a lot stiffer over the last few months. I've been told this should balance out when I start to maintain one weight, but it still makes me miss my extra padding.
Being able to lean against things without pain
I've been surprised at just how easy it is to hit my hip bones - it just goes to show that no matter how much weight I lose, I'm always going to have wide hips - and how much something simple like leaning against a handrail on the bus actually hurts now. Even lying on one side in bed for too long causes me a few issues or sitting in slightly uncomfortable chairs - were cinema and train seats always that uncomfortable?
Although the extra weight did cause pain in some areas, such as my back and knees, I never realised how much it also protected me from hurting myself. I now end up with a lot more bruises around my hips and the top of my legs, which isn't great if you go swimming as much as I do.
Knowing how much space I took up
As my size changes, I constantly have to adjust this in my head, which is hard to keep up with. I've noticed that I knock into people more, misjudge spaces when I'm walking and have more moments when walking down stairs where I totally lose my balance and need to stop. I no longer know how much space I take up because it is changing constantly.
What I do know is that, according to some people - very often strangers - I still take up too much space. I still get looks when I'm on the bus or if I'm shopping for clothes. I still get judged for being plus size, even though I am so much smaller than I was. I still get side-long glasses at the gym.
I can admit that this upsets me a lot less than it used to, but it does make me more angry. I'm more likely to say something to someone or go home and rant at my husband, while I would previously try very hard not to cry or have an anxiety attack. It's made me realise that some people are going to judge me no matter what, which has made me even more determined to continue to be positive about every stage that my body goes through.
I hope that this helps more people to look at their body in a better way and find a different point of view in the online world of weightloss. But most of all, I hope that it helps me keep in mind what I've gone through and the fact that every body really is a good a body.