The Attention Monster

Over the past year I have helped several obese clients reach their weight loss goals. I love watching people totally transform themselves inside and out. Seeing someone who has been dealing with the bondage of weight for so long finally be free to live is truly amazing! Lately, I have realized that even though these people have reached their goal weight, our work is not done.  There are still fears to overcome, challenges to face, and mental breakthroughs to be made now they have a brand new body! The most common issue I see after a dramatic weight loss is attention.  I call it the “attention monster”.  

At first, the attention is really fun and exciting.  People around you are seeing you transform before their eyes!  Everywhere you go people are telling you how great you look, and asking you how you are doing it. The attention starts to fuel your efforts.  You try harder knowing people are watching and noticing your hard work. But after a while, the attention may start to overwhelm you.

You may be getting attention from the opposite sex that you are not used to. And for some, this attention starts to build your confidence, lifting your self-confidence. You start holding your head up high, knowing that your hard wok is paying off. But for others, this attention causes you to retreat, and in some cases even sabotage your own efforts!

As you reach your goals, everyone is watching what you eat, and bombarding you with questions and compliments. You experience extreme guilt if you slip up on your nutrition. You over train trying to please those around you.  Maybe your friends/family don’t know how to deal with all this new attention either.  They may become angry or distant. They may even become jealous of the time you are spending on yourself. Will you lose your friends or significant other? You may be used to living in the background, and this new found attention scares you (and those closest to you).  How do you deal with it?

First and foremost you MUST know that you are worth it!  You deserve to live free from the bondage of the weight that was holding you down. You have worked hard to transform into this new person.  Those people that truly love you will be there for you and support you.  It may take them a while to get used to this new person you have become, but give them time, and they will realize that you are still the same person they have always loved.  You have to have patience with your friends and family.  Remember, they are dealing with the change too! Use this as an opportunity to pay it forward.  Everyone will have questions. Help those you love transform themselves too!

What about attention from strangers and the opposite sex?  Maybe you’ve never had attention like this before.  Your afraid you’ll fall for that first person who finds you attractive. Or maybe your afraid you’ll never know if someone really likes you for the right reasons. Have confidence in yourself! You are worthy of attention. You are worth holding out for. You didn’t change your body overnight, and you’re not going to find that special someone over night.   Again, KNOW that you are beautiful!  Work on changing your self-talk. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful.  Practice taking compliments gracefully. Instead of lowering your head and mumbling, hold your head high and say thank you! True beauty, from the inside out, is going to attract people. Take time to get to know new people. This is a great opportunity to build new relationships!

If you are already in a relationship, you may be fearing how your significant other will deal with all the attention from the opposite sex. Have patience with them. Reassure them of your commitment to the relationship. Find new and exciting things to do together that you could have never done in your old body. Have fun together!

What happens when the attention slows down? You’ve been at your goal weight for a while, and all of sudden you notice that you aren’t getting the constant praise.  There is no longer astonishment when you walk into a room. People are used to the new you.  Pull out old pictures and journals.  Remember how far you have come!  The reward is looking at you in the mirror.  You are healthy and confident!

Remember – YOU ARE WORTH IT! Open yourself up to the possibilities around you! Remember how far you’ve come.  Be confident in your abilities. Accept praise for your success.  And pay it forward!