Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin

One thing I really never expected after my gastric bypass was getting to a point where I am completely comfortable in my own skin. It’s not even something I really noticed myself but after a few people have pointed it out to me recently I’ve been thinking about it.

I had always been self conscious and I think a very big part of that was related to my weight. Because I was so big I felt like I stood out everywhere I went and that it was the first thing people would notice about me. That created unconscious behaviours like checking the room to see if I was the biggest person there and to some degree my weight meant I was always on alert. Unfortunately, morbid obesity is very obvious to everyone else and it’s not something that you can hide or ignore.

I had always been a confident person and in that respect I never let my weight hold me back but I did have to fake a certain amount of my confidence because it wasn’t all real. As I lost weight and started not standing out because of my size I found it easier to blend in and the constant worrying and nagging thoughts started to ease up. I hate saying it because it’s such a bad pun but as I lost my excess weight a weight really lifted off my shoulders. Not only is it physically hard being a bigger person it’s really hard mentally too.

I think getting to my goal weight has played a big part in me feeling comfortable in my own skin. Being truly happy with my weight and not wanting to lose weight for the first time in my whole life is amazing. There are many things that are not anywhere near ideal about my body but you know what? I have come so far it would be ridiculous to let them bother me.

Another thing that helps me feel comfortable in my skin is not caring what other people think about my body. No matter what size you are, how healthy you appear or actually are people are going to make judgements about you and they won’t hold back in letting you know. When I was overweight people would inform me I was fat like I hadn’t realised and now I get comments about being small and not losing anymore weight. There’s also something about losing a large amount of weight in a relatively short period of time that makes people think they are more entitled to pass judegment on your body. I think it’s easier said than done to start with but you cannot take other peoples opinions on board.

I, naturally, am a very positive person and I see the good in things. I choose to focus on the amazing things my body is capable of doing now, how fortunate I am to have changed my life and my long term health prospects, and the fact that while I had to take the hard road of bariatric surgery, I finally got my life back and my always escalating weight problem under control.

I’m comfortable in my own skin because I’m happy. I’m happy with my perfectly imperfect body. I’m happy with who I am inside. I’m happy with my courage and drive to get what I wanted. I’m happy I sacrificed a normal life for this different but better for me, life. Some days the choice to be happy about things is harder than others and some days are just crap and I fail at that completely. Ultimately I choose to be happy in my own skin and its so much easier to focus on the things going on around me. It’s easier when you don’t feel like the literal elephant in the room. (Shit that sounds awful to say out loud but that’s really what I used to feel like). Getting comfortable in your skin will be a different process for us all but those are the things I think helped me get to this point.

How comfortable are you in your own skin? Have you embarked on a journey of self love and accpetance, what things make it easier for you to feel comfortable within yourself? Comment below I’d love to hear from you.

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There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Samantha (@PlanetBakeLife) at 8:48 am

    Oh Melissa, you are a little bit fantastic. I love this post because it could apply to anyone really. Even those who lose weight without surgery or those that choose to stop working against their body and embrace the way they are can take something from this post. It really is about attitude. It changes a lot about you, the way you carry yourself and present yourself to others.
    I am so pleased you feel so comfortable in your skin. While I didn’t know you before the weight loss, I can see how comfortable you feel and how at peace you are with your body and it’s so lovely to see.
    Personally I think we live in an amazing age where surgery can lead to someone being so completely and utterly content when before there was uncertainty and a lack of confidence.

    This blog post was awesome. I loved it!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 9:38 am

      To be honest while this has been a journey that for me has been related to my weight loss you’re right it’s not totally reliant on that. It’s so all about attitude and about coming to a place of peace about the things you can’t change and embracing the things you love and deciding to focus on them instead. Thank you so much for your lovely words I’m so glad you liked it!

  2. Natasha at 8:59 am

    This has been me in the last year or so. Throwing off the shackles of a negative relationship and resolving a couple of long-standing issues really enabled me to love myself for who I am. I’m nowhere near the end of my weight loss journey but for me it isn’t about conforming to a body ideal, just purely being the best version of myself that I can be. But I can look in the mirror most days (because let’s face it, we all have those crappy days too) and genuinely love and be proud of myself and that makes me happy.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 9:40 am

      You have made such awesome progress Natasha! I will never conform to a body ideal and you know what, I couldn’t care less! I’m so glad you feel proud of yourself, we should all be able to be our own biggest cheerleaders. I really think it comes down to being true to yourself and being nice to yourself 😀

  3. Nigel Pearson at 12:33 pm

    I hope you don’t mind if I write a rather long response! I don’t quite know why or when being self-conscious about my body began, but it’s certainly been a life long struggle.
    As a male you might think I ought not to feel the same pressures and expectations that women do, but perhaps they are just different. I remember from a young age being very self-conscious and anxious whenever I had occasion to use a changing room – school phys ed lessons, swimming baths etc. It was not just about privacy – more like wanting to hide my spare tyres! Perhaps my family and upbringing had something to do with it?
    Even as an adult male pre-surgery, I felt abnormal having man-boobs, and being quite a bit more hairy than some others. I just never felt “normal”. It’s hard to accept being different when others are likely to stare or look, or even comment about how you are different.
    18 months post-sleeve surgery and my man-boobs have shrunk to near nothing, but I have saggy skin and lost muscle tone. I’m still not normal, though my BMI is. Rebuilding a shapely chest is a work in progress! At the swim pool recently a young overweight kid who I didn’t even know struck up a conversation with me asking me about my lose skin and what I had done to lose so much weight. Kind of touching and embarrassing all at the same time.
    I’m attending a gym in the residential complex where I live, and there are many elderly people who use the facilities. Of course I notice the aging saggy skin and other imperfections of those using the facilities, just as they probably notice me! They remind me that our bodies are just temporary vessels for our life here – we’ll all pass on eventually.
    I try to keep my head up and maintain eye contact with those that stare or look at me. Like, “So, what are you looking at?”. As a teacher many years ago I was tired of students (in the boys school I taught in remarking about my obesity, so I flippantly went around the class saying judgemental and awful things to every kid (you’re too skinny, your glasses are so thick, your hair is too long, too oily etc) until the message sunk in and a few started giving a response….and the whole class learnt how hurtful and insensitive they had been.
    Accepting myself was extremely difficult prior to having a partner…..How can you love another when you don’t even love yourself? – the self-help books and counsellors would say. I try to be kind and patient with myself, and though I’m not always consistent, the adult and rationale part of who I am knows what’s best for me.
    It’s much easier to accept myself at a normal weight now, but I think I am still recovering from the hurts of the past. They’re a part of who I am and I don’t think they’ll ever leave me completely.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:02 pm

      Hi Nigel, I don’t mind long responses at all. It’s nice to see my post has really got you thinking about your own experiences. I think body issues are far more prevalent within society, for men or women, than we realise. I’m sorry to hear it’s been such a big thing for you throughout your life. It’s something that seems to go hand in hand with obesity for us that suffer from it. It can be hard work building up muscles to fill the loose skin can’t it! I’m pleased to hear the young kid asked you how you had lost so much weight. You never know, you might be his inspiration to take a similar path one day. It’s important to try and not get too caught up in exactly how we would like our bodies to look after surgery I think. Your body, while it will never be perfect, tells a story of your life and as you said yourself is the vessel we have to get through life. Those experiences and emotional scars you bear will always be with you but it makes you a better, more understanding and more compassionate person ultimately. Be kind to yourself and always hold onto how far you have come and achieved, you’ve done a great job!

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