Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The "Other" Benefits of Weight Loss

I was at my hairdressers last night and she has started following the weight watchers plan. She's not attending meetings, but borrowed the books from a friend. Since the beginning of January she's lost 17 lbs! WOW, I couldn't believe it - incredible. Anyhow, she told me that she joined not really to lose weight but because she'd been feeling kinda crappy and wanted to improve her eating. So it got me thinking about all the things that have improved for me since I have changed my lifestyle. Obviously there's the number going down on the scale, and of course the smaller clothes/size. As well, with increased physical activity you're going to feel more energy and have improved cardiovascular and strength - but I'm talking about the other things:

1) Improved skin

I notice that my skin is so much clearer now. I don't suffer near as bad from little breakouts like I used to. I used to get this big row of bumps all along my jawline - ick. I was also starting to get little spider type veins on my cheeks. Also I notice that I don't "need" face cream like I once did. My skin just isn't as dry anymore - anywhere on my body. Also, better hair & nails overall.

2) Stomach disorders

The little truth no one wants to talk about until you bring it up. I used to frequently suffer from a variety of stomach issues - diarrhea, constipation, general aches, gas, etc. I never really put two and two together, but now I realize that I rarely ever suffer from these anymore - unless of course I eat something crappy. That is another thing I notice, my body just doesn't like junk anymore and will react quickly and violently when I fill up on greasy, junk foods. When I first started running (or any high intensity workout) I'd get horrible stomach cramps and often end up in the bathroom. So much that I didn't want to run outdoors for fear of it coming on. I think it was my body detoxing itself, getting rid of all the bad stuff in my system. I don't suffer from this anymore either.

3) Lighter, regular, easier periods

Another rarely talked about subject. My periods had been getting heavier and heavier - to the point where I had to set my alarm to go off about every 2-3 hours and night to avoid accidents. And the first 2-3 days I had to be as immobile as possible and stay close to facilities. They also got longer, cramps got worse, my "moods" got bad - it was awful. They also began coming erratically - usually late, every 6-8 weeks - but sometimes every 3 weeks. I talked to my doctor about it once and he said that it really wasn't that unusual for a woman my age to have changes like that. However, this is another thing that has improved for me. I'm now pretty much back to what has been a"normal" period for most of my life.

4) Minor aches & pains

I've noticed a big difference here. Makes sense, right, you lose weight and you're no longer putting unnecessary strain on your joints & muscles. My right shoulder (that I typically sleep on) used to be in pain all the time. At night it would ache so bad that I was beginning to take Ibuprofen on a regular basis just to get a decent night sleep. Not to mention back pain, general fatigue, knees .... Now that's all gone.

5) A full night's sleep

For years I had no idea what that was. I had difficulty falling asleep, then when I did I'd often wake up in the middle of the night for hours on end. Then fall back asleep to be woken by my alarm dead tired. I was constantly tired. I still have the odd night of laying there wide awake, but I think it's more due to thinking about "things" instead of just being awake. I do find, for me, that exercising in the evening really puts me in a deep slumber. Knocks me out cold and keeps me that way. The other day I had an exceptionally big meal and went to be quite stuffed - I slept horribly! I could feel my stomach groaning at my all night. What an awful feeling!!

6) Higher tolerance & patience

I find the little stuff doesn't bother me as much as it used to. Not sure if this is related to a healthier lifestyle, but I'm thinking it could be. I'm just more content & relaxed, not so edgy, not so negative - not so likely to "snap". Could be just a personal change in me, but I do think it could be due to the healthier changes I've made. You'd certainly think that living life without fatigue, regular aches & pains, awful, annoying periods, lack of sleep, etc. would make for a happier, more content life - right???


So .... anyone out there reading this, can you relate? Any other big improvements you've seen in relation to the changes you've made???


Anonymous said...

When I started, I walked with two canes and took 12 different meds...

now I take one med and don't use canes at all.

Yeah, there's a big difference... and it's more than the weight!

L. said...

Since starting weight watchers, I find that because I am eating more nutritiously I just feel a lot better, just happier somehow. Also, I use to have knee pain, which I don't anymore.
Your post was a good reminder of why I am doing this!