For Kozerski and many like her, the experience of significant weight loss is much more psychologically complex than the multi-billion-dollar diet industry, with its beaming “after” photos and promises of a new life, acknowledges. After all that work, it can be a disappointing blow to discover that bodies that have lost 50-plus pounds simply don’t look like bodies that have maintained a steady weight since reaching adulthood. (While cosmetic surgeries like those detailed here can treat loose skin, stretch marks, and sagginess, they’re also expensive, invasive, and mostly absent from the fairy-tale weight loss success stories we see depicted so often.)
“You sort of feel like someone shortchanged you on the satisfaction of things,” explains John Janetzko, a Harvard grad student who has lost 120 pounds. “I feel, oddly, more aware of everything – [like] when I lean forward, if I feel like I have any stomach fat that’s there. And it’s strange, because I’m like, ‘Well, how did this not bother me before?’ … It becomes this nagging, incessant reminder of, you did something, but maybe it wasn’t enough, maybe you should keep going.”
Beyond just the surprise of a new body that still may not conform to the social standard of how a beautiful one should look, reaching a goal weight often leaves ex-dieters bewildered as to where to go from here – and upset to find that even after this tremendous accomplishment, they still aren’t completely satisfied with their bodies.
(Image: Self from Kozerski’s series Half. More images from the series can be viewed here (NSFW).)
Update: This post prompted a thread which you can read in its entirety here.