You did it! After countless months of dieting, sprinting, and saying “no” to happy hour, you’ve finally reached your weight loss goal. Although you look and feel great, you’ve probably already come to realize that having a tighter tummy means your life is changing in unexpected ways—some awesome and some kinda inconvenient. (This is what we’d call a “happy problem.”)
Read on to discover 25 surprising things that happen when you lose weight, plus ways to deal with each.
When you trim down even just 10 percent of your body weight, your thyroid hormone levels can dip, which can make you feel chilly more often than not, says Judith Korner, MD, PhD, the director of the Weight Control Center at Columbia University Medical Center.
Being overweight can sometimes put a strain on the adrenal glands and respiratory system, exacerbating asthma and allergy symptoms. Now that you’re trimmer, you may be able to ditch your inhaler and cut back on the seasonal pill-popping. Don’t change your medication routine without speaking with your doctor first though!
When you lost fat from your thighs and belly, your face slimmed down, too. In theory, this sounds like a good thing, but having some fat under your skin can hide the appearance of fine lines and sagging, keeping your complexion youthful and vibrant. Just remember to load up on vitamin C! A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that for every milligram increase in daily vitamin C, you reduce your risk of wrinkles by 11 percent! Superfoods like papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and red bell peppers are all rich in the nutrient. Plumping creams and high-quality moisturizers can also be helpful. Speak to your derm to get a recommendation that’s right for you.
Strange but true: After losing weight, your dinner may taste even better. Stanford University researchers discovered that overweight men had less taste sensitivity than their slimmer counterparts. The reason: Their taste buds had become dulled from the overuse. Another theory points to hormonal shifts that take place during weight loss, which may change the way taste receptors communicate with the brain.
Nope, it’s not just your imagination. As your BMI dips, you’re more easily aroused—and it’s all thanks to rising testosterone levels. In one Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism study, heavier men had T-levels comparable to men nearly a full decade older. You may also feel less self-conscious in the nude, which can increase your desire, too.
If you thought sex was awesome before, wait until you get it on in your new, leaner bod! In a Duke University Medical Center survey of 1,210 people of varying weights, obese people were 25 times more likely to report dissatisfaction with their time between the sheets than their leaner counterparts. In the study, a mere 10 percent loss of body weight was shown to skyrocket sexual satisfaction. So, even if you’re not quite where you want to be with your physique yet, you can still reap the rewards in the bedroom.
If you’ve shopped at plus-sized or “big and tall” stores for most of your life, it’s understandable if you may feel like a fish out of water in the “skinny stores.” It’s also normal to be unsure of what will best complement your new flat belly and feel overwhelmed by the cost of outfitting your new bod.
If you’ve lost 20 pounds or more, new clothing is a must. But if you’ve lost less than that, a skilled tailor may be able to salvage some of your favorite pieces. In some cases, this can save you tons of cash! If you’re set on buying new duds, head to a smaller store where a sales associate can lead you through the process of updating your wardrobe. If you’re comfortable, tell the associate you’ve just lost weight, and you’re not quite sure where to start. Many associates will be happy to help you. On the flip side, department stores offer less individualized attention.
RELATED: Learn how to fire up your metabolism and lose weight the smart way.
Many people equate weight loss with happiness, but that’s rarely the case. You may not feel more confident right away, either. To improve your happiness, you’ll need to address any underlying emotional issues—whether they contributed to your initial weight gain or not. Seek professional help if you feel you need it.
As you may have already discovered, when it comes to diet, exercise, and weight loss, everyone is super nosy and opinionated. You’ll likely find that your friends and family will say things like, “I could never” and “I don’t know how you did it that way.” Shake it off. People’s opinions are often a reflection of their own self-worth; don’t let it change your opinions or alter your weight loss journey.
On the flip side, some people won’t even notice that you’ve lost any weight. The reason: You need to shed about 9 pounds before it becomes noticeable in your face. And unless you’re a lifeguard or walking around without any clothes, that’s the part of your body that recent research says people notice the most when it comes to weight loss.
See ya, snorezilla! Sleep apnea and snoring, which are often caused by excess weight around the neck, can vanish with a weight loss of just 5 percent.
Slimmer bod, smarter brain? Maybe. According to a study in the journal Neurology, heavier men have poorer memories and cognitive skills than trimmer men.
What they say is true: Those feel-good endorphins that flood your body after a killer Zumba class really are addictive. Plus, progress is addicting! When you start to lose belly fat and gain strength, you’ll want to keep going back for more.
If you want your kids to eat bananas, you have to eat bananas. The same goes for salad and whole grains. And get this: If your child is overweight, your weight loss may benefit them as well. A University of California study found that for every unit decrease in a parent’s BMI, their children lose one-quarter of theirs. Simply put, a parent’s weight loss has a trickle-down effect on their children.
After you’ve shed the pounds, your partner may feel threatened. They may worry that you’ll get romantic attention from more people, or they may feel uncomfortable by your new healthy lifestyle—especially if they know they should also make changes to improve their health.
Don’t let this dissuade you from your rapid weight loss goals. Simply being aware that this may happen should help to mentally prepare you.
Alternatively, your weight loss and healthy lifestyle choice may encourage your partner to set some better body goals of their own, too! If not for your hubby or your girlfriend, maybe your parents, siblings, or close friends will decide to follow in your footsteps.
Yes, that’s right, after people see that you’ve shed the pounds, they’ll want to come to you for advice! Be proud that people are looking up to you and be open and honest about what worked for you and the challenges you had to overcome.
When your gut shrinks, so do your fingers. You may find that rings that you once wore every day are now a bit loose. Thankfully, most local jewelry stores can re-size rings while you wait.
The same logic holds true for your feet. (Yes, you once had fat stuffed into your shoes!) Boots that were once tight around your calves may start to feel or look too loose, and it may begin to feel like your sneakers and flats are far too wide. The good news? Heels will be far more comfortable because they’ll be underneath a lighter you!
While it’s unlikely that anyone close to you won’t recognize your face, don’t be surprised if co-workers from satellite offices or acquaintances do a double-take when they see the trimmer you for the first time.
When your body changes, so do your relationships. Most of your friends will be happy for you, but it’s possible that a handful will be jealous and resentful—especially if your friendship was built on a mutual understanding of what it’s like to be overweight.
If this happens to you, ask your friend what’s up. Tell them that you value their friendship, and ask if you can talk about why they’ve been acting differently toward you. If they are open to talking about it, you can likely work things out.
After months of eating clean and seeing how amazing you look as a result, Oreos and Twix may no longer sing your siren song. It may take you by surprise at first, but go with the flow! Just don’t forget to allow yourself to indulge in moderation if the mood happens to strike. Staying lean for life is all about balance.
The lighter you are, the healthier you’re apt to be. And in many cases, that means saying sayonara to high blood pressure pills and diabetes medications. Dropping weight also lowers the odds you need medications in the future, too! That’s good news for your body and your bank account. Give your doc a call before you start weaning yourself off any of your meds.
Unless you subscribe to Blue Apron or a meal delivery plan, slimming down and cooking from scratch practically go hand in hand. And we’d bet your skills in the kitchen have vastly improved since you’ve first embarked on your weight loss journey—Top Chef, here you come!
A leaner you = a longer life. But hey, you probably already knew that.