As you might have gathered by now, I have recently lost a lot of weight. About 35kg (77 pounds) to be exact, and while this is great and wonderful, and I don’t at all regret it, there are some downsides to loosing this much weight this quickly.
For one thing, you skin can’t catch up with the rapid weightloss, and at 24 your skin is supposed to be young and firm, not loose. It does something to your self image, to see your own skin slacking off on you. Still, the fact that you are so much slimmer does make up for the loose skin, and in my case it’s mostly just on my torso, so I am able to hide it anyway. (Just don’t expect me to flaunt my new body in a bikini any time soon.)
I can live with the loose skin, and the occasional dizziness and almost fainting. What really bothers me is the hair loss. They warned me, they told me that I would experience some hair loss, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad.
You see, I have always had a lot of hair, my hair is very very fine, each hair so thin you can barely see it, but there is a lot of them. Having curls/waves and lots of fine hair means that my hair has always had a lot of volume, and I have always thinned it out while getting it cut, so I didn’t think hair loss would be a problem, I just wouldn’t thin it out any more.
The thing is, that the physical part isn’t the issue. Sure, my hair looks thinner, though I’m mostly the only one who can notice it, and a lot of people have naturally much thinner hair than I have now. The issue that I didn’t foresee was the psychological issue of loosing hair. Every morning, my hairbrush fills up twice, and after each shower and several times a day, I run my fingers through my hair and a handful of hair comes out. I have to use a clothing brush on my clothes each evening, and check my jumper several times a day. It makes me feel like I’m sick.
Healthy people don’t pull out handfuls of hair each morning, the sheer amount of it makes me want to cry, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. This happens to people with cancer, people with a terminal illness, not healthy 24 year old women. Some days I feel like just shaving it all off, just so that I won’t have to watch it fall out like this.
Hair is such an important part of your identity as a woman. I always made fun of the girls on Top Model who cried when they cut their hair, laughing with my friends and joking about how “it’s just hair, it’ll grow out!” but now I get it. It’s not the fact that you look different, or that your hair is gone, it’s the fact that you have no control over it. It’s not your decision to cut or shave off your hair, someone else made that decision for you, and your hair just gets taken from you.
It’s really hard to write this, because it’s an issue I’m struggling with, and a part of me still thinks I’m silly to get so emotional over hair. After all, it will grow back, and I’m taking the vitamins and using an expensive shampoo that I can’t really afford to help it grow back more quickly. Still, I’m not the only one who is going through this, and I want people who are considering weightloss surgery to be aware of this, and people who are going through the same thing now or in the future, be it due to rapid weightloss or an illness, to know that you are not alone. It’s natural to feel loss and to be scared, and I hope you can take comfort from knowing that you are not the only ones struggling with these feelings.
Out of all the side effects from surgery; the pain, the sickness, the cramps and dumping if you eat too much, your body changing to the point where you don’t even recognize it any more and you feel detached from it… I never thought it would be such a silly little thing as hair that got me down. Turns out that after 24 years, I can still surprise myself.
Ps: Just to make it clear, I am in no way comparing what I’m going through with that of one who has cancer. I am not sick, and I chose to have this surgery myself. So I really don’t have any reason to feel sorry for myself, but loosing your hair is still a tough blow.