Four Unexpected Effects Of Significant Weight Loss

Last updated on : February 03 2022

weighing scale


When most people think about significant weight loss, things like fitting into their “skinny jeans” or feeling better about who they see in the mirror come to mind. But, there’s more to losing a lot of weight than just changing your physical appearance. 

Losing excess weight is excellent for your overall health. It can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also boost your mood, give you more energy, and even improve sleep quality. 

But, there are some unexpected effects of significant weight loss that many people don’t consider. Some of the side effects could even be negative, depending on how you look at them. Should they keep you from losing weight and getting healthier? 

No, not necessarily. But, whether you want to lose weight or you’re in the middle of your fitness journey, it’s essential to know about some of these unexpected effects, so you can be prepared for them and learn how to handle them if/when that time comes. 

With that in mind, let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding the effects of significant weight loss. 

1. Sagging Skin and Stretch Marks

If you’ve ever seen someone who has lost a lot of weight, you’ve probably noticed some sagging skin on different areas of their body. People who lose an extreme amount of weight sometimes even have surgery to get rid of excess skin that wouldn’t tighten up on its own. 

But why does that happen? 

When your body carries around extra weight, your skin has to stretch to adapt. 

The skin has some elasticity to it, so you’ll never notice it looking “tight” on someone who is overweight. Unfortunately, extra weight can damage the collagen and elasticity of your skin. It can harm the elastin fibers that give your skin its ability to “snap back.” 

So, when you lose a significant amount of weight (usually over 100 pounds), not all of your skin will readjust and form to your body the way it did before. 

You might also notice some stretch marks after losing a lot of weight. You likely created these marks while overweight but are more visible now that your skin isn’t stretched and pulled so much. 

So, what can you do to prevent so much sagging skin and stretch marks? 

While you may not be able to eliminate these issues, there are strategies you can implement throughout your weight loss journey that will make a difference. 

For starters, go slowly. Don’t try to drop twenty pounds in a week. Not only is that an unhealthy approach, but it can make your sagging skin worse. By losing just a few pounds each week, you’ll give your skin a chance to tighten up little by little. 

It will shrink along with your body. 

Additionally, consider adding strength training to your weight loss efforts. You can lose weight without exercising, but it’s much easier to focus on your overall health if you incorporate it somehow. 

Specifically, building muscle mass can help prevent sagging skin or reduce its appearance on your body

Holding pink tape measure

2. There Are Physical Changes No One Talks About

Some of the physical changes that go along with weight loss are obvious. But, other things are less widely known or talked about that could be impacting your quality of life while on your weight loss journey. 

Some of those changes include: 

  • You might have more trouble sleeping
  • Feeling colder all the time
  • Taste perceptions can change
  • Women could lose their period if the weight loss happens quickly

While most of these physical issues will level out over time, they can add a lot of extra stress to the process, especially if you’re not getting enough rest and have a hard time getting comfortable. 

But, keep in mind why these things might be occurring. If you’ve started to feel cold all the time, it’s because you don’t have as much fat insulating your body, and your metabolic rate is lower, so you’ll naturally try to conserve energy. 

No matter what physical effects you’re experiencing, they likely won’t last forever, and there are things you can do to deal with them in the meantime. 

Set up a healthy sleep routine for yourself, don’t be shy about layering on a few extra blankets, and take the time to re-evaluate your relationship with food and how to eat better. 

If you lose your period, consider talking with your doctor to make sure you’re losing weight at a safe and healthy pace. 

3. People May Treat You Differently

Whether you’ve struggled with being overweight for most of your life or not, it’s easy for excess weight to make you work with your self-esteem. 

Society, in general, tends to have an adverse reaction to obesity. Even kids and teenagers dealing with weight issues often have problems with confidence, which can easily carry over into adulthood. 

So, it would seem like losing a lot of weight would eliminate that, right? 

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. 

It’s not uncommon for people who experience significant weight loss to be treated differently by people in their lives, including friends, family members, or even your partner.

In some cases, that can be a good thing. You might experience things like: 

  • More compliments
  • More invitations 
  • Kind, complimentary words from people you know and strangers
  • More attention

However, your weight loss might also make some people uncomfortable. Far too often, people link physical appearance and personality too closely. Those closest to you might have a hard time separating the two. 

They might think you’ll act differently now or that you’ll judge them for certain eating habits. Some people might even be jealous of your hard work, even if they would never say it out loud. 

When it comes to your relationship, your partner might struggle with the pressure of losing weight themselves. Or, they might not want to give up their eating habits or change their lifestyle because of you. Even if you’ve never suggested anything like that, if you’ve noticed that they’ve been distant, it could be on their mind. 

Even your doctor could treat you differently throughout your weight loss journey. Finding a “fat-friendly” doctor is significant. You should never feel judged by a trusted medical professional. 

A weight-inclusive doctor will tell you the truth about your weight loss journey and be more interested in how it’s impacting your health rather than your jeans size. 

It can be hard to feel like you’re being treated differently because of your weight loss. But, it does happen, and it’s something you should be mentally prepared to accept. 

Don’t let the opinions or attitudes of others wear down your confidence. The more you realize how common it is for people to think differently of you, the easier it will be to stay true to who you are, no matter how they feel. 

4. Your Mental Health Can Suffer

Between people treating you differently and experiencing extreme changes in your body, significant weight loss can have just as much of an impact on your mental health as your physical well-being. 

Your physical health may improve with weight loss, but it’s not uncommon for your mental health to suffer. Some of the common adverse emotional effects of weight loss include: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety or fear that your weight might fluctuate
  • Vulnerability
  • Feelings of anger toward others who don’t recognize or acknowledge your efforts

It’s essential to want to lose weight for the right reasons. Understand that shedding a significant amount of weight won’t magically fix everything in your life. 

Don’t rest your happiness on your ability to hit a specific goal or change the way you look. While losing weight can improve your mood and energy levels, it isn’t necessarily a “cure-all” for stress or anything else that could be causing you to feel depressed or anxious. 


There are plenty of unexpected effects of significant weight loss, as you can see. 

While these side effects shouldn’t keep you from living a healthy lifestyle and losing excess weight, mentally and emotionally preparing yourself for them will make the journey easier. 

Losing weight is a decision, and you should make it with your overall well-being in mind – not anyone else’s. Stay focused on that as you continue on your weight loss journey, and you’ll be better equipped to handle any unexpected issues that show up along the way. 

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