If you’re losing weight because you think it is going to correct a large number of the struggles in your life, then you’re only a fraction right. It is, of course, far more than simply a physical change. Shedding excess pounds can have a considerable emotional and psychological impact. However, it’s important to be realistic when it comes to your expectations regarding what life will be like after you have reached your goal. It may involve some change – even a sizeable amount of change – but it won’t alter who you are.

According to a recent study, up to 90 percent of people who have lost weight may one day gain part of it – or even all of it – back again. As much as you may want to count yourself among those who lose the pounds and then never see it again, it’s important to be realistic enough about the situation not to be emotionally devastated if you do see some of those pounds creeping back one day.

Weight loss, itself, is a considerable struggle. You must face parts of yourself you don’t like, change habits you don’t want to break, take on difficult activities, change your schedule around and give up many of the things that are comforting easy for you. While the media, such as magazines, TV and the internet all love to suggest that once you reach your weight loss goal, absolutely everything sorts itself out, that’s not at all the case.

You can absolutely experience a great boost to your physical and mental wellness and self confidence as you lose weight and once you reach your goal. However, weight loss comes with a very real emotional impact, particularly among people who have lost a great deal of weight, such as 30 pounds or more. That said, those emotional struggles are often ignored because the focus is placed on the way the person looks following the weight loss.

However, for people who want to be able to feel good about themselves over the longer term, it’s a good idea to have a closer look at the emotional issues undergone throughout that time when losing weight was among the main components of their lives.

Consider the physical barrier that extra weight places between a person and the rest of the world. This is actually a considerable advantage to carrying extra fat on the body, particularly for women. The added physical shelter of weight can actually provide a woman with more of a physical presence in a space which can feel like an emotional protection. As the fat starts to burn away and the individual’s size reduces, it can create a surprising vulnerability that is quite unexpected. While the person may receive positive attention for the lost weight, it can feel as though he or she is exposed in a way that was never experienced before. To be happy with the weight loss over the long term, this feeling needs to be properly managed and the individual needs to learn to cope.

That said, an even greater challenge faced by people who have lost a lot of weight is the fear that they won’t be able to keep it off. Losing it was very difficult and it was a very big deal. The people in the individual’s life were all able to see the progress and celebrated the victories along with the dieter. Therefore, if any of that weight should be gained back, it would make that person feel like a failure. Many people who have lost over 30 pounds feel a sense of near desperation about stopping lost weight from returning. This is only exacerbated when they read statistics such as the one mentioned earlier about the fact that the vast majority of people will see at least some of their weight return again.

This causes a sense of fear that they will fail, that others will judge them or that they will be talked about behind their backs. This is such a powerful feeling that some people have been known to sabotage their efforts right at the end when they are about to reach a goal they’ve been seeking for months or even years. Others end up starting more restrictive diets during their maintenance time than they had followed when they were trying to lose the weight in the first place.

It is clear that simply reaching a weight loss goal does not cause all the doubts and insecurities to simply disappear. In fact, in some cases, it can make them worse. For this reason, it is very important to be aware of the way you are feeling all the way through your dieting effort. Keep up a positive attitude and make an effort to feel good about yourself on a regular basis. Whether this is through the way you dress, participation in certain activities or just singing your lungs out in the shower, do the things you need to do to feel great. Boosting your self confidence and self image as you work to lose weight can make all the difference in being able to be happy with your achievement and to keep the weight off once it’s gone.