Remembering being thin
Friday, October 02, 2020
I read a member blog today that made me think of the time when I was newly thin.
It was 2001 and it felt like all the stars aligned for me to be able to drop weight consistently. In about a year I had lost 98 lbs. I remember how great it was to shop the clearance rack for clothing because the size Smalls are always what they have too much of ... and now I could wear them.
I remember what it was like to have room in my chair for my purse to sit beside me instead of wondering if a chair would hold me or if I would fit between the arms (especially embarrassing in public).
I remember how I transformed my love of eating into a love of preparing good food and how much better everthing tasted. I remember lower grocery bills in spite of healthy food being more expensive than junk food. Portions matter. Who knew?
But I also remember how people treated me differently. How they suddenly noticed me. (I've been here all along). How people who never spoke to me before felt like starting a conversation with thin me (Why now?). How strangers in the elevator at work thought it was appropriate to say something about my weight loss (I don't know you. What makes you think it's okay for you to comment on my body? It's not). I remember how even my pastor pissed me off. When greeting my husband and I after the service, he congratulated me on my weight loss and then turned to hubs and said, "you know, your wife is really a beautiful woman."
I was infuriated. I wanted to shout, "I am the same person! You can't call me beautiful now if you didn't think I was beautiful then."
It hurt me. It made me recognize that being fat is a place to hide and how, at times, I still like being invisible.
I don't look forward to getting comments about my weight loss (after I get some weight-loss that is), but I'm not willing to sabotage myself to spite rude people. I don't want to give them that much power over me.
This time when the comments come, I hope to handle it differently.
20 years have passed. Things have begun to change. There are people out there that understand boundaries. But again ... that is outside my control. I can only change me.
There is another common time when people say really dumb things and that is after someone experiences a loss. Platitudes abound. They are not helpful and can be hurtful. But when I went through some major losses in my life, I chose to hear those stupid things differently.
I chose to recognize that most people just don't know what to say. And that saying stupid stuff was part of the human condition. I was also guilty of doing it at times. I decided that instead of the words they were saying, I would try to hear the sentiment behind them. In almost every case, what they were trying to say was, "I know you are hurting, and I care about you." That's it. I stopped being angry when people spoke in platitudes. Most to the time, I could answer with a simple, "thank you," without feeling I had been untrue to myself.
Could I do something like this with people who make comments out-of turn with regard to weight loss? I don't know. I have some time to figure it out. But I am going to get there again - to the place where weight loss is noticiable. I will do it for me. For my health and for my family who depends on me to stay healthy for as long as I can.
Do you ever feel uncomfortable when people comment on you weight loss? How do you handle it?