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getting tired of backhanded compliments....

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Old 12-08-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
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Angry getting tired of backhanded compliments....

ok...so I know this is going to sound ungrateful...but if I can't share it here, I don't know where to share it.
I've lost about 50lbs...and people are starting to notice. And that's great and everything...but I feel like people are kind of socially awkward when it comes to talking about weightloss. For instance, many of the people I know say "don't you feel soo much better?" or, "wow...you look way better"...and I can't help but kind of think of it as an insult because I don't feel like I was horribly hideous before..nor did I lack energy or have a multitude of health problems. I am losing the weight because I want to get it under control before it does cause health problems...and I want to have a healthy baby someday. I feel like people are so jaded about fat people that it's some kind of moral triumph that I've lost 50lbs. (The truth is, I don't feel better, I feel worse. I used to be full of energy, and now I'm tired all the time.)

I am pleased with my results so far, and I am motivated to continue...but I take these kind of comments as back handed compliments. It is one thing when it comes from someone that has seen the struggle on this journey and knows how far I have come in this short time, you guys here on 3FC (who know what I'm going through) or even when someone simply says..."you look great". But people that automatically assume I'm SO much happier now that I'm thinner and on my way to being even thinner...makes me sad about our culture. I'm never going to be a "skinny" person and maybe this is just the realization of how our country percieves people that are different that makes me sad.

Even when I watch the Biggest Loser (and don't get me wrong, I like that show)...I feel like they treat the people like poop (like animals, really)...until they're skinny. And then they start treating them like someone that deserves respect and accolades. What about the triumph of the 1st day or the 1st week...or the triumph in starting over after failing? Doesn't THAT deserve accolades?

Am I out of line and being oversensitive about something that is meant as a compliment? ...or does anyone else feel the same way???

As always, I am grateful for the support here...you ladies are truly awesome and Even though I don't post a ton...I am always thankful that I can come here and get motivation.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by StellarGirl View Post
(The truth is, I don't feel better, I feel worse. I used to be full of energy, and now I'm tired all the time.)
I don't really disagree with what you've said although I admit I've never really listened to what others say to me. I really only posted because of the line that you posted there above. I know the desire to lose weight, and lose it quickly, but really pay attention to your energy levels. Years ago when dieting I didn't and it led to serious illness. You needn't be tired all the time when dieting. If you are consider eating a little more, or cutting back on the workouts. Also make sure that you're getting plenty of vitamins and minerals (supplement with a good multi-vitamin as well).
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:34 PM   #3
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I agree with you that people who just want to make a passing compliment should stick to "you look great" and things like that. but people closer to you might want to know if you're feeling better, because you should. I wouldnt be too upset about it, they might not know what else to say.

if you really are tired all the time you should call your dr. You might have something going on hormonally or maybe a nutrition problem. you should feel better, not worse. and your Dr. is there to make sure you are healthy AND happy.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:39 PM   #4
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At my work place most of the people are on and off WW or SB or Atkins so even though they aren't as big as me (and are mainly women not really committed to health so much as bathing suits, gaining and losing the same 10 pounds) when they comment about me losing it usually seems to me that they are admiring an accomplishment that is hard vs "Thank God that fattie is finally moving away from death." or "Yay, I like working with people who aren't hideous."

If it was like my LAST workplace where most everyone was skinny and the "big" girl was just a normal curvy natural hourglass girl then I would be feeling different (I was only a little overweight in that workplace, and very fit so no one really had any snide fat comments to make). Those skinny girls were very catty about fat and compliments were usually said to someone's face and then snickered at behind their back. They were very young, though (well, so was I, but older than them).

So I can't tell if you're being "sensitive" or if people are being. As my middle school principal used to say, "The only thing you can control is your attitude/actions." So screw 'em! Either way you are aiming your attitude and your actions towards losing weight healthfully so their attitudes and their actions don't matter.

I hope you find out why you're so tired!
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:40 AM   #5
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People associate fatness with immorality. They associate fatness with laziness, greed, sloth and brutishness. People think that fatness is not just unhealthy, it is also wrong and unethical. They consider it wasteful, they consider it ugly above all. Society doesn't really mind if a thin person is unhealthy, as long as they are attractive and thin. Fat people are at risk for various diseases, disorders and conditions because of their weight, but the main reason society has a stigma against fatness is not because of health, but because of views on morality and beauty. Fat people are immoral and ugly. This may sound harsh but once you scratch at the surface, that is the message that society sends.

Weight loss is also very psychological. As your body changes you have to make sure that your mental state does also. Sometimes it takes a lot of soul searching. If you are losing weight, people will think that you are not only getting better looking, they will also think that you are getting healthier, and also becoming a better person overall. So does that mean you were ugly, unhealthy and a bad person before? Almost no one would say that to your face, but I think many do think that on a subconscious level when they see a fat person.

Please don't let cynicism or backhanded compliments (aren't all compliments backhanded in some way?) interfere with your weight loss. Do it for yourself, not for others.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:09 AM   #6
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losing that much weight is a great accomplishment...they are just acknowledging that. I wouldn't consider it a bad thing. I have said those same words to people who I've ran into who have lost a lot of weight. People can be shocked sometimes at the transformation and say the first thing that comes to mind. I would take it as a compliment for sure!
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:26 AM   #7
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I don't post here, but I saw your thread title and being a buttinsky wanted to way in. Let's try this another way. First off arumaru is dead on that people who are overweight are looked at in an inferior way. You must always strive to change societie's minds about it, but you must not let it get to you when things don't change overnight. Take the reigns and when you feel the comments have a negative tone to them in any way, say, "Thank you, but I am doing this for my good health." Keep plugging away at the good health issue and sooner or later people will get the idea. I applaud you for getting yourself healthier and no matter what size you are, remember we are all God's children so we are beautiful!
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:46 AM   #8
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I kind of went through this for a while until a very smart person wised me up. The reason people say, "I bet you feel better, *or* don't you feel better?" (etc.) is because they see you healing yourself from a very serious medical condition. Being Super-Morbidly-Obese is a very dangerous, life threatening health problem. You may have felt "good" at 300 pounds and felt as you looked good, but regardless, the extra weight was not heathy and most people know that. As you reduce your weight you are healing yourself of obesity...and as others have said...you really should feel better. When people say things like this, they aren't back handed compliments, they are not really compliments at all, people are just stating what they feel to be the obvious. For the majority of super-morbidly-obese people, being 150+ pounds overweight hurts.

If you feel worse you need to talk to your Doctor. If you suffer from anxiety problems at all that could be the problem. I felt pretty bad for awhile into my weight loss and discovered I had a couple abscessed teeth. Once that problem was taken care of, I was better than good. Hope things look up for you.

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Old 12-09-2009, 08:57 AM   #9
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I totally agree with Lori Bell. Though sometimes it does feel that way that people are being kind of nasty... honestly they mean well and are happy for you to be "healing" yourself like she said. Because whether or not you felt okay at 300, you were unhealthy. You were just one of the lucky few who are healthy enough apparently not to feel it yet! I personally felt like ****, and felt about 10 years older than I was! So try and give people some props for really caring enough to say anything at all.

Also, I don't think it's actually a good thing that you're so tired especially after losing all that weight... you should feel light as a balloon after all that weight loss! If you're not taking supplements, I'd start, and if you are.... maybe you should think about adding a little bit to your daily diet just until you do feel a little better. You might lose slower, but it'll be a LOT healthier.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:25 AM   #10
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I agree with what you are saying. But like others have said - don't let it influence you or change how you feel about yourself or the situation. I think a lot of people don't mean it to be mean - they just are proud of what you have done and are finding a way to tell you in the way they know how. I have heard these lines myelf. I just try to remember I know they mean well
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:11 AM   #11
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I really identified with your post. I have been fat for 20 years but during that time have led what I considered to be a pretty amazing life. A conversation with my father in 2008 made me realize that to him my lifestyle was a sad substitute for being fat.

I only see my father once a year and I was 50lbs lighter than the last time I saw him and in a way was a bit dreading his compliments, as I knew he would comment about me "turning my life around". I am now dating someone for the first time in years and though I've told other family members, have not said a word to Dad, knowing he will attribute it entirely to weight loss. Of course the weight loss contributed to this event, but as my beau has never been attracted to a big girl (which let's face it, I still am), I really don't want to hear it.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:37 AM   #12
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I only see my father once a year and I was 50lbs lighter than the last time I saw him and in a way was a bit dreading his compliments, as I knew he would comment about me "turning my life around".

Yeah, that's hard, when people make like your weight is *everything,* like there isn't a wee bit more involved in turning one's life around than losing weight.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:37 AM   #13
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It's really easy to take a compliment on your weightloss as backhanded. When someone says "Wow, you look really great!", our minds start to think "What do they mean by that?" "Did they think I was a huge, disgusting blob before and thank your deity of choice that I'm moving away from that?!" But unless your coworkers, friends, family members, the neighbour down the street, or whoever else pays you a compliment is a horrible, mean person.... don't.

The thing is, being thin is often assumed to mean being healthy. We all know that's not true. Everyone knows that person who is thin but eats every junk food known to man and never gets off their couch unless it's to go to the fridge or answer the door when the delivery person comes, or the overweight person who runs every morning and eats healthfully but seems to keep the weight on anyway. But that being said, most people don't lose weight by accident. If you've lost weight, it's a pretty accurate assumption that you've changed your eating habits and/or became more active to do so. People see your efforts and the changes they've made in you and they want to acknowlege that. They want to give you a pat on the back and say, "You wanted to lose weight and you're doing it! Good for you for achieving your goals!" But weight is such a sensitive thing in our society that it's hard to do that without unintentially offending someone. If someone says "You look good!" take it as "I look good! People are noticing my efforts! Yay!" and leave it at that.
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