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Keeping Things in Perspective-revisiting an old post

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Old 02-07-2010, 04:54 PM   #1
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Hey guys! I'm not trying to toot my own horn, or just posting this for compliments. Anyway, I had replied to a post on here a couple years ago about listening to skinny people talk about how fat they are and how insulting it was. The response I made got a lot of responses and seemed to help people put things in perspective as far as viewing other people's problems. So I thought I would post it again. I don't know if anyone can identify with this or not, but it's something that took me quite a while to learn. I hope someone gets something from it. Thanks guys! Here it is:

I'm in a little family weight loss group and we meet every other week to report our weight loss and talk about issues and share recipes, etc. Well, my aunt is in the group and she only needs to lose about 15 lbs. Total. Forever. 15 lbs. And here I am, needing to ultimately lose 150 lbs. And I'm supposed to feel a kinship with her in our weight struggle?? Yes, I am. It took me a long time to realize that no matter how overweight you are, whether it's 10 lbs or 200 lbs, it's the same struggle. My roomate always used to make me so mad because I'd talk about my weight loss struggles and how fat I was and because she weighs about 50 lbs more than me, she'd act like my life could never compare to her's. That I had no idea what it was really like to be fat, because I only weighed 325 and not 375. What a crock! Of course I know what it's like to hate yourself and to feel disgusted everytime you eat, yet continue to do it. And yeah, I know what it's like to feel out of place in a group of thin people and feel like no one is listening to you talk, that they're just looking at your turkey neck jiggle. It took my getting so aggravated at her telling me I don't know what it is to struggle, to realize that my aunt knows what it is to struggle as well, even though she has a lot less to struggle over. She has been much heavier in the past, I had to realize that too. So, what it comes down to is fat is fat. Whether it's 10 lbs or 100, the person carrying it views it just the same. It's a burden and a bondage and it sucks and it limits what we do and where we go and who we talk to and it sucks! So we need to support each other always, not roll our eyes at the person that only needs to lose 15 lbs, and realize that even they know what it feels like to hate themselves, just as much as those of us who need to lose 150 lbs know how it feels. I hope I've made some sense here!
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:33 PM   #2
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You made a lot of sense. I see both sides of it...someone with 10 lbs to lose is in a very difference place than someone with 100 lbs to lose, or 200, or more. Some issues are similar, but some are quite different. I have had to learn to be kinder and gentler in person, however. People who know I've lost a lot of weight do come up and ask me how I did it, because they need to lose 5, 10, whatever. And I straight-out tell them to find their own solution, because my lifestyle change is not something someone with 10 lbs to lose should consider. It's a totally different situation. Not that I'm unsympathetic, but...you get the picture.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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I used to get mad at my sister for calling herself fat because she's never been more than 30 pounds overweight in her life, I don't think. As far as I was concerned she had no idea what it was like for me.

Then we started working out together, and I started to see things from her perspective more. Sure, I had more weight to lose, but her stress gains make her just as uncomfortable as my extra weight has made me. It was a good lesson to learn, particularly as coworkers talk to me about their weight struggles all the time now, and a lot of them don't have nearly as much to lose as I did when I started.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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It doesn't matter how much you need to lose , 20 pounds or a hundred. It is very important to the individual. I congratulate the person who needs to lose 20 pounds and does it. It only gets harder if you put it off and gain a lot more.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:56 PM   #5
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I agree. Totally. Being fat is a state of mind just as much as a state of the body. Perhaps even more so. Its effects go beyond the scale, beyond any scientific form of measurement, and it can resist all appeals to reason. It's sometimes less about actually being fat than **feeling** fat. And who am I to invalidate anyone's feeling about herself? It's another thing in life where we're not engaged in a contest regarding who's suffered most or been the most oppressed.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:05 PM   #6
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I had a similar attitude, that people with only a small amount didn't have it that hard. And honestly, in some ways, they don't. Regardless of emotional issues that may be the same, living in a body that is a 100 or 150 or 200 lbs overweight brings physical issues that a person dealing with 10 or 15 extra pounds doesn't have to face.

But on the other hand, I think someone who realizes that they are going down a bad path and makes the decision and the actions to stop it from getting worse is a very, very strong and admirable person. I don't mean I beat myself up over it, but what if I had realized at 175 that I needed to think about my life and change what I was doing, before I put on 75 more pounds after that.

So no, I don't think it's exactly the same thing, but I do have an enormous amount of respect for the people who realize the need to change their life far sooner than I came to that realization and found the power and courage to do it.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:32 PM   #7
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You're right, it's not the same physically by any means. But emotionally, being overweight takes a toll on you - no matter how overweight you are. For most people - I see some people who are very overweight and don't seem to be bothered by it at all. But for my aunt, those last 15 lbs bother her and it's very imporant to her to get those off and I have to respect that. Funnily enough, I originally posted that a couple years ago and we've just started that fat club over again 3 weeks ago, and my aunt is still working on those last 15 lbs and probably a few more!
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeanutsMom704 View Post
I had a similar attitude, that people with only a small amount didn't have it that hard. And honestly, in some ways, they don't. Regardless of emotional issues that may be the same, living in a body that is a 100 or 150 or 200 lbs overweight brings physical issues that a person dealing with 10 or 15 extra pounds doesn't have to face.
I see where you are coming from, OP, but I have to agree with the above. Looking back at my own life, I didn't know what it was to REALLY need to lose weight until recently. Tummy apron, skin rashes, getting down and not being able to get back up... There was a time in my life where i weighed "only" 221 and thought I was just massive and uncomfortable. Imagine my shock when I got all the way up to 297 a couple years later and would kill to be back down to the 220's. I'm sure someone in the 300's, 400's or heavier would look at me and feel the same.

My mom is a tiny woman, but goes on and on about how she'd like to lose 10 lbs. Now, maybe if I have never had my weight struggles I could see things from her perspective, but being where I am today and where I have been previously, listening to her size 4 butt complain about being fat just makes me feel like complete *you know what* about myself.

Anyway, like I said, I can see where you are coming from... I guess it's all relative.

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Old 02-08-2010, 12:03 AM   #9
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I agree and disagree a bit. I have been all kinds of weight throughout my life and there were times when I was only 10 lbs. overweight and times when I was more than 75 lbs. overweight. I can honestly say (for me), it is a different feeling. I have a binge eating disorder, so the loss of control part of it is similar. However, the feeling I would get when I got dressed in the morning in my huge plus sized clothing....the feeling that I couldn't find anything that would look ok in my body-conscious neighborhood is completely overwhelming as opposed to being 15 lbs. overweight. I am tall so for me 15 lbs. is different from 15 lbs. on a shorter person, but even at a higher weight, it's not the same thing to me. To lose a pound is to lose a pound, but the mental energy it takes to tackle 100 lbs. is not (from my perspective) the same as what it takes to lose 20 lbs. At the same time, I don't roll my eyes when someone seemingly thin is unhappy with their appearance. I have a best friend who is gorgeous and dresses in nothing but designer clothes in which she looks amazing but when she complains about her weight gain, I feel for her anyway. However, she doesn't feel the same desperate need to workout as I do because I am trying to get into my cute clothes and she already is in them! I hope I made some sense. This is just my feelings and I am not here to disagree...but I appreciate your perspective, so thanks for posting.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:14 AM   #10
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I'm glad to find this thread, because it's something that I think about a lot in relation to myself.

I'm one of those people who suffered and worried about being fat from the time I was really young-- I had a TERRIBLE self image. But in truth, I was not fat. I was tall, matured early, was booby, and was an athlete in an era when most girls weren't. I weighed somewhere between 155 and 170 until the end of my twenties. For how much I suffered about my weight, I could have weighed a hundred pounds more. I felt like a BLIMP.

I really think this bad attitude is a big part of why I ballooned eventually to almost 300 lbs. It's easy to let yourself become morbidly obese when you have such a distorted body image.

So, when I see girls on 3FC who are my height and weigh maybe 160 or 170 and they're setting goal weights of 130 and talking about how they are way fat to wear jeans, I feel kind of bad, and sometimes I really feel like saying "honey, don't be so hard on yourself..."

I'm pretty convinced that if I had never dieted back when I weighed 160, I never would have developed all the binge eating problems that eventually led me to weigh 295.

So really, no. I don't think needing to lose 100 pounds and needing to lose 10 pounds is the same.

ESPECIALLY if the person is already an essentially normal weight but just wants to be on the skinnier end of normal.

And frankly, I DO think it's insensitive for a normal weight person to equate her weight struggles with those of a person who is trying to lose 100 lbs.

There may be some commonalities, but the differences outweigh the commonalities.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:18 AM   #11
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Jewlry, you make a good point.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:35 AM   #12
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My $0.02:

I think it depends on what common ground we are trying to find. Self-esteem issues and poor body-image can happen at any weight and easily be worse for someone thin or overweight. That struggle seems to be universal. I have been at lots of different weights in my life and the way I see my body seems to reflect what I am going through non-weight wise more than what my actual weight is. I feel great at 209lbs today, but ask the woman several years ago that weighed 140lbs and she was horribly depressed.

What thinner people can't relate to are the physical challenges that being 100lbs+ overweight brings, the immensity of trying to lose 100lbs, the way the world treats someone 100lbs+ overweight, the side effects of being treated that way - loneliness, job dissatisfaction, looki-loos, etc. They have no concept of that. I know I didn't until I hit my high weight with an injured foot because of my weight. I am fully aware that people with 200+lbs overweight have a whole different set of physical challenges and society treatment challenges that I have never experienced. Even though I have not been through that, I am capable of empathy and encouragement for them. I probably would not complain about my weight around them as I do think that it is insensitive, but rather focus on general encouragement for success in any area of thier life they are working on.

Thanks jewelry for bringing this topic back - very good things to think about!
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:49 AM   #13
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You make a good point. Our real value, worth etc. is not determined by opinion, even consensus of opinion, whether the opinion be our own (e.g. I'm so fat that I don't deserve good customer service, fair treatment or I do deserve scruitiny when I grocery shop because I let myself get so bad, etc.) or that of others (e.g. you don't deserve to be happy about your weight loss because someone out there lost more, struggled harder, etc.). Ah, the crazy things we do to ourselves and others.
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachBreeze2010 View Post
My $0.02:

I think it depends on what common ground we are trying to find. Self-esteem issues and poor body-image can happen at any weight and easily be worse for someone thin or overweight. That struggle seems to be universal. I have been at lots of different weights in my life and the way I see my body seems to reflect what I am going through non-weight wise more than what my actual weight is. I feel great at 209lbs today, but ask the woman several years ago that weighed 140lbs and she was horribly depressed.

What thinner people can't relate to are the physical challenges that being 100lbs+ overweight brings, the immensity of trying to lose 100lbs, the way the world treats someone 100lbs+ overweight, the side effects of being treated that way - loneliness, job dissatisfaction, looki-loos, etc. They have no concept of that. I know I didn't until I hit my high weight with an injured foot because of my weight. I am fully aware that people with 200+lbs overweight have a whole different set of physical challenges and society treatment challenges that I have never experienced. Even though I have not been through that, I am capable of empathy and encouragement for them. I probably would not complain about my weight around them as I do think that it is insensitive, but rather focus on general encouragement for success in any area of thier life they are working on.

Thanks jewelry for bringing this topic back - very good things to think about!
I think you make a lot of sense here.

But, I guess the point I was inarticulately stumbling toward, which is probably not the OPs point, is that there is in fact a difference between a person who is struggling with weight for health reasons-- a morbidly obese person-- and a person with a BMI of 24 who wants a BMI of 18.


And I'm not saying that it might not be right for some people to strive for a BMI of 18-- maybe that person is an athlete who doesn't peak perform unless she or he is really lean, maybe that person's ideal weight is on the lower end of the spectrum, but she gained weight for some reason and wants to get back to what she considers her optimum weight.

But, on the other hand, it is CLEARLY not healthy for all people who are fit and healthy with a BMI of 24 to strive for an unnattainable ideal of 18. People have different body types. We can ALL get to a healthy weight. We can't all have the lean string bean body type. That's fighting a losing battle....

And so to me, that person who has a normal BMI and a stable weight, but who constantly wants to lose 10 pounds is fighting a VERY DIFFERENT BATTLE from a person with a BMI of 30 or 40 who is trying to get into a healthy range...

That's one of the really hard things about weight loss. It's this really healthy thing to do that can be a little pathological around the edges. It's a terrific success when an obese person gets to a healthy weight. It's a much more questionable endeavor when normal weight high school girls compare themselves to super models and try to diet their normal bodies into shapes they were never meant to have.
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:33 PM   #15
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A long time ago, a poster started a thread about wanting to help her friend lose weight. Her friend was someone over 300 pounds and not a tall woman. The poster said, "Maybe we could go jogging together, would that help?"

Now clearly, this is a clueless person.

Just thought I'd mention it along the lines of, people at lower weights may not understand the challenges of those with higher weights.

Yes, it can seem just as miserable to be up ten pounds beyond what you want. And there are special challenges to losing that much, too. But, you're not facing a year or more of staying on plan to get to a "normal" range.

That's why 3FC has a Featherweights forum--just for those challenges.

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