Weight Loss Support - Why is this bothering me?




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Nori71
03-19-2008, 05:01 PM
OK, I had an odd encounter with a gal at the gym yesterday. I cannot make sense of it. I don't know if this is the right forum for it though. It obviously has to do with body image issues - hers and mine!

This woman is LEAN, LEAN, LEAN (so much so that it's not attractive IMO), bordering on appearing weak. I commented on her one time to my personal trainer, stating how lean she was and his reaction included rolling his eyes and saying "ick". Maybe for my benefit, I know!:p He guessed she was about 15%bf. Anyways, I've never spoken with her before and yesterday she hopped on the elliptical next to me and just started chatting away. (Sadly, I'd left my iPod at home.) She wanted me to join her on the tread climber after 10 minutes on the elliptical. Weird enough. We've never spoken to each other let alone worked out *together* before! I told her I was just doing a 10 minute warm up and would be moving onto weights.

OK, so then she starts talking about body fat and how hard it was to blast the last layer of fat on our bodies. I'm 100% certain that it is! BUT, does she not see that I'm nearly 100 pounds overweight? And at this point would not be concerned with the last layer of fat on my body? She lifts up her arm and pinches what appears to be 1/4 inch of loose skin on her back and says "what is this? Fat?" Then she starts pulling on various parts of her body and getting fairly worked up about this stubborn fat. I started to feel very uncomfortable with where the conversation was heading and almost starting feeling like I was being teased? And feeling like I needed to start comparing myself to her and putting my self down and telling her how great she looks. (Which I DIDN'T do and which would have been a lie.) I don't know if she wanted this from me. Thank God my 10 minutes were up soon! Anyways, I'm curious what you think this conversation was about. Just her interest in reducing her bf (maybe this is all she can talk about?) and I happened to be the person to her left. I don't honestly feel like she meant to pick on me, yet I did feel like I was being picked on. I didn't think it had affected me and then I went though the whole thing with DH last night and again here now! I'm sure I'm over thinking it. But it bugs me nonetheless.


gailr42
03-19-2008, 05:11 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head with, "this is all she can talk about". Also, she may just be wierd. I think the encounter was strange, too.

Keep up the good work!

PaulaM
03-19-2008, 05:17 PM
She probably worked her way through all the other people and you were a new set of ears to listen to her. I wouldn't think twice about her.


Glory87
03-19-2008, 05:25 PM
She sounds like she has body image problems, she is lean, but only sees herself fat. Anorexics suffer from this mind bending mirror trick. I would feel sorry for her - she can't see herself as she really is and might be eating/exercising in a way that is unhealthy for her. I definitely don't think she was talking about you/making fun of you/teasing you in any way, she was completely in her own head.

shrinkingchica
03-19-2008, 05:28 PM
She might genuinely identify as a "fat" person. Some people don't see themselves as objectively as everyone else can see them. She could seriously be suffering from a body image disorder. There is a new movie out, Disfigured (I think its called) that deals with an anorexic woman viewing herself as honestly "fat" and to that end joining a "fat acceptance" group.
Anyways, I wasn't there, but I *try* and give people the benefit of the doubt. So maybe that could be a possible answer?
Either way, it isn't about you no matter how you look at it, it is about her. Her issues with disordered body image or being insensitive or just plain mean.
But I don't know which one!!!

yoyonomoreinvegas
03-19-2008, 05:29 PM
To look at this from the other side - maybe she felt comfortable talking to you because when she looks in the mirror she sees someone who is the same build as you. People with body dysmorphic disorder (apologies for the guess at spelling) honestly see themselves as being the same size as someone who is working on losing 100 lbs even if they are terribly underweight. If you had said you thought she was too thin, she would have thought you were the one being insulting. And, yes, that's all they can talk about. If this is the case, there isn't anything you can say - she needs professional counceling - and you did exactly the right thing by being polite then moving on. Or, maybe she is just weird :D

Nori71
03-19-2008, 05:47 PM
Wow. Thanks for the insight. Here I was thinking she was just very vain, but I suppose she might have BDD or another disorder. Not that I'll go seeking her out at the gym, but I'll view her in a more compassionate/ gracious light now. Even if she's just a weird one!

jewelrymaker81
03-20-2008, 10:15 PM
I hate when I'm with a group of (skinny) friends, and they start talking about someone they saw and how grotesquely fat they were. They'll just go on and on , "he must have weighed 300 lbs." I'm like hello! I weigh 325! Or they'll talk about how they need to lose weight because they're reaching 150 and ugh, that's just gross! I'm like, do you not see me?? I think they honestly don't - they just know me and don't think about my fat all the time like I do. How vain of me to assume that my weight is everyone else's top priority! lol Just because it's constantly on my mind, does not mean that that's the first thing people notice when they see me (and I'm talking about people that see me everyday). They just see me, not my fat. I'm the one that only sees fat. But, going the long way around, I was getting to the woman in the gym: I think that woman just wanted to talk and is probably a bit obsessed about her weight, but I don't think she was trying to point out yours. And she may have a bodyimage disorder as well. I wouldn't worry about it. But I know, when someone that's fairly thin wants to talk to me about their weight issues, and they go on and on about how fat they are, I get so offended because it makes me wonder what they think of me and why in the world would they point that out, blah blah blah. But I honestly don't think people mean to be offensive.

jewelrymaker81
03-20-2008, 10:24 PM
That made me think of something else! Something that's been very hard for me to come to terms with. 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, becasue 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 it 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 bond 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 the 150 pounder knows what it feels like to hate themselves, just as much as those of us who weigh twice that know how it feels. I hope I've made some sense here!

OnlyMeantWell
03-20-2008, 10:27 PM
She definitely has her own body image issues, probably a lot worse than you or I. I know for a fact when I get down to being that lean and trim I'll still go to the gym but I will not complain (okay, I say I know..and obviously I can't KNOW, but I'm pretty sure!)

But it definitely sounds like her issue. It sounds like to me that she is just kind of flaky and didn't realize that she was making you feel uncomfortable/bad about yourself. If she was trying to make you feel bad about your body image, don't let her! Some people are just mean, and if this is what she was trying to do, she is NOT worth another thought from you!!

Happy exercising :)

-Liz.

Jadeybaby
03-20-2008, 10:38 PM
That made me think of something else! Something that's been very hard for me to come to terms with. 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, becasue 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 it 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 bond 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 the 150 pounder knows what it feels like to hate themselves, just as much as those of us who weigh twice that know how it feels. I hope I've made some sense here!

Wow, I loved this post, it put some stuff into perspective for me. Made me think :)
Thank-you!

almostheaven
03-20-2008, 11:51 PM
I too was thinking she sounds as if she has some body image problems. Maybe even anorexia or something. Her chatting it up like that may be her way to either identify with someone overweight because she thinks she IS overweight, OR...it could be a kind of cry for help that she's not even conciously aware of. All you can do is be honest and tell her you don't see an ounce of fat on her and then move on. Don't validate her negative feelings and don't let her suck you in or drag you down her precipice.

sweettart08
03-21-2008, 12:21 AM
Jewelrymaker81 - Wow...thank you soooo much for writing that!! What a wonderful perspective to have and I'm so glad that you shared it! Who are we to judge another person's pain?? If they are hurting, let them hurt. So often we are given the opportunity to show a little bit of compassion to someone who needs just that...and we pass it by. I know I have. I will pay a little more attention to those moments now, so that maybe, just maybe, I can help someone see a little bit of light....

You are awesome!!!! ;)

PhotoChick
03-21-2008, 11:10 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.

Amen!!!!!!

What a wonderful post. Seriously. I think we all have the tendancy (a very human one) to say "my pain is worse", no matter what the situation. Whether it's weight, or a bad working situation, or money woes, or family woes ... it's easy to look at someone else and think "you'll never understand how bad *I* have it."

The truth is that we all have burdens to deal with and things that hurt us.

I love this post as a reminder that we need to be compassionate towards other people's struggles as well.

.

Lekhika
03-21-2008, 01:22 PM
So, what it comes down it 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 bond 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 the 150 pounder knows what it feels like to hate themselves, just as much as those of us who weigh twice that know how it feels. I hope I've made some sense here!


a big internet standing ovation from me...
What a wonderful post!!

jewelrymaker81
03-21-2008, 05:27 PM
I really appreciate everyone's responses to my post. Who'd have thought my wordy meanderings would make sense, much less affect people as they did. This is such an awesome site, and the support is amazing. I wish I could get everyone I know that's on a diet to join up here and read these forums. Thanks for making me feel like I have something important to say!