Weight Loss Support - DON'T want to lose weight???




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sidhe
12-08-2008, 11:05 PM
So how's this for circular thinking?

I'm therapy right now (EMDR therapy, it's really intense, really fast, and really effective--or at least it is for me) and the thought I've uncovered in the last week is that I don't actually WANT to lose any more weight. Because if I do, I won't be "remarkable"--I'll just be any other average thin woman.

I've been overweight most of my life. I've also been active. I go to the gym 5-6 times a week, I do cardio and lift weights. I have two degrees (an AS and a BS) in exercise-related fields. I have great blood pressure and great cholesterol. IMHO I'm sexy and fun and a marvelous 'catch'. I'm old-world beautiful, not the beautiful in magazines but in my own way. And I weigh at least 50 pounds more than I "should". I'm a fit fat woman--and that's an intrinsic part of my self-definition. If I let that go and lose weight, I'll be just like anyone else who's lost weight.

(Not to offend anyone out there at ALL, I'm trying and probably failing to explain what the depths of my subconscious is holding onto.)

When people see me they think, "ah, fat woman" and glom me into a stereotype. Which I then proceed to destroy, step by step. It's almost defiance, and it delights me. It gives me power, to be able to prove them wrong about judging me.

Obviously there's still a part of me that wants to lose weight, or I wouldn't be here. At least I'd like the clothes! But there's this subconscious side that is sabotaging me, thinking that if I DO, I will have lost that thing that makes me remarkable, that thing that makes me unique and noteworthy. Does anyone out there sympathize? Can anyone understand this? Does anyone have any advice for letting go of that desperate need to continue to defy people's judgment of me?

I'm sorry this is probably very circular and nonsensical. Rest assured I'm trying to understand it too! :^:


kaplods
12-08-2008, 11:35 PM
Human beings can want opposing and conflicting things. I don't think there's anything really unusual about having conflicting goals.

I do understand, sometimes I do have an irrational fear that losing weight, at some point could mean losing part of me. But what is stopping you from finding a way to defy people's judgement of you in a non-desperate, and non-weight-related way?

What can you do to stand out, and defy expectations in other ways?

There are zillions of stereotypes, and zillions of ways to defy expectations. There are countless ways to shock, surprise, and even delight or horrify others.

Maybe instead of trying to remove the need, redirecting it could be more effective for you.

gymlee
12-08-2008, 11:36 PM
You know, it's very interesting that you bring that up. Right now I'm actually trying to deal with my own issues regarding my subconcious saboteurs and I'll tell you, it's a lot harder than following any diet or exercise regime. I wish I did have a shrink to deal with all this so in your case you're lucky to have that extra support but I can definitely empathize with you. I've come to find that part of the reason that I am holding on to this extra weight is defiance as well. For years my dad was the one who was always berating me about my weight and telling me that I need to lose weight constantly and never did anything to listen to me and my needs and it became a sore spot for me and I think subconciously I saw holding on to this weight as one way to go against his wishes because when I was younger I really had no way to voice my opinions and desires to him so I continued to just pack on the weight partially due to hormonal imbalances but partially from overeating to hold on to this weight just to piss the **** out of him. So I can relate to you. When it comes to releasing the need to defy people's expectations, I'm not sure what to tell you. I myself have really been working on trying to release many things, especially my fears tied to weight loss and I'm not sure really what to do. I think it's one of the hardest things to do, to let go. The only other way I can think of is going to a more spiritual way and meditating and getting in touch with ones inner consciousness to feel all the emotions attached to it and maybe then you can release it. Or try being conscious of what you're doing and why you're doing it if for example you're reaching for that bowl of ice cream and it really isn't what you want to eat but you're reaching for it because some emotion inside you is bringing up those feelings tied to the need for defiance. I don't know if any of what I've said helps or makes sense but I hope things work out for you. I'm here if you need an empathetic shoulder to lean on because I know exactly how you feel. :hug:


sf40
12-09-2008, 12:05 AM
Yes, I certainly can sympathize.

I have been overweight for a while and seem to be stuck here. But I'm healthy like you - good blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, everything else. I exercise and take particular pleasure in telling co-workers about my long bike rides and hikes. I am strong, have good endurance, and can out-walk most of my younger and thinner co-workers.

Part of me wants to be smaller. I remember what it was like to weigh 40 pounds less. It was easier to find clothes that fit and looked decent. Interestingly, as I grow older and develop more confidence in my professional abilities and personality, the less I care about my weight (as long as I'm healthy). The part that wants to be smaller is slowly being overpowered.

Sooo ... it seems to me you're not ready to lose weight yet. If your health is good and your quality of life is not affected, perhaps you don't really have a good reason to lose weight right now (cute clothes is probably not a good enough reason). As kaplods suggested, maybe you need to spend some time discovering other ways in which you are unique and remarkable, other than being a fat fit woman. Who knows, once you do this, maybe you will be ready and you'll stop sabotaging yourself.

sidhe
12-09-2008, 12:22 AM
Thank you to everyone who has thus far commented. I really appreciate you helping me pull this apart.

I feel such a deep sense of shame in admitting that I don't want to lose weight. I agree, sf40, it may not be the time for me. But I live in Southern California, and I have for 25 years (I'm 33). The only acceptable body type out here is thin and young and firm, and women will go to any lengths to achieve that. And here I am defiantly refusing to even try? I've always been a good girl--good student, honor roll, no drugs EVER, no drinking, no boyfriends, I even worked in a *library* for 7 years starting when I was 16--and to admit that I'm NOT being a good girl about this issue is something I haven't been able to see for...well, years. I'm NOT going to do what I'm supposed to do, and they can't make me! No matter what people think about me, no matter how they judge me, no matter what assumptions they make about me. I'm not gonna change, so they're the ones that can change their opinions about me*.

Whiew, how messed up am I??

I still don't know if I'm making any sense at all, but thanks for all your comments anyway! ;)

joyra
12-09-2008, 12:37 AM
sidhe, there's a whole community of people that are proud to be big, beautiful women. Maybe that would help you with feeling guilty about not wanting to lose weight. OR maybe it would make you want to lose weight. Maybe I'm not reading this right, but it seems like you are proud to be different. I am that way... if everyone turns right I want to turn left. It's my natural impulse.

My only fear about losing weight is change. Like EMDR therapy, which I am familiar with, losing weight could shuffle things around in a way that I wouldn't be able to reverse. Once it starts, it is there and you have to deal with it. I'm afraid for my relationship... I have only dated my boyfriend as an overweight person... an overweight LAZY person. Our number one date idea is laying on the couch with beer & pizza and watching many hours of TV & movies. He has reassured me up and down that he would only be HAPPIER if I pursue my goals, whatever they are, and one huge goal is losing weight. I said, that would mean way fewer lazy nights and probably less time together while I'm working out. He still says me pursuing my goals would make him happier.

I've only known how to act as a fat person for the past 7 years... amazing how my memory won't help me relive how I acted when I was much thinner. And it's kind of a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situation. It's totally logical that a significant other would be happy to have a slimmer, healthier, more energetic partner. But I always have to be different, or believe that I'm in the situation where I'll feel WORSE after losing the weight.

I think my brain was implanted upside down.

TheTinGirl
12-09-2008, 12:50 AM
I know exactly what you mean! I gained about 170 pounds after an incident with a much old, perverted, prick of a boyfriend (I'll spare you the details.) But I wanted to be unattractive because boys...were bad? I don't know...and then I went through my rebellious tiff where I didn't want to be thin like everyone else...it's similar I think. My wake up call was a 27,000 dollar hospital visit that almost killed me. :( I recovered from that and took it as a second chance. I don't know if you can just tell someone...it's not like feeling it. Having your blood sugar over 900 and your pancreas failing...well I can just say that I woke up. That's why loosing weight is so important, you know? Not for looks, or fitting in...or lack thereof...it's about being healthy. Not putting so much strain on your body, and living life to it's fullest. :)

sf40
12-09-2008, 12:50 AM
I know what you mean about Southern California. I spend my most of my time in Orange County, California, and have lived in the southern half of the state for all of my 43 years, most of it in the greater Los Angeles area.

You are making sense to me. I have struggled with similar thoughts for many years. I still do! I really think that losing weight, and keeping it off, is very mental. So why do you want to lose weight? Why do equate losing weight with being a good girl? These are questions you probably need to answer.

As far as coping in Southern California, I saw a bumper sticker that read "Raggedy Ann in a Barbie doll world."

sidhe
12-09-2008, 01:04 AM
I know what you mean about Southern California. I spend my most of my time in Orange County, California, and have lived in the southern half of the state for all of my 43 years, most of it in the greater Los Angeles area.

You are making sense to me. I have struggled with similar thoughts for many years. I still do! I really think that losing weight, and keeping it off, is very mental. So why do you want to lose weight? Why do equate losing weight with being a good girl? These are questions you probably need to answer.

As far as coping in Southern California, I saw a bumper sticker that read "Raggedy Ann in a Barbie doll world."

Thank you SO MUCH for some very thought provoking comments!

Around here, and I'm sure you sympathize, the ONLY WAY to be attractive is to look like a Barbie doll. The ONLY THING that is accepted as beautiful is the picture-perfect looks-like-everyone-else version of what's beautiful this year. The long golden hair. Straight, of course. The thin brows, perfectly arched. The perfect, subtle makeup. The clothes that are effortless and sunny and light and airy and suggestive and flirtatious at the same time. You know what look I'm talking about, I'm sure. That's acceptance--that's acceptable. If I CARED what they thought of me--if I CARED what society thought of me--if I LOVED myself, I'd change to meet their expectations.

And yet I accept myself as beautiful my own way, and therefore I can never be what they want me to be. I CAN NEVER BE WHAT THEY WANT ME TO BE. And I don't want to try.

Jesus, this is getting deep. :(

JoyfulVegGirl
12-09-2008, 01:06 AM
It's great that you're figuring this out for yourself. It sounds like you've had an epiphany regarding your motivations.

The only thing I would add is that in my opinion, someone who is overweight and accomplishing great things despite their limitations (either real or perceived) is capable of accomplishing even greater things without weight being an obstacle. Don't get me wrong, even at my highest weight I was proud of the fact that I lived my life actively, and could out-walk, bike or hike almost everyone I knew, but now that I'm smaller I can push that even further. I'm telling you, it is SO much easier to be active at this weight. I took that drive to be better than average and applied it to other things. Knowing me, I was afraid to try to compete in the "normal" world because I wasn't sure if I could. I still struggle with that.

Using weight gain as a rebellion (in my personal opinion) is not a great idea in the long run, because of the health issues involved. There are tons of ways to carve out an identity for yourself, and I think that's a big part of the process of losing and maintaining your weight. Trying to define yourself without it is HARD, almost like losing a protective layer, but it's also one of the most rewarding things I've done.

But you have to do it for yourself, because you want to. Any other reason is not going to work.

Anway, I commend you for being honest with yourself, even if it's hard or confusing.

(And please note that I'm talking about a healthy weight range, not necessarily society's definition of "skinny".)

JoyfulVegGirl
12-09-2008, 01:10 AM
Sorry, just saw this and wanted to add --


Around here, and I'm sure you sympathize, the ONLY WAY to be attractive is to look like a Barbie doll. The ONLY THING that is accepted as beautiful is the picture-perfect looks-like-everyone-else version of what's beautiful this year. The long golden hair. Straight, of course. The thin brows, perfectly arched. The perfect, subtle makeup. The clothes that are effortless and sunny and light and airy and suggestive and flirtatious at the same time.

Yes, but why do you equate losing weight with having to be perfect, or fit in, or maintain the status quo? You'll always be YOU, regardless of how much you weigh ;)

Being healthy or smaller (or even attractive) does not necessarily mean being the same as everyone else.

gymlee
12-09-2008, 02:10 AM
Joyfulveggirl, you bring up some interesting points particularly in regards to you always being you no matter what weight you are. It is very easy to logically have that make sense but emotions are so much different especially when you've been exposed to a certain environment for an extended period of time. I'm not trying to argue with you because that is such a true and valid point but it is sometimes hard to reconcile that though with the logical mind with the emotional one. Maybe it's just me that has that issue when it comes to reconciling the two but I think that's what makes weight issues that are tied to emotional ones that much harder because it takes time to start to feel what you know in your head is true which is why sometimes you need someone outside yourself to remind you of that like you just did for sidhe. :)

JoyfulVegGirl
12-09-2008, 02:44 AM
Oh, I completely understand. I'm not trying to diminish the emotional aspect of it at ALL, because I know it's really easy to tell yourself one thing or be told something, but it's a whole other thing to do it. I just wanted to say that it is possible.

But if it was easy, I would have been at goal years ago. It is an ongoing struggle. :hug:

horsey
12-09-2008, 03:08 AM
I went to college two years in Santa Barbara, had enough of S. California and moved back to Oregon. Found the girls skinny and snotty, at the time I was skinnier then most of them though (ha) and fit in a bikini pretty good might I say (now that I'm 40). If you don't like it in Calif why live there? So much competition. Just a question? And as for being heavier then them, how about the perspective of how losing weight will help you live longer, be happier etc. I know about sabatoge, I've done that, and it's my yo yo thing I ought to find a shrink to talk to about. I grew up feeling not as pretty, was quite shy, reserved, in a very religious home (told to be a fading wallflower)... there was a point after leaving a hurtful relationship I went overboard, got down to a size 6-7 again, and studied fashion/clothes/makeup, I was quite obsessive in my quest for perfection (ie about 4 years ago). And you know what I felt really alive, healthy at what could have been the worst part of my life. But more then fashion/makeup etc I learned about psychology. One thing we can do no matter what our issues is ACT AS IF and some psych/advice books suggest this... you start acting as if you are the skinniest most attractive chick around. You carry your shoulders high, smile at strangers, be more confident then ever. And somehow the rest follows. What I don't understand is what's going on if you are working out this much, that you aren't losing weight? As much as I've yo yoed I've found it easy to lose 10-15 lbs just working out and cutting calories. I'm at it again, as I sabatoged myself for several months and gained. But have you really looked at your nutrition and what you are eating? One thing about eating really clean and healthy is your moods improve drastically! Even if you are heavier you feel better about yourself and live on a great diet, it puts a bounce back in your step.

gymlee
12-09-2008, 03:09 AM
Right on. That is so true. I think a lot of us wouldn't be here if we didn't have these emotional issues and/or need the support this forum provides, that's why I'm here. I need the feeling of kinship and knowing that there are others out there that feel me, you know? I've tried this so many times before by myself and I decided that this time around that I needed to try something where I could get the support I need because I felt so alone every other time. I so hope this works.

gymlee
12-09-2008, 03:12 AM
Oh and by the way, my above msg was for JoyfulVegGirl (Jennifer?) but you made some excellent points too horsey!

Nikaia
12-09-2008, 03:33 AM
Sidhe, have you had any contact with the Fat Acceptance (FA) movement? I'm not *at all* suggesting that you need to leave here if you're not totally committed to weightloss (I can see how this suggestion could come across that way, and I don't want you to think I'm trying to get on your case like that)...but you're describing an internal conflict that I think could benefit from some thoughtful discussion with others who feel similarly. I'd suggest checking out Kate Harding's Shapely Prose (http://kateharding.net/) blog for some really great posts about defying the fat stereotypes.

I do sympathize as well, about SoCal. I'm from the Bay Area, but I have family near LA, and the abundance of skinny women who ALL LOOK THE SAME always got on my nerves when we'd go visit.

Anyway, I suppose it comes down to, which motivation holds a better outcome for you? Does holding onto excess weight in order to be able to deliberately defy a stereotype serve you well in the long run? Or does losing weight and no longer defying that stereotype, but perhaps being a little happier with yourself, serve you well in the long run? At least you're figuring out why your subconscious is holding back on the weightloss; lots of people never figure out why and constantly self-sabotage without being able to stop themselves.

Good luck on figuring out what you want. :)

JayEll
12-09-2008, 08:22 AM
Very thought-provoking thread. Here are some ideas off the top of my head... fortunately I've had some coffee. :coffee:

1. Being different. Where I live, which is not SoCal I admit, everyone around me is overweight. OK, I lied--not everyone. Only 80%. Are you sure that you're not focusing on the thin women just like everyone else does? Maybe the fat people around you have become invisible? Take another look. You might also be focusing on young people. Are older people invisible too?

2. Fat acceptance. I used to buy in to the idea that it was OK to be obese, as long as one was "fit" and "happy." And why would I not? It meant I didn't have to change. It meant I could ignore what was really going on with my body, health, and so on, and continue to eat whatever I wanted. Well, that kinda works when you're younger than, say, 40--arbitrary age--but it stops working as time goes on. Blood pressure does begin to go up, joints start to wear, blood sugar becomes an issue. Things start to hurt--back, knees, feet. Limitations come up. Can you really climb all those stairs? Can you sit in that chair? So although it may seem OK now, it will likely not be OK later...

3. Defiance. It's good that you've realized that you want to stay fat to defy someone. Because really, doing anything to defy others, whether it's stay fat or stay thin, is not a proposition where you can win. Others are not living in your body...

OK, that's all at the moment. I hope you sort it out! :hug:

Jay

Lori Bell
12-09-2008, 12:12 PM
In your area being overweight might make you different and unique, but where I live in south central Nebraska, being thin makes you different and unique. I blended into the crowd quite nicely 100 pounds ago, and pretty much still do, but I am approaching the danger zone. My problem was I didn't want to be different, I wanted to fit in.

When I moved here 20 years ago I was quite fit and received a lot of attention from men and women alike for being "different" much of it not welcome and rude. Though I had always struggled with my weight, I had just happened to be on the thinner side at that time. Well fat is excepted and very popular here and being a fat girl at heart I loved the freedom to eat and drink whatever I liked because..."Hey, everyone does it" and if I did it, I fit in better. I remember learning the meaning of *NE3* and thought...this is the place for me! What is there to do in Nebraska? Eat, drink and have sex...LOL

I had NEVER had BP, cholesterol or other weight related health problems. Matter of fact I was the poster child for fit & fat...BUT, it all came to a screeching halt at around age 41 when my BP pretty much shot up to 140/90 overnight. My Cholesterol went sky high and EVERYTHING hurt. I decided fitting in here (being fat) wasn't worth feeling like crud 24/7. I had to just come to terms that I can't care what people think of me. I have always been special and weight played no part in it. I love me best healthy and mobile. I hope you eventually live for yourself, and not society.

My point is I respect your need to be different, but your perfect health will not continue at an obese weight. Like smoking or excessive drinking there is a point when it's going to kill you if not controlled. Being different is great, but being different doesn't have to hurt...there are healthy ways to be different.

kaplods
12-09-2008, 01:22 PM
Not everyone will choose perfect health, and in fact most people will not (otherwise everyone would be eating the optimally nutritious diet, and running several marathons a year). McDonald's and Doritos aren't going out of business anytime soon. That is "OK," in the sense that no matter your choices, no one is going to stop you and you'll have to deal with the consequences.

Health, fitness, and even obesity all lie on a spectrum, and where you want to be on that spectrum is to some degree out of your control, but also largely choice. It's just as much a choice to the ideal weight, athlete or "health nut" as it is for the smoking, drinking couch potato (of any weight).

Most of us will stop somewhere in the middle. It's easy to say that being slender, active and athletic is much better than being overweight, lazy and sedentary. However it's harder to determine whether it's "better" for you to be a slightly overweight athlete or a slender sofa slug (besides those aren't your only two choices).

You always have the choice to improve (or stop improving) your food and exercise habits. YOU get to decide, when and where to stop and maintain - temporarily or permanently.

If you were slim, looked great despite eating horribly and not exercising, most folks in your life would not be telling you that you need to change your habits or they would kill you (even though it would still be true - the rates of diabetes and other "lifestyle illnesses are increasing even in average and underweight people).

Maybe you need to work on maintenance for a while before determining whether you do wish to further improve your eating or exercising (and whether that entails weight loss at this point).

You have choices, lots of them.

JulieJ08
12-09-2008, 01:27 PM
If I CARED what they thought of me--if I CARED what society thought of me--if I LOVED myself, I'd change to meet their expectations.

There's a wide, wide world between 233 pounds and their expectations ;). And their expectations have a whole lot more to them than just weight. You could weigh 120 pounds, be fashionably underweight, and still be a total dork ;)

I DO agree that if you're going to do it, you have to do it for yourself. If you haven't figured out why you would want to, then you're right, you're not ready. You'll gain back anything you lose, or be miserable maintaining it.

I really do get the pleasure of proving people wrong ;), but to use that to such an extreme - it really just proves how much you DO care what they think, not that you DON'T care. If you didn't care, their opinion wouldn't even be a factor.

Hypra
12-10-2008, 12:14 AM
I can so relate!

I used to dye my hair neon pink... it wasn't pretty. My hair got fried from being so over-processed it looked like straw. It wasn't even a flattering color on me. Despite this..I didn't want to change my hair. Even though I knew I'd feel prettier and happier with hair that didn't look like a bad synthetic wig, I couldn't do it. I thought if I didn't have neon hair, no one would notice me. I'd be just another average looking girl who didn't stand out in anyway. I used the hair dye to cover up a lot of underlying self-esteem issues.

My hair and your 'fit and fat' body are not what make us interesting people. We are thinking, complex, intelligent human beings with personalities. THAT is what makes us noteworthy and unique- it has nothing to do with physical appearance. You're selling yourself short by saying that being fat but healthy is what makes you worth knowing. I'm sure there is SO much more to you than that!

Lori Bell
12-10-2008, 10:41 AM
Awesome Hypra...well said!

KforKitty
12-10-2008, 12:53 PM
I've been where you are but feel I have moved on from that place now. What makes me exceptional and different from other 'skinny' girls (I don't yet count myself as this yet) is that I have lost well over 100lbs. To be able to achieve that is truely amazing though I say so myself. Other than people on here where there are more than a handful of us, how many people do you personally know that have lost such a large amount of weight - I can think of only one other and I don't know if she managed to maintain her loss as she was a WW's buddy from about 5 years ago.

True, people meeting me for the first time will not know this but I know it and I know what determination and effort it took me to get to where I am and that is worth celebrating:carrot:

Kitty

gymlee
12-11-2008, 01:31 AM
Wow Kitty, well said! That is awesome! I'm not sure what exactly in your little spiel there hit home for me but something did and that's great. I hope it does for other people too. And congrats on your weight loss! :cheer:

And Hypra, I really liked a lot of what you said too. I really liked reading that perspective on things. It really opened my eyes and I hope it does for other people too!

PhotoChick
12-11-2008, 04:17 PM
I've been thinking about this thread a lot and haven't been sure how to respond. It's really gotten me to think about the weight I've lost and why I did it. I apologize that this is really long and somewhat rambling ... but it sort of took off on me as I wrote it. :lol:

This is from my perspective, having been fat, currently being not-fat-but-not-skinny, and hoping some day to be skinny-but-fit.

70 lbs ago I was fat, but I didn't think I was ever unattractive. I took care of myself. I bought nice clothes. I went to the spa and got my eyebrows done and my bikini line waxed. I got my toes done every 2 weeks. I used creams and lotions and took care of my skin. I cut and coloured my hair. I never used "fat" as an excuse to not take care of myself or present myself well.

70 lbs ago I was healthy (according to most medical standards). I never had high blood pressure. I never had high cholesterol. I never had diabetes symptoms. Etc.

70 lbs ago I was reasonably in shape. Obviously now I'm more in shape, but even so, I work a fairly physical job and I was able to do that job and do it well.

70 lbs ago there wasn't any real reason that I felt like I needed to lose weight. I'd gone through the self-hate stage. I'd gone through the fat-acceptance stage. I'd gone through all those stages. And bottom line was, I was healthy, was attractive enough, and despite the occasional clothing shopping annoyance, I was happy enough with where I was. I had a fat best friend who shopped with me and ate with me, and did sort of half-hearted working out with me and we supported each other. I even had a boyfriend who found me perfectly attractive and sexy just as I was.

I was never miserable or unhappy or lonely - and certainly not because of my weight. I had friends, I did things, I loved my job I was perfectly happy.

If someone had tried to convince me to lose weight at that point, I honestly probably would have felt much the same as the OP. Why? What benefit would it have? What can being skinny give me that I don't already have? What additional happiness could I gain from being skinny?

And for everything that anyone could have told me, I would have had an answer.

You'll feel attractive for yourself. But I did then.
You'll be healthier. But I was healthy then.
You'll be in shape. But I was fairly fit then.
You'll be able to wear cute clothes. But I liked the clothes I had.

Case closed.


When I began to lose weight, it wasn't even a conscious decision to begin. I had started going to the gym to become stronger because it was getting harder and harder to recover from my weekend work. But I had no plan to lose. I just thought I'd build up some muscle to help me tote cameras around and such.

And I lost 70+ lbs.

And over the last 2 years I have realized that there are so many intangible things that have changed for the better because of that loss.

I feel SO much more attractive and comfortable with my body than I did before. (But I wouldn't have believed you, if you'd told me I would feel that much more attractive.)

I LOVE being able to go into any store in the mall and find something cute that fits. To wear things that cling to my hips and my waist (and holy ----! I have a waist!) and make me feel sexy. (But, I'd have said, I feel sexy now!)

And all the little things: I love to sit in a chair and not fill the whole seat. I get this thrill out of having space between my thighs and the arms of the chair to tuck my purse. I love not having to suck in and squeeze between chairs at the restaurant (not that sucking in did much good! :)). I love not minding being the person to sit in the middle in the back of the car. I love being able to take a bath and submerge my whole body. I love that I can wrap a regular sized bath towel around me. I love that I'm ot afraid to wear a belt. And on and on.

But the biggest things that have made a difference ... and that I could never have understood 70 lbs ago:

I feel so much healthier. Not just that I am healthier ... but I FEEL like my body is this healthy, well tuned machine. I crave exercise and movement and I leave the gym and can feel the blood racing through my body and the muscles twitching and resettling and it feels ... GOOD. Damn it feels good.

The day after a workout I can feel all those muscles slightly sore and stretchy - and it's a good sore and it feels like I've used my body in the way it's meant to be used. It feels like I've done something good for me.

And when I get up in the morning and take a shower, I can see the muscles in my legs. I can feel the muscles in my arms and shoulders as I run the washcloth over them. I reach around to wash my back and ... I can REACH my back. I lift something down from the top shelf and I feel the muscles in my shoulders flex and I'm freakin' proud of that! I love that those muscles aren't hidden under layers of fat (well, not much! :)) and that I can see them and others can see them.

Foods taste different to me and I relate differently to food. I still love rich creamy foods, cheesy foods, salty snacky foods, but I also have realized that they will always be there and I don't have to eat them like I'm deprived or like they'll go away tomorrow. And because of that I ENJOY them more. I had a 1/3 of a pumpkin scone from Starbucks today and I enjoyed it so much. Before I'd have scarfed it down and hardly tasted it ... but now I'm aware of what I'm eating and I LOVE food so much more now.

And all of these things are things that ... they're intangible. If you haven't felt them and don't know how good they feel, then you don't know what you're missing. I can tell you how fantastic I feel and how much I feel like my life has improved in hundreds of teeny-tiny small ways, but it's nothing that I can draw a line in the sand and say "before this, it was bad - now it's good".

It's kind of like ... I dunno. How do you describe a symphony to a deaf person? How do you explain what they're missing when they've never heard it to begin with? No, that's not even right. How do you describe music to a hearing person who has never heard music? They can hear ... there's nothing wrong with their hearing, but they've never experienced music. How can you explain how much richer their life would be for having music in it ... when they already have a satisfying life? What do you say when they say "eh, it doesn't matter ... I don't need music." How do you say "but you don't know what you're missing" ... and expect them to get it?

For those of us who have been fat for longer than we were ever slim and healthy ... or who have never been slim and healthy .. or who don't remember what it was like to be slim and healthy ... you simply can't explain what is so AMAZING about it. Because the words just aren't enough.

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The thing is (to the OP) you say that it gives you power and it delights you to "prove them wrong" about stereotyping you. But IMO, that just gives THEM more power over you. You're giving someone else the power to dictate that you stay fat, no differently than if you gave them the power to dictate that you lose weight.

Ultimately unless the decision you make is for you and SOLELY for you - to stay fat to lose weight whatever - then you are giving others power over you.

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Edited: I'm really sorry that this is such a novel. :) I started writing and stuff just started pouring out. I hope it makes some kind of sense to those to actually read the whole thing. :lol:

.

betsysunqueen
12-11-2008, 04:35 PM
The thing is (to the OP) you say that it gives you power and it delights you to "prove them wrong" about stereotyping you. But IMO, that just gives THEM more power over you. You're giving someone else the power to dictate that you stay fat, no differently than if you gave them the power to dictate that you lose weight.



I agree with this and wanted to add that if you're delighting in defying a stereotype (and I've been there in many different areas of my life!), you're still allowing other people's definitions and perceptions to rule you. You won't be what they expect, you'll be the opposite of what they expect. And that's as much of a box as anything else.

JulieJ08
12-11-2008, 08:08 PM
PhotoChick, very well said.

Ufi
12-12-2008, 02:07 AM
It's interesting how, when you're going through something, other people are going through a similar thing and you bump into each other.

When I started to get compliments about losing weight, I felt a lot of resistance to losing weight. I wanted to tell people to leave me alone, that I wasn't doing this for them. It felt like they were taking over, and I already do and give so much to others. My weight was my thing, my "vice," the thing that was mine. But if I HAVE to be fat in order to "own" whatever it is I have, then it isn't really mine, now is it? It's just something I claim is mine when the reality is that it's only an illusion of possession. If I really, truly laid claim to my own life and my own body, I should be able to be fat or thin, behaved or wild, unique or looking like everyone else, simply as a reflection of my own independent choices. If I end up wearing the same blue sweater as everyone else because I like the sweater, is that bad? If I have short hair and everyone else happens to want long hair, is that good? Or are those both simply a product of my own choices, and by claiming the right to make my own choices, is that what makes me unique and in charge of my own life?

For some reason, my brain is having a really difficult time with these concepts. It's like trying to think through quicksand.

JayEll
12-12-2008, 07:30 AM
If I really, truly laid claim to my own life and my own body, I should be able to be fat or thin, behaved or wild, unique or looking like everyone else, simply as a reflection of my own independent choices.

You are really on to something here! :yes:

Jay

PhotoChick
12-12-2008, 03:01 PM
If I end up wearing the same blue sweater as everyone else because I like the sweater, is that bad?I had a friend in high school who ... if everyone loved a book or a movie or a tv show ... would intentionally NOT watch/read them and take great pride in saying so and announcing that she was not a "mindless lemming".

Except that she never understood, that by having the automatic knee jerk negative reaction, she was being even more a "mindless lemming" - basing her decision of what to enjoy or even experience on the opinions of others.

And sadly enough she missed out on a lot of fun stuff. It took her until her mid-30s to realize (in her words, not mine) "what a stupid elitist twit I was". :)

.

sf40
12-14-2008, 01:48 PM
PhotoChick said: "I had a 1/3 of a pumpkin scone from Starbucks today and I enjoyed it so much. Before I'd have scarfed it down and hardly tasted it ... but now I'm aware of what I'm eating and I LOVE food so much more now."

You are so lucky - I haven't been able to find a pumpkin scone since Thanksgiving!

Seriously, you make some good observations, as do many of the posters to this thread. What I find significant is that your weight loss occurred due to lifestyle changes you made, rather than a conscious decision to lose weight. Your weight loss was an accidental result of positive changes you made. Congratulations! And I think you are likely to keep the weight off, so long as you maintain the positive changes you have made.

I gave up a while ago on trying to lose weight. It seemed that nothing I did made a difference and, quite honestly, I don't have the patience to count calories or exercise 1.5 to 2 hours a day, 5 to 6 times a week. That being said, I have made an effort to lead a healthy lifestyle - I exercise fairly regularly, though not vigorously all the time. We belong to a CSA so eat an abundance of fresh produce. We choose lean proteins and whole grains. But I'm still a big gal.

However, I had a pleasant surprise yesterday. I put on a pair of jeans and became alarmed because they were a bit snug. I was alarmed because the last time I wore those jeans, a week ago, they were quite loose. Had I gotten that much bigger in a week? Then I realized they were my smaller jeans and actually fit! So maybe by removing the pressure to lose weight and instead making good choices, it will happen. Slowly, but possibly. I have no idea what I weigh and don't care at this point. I'm just pretty excited that I fit into my small, formerly too-tight jeans during the holidays.

PhotoChick
12-14-2008, 02:16 PM
What I find significant is that your weight loss occurred due to lifestyle changes you made, rather than a conscious decision to lose weight. Your weight loss was an accidental result of positive changes you made. Congratulations!Thanks. :)

But I do want to correct one thing - my weight loss was not "accidental". The changes I made in my lifestyle were intentional and with purpose. The purpose was not *at first* to lose weight, but as I saw how those changes were affecting me, I did begin to consciously tweak my diet and count my calories to continue losing weight.

I lost weight at first because of increased activity and a change in what I ate, but I was still eating too much to make much more progress ... and there was a point, after I'd lost about 15 lbs or so that I realized that if I wanted this to continue, I had to do it with awareness.

It was then that I began researching more about nutrition - not from a "diet" standpoint, but from an athlete's standpoint. I began thinking about the things my trainer told me and really investigating how food affected my body, my mood, my energy ....

If you read my blog, on my about page there is a timeline of my loss and my realizations about food and about myself. You'll see that I had to be mindful and aware of what I ate and my choice to lose weight.

I always WANTED to lose weight. I just thought I couldn't and so I kind of gave up. I figured if I could be "fit", that it'd be ok if I stayed fat.

Little did I know. And now I'm not willing to be fat any more. I want to be fit and healthy and a "normal" weight.

.

JulieJ08
12-14-2008, 02:38 PM
I always WANTED to lose weight. I just thought I couldn't and so I kind of gave up. I figured if I could be "fit", that it'd be ok if I stayed fat.

Little did I know. And now I'm not willing to be fat any more. I want to be fit and healthy and a "normal" weight.

.

I have seen many a chick on these forums set goals for themselves at the very highest end of a normal BMI, because they couldn't conceive of going that far, much less lower. And then they reach that point and go on to lose 10, 20 or more pounds beyond that. The view changes and then what's possible changes :)

Alana in Canada
12-14-2008, 02:47 PM
Hi.
I'm new to this forum, but not new to a topic like this, so I hope you don't mind my jumping in.

There have been a lot of excellent, though provoking things said. I just wanted to add one more.

Whenever you make a change in yourself or in in a relationship and you know the change will be significant, you need to do a little bit of grieving for that loss before you can move on.

In your case, you have the fat and fit person you know. You know how your body affects other people, you use the effect to create reactions. You have an entire identity wrapped up in this body.

The choice before you is scary. You do not know what your identity will be. (Will you become just like everyone else in your environment?) How will you relate to people now, without the "fit and fat" persona? It's all new and unknown--and it's going to take some courage (and perhaps a bit more knowledge, too, as others have suggested) to get there.

But before you can get there, you'll have to say good-bye to your fit and fat persona. You'll have to honour her properly, lovingly, and then let her go. Have a little funeral. Write her a "dear johnna" letter. Whatever. Your counselors will help you with that, I'm sure.

Great discussion. Thanks for being so honest and willing to put it out there. That takes a lot of guts.

kaplods
12-14-2008, 07:08 PM
I think another thing to consider is that you don't have to worry about the ultimate goal.

Many times part of the reason I abandoned weight loss attempts in the past was because of being intimidated by the giant scope of the goal. Even now, I'm not sure that I can see myself succeeding at getting off 200 more lbs. Maybe I can't. Maybe I won't like being "that thin." But none of that matters, because I don't have to worry about the next 200 lbs. The next 5 or 10 is good enough for me.

Weight loss isn't my primary goal anymore, and it's certainly not my only goal. I'm not willing (as I once was) to sacrifice my health to look good. I also don't see it as an all or nothing goal. My first significant weight loss, I lost 70 lbs and was 5 lbs away from my goal of 150 (I was in high school) and I was having a lot of difficulty getting any lower (even maintaining was tough) and my doctor lowered my goal to 145 - I kind of had a bit of a breakdown. It felt like the carpet had been pulled out from under me and the possibility of success had been removed (I was too young to consider that I had the option to tell the doctor to go to blazes - or even had the option to consider 155 my "goal" and call it good and continue to work on maintenance).

There are cases in which sucess or failure does have an either or accomplishment, but most of the time it's shades of gray. No matter how well you're doing, you can usually find a way to do better, and no matter how badly you're doing, you can probably find a way to do worse. At some point you may be happy with your achievements and decide to maintain, or you may decide always to try to do "just a little better."

I think too often, weight loss has been seen as black and white. You're either at your ideal weight, or you've failed. That's really stupid, when you think about it.

So don't worry about "the end," just make the short term goal. Five more pounds is not going to change who you are, is it? After you lose those, decide if you want to lose another. You do have the freedom to stop at any point, or even to "go back" if you decide you want to. If you decide "I liked being fat better," heck it'll be a lot easier to "go back," than in most areas of your life. If you quit your job and decided you liked your old job better, getting your old job back might be difficult or even impossible, -- but I'm pretty sure that if you want to "go back" to a higher weight, it'd be pretty easy to do so.

Change is sometimes intimidating. I was the first person in my family to go to college for more than one semester. I wasn't sure that I would continue to fit in with my family, and I was afraid that I wouldn't fit in with the other students (because it was a private and not a state college). And you can't "undo" an education. I went on to get my masters' degree, and had many of the same fears and some new ones. I had aunts and uncles ask my parents what on earth I was going on to school for, because women don't "need" that much schooling, and it was going to make me more unmarriageable because men don't marry a woman with more education than they have (luckily my husband was willing to break this rule, I guess).

At least with your fears of being "normal" because of your weight, you always do have the option of going back. I'm confident that you will find other ways to stand out, but the process is completely reversible, so what do you really have to lose?

shcirerf
12-15-2008, 09:41 AM
Interesting thread.

My mother is one of those who doesn't want to lose weight. Not that she doesn't want to, but she's terrified of it. She's been overweight all of her life. You would think, non insulin dependant diabetic, 3 heart stints, would put the fear of God in her.

She has lost and gained over her life, but never made it to a healthy weight. She lost a bunch when the diabetes was diagnosed, put got to a certain point and started gaining again. Complained she was always cold, and was horrified to see her collar bone and her hands were just so bony.

I think for her the fat is a security blanket against the world. As long as she has it, folks won't expect much of her.

Lori Bell
12-15-2008, 10:58 AM
I think for her the fat is a security blanket against the world. As long as she has it, folks won't expect much of her.


OMG!! Very though provoking indeed.

I am finding that as the weight comes off, people are asking more and more of me, (including my husband ;)). People are calling all the time to ask me to do something for them or for a community service. I'm trying to learn the word no and unfortunately for my dh, he's usually the only one who I have the courage to say it to. Hummm, I need to get a grip on this if I want to succeed to my goal and maintenance.

Jacquie668
12-15-2008, 11:09 AM
My fat is a wall of protection to hide "me" from being hurt. I guess what I did was build up this wall so no one would like me, touch me, look at me, or pay any attention to me. I could then "hide" within myself and at the very least protect myself.

What bothered me though is that even though I was this huge whale running around as soon as I opened my mouth people would look at me with this odd expression on their faces because they were hearing "me," but it did not match what they saw.

I'm terrified of loosing this weight because I won't be hiding anymore. I've been fighting a very long time, my whole life!...in fact I don't know life without fighting for some kind of survival and that is the truth. What will happen to me if I put myself out there? What will happen when I see that I won't be fighting anymore? Kind of scary...

On the other hand...it is also exciting...and refreshing to knock down all these walls and emerge from my fat shell.

JulieJ08
12-15-2008, 11:22 AM
I am finding that as the weight comes off, people are asking more and more of me, (including my husband ;)). People are calling all the time to ask me to do something for them or for a community service.



That is very interesting. We often hear from 3FC-ers that they get a lot more social attention when they've lost weight. But it is so interesting that you are expected or asked to contribute more to people or causes.

Pandora123a
12-15-2008, 08:03 PM
Sidhe,

There are lots of reasons to lose weight, many of them have been listed here. there is only one bad reason...which is to lose weight because others expect it of you.

It sounds as though you don't want to lose weight right now, you just believe that you "should" want to lose weight because that is the norm in society.

I too can recite the litany of ills that obesity brings over time. Bottom line is you have to want it. Its okay not to want it.

I can identify with the ambivalence. For me somehow losing weight has always implied loss. Of what, I'm not sure. But I do know that sometimes I stand in ways to make myself bigger (arms on hips) and "save my place".

I like all the things I'm getting with weight loss, but it still scares me. I find that any time I think I'm losing "too quickly" somehow I manage to put back a pound or two.

That being said, therapy is great. Figure out what you want that is not dictated by others. Wanting to defy their stereotypes is just as dictated by others as not losing weight because society tells you to do so.

sidhe
12-17-2008, 12:47 AM
I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful, thought-provoking comments. I've been working really hard to understand myself, and you've all helped.

The last week or so has been really interesting. I've bought some clothes that fit me NOW--they're not too big, and they show me off where I am NOW. My husband has been appreciative. People have noticed and commented. I've noticed that a voice that I wasn't even conscious of is silent right now--that voice that tells me that I'm doing it wrong, that I'm making the wrong choices, that I could make *better* choices if I tried harder. The peace I feel is astounding.

I'm staying away from the scale right now. I don't know when I'll be back to it. For right now, I'm enjoying the peace. I'll keep you posted. :)