100 lb. Club - weight loss=feeling more vulnerable




better health3
10-03-2009, 02:52 AM
I know this will sound silly to some of you...I've always used my excess poundage as some sort of protection. The more I lose, the more uncomfortable it is...as if the fat was used as a "false" sense of protection (my shield is vanishing)from people getting too close to me.:( I know I am not the only one who does this...I know it is a matter of pushing through the comfort zone.

Did any of you guys go through this? Does the oddness or anxiety go away as you slim down? Did you find anything to make it easier when people moved into your personal space that used to be covered by the fat?


Stella
10-03-2009, 04:26 AM
I feel similarly. I am short, and being large made me feel... well, larger, and being larger made me feel stonger, more grown-up and respect-commanding. I am very aware of being physically smaller or larger than another person, particularly in my professional life, and I am currently very aware that I am about to belong to the small people.

rockinrobin
10-03-2009, 08:25 AM
I believe I used my weight as a shield as well, for various reasons.

BUT then it became just too painful and worrisome to KEEP that shield around me. I was totally and completely MISERABLE being so heavy. Miserable, anxiety ridden, under producitve, without energy, with horrible achy knees, high blood pressure, constant heartburn, without much of a life really. And THAT pain became too unbearable. I figured dealing with the shield gone, HAD to be easier then dealing with it ON at that point.

And boy oh boy was I right!!!

Give it some time. Luckily, yes luckily, the weight doesn't come off over night and you DO get to adjust as you head towards goal. I am much more mature and responsible then I was (started my journey at 42) and as predicted, I AM much more capable of dealing with "letting people in" and all the attention that being a slimmer person brings about. Now that I'm older, it's actually been a GREAT thing letting those people in. For the most part anyway.


CLCSC145
10-03-2009, 02:02 PM
I'll just throw out that you may want to talk to someone about this like a therapist. They could help you make sense of what you are feeling and to come to terms with it so it doesn't lead to a backslide down the road.

better health3
10-03-2009, 02:45 PM
I am short, and being large made me feel... well, larger

I am short as well and that is part of it.

I was totally and completely MISERABLE being so heavy. Miserable, anxiety ridden, under producitve, without energy, with horrible achy knees, high blood pressure, constant heartburn, without much of a life really. And THAT pain became too unbearable. I figured dealing with the shield gone, HAD to be easier then dealing with it ON at that point.


I am at that point too. My maladaptive coping mechanism isn't working for me anymore. Pushing through is worth it to me now, where as the fear of whatever held me back prior...

Thanks ladies.

giselley
10-03-2009, 03:39 PM
I really don't. The fat, i consider as being 'not me,' or a 'false me.' i want to get rid of the false me because it is like wearing a big scary costume that is giving people false ideas about who i really am. i still see myself as skinny and i hate seeing myself in the mirror because i do not associate me with that person in the mirror. I don't think of that fat costume person as protection, but more like a large parasite, or cancer cell living on me. yek. Didn't think it would get so graphic.

Judy Lynn
10-03-2009, 05:04 PM
If your issues stem from unwanted male attention you might want to try lifting weights to get stronger. Being strong made me feel empowered and like I could defend myself if need be. I am working at getting back there. You may be talking about something totally different here, if so I apologize if I am totally off base. I just know that is part of my problem, and that my fat keeps unwanted male attention at bay.

Even a self-defense class might be an idea.

quince
10-03-2009, 05:52 PM
i've been thinking about this thread this whole day. i can totally relate. the first time i realized my fat was my shield was sitting in a chair opposite my therapist i just met that very day. she said: 'there are quite a few problems i see here, we will work on it (...) and you WILL lose your weight.'
there i was, holding strongly with my both hands to the chair, facing the solution to my life-long problem and suddenly, instead of hope and relief, 'cause i came hoping i would get help and stop being depressed and fat, i felt absolute, deep fear. how in the world will i live without my shield, what will i use to scare people off?!
as i later learned (i went to see the therapist for a few months), i used my big body to make people judge me by my looks so i wouldn't have to let them in and have them see how terribly imperfect i was as a person. i also feel (i wish i could say 'i felt') inadequate, not able to bare what real life brings, unable to deal with the risks of love, losses, critics... so it is much easier to be huge and scare people away then to take all those risks.
so, yes, dear better health, i can relate and you are not alone in this fear. :)
here is how i deal with it:
first of all, i waited for the right time to start losing weight and decided to do it as slowly as i could. i lost some 70 lbs ten years ago rather fast and i felt lost, 'out there' for everything and scared. (got it all back, of course, i needed my shield back.) this time, i'll do it slowly, give myself time and keep my faith - i don't have to be perfect, i do have flaws and some people will like me, some won't, that is ok. i do need to be healthy and i too deserve a chance to be happier in my life just like everyone else. i literally keep telling myself: it's ok. scared, hungry, stressed: it's ok, i can deal with it. and i can. sometimes it takes me a week to lose a pound - it's ok, it gives me time to adjust. and i will adjust. cause i need to be able to walk in my fifties more then i need my shield (i agree with rockinrobin :)).

it's hard, it's scary, but you can take it! it's all for - better health. ;)

Lyn2007
10-03-2009, 06:47 PM
Yes.

When I was thin, my (now ex) husband could pick me up and put me where he wanted me. He could hold me down. He could even flip me upside down and mop the floor with my hair.

No one is picking me up, putting me anywhere I don't want to be, or using me as a mop NOW. Not at this weight. And that feels really safe.

I have had the fear overtake me as I lose weight, and that has led to binges and regained weight.

When I do get thinner I am going to take self defense classes so that no one can ever hurt me that way again.

Trazey34
10-03-2009, 06:49 PM
I've always been bubbly and outgoing, even as a little kid, so making friends is easy-peasy. I have a lot of friends, but only 2 bosom buddies, the type you share everything with. That's fine by me, they're girls i've known for 30 years! I've never used my size to shield me from people emotionally, but I HAVE always liked being bigger and taller than most dudes i run across, I don't know - like who's going to try and rape me? who's going to try and mug me? My DH always says when I walk I look like I'm on my way to kick the crap outta someone lol i think my dad being a cop did that! "always be aware of your surroundings, always look like you have a purpose" I liked not feeling physically vulnerable to many. I'm not 'small' by any means now, but i have felt a difference - i'm still tall but there's not as much bulk to it now. But I'm getting stronger, so that's a bonus.

salsa chip
10-03-2009, 06:59 PM
I don't have a lot to add, but this thread is very important to me. Thanks, ladies :)

Onederchic
10-03-2009, 07:01 PM
I can totally relate and for me, not yet anyway, it hasn't went away but I hold onto hope that it will so you have to as well :D :hug:

S.A.S.H
10-03-2009, 08:17 PM
I can completely relate. Being fat keeps me from doing things that I might not be good at, or draw attention to myself with. I can't play sports - I'm too fat. I can't dance, or swim or do anything physical - I'm too fat. If you don't like me, well maybe it's because I'm fat, not just because there really is something you don't like about me. See what I mean?

It's my shield to keep myself closed off. I don't understand all of it just yet, but I do recognize it's there.

FLGatorGirl
10-03-2009, 11:13 PM
It's a shield for me, too. I've spoken about this with my therapist. It's like I told her, I know me like this. I know what to expect from other people. I don't know what it feels like to be a normal weight or having people notice me. I got to the point where I didn't want to hear compliments. About 4 mths ago, I lost 78lbs. I've gained 50 of those pounds back. It's weird I feel more comfortable. I'm back to being invisible. I'm in my comfort zone. I also think a part of me didn't want to deal with the pressure of keeping the weight off. I am working on making connections with people. It's hard. I still see myself as being inside of a house with people on the other side and looking at them though a peek hole.

better health3
10-03-2009, 11:23 PM
I also think a part of me didn't want to deal with the pressure of keeping the weight off.

It is such an easy excuse for everything due to the weight...

When you are thinner and healthier people do expect more out of you...not sure why that is?

sherrybwc
10-04-2009, 12:13 AM
It's a shield for me, too. I've spoken about this with my therapist. It's like I told her, I know me like this. I know what to expect from other people. I don't know what it feels like to be a normal weight or having people notice me. I got to the point where I didn't want to hear compliments. About 4 mths ago, I lost 78lbs. I've gained 50 of those pounds back. It's weird I feel more comfortable. I'm back to being invisible. I'm in my comfort zone. I also think a part of me didn't want to deal with the pressure of keeping the weight off. I am working on making connections with people. It's hard. I still see myself as being inside of a house with people on the other side and looking at them though a peek hole.

That's EXACTLY how I felt when I lost a lot of weight a few years ago! I had NO idea how to shop for myself, and I think I was even MORE self-concious than I was before. Even though I COULD buy clothes in a "regular" shop, I was terrified to go in because I just KNEW someone was going to give me "the look".

I've thought about it a lot in the years since then and I believe that if I had maintained that weight/size, I would have eventually become accustomed to myself at that weight/size...I just didn't give myself the chance.

Not this time...

Sherry

Thighs Be Gone
10-04-2009, 12:47 AM
I felt uncomfortable when I first began wearing fitted clothes. Before I always wore longer, flowing type pieces and in dark colors. This past Spring I began to wear low-rise jeans and more fitted tops. (Not tight, just fitted to my body) I really love colors now too. I also started wearing shorts. I felt naked almost as I walked down the street--especially when others eyes met me--people that knew me BEFORE. I am becoming comfortable with it though. The compliments and talk and questions have died down quite a bit and I am almost glad for that. I have also met a couple of new friends that didn't know me before. I feel very comfortable around them I have noticed.

losermom
10-04-2009, 11:11 AM
I too can relate to many on this thread. I am highly suspicious that I used my weight to unconsciously keep male attention at bay. I am an adult survivor of sexual abuse. But I used, and sometimes still do,food to soothe and calm myself. I'm still working on it.

There was a period on this journey, about 40 lbs down, that I was super panicky. My clothes were no longer fitting and I needed to go shopping but just couldn't actually leave a store with any purchased items. I hated discussing my weight with anyone and I'm sure that I came off as really rude to people. I didn't want any compliments or questions about my weight in any way. It just was not the kind of attention that I wanted. I felt like I was going crazy and super anxious.

I am becoming comfortable with it though. The compliments and talk and questions have died down quite a bit and I am almost glad for that. I have also met a couple of new friends that didn't know me before. I feel very comfortable around them I have noticed.

Thighs, how long did it take for you for the comments/questions to die down? I'm still not comfortable with all the attention, even though I am an out-going person in general.

50andfabulous
10-04-2009, 11:32 AM
Thank you! I thought I was just a big oddball. I too am struggling. I hated being invisible when I was heavier, (ie when I was with my thinner friends people woudl always address them, even if I participated in the conversation)
but now that I've lost alot of weight, I find that the attention I'm gettig uncomfortable. I've come to the conclusion this is an adjustment phase for others and for myself.

WildThings
10-04-2009, 12:32 PM
I am actually the opposite. I had/have terrible anxiety issues and along with my weightloss, I am dealing with all my other health issue including the anxiety, so I don't have a lot to add to that part, but I do have some suggestions for feeling a little more secure. Build muscle, and not just lifting weights, but running/walking/biking, etc., anything to make you stronger overall, and faster. Also, look into self-defense courses in your area. Many areas have self-defense classes specifically for women. A lot of times you not only get a great workout, but knowing how to protect yourself should you ever need to goes a very long way to boosting your confidence and self-image.

Thighs Be Gone
10-05-2009, 11:08 AM
Thighs, how long did it take for you for the comments/questions to die down? I'm still not comfortable with all the attention, even though I am an out-going person in general.




Every now and again, I see someone I haven't seen in several months or years and they comment. Last Spring the comments were at an all time high--several times daily. Then summer came. When we returned to school, it seemed like people were accustomed to me by then. I have questions and compliments from time to time but nothing like before. I still think many people (especially the haters) assume I had bariatric surgery. I know what you mean about feeling uncomfortable--I was too and somewhat still am. I make a practice NOT to discuss weightloss with anyone--well, except a very, very select couple of friends that are very focused on it. I find a way to "get out of" discussing my plan or whatever--I don't want the comments.

That being said, I have had a couple people that I really like ask me specifics--and they themselves have serious weight issues. Now, with those people (if they approach me alone) I tell them anything they want to know. I have even offered to let them read through my food journals and offered to let them come to my house to look at my food.

losermom
10-05-2009, 12:10 PM
Thanks Thighs! I do think, and hope that it will eventually die down.

JulieJ08
10-06-2009, 02:04 AM
I have felt uncomfortable with more attention. I didn't gain weight to build a shield, but since I had it anyway, I used it ;). Those problems pre-date my obesity problem. At some point, you realize you don't want to be that person anymore.

Does the oddness or anxiety go away as you slim down? Did you find anything to make it easier when people moved into your personal space that used to be covered by the fat?

I think the key is practice. I just recognize that of course it will feel uncomfortable at first. Of course, sometimes it won't go great. But I believed that if I just refused to let myself hide out, those feeling would start to change. I would start to get used to things. And you do. :hug:

JasonsLea
10-06-2009, 03:16 AM
Yes.

I need alot of therapy.

Suezeeque
10-06-2009, 05:40 AM
So...I guess after reading all these posts you realize you aren't crazy when you feel the fat is protecting you from something!

Maybe if we can face life and learn to deal with it successfully, we won't need this anymore. If you need help, what about a counseling or a weight loss group like OA?

Now that I'm old and those expectations and male attentions aren't out there I feel this relief, like I can finally shed the protection and feel safe. Don't wait like I did.

funnycanadiangirl
10-06-2009, 07:35 AM
This topic is really hitting home with me.

I've been living away from home for almost a year, and I've lost 95% of the weight I've lost since I've been gone. I'm headed home in 8 weeks, and I am really, really anxious about it. I've been big for as long as I can remember, and while I don't really see the changes, I know intellectually that I'm considerably smaller now.

When I was heavier, it was never a big issue for me. I did all the things I wanted to do, I dated, I was active and healthy, I had lots of confidence and friends... but now I'm worried that the changes to my outwards appearance are going to be the focus, and I'm really uncomfortable with that. I just want to go home and be the same person I was when I left, but in a cuter pair of jeans! In my head, I know it's silly, but it's a big change and I'm concerned it'll be a big shock to the system when I get back.

Of course, I'm going home to Canada in winter.... with all the sweaters and coats, maybe no one will notice until spring? lol