100 lb. Club - Psychology etc. can be stupid

View Full Version : Psychology etc. can be stupid

01-05-2011, 05:07 AM
I officially began my current weight loss efforts on October 4th, and I have lost about 25 pounds since then. I have lost several inches and my clothes look much better even if I haven't quite managed to work my way down to a smaller size yet. Knowing some of the weird specific body parts that have improved and having quantitative measures of my progress to date helps, but so far no one I know has said anything to me about whether or not they've noticed any changes.

Despite the progress so far, I've only told two people I know IRL about this journey. My sister lives with me and knows that I've been eating healthier, exercising more, and that I've lost weight--although I haven't told her how much. And the wife of a friend was clothes shopping with me recently when I was debating which of two different sized shirts to buy. She's gone from about 180 to 160 after starting weight watchers this fall and was appreciative of the dilemma of whether to go for the top that was pretty much the current size, maybe a little extra room, or the slightly too tight one and work my way down into it. (I did. It fits great now. :) )

But I still find myself perplexingly embarrassed to let anyone know that I am working on losing weight. A few friends know that I've been going to the gym more frequently, but I almost always phrase my gym excursions as necessary for post-surgery physical therapy for my knee. Still also true, but not the whole picture. I will admit it's possible some of my friends have noticed some of the changes, but maybe haven't said anything because I haven't said anything. Also, about 80% of my friends are male physical scientists, so I know their powers of observation about physical appearance changes are not always the most trust-worthy. ;)

I realized that it my paranoia/issues are kind of at a ridiculous level today when I was attempting to find something to do for a workout. I have a Netflix account which I share with my sister and an on-again/off-again boyfriend-ish person. I was browsing available titles and saw that there were plenty of workout video options available, but I couldn't bring myself to try any of them out because there is no way to hide the list of recently watched items on Netflix. My sister and friend would be able to know that I had been working out! The HORROR!

I know that it's completely unreasonable. So why on earth do I feel ashamed/embarrassed/try to hide that I'm trying to lose weight? Has anyone else experienced anything like that, or am I alone on this one?

01-05-2011, 06:15 AM
I don't think it's unreasonable at all. People choose to be private about lots of things, and work colleagues, friends, and family fall into different categories too. For me it was a pretty private thing, that I only talked about with a grad student who shared my office, and also (coincidentally) was losing at the same time. But we used different methods (me calorie counting, she low-carb) so we mostly kept it on the order of "Looking good, that shirt is getting really loose" or "Man, I started a new exercise tape and I am really sore today, what have you been doing lately" etc. The one or two times I did reveal it to someone, at a department dinner function, I pretty much regretted it afterwards because they both became kind of nosy pests about it subsequently. You don't have to tell people anything if you don't want to. I didn't even tell my mom because I knew she would be full of "advice".

I have a weird thing about working out in front of people I know, although I don't have any trouble sweating at the gym in front of strangers. I think for me it is a lingering elementary school gym dork embarassment.

I know what you mean about the male physical scientists. I work in a university, and one of my male colleagues -- with an office next door! -- literally did not notice that I was losing any weight while I was at it for nine months, until he somehow woke up to it one day, after I had completed losing 50 lbs and was 3 months into maintenance. That was probably the funniest reaction I got out of anyone.

01-05-2011, 08:01 AM
Stay in your comfort zone. For me - past unsuccessful attempts at long term weight loss has often kept me from telling the world right away. Do it when it feels right.

01-05-2011, 08:35 AM
Well, there is no reason to discuss weight loss with anyone. You don't have to! I think our society has currently gotten too nosy about this. What's next? Shoe size? Personal hygiene products? IQ?

But if your fear of being "found out" is keeping you from doing things you want, like checking out some exercise videos, that's not a good thing.

I'd say, go ahead and get the exercise videos. You may find that no one says anything about them. And if they do, all you have to say is that you thought they sounded interesting and wanted to see what they were like. End of story.


01-05-2011, 10:53 AM
I don't think it's weird at all - there's a HUGE 'fear factor' in starting a significant weight loss plan. I'm a very confident person but I was a bit loathe to walk outside for the first while, I hated the idea of people thinking "oh look at that sad fat lady trying to lose weight", the ideas of snickers at my expense did NOT make me happy! There's always the downright FEAR of being embarassed by announcing to the world "I'm losing weight" only to crash and burn a month later and have everyone in the world KNOW that you failed. It's natural to want to keep mum about stuff until you're sure it'll 'take'.

the downside of course is that by NOT getting the vids from NetFlix maybe you're missing out on a good workout tool in your home... what about buying one 2nd hand at the video store? or on ebay or something? I know they loan workout videos at our LIBRARY! how awesome is that???

for now it's YOUR business, and YOUR business how you feel comfortable with it. I'm not one for hiding things, but there's no need to broadcast it to the world til you feel confident about it. After a while, you wont' have to tell cuz you'll be lookin' hot :)

01-05-2011, 12:21 PM
Maybe you should seek therapy if this is an issue that is preventing you from working out/losing weight. I would say to buy your own netflix account and stop sharing, but that is not aiding in fixing your problem because if it's not that it will be something else.

Personally I don't care who knows I'm working out, but if you are embarrassed about it and it is preventing you from doing all you want to lose weight then it is a serious issue you should address.

On another note I am offended by your choice in titling this post because I am going to college for psychology and I don't think it's stupid.

01-05-2011, 12:33 PM
Stay in your comfort zone. For me - past unsuccessful attempts at long term weight loss has often kept me from telling the world right away. Do it when it feels right.

My sentiments, exactly.

However, when the weight starts to be really noticeable, folks WILL mention it.

01-05-2011, 12:41 PM
On another note I am offended by your choice in titling this post because I am going to college for psychology and I don't think it's stupid.

I think she just meant something like "what goes on in a person's head can be stupid" or "my thinking is weird".

OP: It's not unreasonable. For me, it's about fear of failure. If I say I'm trying and don't lose, then people will know.

01-05-2011, 12:51 PM
On another note I am offended by your choice in titling this post because I am going to college for psychology and I don't think it's stupid.

I don't think she meant psychology is stupid - just how we think sometimes. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.

To the OP - I don't think it's unreasonable. I don't talk about my weight loss efforts with anyone but DH and sometimes my mom. Now that absolutely everyone knows I've lost weight, I get tons of comments and people wondering how I'm doing it...I like the compliments I guess but overall I don't like the extra attention - it's just how I am. I've had friends who live far away who have gotten mad when they finally saw me and couldn't believe how much I'd lost and that I didn't tell them....I just didn't want to, and I don't feel badly about it. Oh, also, I didn't get any comments until 50 pounds had gone - and even then they were kind of tentative...sometimes people notice but are afraid to say anything just in case they're wrong. Anyways I'd just share what you are comfortable sharing, it is a personal journey, IMO.

01-05-2011, 02:16 PM
On another note I am offended by your choice in titling this post because I am going to college for psychology and I don't think it's stupid.

Sorry, I really didn't mean to offend by that. I did mean that my personal brain psychology drives me batty, but I do also find it fascinating which is one reason I decided to share this currently annoying quirk. I was 50/50 between applying to psychology and physics grad schools, so I must say I like the field of study quite a bit myself. Just not as much when referring to my own irritating idiosyncrasies.

I can definitely see the fear of failure aspect of this, and that probably applies to me as well. I think another aspect might be reluctance to admit that trying to lose weight means that I think that I needed to lose the weight in the first place... that I am fat or unattractive or whatever. I know that the attractiveness thing is relative and varies from person to person... personally I prefer being considered cute to the label hot... And lol, obviously I am fat! I just don't like actually admitting it to people by ever calling attention to it. I am glad that I am not alone in keeping quiet about it to the people around me. It also makes me more glad to have a forum that I feel safe checking in with for moral support and advice, etc. :)

01-05-2011, 03:19 PM
I think it can be a great plan to keep things to yourself at first, kind of like your own little secret. If you think people will be discouraging, it is best to keep it to yourself. Let them notice, and they will. I had to lose 35 pounds before anyone noticed it enough to comment!

I can't explain it, but I do understand the fear of something as little as someone finding out I was watching exercise videos on netflix. Once you "own" your weight-loss success, when everybody knows you are doing it, it might be easier to not care if people know you work out.

Congrats on your loss! I think you're doing a great job.

01-05-2011, 04:16 PM
don't worry kaebaka, I'm a registered Psychologist and I took no offense whatsoever! I knew you were commenting on how crazy-making our brains can be :)

DixC Chix
01-05-2011, 05:16 PM
I totally get not wanting to tell people about my weight loss effort.

I don't want people to constantly be vigilant for me about the food on my plate, wondering how I could eat that IF I was serious about my diet; It starts an uncomfortable conversation with others wanting details and more details.

I don't like people to make special 'diet' food "just for me" if I am over at their house. What is their idea of 'diet food (lo-cal, lo-carb hi-fat, lo-fat hi-sugar, etc' which quickly dissolves into a debate about the virtues of different diet plans. - yuck. Not what I want to do when visiting. And what if I don't like it? It puts me in an uncomfortable position of being obliged to eat it. It is about choice and I don't want someone making a choice for me.

Its not that I fear failure and don't want anyone to know that I failed. It is more about ill-mannered encouragement and awkward questions and conversations about a very personal and private topic.

01-05-2011, 05:50 PM
I don't tell people when I am dieting, as soon as you do the diet police will show up and monitor every bite you take, and offer unsolicited advice. Eventually someone will notice and say something like "Have you lost weight ? " My standard answer is " Yes, and I did it on purpose. '" That way they will not assume you have some dreadful disease.

01-05-2011, 06:01 PM
I can understand where you are coming from 100%. I have BTDT.

But for me, this time, I HAD to share with the world. I can't hide the fact that I am fat. There's no magic goggles I can give everyone to make them see me the way I see me. So why should I hide that I am getting healthy and working out. It was empowering for me to OWN that I am fat. Because it was me giving myself permission to admit that it is a struggle to lose weight for me. I don't think I could have done what I have done either without "coming out" either. Because I need others to be accountable to. And know one knowing was like secret permission to keep on my downward spiral, and I DO NOT want that!!!

01-05-2011, 06:56 PM
I think a huge part of the fear factor for me was the worry about being judged... especially if I failed, or backslid or what have you. Which, while I do NOT admit failure, since I'm still going at it, I certainly have backslid more than once and for lengthy periods! So my progress looks rather dismal at the moment, unless you consider that I have kept off the first 20 pounds I lost over four years.

However, for me, I think telling the world/friends/family by starting a blog helped. It keeps me accountable, even though there have been times I've not posted on the blog for a long time. Still, having that public statement of my journey out there always brings me back after a backslide. So I'm not sorry I did it.

But everyone is different, and one doesn't have to say what one is doing in order to accomplish it.

One thing to consider though, by not being public about it with friends/family/co-workers, you do cut off a possible avenue of support. Conversely, if friends/family/co-workers might be inclined to sabotage or NOT be supportive, it might be better to stay private. I think it all depends on the individual's personal situation.

01-05-2011, 08:48 PM
You tell us! You are the only person that can figuire this out. Perhaps some reasons "could" be that you fear letting others down if you dont succeed, perhaps it's your way of commiting 'fully' not just through eat/exercise but through positive, whole minded effort emotionally/spiritually.
Those are the two most obvious, perhaps its even more subtle like you want people to bring this to your attention instead of asking for the attention? Again dig deep and answer this for yourself! Good Job so Far, keep it going!:cool:

01-06-2011, 06:20 PM
In an amusing turn of events, I discovered last night that my efforts to hide my Netflix queue actually ended up breaking my ability to watch Netflix on the guy's iPad, so. Oops! But upon arriving at his house yesterday, he also commented "for some reason you look slimmer"... so. YAY! for getting the first recognition from anyone else that I am looking different/better. :D

Plus now I will feel less paranoid about trying out some of the workout videos on Netflix, although I have been sufficiently punished for being overly silly as now we have to figure out how to reset things so we can watch stuff on his iPad again... Bah, technology is so irritating sometimes!

01-06-2011, 11:59 PM
Gosh Kaebaka,

That sounds so much like something I would do! I get myself psyched out about all kinds of things, and when I was trying to lose weight I would definitely try to hide certain things....

I think my biggest fear was that people would laugh at me-- like Trazey said, I thought people looked at fat people exercising and thought "wow look at that poor fat lady exercising...." But I think my biggest fear was that if I seemed to be trying to lose weight it would crack the big ole veneer that I had that said, "Oh I'm one of those happy fat ladies. I don't mind being fat at all. I never try to lose weight..."

This time, when I finally lost all the weight, I did start telling people right away. I used to go into work and do a little twirly dance and say "don't I look skinny? I've lost ten, (or twenty, or thirty...) pounds...

For some reason, FOR ME, it was important. I guess I had to finally admit that I was trying to lose weight, that I wanted to lose weight...

On the other hand, I don't think it's wrong to keep it private, and there are some very good reasons not to talk about it much.

People won't notice much in the beginning, and then they WILL notice and you'll start to feel like a minor celebrity.

The Last Noel
01-07-2011, 02:39 AM
Psychology is a soft science. And without getting onto my soapbox I will just say that you are doing what matters and that is changing your hard facts or in other words, you are changing your Biology.

I dont tell people in my life about this thing I am doing. I understand that they will notice eventually (and when they do it will be awesome.) I have done this before and I already know that the mini-goal wow factor is isolated to my own mind. I am a social creature, however, and did recognize at the beginning of December that if I was going to succeed I would need to interact with other women who understood what was happening to me. So I came here.

You can tell us this stuff. We notice. ;)