Body Image and Issues after Weight Loss - Vanity, Body Image and other people??




Alwaysbeenbig
06-28-2011, 02:14 AM
Hi Everyone,

I have a question vanity, body image and other people.

I have been overweight all my life and simply accepted that I am fat and not thought of as pretty, attractive etc. Now most of the time I don't even think about the way that I look, I've accepted it and I've accepted people's reactions to the way I look. I completely accept and understand that my weight is my responsibility and I am the only one who is able to make a change and fix the problem. I make a conscious effort not to complain about my weight in front of friends or family, or to vent about the nasty things people have said to me because of my weight, but I have found that I am the exception when it comes to this behaviour amoung my overweight friends.

So my question really is, how did you deal with other people's reactions to your weight? (either gaining or losing) and how do you cope when put in the position of others complaining, when you are dealing with your issues privately?


Nola Celeste
06-28-2011, 05:34 AM
You are clearly a kinder person than I am, Alwaysbeen, because whenever I'm around someone who says things like "Ugh, I am sooo FAT!" all the time, I find it so draining that I begin to avoid that person. I mean, what exactly is someone supposed to say to that comment? All the options--"Yep, you sure are!" or "Noooo, you're perfect!"--are likely to be either disingenuous or vicious. Then there's the whole issue of whether she's larger or smaller than me and what "I'm so fat!" means when it's said by someone who's 300 pounds versus by someone who's 150 pounds...argh.

I just find it rude.

The occasional outburst of frustration is one thing, but if you have people heaping their discomfort on you regularly, you are entirely within your rights to ask them not to.

Have you asked your friends who do this often what they are seeking from you when they say it? People have a tendency to fly on auto-pilot; they say things they haven't thought out because it normally produces an equally mindless response. To some people, saying "Ooh, I'm so fat!" is as automatic as saying "Bless you" after someone sneezes. Maybe they just need someone to say, "I'm never quite sure what to say when you say that; what makes you say so, and how can I help?" or something to that effect to remind them that it's...well, kind of silly.

And it IS silly, isn't it? It's like my going around saying, "Oh, I'm so short!" all the time. Well duh, it's self-evident; I would never say that! And if someone says it who isn't fat in hopes that she'll get reassurance, it's even sillier. That'd be like my going around saying, "Oh, I'm so tall!" :D

By the way, "fat" and "pretty" are not antonyms. Embrace your looks regardless of your current weight! And while you're at it, please give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for showing a good deal of dignity and restraint in not regularly blibbing and blabbing about being fat to friends and family. I'm sorry anyone has ever said anything nasty to you about your weight; you strike me as someone with a rich supply of courtesy and tact, and that's a far rarer and more special commodity than having an average-sized body.

FitGirlyGirl
06-28-2011, 10:37 AM
I am also not one to complain all the time about my weight and I do not deal well with others complaining. I had one friend who kept saying she was fat. I assumed she was fishing for me to tell her she wasn't (she had that kind of tone). I ignored it for a long time, then one day I gave her the same response that I give to people who insult me about being fat, "Oh, you noticed that did you?" She never said she was fat to me again. With the ones that are super skinny and going on about being fat in an obnoxious way I will go off on them in a heartbeat, though luckily I don't run into many of those.

With people that insult me about my weight I tend to be a smarta$$. I say things like "Oh, you noticed?" or "Thanks for telling me, I hadn't notice" and (while looking down at my body) "Oh crap, how did that happen? I swear I woke up in a size 2!"

With people that say things about my weight loss it really depends on what they say and who they are. If it's just a short little compliment I say thanks and move on. If they ask why and aren't close enough to me to know why that annoys me and while I try to be polite I occasionally give them a talkin to. If they ask how then I tell them, which generally causes them to lose interest since the answer is not a magic pill of any sort. If it is family or a close friend or diet buddy and they ask then I give them whatever details it is they were looking for and sometimes more than they asked for, lol.


ShanIAm
06-28-2011, 12:01 PM
I get it. I do. And going along with what Nola said, I would never EVER discuss my weight woes with someone I knew was heavier. Even if they started the conversation. I understood they were in a more difficult position than I. But I did need to vent my frustrations and that is when I joined this board. I don't censor myself much here but I'm sure me venting at 165 pounds irked those who weighed more. But the truth is it's how I feel about ME --- and although I may weigh less, my feelings about myself are just as valid.

Sorry, I know I went off on a tangent. But if someone complains to you about their weight even tho you are not one to complain, just lend a sympathetic ear and ask how you can support them. Nola said it best so there is not much I can really add. But I know it'll get frustrating to you when you hear someone complain but then see them making bad food choices an hour later. But for me I'm the kind of person who will call someone out. For example, if you don't vote in the presidential election I really don't want to hear you complain about what's going on in government. Know what I mean? :)

And DO NOT let any of your friends make you feel badly about your weight loss. Mine did and I realized they were toxic to my ongoing lifestyle changes. I let them make me feel guilty and I was treated badly. Please don't let this happen to you an do NOT let it slow down your progress!!

MaryB75
06-28-2011, 01:00 PM
You are clearly a kinder person than I am, Alwaysbeen, because whenever I'm around someone who says things like "Ugh, I am sooo FAT!" all the time, I find it so draining that I begin to avoid that person. I mean, what exactly is someone supposed to say to that comment? All the options--"Yep, you sure are!" or "Noooo, you're perfect!"--are likely to be either disingenuous or vicious. Then there's the whole issue of whether she's larger or smaller than me and what "I'm so fat!" means when it's said by someone who's 300 pounds versus by someone who's 150 pounds...argh.

I just find it rude.



I don't think it is rude for someone to complain about their weight to someone who is heavier than them, if two people are having a converstion about weight loss. If I was talking to someone that was 300 lbs and I'm 180 lbs that doesn not mean that I am not fat and I have every right to feel that way. My ideal weight is 120 lbs so I am 60 lbs overwight and considered obese, not just overweight.

Beach Patrol
06-28-2011, 01:12 PM
how did you deal with other people's reactions to your weight? (either gaining or losing) and how do you cope when put in the position of others complaining, when you are dealing with your issues privately?

Well now, lemme see. Other people's reactions to MY weight... it's usually family. Mom, Dad, brothers. Rarely friends, but on occasion. Sometimes good reactions, sometimes not-so-good. My brothers, who have pretty much been skinny/lean all their lives (we're talking 50+ years here!!!) and then there's me... ALWAYS fighting my weight my whole life with an intermittent eating disorder in my late teens... I've heard "Well if you wouldn't eat this or that..." and "Just stop eating when you're full" and other such *helpful* hints. :p:rolleyes: My mother has said "Poor girl, you've been battling your weight your whole life! Why don't you just eat what makes you happy & to **** with everything else!" (OhMyGODDESS!!!!!!) and then... there's ... MY DAD. "You've gained weight since I last saw you.... /are you hungry? You don't look like it.... /maybe you should skip dessert, honey..... /you eat way too fast..." (not to mention that he has HIS own plate piled high & deep!!!!)

My reaction? Usually tell them their opinion on MY weight is NOT wanted. "Nobody asked you!" is my current response, altho, I quite often stick to my favorite retort "Yeah, so, what's your point?" If they say something I consider POSITIVE, such as "Wow, you've lost some weight!" then I thank them for noticing & move on to another subject because I really don't want to get into a whole drawn-out conversation about it, because I know it will eventually lead to unwanted advice or stupid advice or mean-spirited jokes that I may or may not laugh at. Ugh.:^:

As for others' complaining about their own weight... I let them vent & then ask if they want advice or just want a shoulder. Then I give them what they ask for in the most monotone way possible. :eek: :o :D And quite often, direct them to this site for support. It's always up to them if they decide to come here.

Nola Celeste
06-28-2011, 07:06 PM
I should clarify my earlier post a little. If folks are talking about weight loss--here on this forum or in person--then yeah, absolutely, it's not at all rude to discuss weight. Maybe I was projecting a little, but I gathered that the OP was posting about the people in her life who vent about it constantly even when it is unwelcome. I didn't mean to give the impression that people shouldn't post about being fat on these forums--I mean, the place is called 3 Fat Chicks, there's obviously going to be a lot of weight discussion here. :D

A long time ago, I had a friend who did the "Oh, I'm so fat!" thing inappropriately. We'd go shopping and try on clothes and she'd shout it. We'd stop for lunch and she'd pick apart the menu, muttering it after every "bad" and "sinful" choice she made. We'd go out to a movie and she'd say it at the concession stand. Venting is one thing, but this wasn't an occasional thing--this was a constant repetition of an essentially meaningless statement. She might as well have been barking for all the sense it made.

Incidentally, the friend and I were both around 135 pounds at the time and she was maybe half an inch taller than me. It wouldn't have mattered if she'd weighed 300 and I weighed 100 or vice-versa, though; it's still just as frustrating to hear. There's nothing like getting ready to take a bite of your burger only to hear someone shriek, "Ooohhh, I'm so FAT, I could NEVER just eat FOOD the way you're about to do!"

Thanks, lady. You want to come over here and spit on my french fries too so you can despoil my meal entirely? :P

Again, though, I certainly didn't want to imply that it's always inappropriate. I guess a better way to put it is that talking about how fat you are isn't always inappropriate, but it's inappropriate to talk about it always. I think that sort of makes sense. :)

theox
06-28-2011, 08:11 PM
So my question really is, how did you deal with other people's reactions to your weight? (either gaining or losing) and how do you cope when put in the position of others complaining, when you are dealing with your issues privately?

I don't usually notice people's reactions to my weight. Occasionally immature and ignorant people (the type who think that being fat somehow must mean we are also blind, deaf, stupid, and without feelings) will pull faces or make snide or condescending comments, but those have been fairly rare in my world, and are usually relatively easy for me to ignore. I haven't lost enough weight to get comments on it (except from my parents, who are extremely supportive and comment on it every time I see them ;)).

If other people's comments about their weight seem like an invitation to have a real discussion about whatever health or weight issues may be on their minds, I'll encourage that. If it seems like they're fishing for compliments or airing their insecurities (without actually appearing to be ready to make changes in their lives to feel or look better), I'll ignore it or try to give a neutral response and change the subject. If it seems like they're trying to make me feel inferior because of my weight, I'll either ignore it or be really helpful by offering advice on what they can do to get those pesky extra two ounces off, talking about the food and exercise choices that have helped me lose [whatever my current net lbs. lost is], and really just being very sympathetic.

ETA: My mom complains about her weight and asks me what I do, but since she comes up with excuses for not being able to eat better or get more activity in whenever I offer her suggestions for losing weight, I usually just give her a slightly modified version of the neutral response.

MaryB75
06-29-2011, 12:20 AM
I should clarify my earlier post a little. If folks are talking about weight loss--here on this forum or in person--then yeah, absolutely, it's not at all rude to discuss weight. Maybe I was projecting a little, but I gathered that the OP was posting about the people in her life who vent about it constantly even when it is unwelcome. I didn't mean to give the impression that people shouldn't post about being fat on these forums--I mean, the place is called 3 Fat Chicks, there's obviously going to be a lot of weight discussion here. :D

A long time ago, I had a friend who did the "Oh, I'm so fat!" thing inappropriately. We'd go shopping and try on clothes and she'd shout it. We'd stop for lunch and she'd pick apart the menu, muttering it after every "bad" and "sinful" choice she made. We'd go out to a movie and she'd say it at the concession stand. Venting is one thing, but this wasn't an occasional thing--this was a constant repetition of an essentially meaningless statement. She might as well have been barking for all the sense it made.

Incidentally, the friend and I were both around 135 pounds at the time and she was maybe half an inch taller than me. It wouldn't have mattered if she'd weighed 300 and I weighed 100 or vice-versa, though; it's still just as frustrating to hear. There's nothing like getting ready to take a bite of your burger only to hear someone shriek, "Ooohhh, I'm so FAT, I could NEVER just eat FOOD the way you're about to do!"

Thanks, lady. You want to come over here and spit on my french fries too so you can despoil my meal entirely? :P

Again, though, I certainly didn't want to imply that it's always inappropriate. I guess a better way to put it is that talking about how fat you are isn't always inappropriate, but it's inappropriate to talk about it always. I think that sort of makes sense. :)

Yes..that makes sense :)

Alwaysbeenbig
06-29-2011, 08:07 AM
Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your responses.

Nola I think you hit the nail on the head. I generally just let the person who is complaining vent to me, I might have to start asking what they actually want me to do if anything.

Thank you all soooooo much! It's been getting incredibly trying to have to be a personal therapist to so many of my friends, all of your suggestions make a lot of sense and are completely do-able (is that a word ?? :P).

k8yk
06-29-2011, 01:33 PM
Some people are just complainers. If it isn't weight, it will be something else.

However, I think among women, this is a social construct. We are taught from a very early age that our bodies are bad and evil and not good enough and ugly and imperfect and horrible unmanageable enemies to be beaten into submission. Little girls start using this body-hatred language very early because they hear it from their mothers and sisters and they emulate. Saying "OMG, I'm so fat!" is almost as benign as complaining about the weather to a lot of women. It's just small-talk. Destructive small-talk.

I think this is a feminist issue. Women are taught to hate our bodies for a very specific reason: to sell us stuff. The easiest person to sell to is a person who believes they are all wrong and need to be fixed. There are many industries that benefit from this: diet, food, beauty, plastic surgery, etc. Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach is a great book on this subject if you're interested.

When I was big, thin friends would frequently make comments about themselves, or even worse, they would make comments about other heavy people right in front of me. It was awful. I felt so invisible. Like "HELLO! I am standing right here and I weigh almost 300 pounds. Can you save this conversation for after I leave the room?!" Now I'm thinner, and past a lot of the mental hangups I had about my weight and I no longer see it as something negative they were saying about me. This was all their own internal dialogue. My weight truly was invisible to them because they were so hung up on how much they hated their own bodies. I stopped being angry and hurt and started feeling bad for them.

Now that I'm thinner, I make a huge effort to only say good things about my body. I could complain about cellulite, stretch marks, or a myriad of other "issues" but why?? This is my only body and it is awesome. I make a point of saying things like "I was so excited I finished my run in a record time thanks to my strong legs!" If you want to change the world, change yourself!

Our bodies aren't an external object to be hammered and moulded into submission. Our bodies ARE us. Your mind is only a part of your body and Who You Are is inextricably linked to that body.

When people make those comments, I tell them exactly what I think about it. They can take it or leave it. I'm not invisible anymore.