Weight Loss Support - Can you ever be thin enough? About other people's opinions of themselves.




kelly315
08-20-2011, 12:25 AM
"I see all these people who are starting at my goal weight, saying things about how fat they let themselves get"

"I'm wonder if my goal weight will be good enough, because others my height are aiming for much lower."

I see this come up frequently every week here at 3FC, and I wanted to share my experiences and give others a place to share their own. First of all, I want to say that this thread is not intended to insult anyone. We often see threads containing the above comments deleted because they can be construed as insulting. In some ways, they are. I want to start off by saying that I love the 3FC'ers of all sizes on this site, I don't presume to tell anyone what their goals should be, and I think we should support each other equally.

That being said, I think there is a deeper issue masked here. There are people, on and off the internet, who lose anywhere from 100+ to 5 pounds to meet their goal weights- something they should be very proud of. Many of them reach weights that are considered by medical professionals to be very healthy, but yet they're often dissatisfied. They wonder: is it enough? Am I thin enough? Part of this is the fault of the media, part is an incorrect perception of their body (body dysmorphia) but another large part of it is comparing themselves to others.

I lost over 120lbs in 2009, getting down to 160, very close to a healthy BMI, which was my goal. It was around this time when I started to feel the strain of comparing myself to other people. If I'm perfectly honest, I'll admit that a large part of my disillusionment came from being connected with other people trying to lose weight. I met, online and off, people who were starting their weight loss journey at my goal weight. This in itself is fine, of course. I will never discourage a person from their health and weight loss goals (unless they're harming their health or mental health in some way), and I appreciate the bravery it takes to make the decision to lose weight as a featherweight. But it was the hurtful comments people would make about themselves that were the hardest.

For example, seeing a woman (in the healthy weight range) at work depreciate herself and her figure is a difficult experience for everyone. While the insults are pointed toward herself, she is inevitably (and unintentionally) insulting everyone at the same weight or higher. Would this woman insult another woman the same size, or even 20, 30, 40 pounds heavier? Most likely not. Chances are, she didn't mean harm, but the result is painful for everyone involved. I like to compare this to me insulting myself for my gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic standing. Would other women not feel hurt if I constantly insulted myself because I was a woman? Of course they would.


I've actually said this earlier today, and I'll continue to push it as long as I'm on 3FC: it's never okay to say hateful things about obesity, even if it's about yourself. It's simply not fair to poke fun at yourself when you're 120lbs, 150lbs, 200lbs, whatever, because there are people out there that are the same size or bigger than you who will inevitably be hurt by it. Even if it's focused on yourself, it's still hurtful. So, please, be conscious of other people's feelings when you write hateful things- even about yourself.

I respect everyone's goal weights and think people should be allowed to set a goal that is low (without putting themselves at risk) without discrimination. But on the opposite side of that coin, I believe people should have the right to set a goal that's at the higher end without the same discrimination and without being made to feel bad about that weight.


So how do you deal with it? How do you figure out how thin is thin enough?

There are many people out there who self-depreciate at the weight you want to be. But this doesn't necessarily mean that that weight is too high. It is important to notice that sometimes, it's not about the weight. People are unhappy for a number of reasons, and it's very easy to blame weight or to focus on weight. It's easy for us to think that thinner= happier, that's what we're told everyday, right? On the extreme end are people that battle with anorexia, a mental condition which is more often than not caused not by the weight, but by other issues.But for those of you who are in the same position that I was, comparing my own goal weight to other's goal weights, it's important to realize that self-depreciation or lower goals aren't always because it's impossible to be happy and sexy at a certain weight. Sometimes, it's just because that certain individual is unhappy or self-conscious for any number of reasons. Sometimes, of course, there are people who would be happier and healthier at a weight/BMI that is lower than the place where you would be happy and healthy. But you can't just assume that because other people want to be a size smaller than your goal that the size you're aiming for is not perfect.

Perfection is being at a place where you can be 1) healthy and 2) happy. Aiming in the healthy BMI range and fitness level will help to fulfill the first requirement, the second is up to your own experience. Within the healthy range, thinner is not necessarily sexier or more healthy. Many women look much more beautiful and feel better at one size while they might be terribly unhappy and less attractive at a size smaller. That's not to say that thinner is necessarily worse, just that it's not for everybody.

The perfect example of this is a study done in the UK a while back. It tested the overall happiness of women, and found that thinner does not necessarily mean happier. In fact, they found that those participants of the survey actually got progressively more unhappy the thinner they got.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1102572/Happiness-having-size-14-figure.html (I'm fairly certain that the sizes mentioned are British sizes, so read size 12 for size 14).

Now, of course I'm not saying that all very thin women out there are unhappy or that they're wrong in their goal choices. I'm saying it's a highly individualized process, finding the weight you're happy at, and it's not necessarily true that you'll be happier if you're thinner. This study, as well as real life, proves that weight isn't the be-all end-all of happiness.

So to those of you whose ending weights are the same as others' starting weights, don't assume that just because other people's goals are lower that your goal is not perfect. You simply need to reach it and experience it for a while before finding out. And to those of you who have achieved their goals, or who have starting weights that may be the goal weights of others (anything under 200lbs), please be conscientious about the insults you throw at your "old" self, and be aware that there are listeners who take them to heart. I'm proud of all of you, no matter what your starting or goal weight is, and you have every right to be the one who chooses what is perfect for you. Please respect what is perfect for others, whether smaller or larger than yourself.


JohnP
08-20-2011, 02:54 AM
Using weight as a scale of measurement is not the best way to go.

Lets face it - no one is losing weight so they can see a lower number when they step on the scale.

We want to be healthy, and we want to look and feel good about ourselves.

It really is about the journey and not the destination.

kimmieval
08-20-2011, 03:55 AM
The truth is that others my weight can go lower, so I simply do not worry about it- different body types and all. Personally, I know that at 125lbs and 5ft 4", I look like a big head on a emaciated body. I was simply not made to weigh that little, I look ill. I can go to about 130 but lower and it does not work for me.

Despite all this, my sister at the same height and shape (smaller legs) looks great at 120lbs , so I advocate for her to go for it if that is what she wants...to each his or her own and our bodies sometimes dictate where we wnd up and and where we should end up!


Horo
08-20-2011, 03:56 AM
For example, seeing a woman (in the healthy weight range) at work depreciate herself and her figure is a difficult experience for everyone. While the insults are pointed toward herself, she is inevitably (and unintentionally) insulting everyone at the same weight or higher. Would this woman insult another woman the same size, or even 20, 30, 40 pounds heavier? Most likely not. Chances are, she didn't mean harm, but the result is painful for everyone involved. I like to compare this to me insulting myself for my gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic standing. Would other women not feel hurt if I constantly insulted myself because I was a woman? Of course they would.


I've actually said this earlier today, and I'll continue to push it as long as I'm on 3FC: it's never okay to say hateful things about obesity, even if it's about yourself. It's simply not fair to poke fun at yourself when you're 120lbs, 150lbs, 200lbs, whatever, because there are people out there that are the same size or bigger than you who will inevitably be hurt by it. Even if it's focused on yourself, it's still hurtful. So, please, be conscious of other people's feelings when you write hateful things- even about yourself.

I respect everyone's goal weights and think people should be allowed to set a goal that is low (without putting themselves at risk) without discrimination. But on the opposite side of that coin, I believe people should have the right to set a goal that's at the higher end without the same discrimination and without being made to feel bad about that weight.


I'm sorry, but I really don't agree with the idea that people here should censor their dissatisfaction with their own body or whatever weight they're currently at, etc. because someone else might mistakenly project it onto themselves. Venting about negative things you feel can be really helpful, I've noticed, even a stepping stone to eventually getting over it (and in the example of this site, especially with the support of the great people here). I agree that it's important to be sensitive to other people's feelings, but not to the extent that we're tip-toeing around everything we say in case someone might get needlessly offended. And I do think it's needless when the person who made the comment clearly was speaking only about themselves.

I hate to say it but I think the deeper issue on hand doesn't necessarily come down a lot of the time to body dysmorphia on the part of people who make dissatisfied comments about their body/weight, or that the person who makes the dissatisfied comments has a plethora of other issues that they're just channeling onto their weight, but the need to grow a thicker skin and learn to not compare themselves to others on the part of the people who project such comments onto themselves and get insulted by them.

I don't know, maybe I interpreted this thread the wrong way(sorry if that's the case!) :shrug: but the gist I got from the parts I quoted is that self-censorship about negative things we may feel about our own bodies or weight should be employed so as to not accidentally hurt someone else's feelings. Personally, I really don't think that's conductive to this forum being as supportive as it can be. I'm just a lurker for the most part so my view probably doesn't count for much, but maybe I would suggest that people posting negative things they feel about their own weight/bodies and seeking support about it can use some sort of warning... so those that get hurt by that sort of thing even when it's not directed at them can selectively avoid those threads/posts. :shrug:

kelly315
08-20-2011, 03:57 AM
Right on John. It's tough to let yourself get so caught up in a number and to see others suffering from that same mistake.

horo-thanks for your opinion. It's true, part of losing weight is often growing in self-confidence and developing that "tougher skin." But I think the bigger issue at hand is not one or two girls who feel bad because of a single comment, but society's treatment of overweight people in general. In some ways, we have to be tough on obesity- it's an enormous problem in our culture and our public health. But we also have to consider what kind of society we want to be- do we want to continue to ostracize a portion of the population based on their health status?

For our entire history, people have been depreciating themselves in order to appease the majority. Almost every minority has been made to feel bad about themselves simply because of their status. It might have been culturally accepted for a woman to say depreciating things about women in the past- in fact, that's what made a good wife. One who self depreciated and knew "her place." But would we ever take that from a woman today? Of course not. We would berate her for it. Today, it's okay to hate obese people, or overweight people, or even healthy people who aren't quite "thin" enough. Kim Kardashian has a bmi of about 22. That's well within the healthy range, but she's berated for her curves constantly. Why? Because fat is a swear-word in our society, and we love to use it. Every time someone says something horrible about someone with a weight problem, it affects us all- not just the overweight people, but our whole culture and the moral and ethical basis of it.

Now, before you respond, I'm not up screaming "Rights for the Obese," or "Fat is Beautiful." We have a major problem in our culture, and we shouldn't overlook it. What I'm saying is, there's no reason to make someone who has done exactly what we, as a culture, wanted them to do- lose weight. There's no reason why we should make a person with a perfectly normal BMI, who can run a 5K, feel like they haven't done enough or are not good enough. This is exactly what has been happening every day to some of these men and women, as you can see from the large number of posts we see on the topic.

I'm not asking that you stop sharing your emotional battle with your weight, or how you feel about your body. I just ask that people be conscious of how they use their language, and try to stop treating fat like a swear-word. But I'm reminded that we also have to respect those who choose to lose more than others- it's a personal choice.

Horo
08-20-2011, 08:49 AM
To clarify, I do definitely feel as though there should be no place in this world for the societal vilification of any group of people based on their weight/body shape. When it comes down to one person making negative comments about their own body, though.. who knows what it stemmed from, you know? It could very well be pressure from the current culture that exists in the place they live.. or it could just be their own personal preference(and so on). And it comes back to the case that most people here who say the negative things about their own bodies would usually never say(or even think) such things about other people. It's for that reason that I don't think that someone's negative self-directed vent should be construed as an attack against all people who are similar to the person venting.

Anyway, I just simply think that within a weight loss support community people should be able to freely express the frustration/dissatisfaction they might have with their own weight or body size, past and present, without the fear of someone else getting needlessly insulted. Especially since they can then receive the sort of support that can often bring about a much more positive mindset.. that's all. :)

sontaikle
08-20-2011, 08:59 AM
kelly, I love your post and I wholeheartedly agree with it. I really find it troubling the insults that those with less to lose often thrown around. There are ways to express dissatisfaction with one's body without promoting hate of the obese. "OMG I'm 150 pounds I feel sooooo gross and fat!" vs "I'm really not happy with my body at 150 pounds. I don't feel like myself." It's easy to see which one is more respectful to the members who might be happy to be 150 pounds or might just dream of getting there.

This hate for obesity takes many forms. It comes from whenever someone makes fun of an obese person; it comes from when someone thinks they are "soooo gross!" for being overweight; it comes from the media depicting overweight folks as morons. All of this hate for obese and overweight people doesn't help anyone get healthy. Instead it just promotes fear of getting overweight and justifies discrimination of the overweight and obese.

I believe it's a real problem in our society, the way we feel the need to police other's bodies. It's one of the reasons I support the fat acceptance movement (or more inclusively the size acceptance movement). I've been attacked for that position because it assumes that it "promotes obesity" and "unhealthy lifestyles," when that isn't the case. Size acceptance promotes being happy with your body and being healthy.

Is it possible to be obese and healthy? I think so. I was a healthy obese person for years. I exercised intensely 5 times a week and ate healthy foods all the time (although, too much healthy food kept me at the same weight for years). My physicals showed that other than my obesity, I was in prime physical shape. I was happy at my size too, because of this movement. So I kept doing what I was doing. Isn't that what we should all do? Be happy with ourselves and live healthy lives?

However, it's because of the size acceptance that I actually started to lose weight. I didn't like how I felt after so many meals, and I knew I was eating too much. I decided to experiment and see what would happen if I cut my portions.

I felt so much better! I didn't feel lethargic after meals, but I also didn't feel deprived. Eating smaller amounts was clearly healthier for me, so I kept doing it.

I also happened to lose weight. I didn't intentionally start out to do that because I was happy with my body. I figured I might as well keep going with this, so I started tracking my weight and paying even more attention to the number of calories I consume.

Despite what I said above, I second guess my goal weight a lot for two reasons: I see women who are taller than me with lower goal weights and I've never been at a healthy weight for my entire life. I don't KNOW what I'll look like at 140 pounds (will I be happy? Will I be too thin for my tastes?). I didn't know what I'd look like at 160 pounds, but I'm actually pretty happy now. Not happy enough to stop, but certainly happier than so many who start at my current weight and are unhappy. My goal is to be happy with my body, and if that means stopping at a weight that is still considered "overweight" according to an arbitrary standard like BMI, then so be it. I'm already healthy, all of this other stuff is purely for appearances sake.

Ultimately, I think we need to stop stressing weight loss and stress healthier living (which the size acceptance movement and the Health At Every Size movement stress). Will people lose weight? Probably. It might be slow, but it'll likely still happen. Instead people feel pressured to resort to unhealthy diets which just cause them to gain the weight back because it's a quick fix. If we instead let people feel good at their current weights and educate about healthy living, I believe we would be better overall.

banananutmuffin
08-20-2011, 09:32 AM
The perfect example of this is a study done in the UK a while back. It tested the overall happiness of women, and found that thinner does not necessarily mean happier. In fact, they found that those participants of the survey actually got progressively more unhappy the thinner they got.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1102572/Happiness-having-size-14-figure.html (I'm fairly certain that the sizes mentioned are British sizes, so read size 12 for size 14).


This wasn't a study as much as it was a survey, and thus it lacked the controls necessary to really draw that kind of conclusion. Perhaps the size sixes who were ranked as fourth unhappiest were smaller in size because they were actively dieting in an attempt to become happier. In that case, it's not that a smaller weight makes them unhappy. Rather, unhappiness led them to aim for a smaller weight. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation.

That said, I am a "featherweight" who often makes self-deprecating comments about myself in public. This is due to multiple reasons:

General low self-esteem with regard to my body weight
Joining in the "body hate" talk with female friends
Comparing myself unfavorably to other women in the room
Responding to comments about what I'm eating/drinking
Responding to a compliment about my weight (rather than just saying "Thanks," I self-deprecate in response. Kind of a "Oh, this old thing?" response when someone compliments my dress.)


I agree TOTALLY that I would never ever make the same comments to a girlfriend or stranger about their weight that I make about mine, even if that person were 10x my size. For some reason, however, people do seem compelled to make negative comments about themselves. It's weird.

I also agree that it can be insulting to others. I recently mentioned that I was on a plan to lose 12 pounds, and I was standing next to 3 people. Two of them probably make it close to the "morbidly obese" category, the other is in WW and I know her goal is to lose 10 pounds. It was only after the words came out of my mouth that I realized how they may have interpreted them ("If she thinks she needs to lose 12 pounds, what must she think about me?"), but by that point it was too late. As with any social interaction, I believe it's important to be sensitive about what we say, within reason.

Still, I think we need to remember that being self-deprecating is not meant to be insulting. There is no intention of being hurtful to others. In addition, everyone has different ideas of the "ideal" body. What is perfect to one person is too thin to another. Perhaps when some featherweights say "Oh, I need to lose 20 more pounds," the person they're talking to isn't insulted, but rather thinking "You'll look like an emaciated stick if you lose 20 more pounds."

I do censor myself in social settings sometimes in an effort to be sensitive to others. (And frankly, I have friends who are much thinner than me who are constantly talking about their body dissatisfaction. Maybe it's just my particular posse.) But in the same token, I hope that when I do say something negative about my weight, those around me realize that my comments are about no one except myself.

runningfromfat
08-20-2011, 09:49 AM
I'm assuming you took the top quote from one of my posts? ;)

Like you said, I really have NO PROBLEM with someone who is aiming for a lower weight at my height. I know there are different body types/muscular structures/preference. I really am ok with that. ;) What does bother me is exactly what sontaikle pointed out, the difference between:

"OMG I'm 150 pounds I feel sooooo gross and fat!" vs "I'm really not happy with my body at 150 pounds. I don't feel like myself."

Yes, someone who is 150lbs can be unhealthy (we've all heard of skinny fat) and if someone at 150lbs wants to say they are unhealthy I'm ok with that too. However, it does affect me when someone at 150lbs wants to say they are huge. Statistically, it's just not possible. The average size of a woman in the US is 12-14, if you're about my height than at 150lbs there is no way you're above a 14 so you're not huge (and considering that 2/3 of Americans are overweight statistically you're smaller than average). I'm not saying that I'm perfect about this either. I wear a 10-12 now and still struggle with thinking about how large I am but in reality I'm slightly below average in size now.

I'm not sure what the answer is because I'm not a fan of censorship and especially when one is going through body image issues/weight loss, sometimes you just need to get something off your chest. Even if that something is crap that the media/society has spoonfed you with unrealistic standards of beauty. Intellectually, we might all know that a model's body is unattainable (especially with all that airbrushing!) but darn it sometimes we all want to be the beautiful princess too.

When I wrote the original statement in my other post I was hoping for ideas on how to get over my own insecurities. In the end I cannot prevent someone who is at my goal weight from considering themselves fat and ugly but I can change how I deal with their comments (or chose not to listen to them entirely).

I also wish I could wave a magic wand and help everyone (myself included) overcome their body image issues but I'm not sure it's realistic. Everyone likes to point out that men don't have these issues but they do. They worry about the size of a certain appendage, how well they kiss, if they make enough money, if they're tall enough, if they have enough muscles, if their belly is too large, if they are doing better than their older brother whose shadow they've always lived in etc. It's human nature to have these feelings of insecurities and it's how we deal with them that defines as a person (do we choose to all them to make us resentful and jealous or do we use them as motivation to become a better person?).

JayEll
08-20-2011, 10:39 AM
Kelly315 can speak for herself, but I think the reason she inserted the "healthy range" phrases was to avoid implying eating disorders and disordered goals are OK. 3FC does have posters that one wonders about. And there is such a tendency for 3FCers to reach their goal weights and then decide they need to go lower... and lower... and...

I figure if someone wants to say, "OMG I am 150 pounds and I absolutely hate my body!" that she or he has the right to say it. Of course, that person will get a lot of responses, some of which may not be pleasing.

I loved my body at 150, which was overweight according to BMI. I would love to be at that weight again. I am now 165, which is down 18 pounds from my regain. I love my body now. I loved it 18 pounds higher. I did NOT love that I had regained that weight, and I did NOT love that I had 44% body fat.

When I was younger, I weighed around 130 for a lot of my life. I never thought about it! Fortunately for me, I didn't get that social conditioning about women needing to be thin and complaining about the body and hating one's belly, thighs, etc. etc. etc. This is my body! What's not to love? :dunno:

It is one of the many ways that society keeps women powerless. As long as we are focused on our bodies and other women's bodies and the images we see in the media, we don't have to think about larger questions, like whether we are making a contribution to society, whether we are advancing in our profession or community activities, whether we have dreams of accomplishing good things, etc. It's all about meeting some bogus standard of physical beauty.

I say, make your comments, but don't be a dope about it. Remember that not everyone here thinks the same way you do, and be prepared to get responses you don't expect.

(Men, I figure you can speak for yourselves on this question. I also suspect that a lot of you are staying way far away from this discussion! ;) )

Jay

Tanna Banana
08-20-2011, 11:41 AM
Now, before you respond, I'm not up screaming "Rights for the Obese," or "Fat is Beautiful." We have a major problem in our culture, and we shouldn't overlook it. What I'm saying is, there's no reason to make someone who has done exactly what we, as a culture, wanted them to do- lose weight. There's no reason why we should make a person with a perfectly normal BMI, who can run a 5K, feel like they haven't done enough or are not good enough. This is exactly what has been happening every day to some of these men and women, as you can see from the large number of posts we see on the topic.



I didn't perceive your post that way at all. From what I gather, you're just asking for some sensitivity... ie. it would be BAD to say, "OMG, at 'x' weight, I was such a huge nasty fat cow. That 'x' weight is ridiculously high" (at least, this is what I took from your post). A little sensitivity can go a long way- so can letting things go. Many times we are offended, no offense was intended. :)

I think it's important to remember that we all have different points of reference to weight loss. I don't perceive myself as better/worse because of my starting or ending goals. However, even though I have never been morbidly obese, it doesn't make my concerns or journey any less valid and it doesn't mean I deserve any less support. That's what I love about 3FC, there really is a place for everyone who is trying to be healthy and do things the right way.

tuende
08-20-2011, 12:40 PM
I think that we ALL- no matter our size- need to be allowed to feel how we feel about our bodies and be allowed to express that, especially on 3FC! If I'm having a day where I'm not feeling great about my body, am I not allowed to post honestly about it and seek support because I'm in the 130's and not the 230's? With that said, I've been in the 230's. I grew up overweight/obese. I get it. But that doesn't mean that body image issues magically go away. If I say "I feel fat and gross today," I don't see it as "poking fun at myself" (or anyone else) but as expressing a dissatisfaction that can still feel very real. Is it helpful for me or anyone else to find euphamisms for these feelings? I don't think it is.

None of us can control what other people are projecting onto our comments. If I make a comment about myself or my weight, do I mean for it to be generalized to every other person of that weight? Obviously not. Do I need to not say it or to hedge everything I do say? I don't think that is helpful either. We're not talking about people being openly hateful or bashing everyone who is obese or overweight. They're expressing their feelings about their own body. That's it. And we all understand the rollercoaster that our feelings about our own bodies can take us on.

While having sensitivity to the fact that this is a public forum, I think some of the responsibility needs to be shifted to the reader. How we interpret things has as much to do with our own mental state as it does with the actual words that are said/written. Instead of calling for people to censor themselves in this case, maybe we need to take a deeper look at our own reactions. At the end of the day, I can't control what comes out of anyone else's mouth (or keyboard), but I can control how I let it affect me. If I read "I'm 135 lbs and I feel fat and gross today!" I don't take it personally because I know it has NOTHING to do with me, and everything to do with that particular poster on that particular day who has come to 3FC because of the wonderfully supportive community.

kelly315
08-20-2011, 01:34 PM
I'm flabbergasted that you would claim to espouse tolerance for people of all sizes and then write "I'm not up screaming 'rights for the obese' and 'fat is beautiful.'" Kelly, if you're not "up screaming 'rights for the obese' and 'fat is beautiful'" then I certainly am. I do believe, quite strongly, that discrimination against the obese is very real and absolutely reprehensible and that - like any form of discrimination - it is a human rights issue. So yes. Rights for the obese. I also think that beauty is so, so, so relative that saying fat isn't beautiful is just as arbitrary as saying thin is.


Martini- I spent a lot of time carefully wording this post because I didn't want it be taken the wrong way. But clearly I can't make everybody happy, and I'm sorry for that. I didn't write a long speech about obesity rights because a lot of people will shrug that off and not listen to what you have to say. Trust me, I'd love just as much as the next person to see the obese treated fairly- do you think I've had an easy time of it, being morbidly obese since puberty? Of course not. But this post isn't as much about tolerance as it is about conscientiousness. I wrote this specifically because we see those people, mentioned in the original post, who are made to feel terrible even after all they've done. I added in my own twist- the whole "stop using fat as a swearword" bit, but to push it much further would be an entirely different thread.

DietVet
08-20-2011, 01:45 PM
But I think JayEll has made a really important point here. The "OMG I'm so disgusting because I can pinch my belly fat! It's revolting!" comments are unhelpful not only because many readers will find them insulting, but also because they give credence to the idea that there is something fundamentally disgusting, ugly, hateful about fat--about physical non-perfection.

The obsession with physical perfection and the over-emphasis on physical beauty are part of the reason that so many women wind up with disordered eating and body dysmorphia. By all means, express your feelings about your body and your discouragement or whatever, but I would urge ALL of us to strive to view our bodies with love and compassion rather than hate and disgust.

(And yes, you can love and respect your body and still want it to be smaller and tighter!)

kelly315
08-20-2011, 01:49 PM
This wasn't a study as much as it was a survey, and thus it lacked the controls necessary to really draw that kind of conclusion. Perhaps the size sixes who were ranked as fourth unhappiest were smaller in size because they were actively dieting in an attempt to become happier. In that case, it's not that a smaller weight makes them unhappy. Rather, unhappiness led them to aim for a smaller weight. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation.
...
Still, I think we need to remember that being self-deprecating is not meant to be insulting.


banananutmuffin- sorry if it came off that I thought this article was anything more than an interesting women's magazine article (I never meant to claim that it was scientific or proof positive of anything). In my original post, I don't try to describe the reasons for this trend, but rather use it an example of how thinner does not necessarily mean happier. In the context of my post, this actually works perfectly if the causation is actually as you described it- if the women surveyed are dieting because they are unhappy with themselves, and they continue to be significantly less happy with themselves than heavier women, then the idea that thinner= happier is broken down.

About the second part- I tried to make sure that it came across that I was not blaming anyone for hurting anyone else. Like I said, a woman who self depreciates at one weight probably wouldn't dream of insulting a woman several sizes healthier than her. She probably wouldn't even think negative things about her. No one is cruel, hateful, or discriminatory just because they say negative things about themselves- I'm not saying that. I'm saying that when they go too far and make it fat a swear word- that's when it starts to insult everyone.

A lot of people have been bringing up the fact that they want to be able to vent and self-depreciate without restriction. As I said in my post to Horo- I'm not saying that anyone should have anything less than freedom of expression here. We all have emotional journeys as well as physical ones to go through, and the freedom to share negativities with others is vital.

As Runningfromfat said, there is a difference between:
"OMG I'm 150 pounds I feel sooooo gross and fat!" vs "I'm really not happy with my body at 150 pounds. I don't feel like myself."

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the second one. I think if you read what I've written you'll find that I've said that. There's a difference between saying "I felt disgusting," vs "look how disgustingly fat I was in this picture" I'm not saying you should censor your posts about how you feel or your relationship with your body. In fact, they are welcome.

tuende
08-20-2011, 02:52 PM
I would urge ALL of us to strive to view our bodies with love and compassion rather than hate and disgust.

I think this is really important. As hard as it gets, as much cultural garbage as we have in our way, this is something we must work towards. I know a lot of us are works-in-progress on this one :).

girlonfire
08-20-2011, 02:55 PM
I can see where Kelly is coming from and where others are coming from too. Sometimes I see people at or below my goal weight, which is 140 pounds away at the moment, talking about how fat they are even if they are in a BMI category. God knows it bothers me in real life when my size 8 friend goes on about how chubby she is. If they're so fat, what does that say about MY goals? I really do dislike hearing women complain about their bodies, especially since we've been socially conditioned to believe our bodies are the most important part of us. I too would like to see a decrease in bodily dissatisfaction and harping about our perceived flaws, not just on 3FC, but everywhere.

On the other hand, it's all relative. Someone who weighs 140 and wants to get down to 120 (note: this is not specific to a poster here, I am choosing my goal weight for reference. So if this fits you, it was entirely unintentional) may feel incredibly unhappy at their body weight and they have a right to those feelings. My goal is my goal only, not anybody else's and I don't want to project my own body envy onto somebody else's weight loss goals. On the other hand, my current weight could be a HUGE milestone for someone coming out of the 300s or the 400s. When I post about my weight dissatisfaction, I try to avoid focusing on the weight and try to focus on the behaviors that led me to gain so much weight. I am not perfect and I do slip into that body hate, but sometimes it can be incredibly cathartic to let it out.

However, I think we can work to make this a more positive place. I tried to start a little positive haven where people could just post positive things about themselves or something they felt proud of accomplishing- it eventually got buried in the multitude of "wtf" "i'm a failure" threads. I have seen other positivity threads die a quiet death while negativity seems to flourish. So maybe instead of berating people for negatively posting about their bodies, we can all try to foster a positive environment while still allowing for a release of negative emotions. Somedays I feel super huge and fat and absolutely hate myself, then I think "what would someone who cannot walk or has a terminal illness say about my body?". I bet they could find wonderful things to say about it! I can walk, move, dance, etc. My solution would be instead of to focus on the negative, to focus on the positive. This journey is about improving mental health as well as physical health and what better way than to think positively? I also don't want to prevent anybody from feeling that they can't share their struggles, so it's a fine balance between creating a positive environment while still allowing frustrations to be vented. I must be honest, I am not entirely sure how that can be done so any other ideas would be welcome.

P.S. If there are any other positivity threads I haven't seen in other subforums, please point them my way! I would love to join in on one :)

berryblondeboys
08-20-2011, 03:23 PM
Just putting in a quick two cents here. But I can see where both sides are coming from. Of course, it's hard to hear someone at 130 pounds saying they are fat when you are 230 pounds. The person at 130 (and that's the highest they've ever weighed) don't know what FAT is. But, it's how they feel.

On the other side, When I hear and see women saying, " I hate myself because I just binged." Or, "I'm so fat, and everthing I do fails. So, I'm doomed." Or even some people's usernames scream lack of confidence in themselves - complete lack of confidence of themselves. If you sign in with a user name every day that says, "stupidfatwoman"... well... how does that affect you mentally? How can you feel confident and build confidence with that moniker?

There is negativity and destructive negativity. Complaining that you're stuck at 145 no matter what you do and you don't like your belly flab. Is not negative. Saying, "I hate my body because I am stuck with this belly blubber. All I want to do is crawl in a hole and never be seen again." is destructive negativity. And seeing someone post that does bother me... not for myself... but realizing that person is really struggling with so much more than a few extra pounds.

dragonwoman64
08-20-2011, 03:26 PM
I think it's good you brought up this topic for people to think about.

Where I agree it's good to be able to vent, the other side of that coin is that for many women, I include myself here, even women with thicker skin (I don't consider myself to be especially sensitive in that vein), reading and hearing women making deprecating comments about their size/fat/body DOES seep in to the consciousness -- especially when that woman might carry significantly less weight than I do.

It is a huge obsession in society in general -- body size and weight. And while in the process of losing weight, like I am, I'm even more fixated on what my body looks like, as I imagine other women working to lose weight are as well. and yes, I compare myself to other women all the time.

I think it really can be a distraction from woman concentrating on other issues that are much more crucial -- at a personal level and socially as well.

I was watching a news piece recently about a website that lets women post body pics of themselves in order to give other women a more balanced sense of what "real" women look like (as opposed to media chosen images). In the middle of the story they showed a picture of a young, tanned, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model (whose body was no doubt made even more "perfect" using photoshop). That just made my heart sink because it made so clear that fantasy/reality gulf.

I mean, I know it was an Italian magazine (not American), but they photoshopped Kate Middleton's WAIST down, how wacky is that?

it seems to me that keeping a healthy body image that's not dysmorphic in the middle of all this would be the real challenge

fitmom
08-20-2011, 03:58 PM
I respect you, Kelly315, I really do but I have to say it kind of sounds like you're implying that any Featherweight (which I am) has no right to even complain let alone want to better herself. Believe it or not at my highest weight, my waist-to-hip ratio was in the danger zone and so was my body fat. Therefore, don't I have the right to want to become more fit even if my then-weight was only b/t 135-140lbs.? Absolutely I do, that's all I'm saying. Now, whether you meant to imply that or not, I don't know (I don't think you did in my heart of hearts) but I was disappointed at how you worded it. I got fit and healthy for me, noone else. My beloved mom died while holding my hand from terminal cancer because she didn't take care of herself. I didn't want to die of cancer that's what prompted me to take action.

I will agree that we all should be more tolerant of people's feelings because words can cut deeper than any knife ever could.

Nevertheless, it's an interesting thread about a thought-provoking topic; one which I don't think will be solved overnight IMO.

kelly315
08-20-2011, 04:46 PM
I respect you, Kelly315, I really do but I have to say it kind of sounds like you're implying that any Featherweight (which I am) has no right to even complain let alone want to better herself.

I will agree that we all should be more tolerant of people's feelings because words can cut deeper than any knife ever could.

fitmom- I'm definitely not saying that. Maybe, like many of us do, you read the first few posts and skipped some of the others? It's getting to be a long thread, so I understand. I want to say a few things so it's clear to everyone- I'm not saying that anyone at any weight doesn't have the right to vent their emotions or how they feel about their body, and I'm definitely not saying that they don't have the right to try to lose weight. In no way am I expressing this. I actually said how much respect I have for featherweights, because I know it can't be easy. I'm saying that there are some comments made out there that are painful to everyone involved, including the person who says them. Saying- "I hate my belly fat, I'm embarrassed of it, and I want to get rid of it," or "I felt terrible at my highest weight" are perfectly normal statements. Saying "dang, look at how fat I was at X weight! That's absolutely disgusting." Or "I let myself get so big at X weight," is, frankly, callous. It's also important to notice that the statement doesn't have to have "x weight" in it to be hurtful, because with your ticker everyone knows your previous weight.

Basically, I'm saying using fat like a swearword is the dangerous, just as implying that a certain weight is worse than others is harmful. We all know that there are some women that are fitter, healthier, and sexier at one weight than someone else might be at 50lbs lighter. I wrote this hoping that the respect would work both ways- respecting the right to choose a high or a low end weight.

fitmom
08-23-2011, 08:20 PM
fitmom- I'm definitely not saying that. Maybe, like many of us do, you read the first few posts and skipped some of the others? It's getting to be a long thread, so I understand. I want to say a few things so it's clear to everyone- I'm not saying that anyone at any weight doesn't have the right to vent their emotions or how they feel about their body, and I'm definitely not saying that they don't have the right to try to lose weight. In no way am I expressing this. I actually said how much respect I have for featherweights, because I know it can't be easy. I'm saying that there are some comments made out there that are painful to everyone involved, including the person who says them. Saying- "I hate my belly fat, I'm embarrassed of it, and I want to get rid of it," or "I felt terrible at my highest weight" are perfectly normal statements. Saying "dang, look at how fat I was at X weight! That's absolutely disgusting." Or "I let myself get so big at X weight," is, frankly, callous. It's also important to notice that the statement doesn't have to have "x weight" in it to be hurtful, because with your ticker everyone knows your previous weight.

Basically, I'm saying using fat like a swearword is the dangerous, just as implying that a certain weight is worse than others is harmful. We all know that there are some women that are fitter, healthier, and sexier at one weight than someone else might be at 50lbs lighter. I wrote this hoping that the respect would work both ways- respecting the right to choose a high or a low end weight.

Thanks for clarifying your point, Kelly315...I didn't think you meant it the way that I read it. :)

fitmom
08-23-2011, 08:26 PM
And it does bother me (i've said this before) that the Featherweights feel stuck in their own Featherweight forum because they don't feel accepted anywhere else. Someone else having more to lose does not invalidate those with less. There will always be someone who has it worse, has more to lose, has more obstacles, etc.


Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying that. I hesitated for months before coming out of lurkdom because quite frankly I felt I'd be laughed off this site if I listed my stats being not that overweight. In fact, I still feel a little shy about commenting in the weight loss support thread because I feel like my contribution about my journey will be met with an eyeroll by some of the heavier members. On the whole though, the members have been accepting but still I feel more comfortable in the Feathers forum because these women have a similiar situation to me.

Nonetheless, this topic continues to be a hot-button issue and I don't think there's a overnight solution. Baby steps, you know?

SouthLake
08-24-2011, 12:33 PM
One of my closest friends is on a mission to lose close to 20 pounds. I am partway through my mission to lose 100. Sometimes, it's hard for me to hear how upset she is with her body right now, because I would kill to be there, I would love to be 20 pounds from goal. (and, she's beautiful!) Admittedly, sometimes, little parts of me get mentally dismissive when she talks about losing weight because "she looks great! Does she really need to lose weight? Seriously, isn't it just vanity at that point?"

But here's the thing- I know how it feels to be very unhappy with my body. The way it feels, the way it looks. And she feels the same way. Who am I to judge that, or tell her how she should feel at her weight? She's just as unhappy with herself at 20 pounds from goal as I was at 100. So that's what I choose to focus on. Not the number of pounds, not her current or her goal weight, but that we both are coming from the same place. I feel the same way about all you ladies (and gents!) here- we may all have different goals, and different starting weights, but at the end of the day, most of us are still coming from the same place- wanting to get healthier, and wanting to alter our appearance. (I know, there are some people who are only here for one or the other, but I think the point is the same) I choose to relate to you based on our shared motivations, not the numbers on our scale or the pounds left to go.

Unless I feel that someone close to me is striving for an unhealthy weight, or that their body image has truly warped to become unhealthy, I refuse to make any judgments about their weight loss goals. Likewise, I understand that when my friend says she feels fat at 150 pounds, she's not saying that I look even fatter at 200. She is just relaying her personal experience with her body and her weight. When I said I was unhappy at 239, I'm not saying that you should. Just that I did, and the only experience I can speak from is my own.

Beach Patrol
08-24-2011, 05:17 PM
I've actually said this earlier today, and I'll continue to push it as long as I'm on 3FC: it's never okay to say hateful things about obesity, even if it's about yourself. It's simply not fair to poke fun at yourself when you're 120lbs, 150lbs, 200lbs, whatever, because there are people out there that are the same size or bigger than you who will inevitably be hurt by it. Even if it's focused on yourself, it's still hurtful. So, please, be conscious of other people's feelings when you write hateful things- even about yourself.

I disagree with this.

It is not my responsibility to make sure that other people don't have "hurt feelings". I don't specifically set out to hurt anyone's feelings, but if something I say (or do or believe, whatever) hurts someone's feelings when clearly that wasn't my intention, then that person (or personS) must take care of their own insecurities. It's not up to me.

and who's to say it's not "fair" to poke fun at myself? I've been doing it all my life, I find humor in the most common of situations, and if I want to poke fun at me, that's my decision and my right.

Also, I don't think that "fat" is beautiful. PERIOD. Fat is disgusting. It's unhealthy. It's harmful in so many ways (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) Note that I didn't say that fat PEOPLE are not beautiful, or that fat PEOPLE are disgusting. I said FAT. I don't equate a person's weight with their self-worth, altho I recognize that many people do indeed do that, and that's what the "fat discrimination" movement is all about. And it's wrong, IMPO. It's wrong to judge someone's capabilities on their body weight. The old adage of "fat people have feelings too" comes to mind. While it is abundantly clear that judging someone based on their race or gender or age is wrong, it still seems somehow acceptable to judge people based on their body weight.

CAN YOU EVER BE THIN ENOUGH? I think that's a very individualized question. We can only answer it individually. One person's 160 is great thin! Another person will still see that as fat, and must reconcile within themselves to deal with that.

Having said that, I am currently 162. Am I happy about that? YES! - because it's 30 pounds better than 192!!! And yet at the same time... NO! - because my goal is 140...or 130...or 125 and I'm NOT THERE YET.

And as the OP pointed out:
I don't presume to tell anyone what their goals should be, and I think we should support each other equally.

I completely agree with this. But again... we are all individuals! - So one person's idea of "support" is not necessarily everyone else's idea of support. An example might be saying to someone: "Wow! You've lost a lot of weight! How much have you lost?" - that's a compliment to some people, and yet derogatory to others.

In other words... we all have our druthers. :^:

Personally, I don't let "media" dictate what my body should look like. I don't base my body on whoever is "in vogue" at the moment. I also don't judge my body by anyone here at 3FC. I judge it only by what I see in the mirror. So I don't "blame the media" for their reasoning of what is fat/thin or body-acceptable.

I also want to add to the OP, I'm certainly not coming down on you for your post. You posted what you wanted to say and that's fair & your right to do so, IMPO. And it's my right to disagree with SOME OF your points. And it's perfectly okay to "agree to disagree." :) :hug:

yoyoma
08-24-2011, 09:49 PM
Here's my two cents...

I think 3FC is a remarkably successful support forum. Much of that success stems from the cultural dictates of what is the norm in terms of what we post.

In some of those areas, 3FC is counter-cultural.

I'll use the 3FC advice norm to illustrate. When offering advice on 3FC, it is generally best form to couch it as a "here's what works for me..." manner than a "you must do X" manner. The norm helps keep a diverse group of folks supportive of each other. That doesn't mean that there aren't posts that fall outside the norm, but when they do appear, they can ruffle feathers (whether or not a flame war erupts).

Another 3FC norm is to encourage folks to find what works for them and it is generally outside the norm to criticize someone else's plan as it applies to them (unless they are asking for constructive criticism or it is blatantly unhealthy). It is also outside the norm to criticize a plan in a sub-forum devoted to that plan.

So, I think Kelly is proposing to add avoiding self-deprecation (due to weight) as another counter-cultural norm on 3FC. When people do that, it makes some of the 3FC members uncomfortable. Although no criticism is intended to others, folks who are heavier than the poster may naturally feel like their own self worth is being deprecated unless they actively rationalize it.

Kelly is raising awareness of that fact and hoping that the 3FC norm will once again rise to the counter cultural. In many social contexts it is totally mainstream to dis our own bodies even if we aren't fat at all. It seems natural to us. We may even do it in an attempt to motivate ourselves. I'm sure there will always be posts of this nature. But by raising awareness, we can all try to give it a second thought when we post.

Do we really want to hurt the feelings of fellow 3FCers by typing "These last X pounds make me look disgusting!" rather than "I'm really unhappy with how I look."? It's very similar to the "what works for me..." instead of "you should..."

So, I will try to follow this norm. And even though I've been around a long time, I sometimes do slip up on one of the norms and I may mess up on this one. When I do miss one, I hope my fellow 3FCers realize that I have the best intentions at heart.