I've been sort of thinking on this very deeply the past couple of days. I'm wondering if anyone else there has similar experiences, or if these are my own particular weirdnesses. I don't want to say that these things are BAD, exactly, although they are having some negative ramifications for me personally.
So, I've lost a bunch of weight. That can be measured in pounds, inches, clothing sizes, and all of those other things which have been going steadily down. This isn't so much what I'm talking about.
I've also lost the ability to be invisible. Not only am I getting more attention from people who know me ("Oh my God! You're so SKINNY!", and "You've lost SOO much weight" and "how did you do this/how much have you lost/etc" are sort of a constant refrain at this point), but also from random people who don't. Mostly men...and salespeople, funnily enough, in clothing stores where I used to get completely ignored. Suddenly I go out in public and get attention and it is weird for me to no longer be invisible.
I've also lost the ability to be seen as "not a threat". I guess I need to explain that bit a little more. My mom and sister have always been smaller than me. My partner has always been smaller than me. I never knew that I was competing with these people, but if I was, I was losing BADLY when I was a size 22. But I never REALIZED that this was a competition. Now, though, the competitiveness that these people feel toward me is becoming apparent. People are really uncomfortable that I might be smaller than them now...to the point where I can't complain to anyone around me about those days where I "feel fat" or about how I want a freaking ice cream bar and am fighting that temptation...I get a lot of "I don't have any sympathy for you" and "whatever, eat the damned ice cream, its not a big deal" when I try, so I've stopped trying. I also can't tell any of those people things I'm proud of - if I lose a pound, I keep it to myself because it seems to upset people so much to hear about it. So I've lost the ability to be non-threatening to my loved ones, which is also very weird for me.
I don't want to say that these losses make the loss of weight not worth it...obviously, the weight loss is still worth it, even though I've lost these other things as well. But I was wondering if anyone else has had some of these more negative consequences of losing weight, or if I'm all alone in this? I have to admit that the issues I'm having with losing weight (the uncomfortableness with the attention and the competitiveness and lack of support) are NOT the problems I anticipated having...sticking to my eating/exercise plan is now relatively easy for me, but dealing with the emotional fallout is getting to be really hard.
I'm sorry your going through a hard time right now. In some ways I can totally relate to what you are saying and in others I can't. I too am close to my goal and have noticed a lot more attention now that I look "good" again. Sometimes that attention drives me nuts and I just want to hide away. Most of the time it's really a good feeling.
I have days (sometimes many in a row) where I can't get it through my head that I've actually lost all this weight. I have days where I feel huge and even looking at the numbers in black and white doesn't help me see the real changes I've made. I've not had the same "competative threat" feelings you've had but I do have the same problem with not being able to complain or ask for help when I'm feeling weak (your icecream bar example is a good one). I don't feel like I can talk to my mom because she's not doing well in her weightloss journey right now and I don't want her to feel bad about herself of feel like I'm competing with her. I don't feel like I can talk to my best girlfriend about it either because again I don't want her thinking I'm making it into some sort of competition (we both started different plans on the same day). My husband is very supportive but he doesn't really "get it". So I have 3FC's to come to and read. I don't post very often because I don't usually feel like I have much to contribute but I do gain a lot of insight and motivation from all the amazing men and women here.
I've read your posts on here before and you are a great inpiration for me and others on this journey. I hope you can continue forward with good thoughts about yourself and all that you've accomplished so far. You've worked very hard and are a true inspiration to so many people you will never even know about. We are all here for you even though we might not always know the right thing to say.
Not too long at all. I've also had people I care about getting strangely competitive - especially my mother, which confuses me to no end. In fact, she even flat out denied it when I called her on a comment she made. It is strange. As a college student, I'm getting honked at on the street and approached by men, which is flattering but frankly scary when I'm trying to walk back to my apartment alone at night. I don't know about you, but I was never all that unhappy with myself being bigger - given an easy choice, I would have chosen to be small, but I always had good self esteem, etc, which is why it was so strange for me when people started to feel like it was ok to slam the person I had been. My grandfather telling me how great it was to see me "getting back my figure," for instance. Anyway. The point is, I understand.
I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I don't really. I just wanted to let you know that I hear what you are saying and I understand. It is interesting to plug along though the world, decide to make a change, and then to have that decision be an open season for all the people around us. When people tell me, "Are you losing weight? You look good," it bothers me a lot, because I am not sure if they are implying I did not look good before.
I remember being in high school and hearing that some people had been gossiping about me. I was shocked because I never thought that I was interesting enough to gossip about. Still today when someone says, "Oh, we were talking about how you..." whatever, I am stunned. I never see anything I do as particularly note-worthy...I just assume people ignore me most of the time and I am in my little world, do what I do and that is it. To think that my personal actions influence another's world or life is surprising. Your weight loss has been a catalyst to other people's behaviors...Perhaps you are surprised that you might have that sort of influence? I usually am surprised.
Your path has changed a bit (just a bit, you are still you), and others need to adjust theirs as well.
I can relate so well. I came up against issues I didn't expect. I'm at maintenance right now, and I'm at a weight that is smack dab in the middle of the healthy range for my height. I'd say I got this mostly from my mother and my aunts. My mother did an awful lot of "horrified" glaring and looking me up and down and interrogating me about my eating habits. My aunts thought I was "doing something" and I got the anorexia accusation. It was very hurtful. I didn't get ANY comments like that from men at all.
I kept quiet about my efforts the whole time. I don't want attention and I don't want to talk about it with anybody. I just wanted to DO IT. Too much emotional baggage attached for me to share anything with anybody, in MY experience. So I've been at my goal for at least a year now and nobody haunts me anymore about it, but I'll tell you, I still haven't recovered from all that trauma. I'm still horrifically self conscious around these people. It's awful. I always feel like my mother is glaring at me, even though interestingly after I lost weight she joined a commercial w.l. program and lost a lot of weight, too. I wish I could talk to her about it, but I've just kept quiet about it. It's a shame that you try to deal with old issues, only to have new and almost as difficult issues pop up.
I feel this from my mom. Of all people she was ALWAYS the one to encourage me to lose weight, get healthy. I use to run religiously in high school and as a young adult. Then, I just drifted away, the further I drifted from the running and working out, the higher the scale went. All the women in my family are fairly tall and thin. I was always the kid who carried an extra 10 pounds, my parents constantly had me on a diet, as if my extra 10 pounds as a child of 8, a helthy, active child, was a threat to them.
My highest weight, was 286 pounds. Looking back at pictures, I'm astounded I could even MOVE, never mind live. My mom always seemed to visit more, call, whatever. Of course, a visit or call was never complete without a run-down on WHY I should lose weight and how happy I would be as a thin person, which made no sense, because I've overall, always been a happy person, good self-esteem etc. Now that I am losing weight, and admittadly, as my mother is getting older and putting on some weight as well, things are just different. She was here for thanksgiving and amazed and astounded that she and I wear the same size jeans. A size 18, it's not like I'm a size 2, but she left crying. She still sees me as this hugely fat person, and I am still "fat", but no where near like I was. I think it made her reevaluate what she actually SEES now when she looks at me, as opposed to the image she saw when she looked at me, if that makes sense? So, now it's like she needs to tell me about every new diet she's on, every new excersize she's taking up etc. I keep telling her, "If they were that great, why do you need to try so MANY of them". I hate feeling like my mom is competeing with me, or that I'm a "threat" to her.
I've never been as heavy as you so any weight loss success I have had is not as dramatic. I have had issues with a particular friend trying to feed me and buying me bad stuff because she can't bear that I might get thinner than her.
The thing is this - that's her problem not mine. I do not have enough energy to pander to her insecurities about her weight by changing what i'm doing about mine. I love her - I just love me more. My boyfriend is fantastic and supportive and I know I'm very lucky to have him.
I read another post of yours today in the wedding thread I was very saddened to see that your partner basically said that you'd better not be smaller than her on your wedding day. I would just remember that it's you that has to live in your body. Anybody who makes you feel bad about about your success should be challenged about why. I really wouldn't put up with it if I were you because it's obviously affecting how you feel.
__________________ Mini Goal # 1 - 30th June goal
Overall Target Ticker
Last edited by Doughnut : 01-26-2007 at 03:16 PM.
Reason: missing word
I can relate. I've lost/gained weight SEVERAL times in my adult life, and I really want THIS TIME to be IT. No more yo-yo drama, please! - the thing is, when I'm on the "hefty" end of the scale, no one really says much. If I mention ANYTHING about trying to lose weight, I get all kinds of sympathetic verbality .... "You don't need to lose weight! You look just fine!" and stuff like that.
But when I'm on the "lower end" of the scale, I get comments such as "Oh, you've lost weight! You look great!" which makes me think they were just lying to save my feelings when I was chubbolicious.
My favorite aunt used to always comment "I wish I was a thin as you" - she was VERY THIN in her younger years, but, like me, had the fight w/fat since getting older, etc. Another one of my aunts is now nearing 300 pounds, and her comments indicate she has NO INTENTION of even trying to lose the weight. I have learned to not make ANY WEIGHT comments around her, because she always says "Well, what if you were as fat as me?" as if my fatness is no fat at all & shouldn't bother me.
I think most people mean well - they don't INTEND to be competitive or whatever, but as hard as it is for us to change & maintain, I think it's hard for them to accept our changes as well. Maybe they are a little jealous. Or maybe they just have to get used to seeing "the new you". After all, we have to get used to see "the new me" as well! - I am "fat" when I'm tipping 170+.... I am comfortable and happy at 135 or so... yet still, I see me in the mirror... and I still see fat.
Does that make any sense?
__________________ CHANGE IS HARD.
BUT PERPETUAL DISSATISFACTION AIN'T NO PICNIC EITHER!
You CAN have ANYTHING you want,
but you CAN'T have EVERYTHING you want!~my mama!
To defend my partner - we've had this talk. She totally admits she is being "completely irrational and idiotic" - but sometimes, you just can't help jealous emotions, so I totally get it. She is just having a hard time with some poorly reasoned, but very real, emotions. She tries to keep it under control, and recognizes that it is totally unfair to me. She compares the level of rationality of her thinking to being mad at someone for something they did to you in a dream - you know you don't really have any reason to be mad at them, but you still ARE, at least for a little while.
Its nice to hear commiseration from other people...because I feel like our society, and even this board to a lesser extent, doesn't really talk about the negatives of having lost weight. We'll talk about how it is hard to LOSE weight, but everyone assumes that if you're succeeding at losing weight, everything is getting better and you are thrilled and don't understand when sometimes there are some negative emotions going on.
Did you know that, among "happy life events", losing lots of weight is one of the 4 major happy life events that can regularly lead to depression?
I'm sorry that you are not feeling the support that you SHOULD be feeling from your family and ESPECIALLY from your partner!
Weight loss is a tough thing all the way around! Our BODIES change when we lose the weight, but our perception of ourself also changes. We live in our body 24/7, and most of the time we STILL feel like we are a stranger to ourself after we physically lose so much of our body to weight loss! I think that many people, particularly women, sad to say, have a hard time dealing with the changes WE have made because those changes force them to look more critically at THEIR bodies!
You look awesome, and you are a great person! Don't LET anyone or anything drag you down! Here's another hug!
I'm so sorry you're going through this! I know what you're feeling, and I wish I could help. I've had the same thing from both my mom and MIL. Mom is basically in denial now because unbeknownst to me I had been the scale she judged herself against, and now I am a tad bit smaller than her. My MIL won't even speak to me, and it's all based on jealousy. I'm hoping these things level out and return to some sort of normalcy, but I don't expect it to happen anytime soon.
As far as the newly acquired attention, I too am trying to learn to deal with it. A co-worker of DH's grabbed my backside then proceded to rub up against me suggestively last week when I stopped at dh's work. I made a comment about being able to take him down myself, as well has letting dh have a go at him (jokingly) and he seemed to get the hint. Next time I won't be so suttle (sp????) about it.
All I can say is hang in there! You are doing fabulous, and this is something you have to do for you and you alone.
You know, the losing part was really the easy part. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it really is difficult to have to live with constant pressure and fighting against gaining the weight back. It's not always fun or happy or whatever to have lost weight. Of course I would NEVER want to go back to being heavier. But, it's true that there are new issues to deal with. It can be a bit of a let down to find that everything isn't all of a sudden perfect, or that you still have body image issues, or that relationship dynamics change. I'm not saying this to discourage anybody-it's just good to know this and be prepared for it. I think this could be one of the reasons people put weight back on. Maybe it's subconscious, but it could be that the new pressures are too much to handle, but people don't know what the problem really is. I agree that there needs to be a realistic view of all of this. It's such a complicated situation. Again, all my efforts have been WELL worth it.
It's interesting, though-I think I've become a more serious person after losing weight. Could it be that I'm facing my negative feelings instead of reaching for something to eat instead (which I still do sometimes, just not as often and a much smaller quantity)???
I agree with everyone (because you are all so smart here!!). This is my second attempt at weight loss, I had lost quite a bit when I was younger. I think we alll feel like we have a "place" in life, the funny person, the overweight friend, etc. When we lose weight we all shift places -- mom's cheerleading isn't needed anymore, our friends are now our "equals". My mother has a very difficult time when I lose weight, because she is 65 and has never been able to. The jealously can be overwhelming. And I think my guilt about it was part of the reason I gained it back. I also feel personally that the self esteem issues after all the years of being overweight are so difficult to overcome. When we are overweight we can blend in which suits me fine, but when I'm thin I have to socialize and try to fit in - which is not my best suit! I just think because we have changed for the better, doesn't mean everyone around us is ready to adjust as well. For us it's a long, challenging journey. Everyone around us is just along for the ride -- they have some adjustments to make too which take time. I'm sure everyone is incredibly happy for you -- but everyone has insecurities of their own that will take time to work on as well!!
Okay...to all you beautiful young women...if I may offer a little perspective....
Please cut your mothers some slack. It may not be competitiveness or jealousy that is entirely motivating the comments or reactions. It may be nostalgia and regret and yearning to be the young women they once were. It may be resignation because they're not turning heads the way you are.
You young women are like works of art and you don't realize how beautiful you are. Your mothers do. Perhaps their comments, misguided as they are, are a way to connect with you and their own "younger" selves. Sure, there may be jealousy there, but there is pride too that their daughters are such jewels. Your mothers (and aunts) may not admit it, but they are inspired by you!
As for the attention you are receiving for your weight loss, embrace it and be thankful. That's what being attractive is all about: you "attract" people. It is your time to shine, dear hearts. Work it!