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How to cope when the invisible shield begins to fade?

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Old 06-28-2008, 11:50 PM   #1
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Default How to cope when the invisible shield begins to fade?

What I find so hard, (sometimes almost as fat comments) is when all of a sudden I become visible to people who haven't "seen" me for awhile. It's just starting to happen to me again, and it makes me so gosh darn mad when people who I have known for YEARS, all of a sudden remember who I am. It's not so bad when strangers take notice, but living where I do, no one really is a stranger.

For example, today I ran into town to pick up some mail someone had dropped off at the local cafe. There sits a guy who my family sits behind at church almost every Sunday for the last 10 years. I have been invisible to him and his wife for a couple of years. A nod is the most I get. Well today I walk in the cafe, and he's talking to a few other farmers and stops and directs all attention to me. He's like "Well howdy doody Lori Bell". All smiles and talkative...almost...flirty. Just ticked me off. It reminded me of how shallow people can be. I know it will happen more often down the road, and I can't just hate everyone.. How do others deal with it?

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Old 06-29-2008, 12:20 AM   #2
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Good question! When I lost weight a few years ago (of course I've found it again!), I noticed the same thing. It was kind of fun when it was strangers, but when it's the same people who have been ignoring you, it does make you mad!
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Old 06-29-2008, 12:31 AM   #3
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I see it from another perspective. 7 years ago I was skinny young and sexy. I was very visisble. My weight gain came after a surgery and some life stressors that came to close together. The weight gain was very rapid. Becoming invisible also happened suddenly. I and my weight became the 1 ton elephant in the middle of the room. Everyone knows it's there, but if no one talks about it, it seems to not exist.
I don't blame them. They don't know how to approach it any more than I do. It is easier for them to not see me.
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Old 06-29-2008, 12:53 AM   #4
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Last night, I wore my new sexy 70 dollar jeans. My first pair of non-man-jeans in the last two years. I'm very excited about surprising my boyfriend with them, as they're not 12 sizes too big or small and they're much more feminine than the pants I was hiding behind before.

With them, came so many stares from creepy men around town that I was extremely uncomfortable and felt very unsafe. It was heart breaking! I'm normally very confident, and I don't let things like that bother me, but at dinner the waiter would not stop unabashedly flirting long enough to take any orders. It was both annoying and insulting. My brother in law and sister got so angry we ended up just leaving.

It's making me really uneasy about going back to college, because I'm worried about this exact same reaction. I hope we hear back from some ladies with more experience with this. I think I'm in need of some coping mechanisms.
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:00 AM   #5
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You just accept that people are the way they are and move on. You also realize that YOU don't have to be the same way. One of the things I've learned (and it really angered me in the beginning) was how my face value with others had increased because I went on a diet. Maybe people saw it as taking care of myself and wanting to be around someone like that. Maybe it was a natural response to someone of a normal weight as opposed to overweight. I spent a lot of time chewing on that it really didn't get me anywhere, so I just gave up and told myself that I am who I am and how someone reacts to my appearance is simply not allowed to have any bearing on that what-so-ever. In fact, that was the case when I was self conscious about my weight, so it was about time to let that one go. I may very well be a better person, but not because I may be a better looking person to others. I think in a way, it taught me to value my insides for their face value.

In other words, I stopped giving a damn about it. If someone acted more flirtatious or nice with me, I didn't lap it up or turn my nose up. I simply responded in kind and went about my business.
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Old 06-29-2008, 03:09 AM   #6
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I also used to be skinny, so I think I can tell you my perspective. When I look at myself in the mirror when I'm fatter, I don't really like what I see, so why should anyone else? Truth is, I've had lots of friends in either weights, but when it comes to meeting new people, being skinny makes you the toast of the town. When I see my thin image in the mirror, I get excited and feel great and maybe I project that or maybe that image makes others feel the same way....so how can I blame them for judgind me when I judge myself? Also, many of them don't judge me (or seem to), do it's not everyone, but it feels magnified when you're self-consious about it. Anyway, when I reach my goal, I will embrace whatever comes with it because it's all about how I feel, not others. Hope that makes some sense!
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Old 06-29-2008, 05:15 AM   #7
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I like to use this line of thinking because it's good self-sabotage. I've had lots of talks with friends about ... hey, how come guys pay attention to me when I've lost a little weight? isn't that shallow? and why is he looking at that blonde??... And it probably is sabotaging myself, giving me a really good excuse to eat. Like me as I am, dagnabbit. I hate guys like that, which is one reason why I never had much interest in them in my/their 20s.

I have an INTP personality, and the "date them for their looks" thing never computed. And I, too, prefer to base my choices on intelligence and values.

In the end, you have to put that aside and do the weight loss because it makes you feel better. You'll feel more comfortable, more confident. You'll find clothes you actually LIKE to wear. I hate shopping right now! You'll just feel a lot healthier and more comfortable in your skin, probably.

After you've reached that goal, I bet you'll remember who was shallow and who wasn't when you were heavy. I'd be making a list and checking it twice... ha. People who are real will be real no matter what your weight... but I do agree that society conditions us to be more comfortable with thin and attractive people ...
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Old 06-29-2008, 06:02 AM   #8
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ive noticed a lot more attention from guys i wudnt normally get attention from....
purely because im getting smaller....
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Old 06-29-2008, 06:56 AM   #9
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I think some of it's what you look like. And size aside, some of what you look like has to do with how you feel about yourself overall.

Some of it is what you project, Eskinomad definitely felt hot in those jeans and probably projected it.
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:29 AM   #10
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Oh dear, Lori. Yes, I can see how that would have been tremendously frustrating - you're exactly the same person now that you were back then, so it feels weirdly belittling to be suddenly treated so differently.

But I think there's definitely merit to this point:

Quote:
Everyone knows it's there, but if no one talks about it, it seems to not exist.
I don't blame them. They don't know how to approach it any more than I do. It is easier for them to not see me.
And also - we can't help noticing the surfaces of things. Hopefully we don't JUST notice the surfaces, but there's no denying that how people look informs how we feel about them. It's not the only thing, but it's definitely part of it. If someone is badly dressed, or if we find them sexually attractive, or if they remind us of a good friend or WHATEVER, people's physical appearance does have an impact on how we feel about them.

And I've found that a lot of men just have no interest in interacting with women they don't find shaggable. There are straight guys who can be friends with women, and there are straight guys who are only friendly with women because they'd like to shag them (regardless of whether or not they stand a chance in ****).

Sounds like this guy may fall into that category. Either way, he's not worth wasting any heartache on, because he's clearly got all the intelligence and depth of a crepe. Try to enjoy the affirmation that you're successfully changing your body and taking control and making yourself more desirable once more, without needing to respect or desire the guy doing the vacuuous letching.
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebRover View Post
Some of it is what you project, Eskinomad definitely felt hot in those jeans and probably projected it.

More like fat and cheap before even mid-way through the evening, unfortunately and it just kept getting worse. Those jeans are in the very, very back of the closet now. Maybe I'm just not ready for them yet.
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And you've only begun to shine.."

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Old 06-29-2008, 09:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Either way, he's not worth wasting any heartache on, because he's clearly got all the intelligence and depth of a crepe.


It's hard when people start noticing in that way. Just remember that your weight loss is about YOU, it's not about them. Even if someone is losing weight because they want to wear a bikini, they often are not prepared for the reactions of others.

We can't control how others react or what they say. And, it's going to bring stuff up for us! But we can behave in a gracious way, hopefully--unless it's someone being really sleazy, in which case we can point that out in no uncertain terms.

I moved after I had lost most of my weight, and in my new community, no one knows that I lost weight. They simply treat me like a "normal person." It's great! If I visit folks from my old neighborhood, I still have to endure the comments, but that's OK. It's sort of a two sided thing--I like the compliments, but after awhile it gets kinda old. As in, gee, that was last year already! Oh well...

Do what is right for you! Never mind about them.

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Old 06-29-2008, 09:36 AM   #13
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Lori, I've been wondering about that myself, because I find as I'm getting smaller men are noticing me more. On the one hand, it's thrilling to get that kind of attention. But on the other it's frustrating. I think to myself, where were you a year ago? Why didn't you like me then? I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with it. I wish I knew.
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:39 AM   #14
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I think how to deal with it is just respond politely and just go about your day like normal, unless the person is being sleazy, in which case I would do as JayEll said and point it out in no uncertain terms.

I do also think that as you go through this journey you start to feel better about yourself and that self-image is projected in your actions in general. You may not notice and feel like you are just being the same way you've always been, but I have found that as I do things that are healthier for me, I feel lighter emotionally, not just physically. I can even see the difference in my face when I compare pictures from my highest weight and now. I think it only makes sense to assume that if I can see the difference from the outside, that so can others and they may just be responding to that. Of course, at least some of the people are probably just jerks and your best bet is to try not to dwell on them and go about your day. After all, this is about you, not them.

Eskinomad - If safety is at least part of your concern, have you considered taking a self defense class or anything like that? Knowing that you have some skills to defend yourself might alleviate some of that vulnerable/unsafe feeling. I think for a lot of us, the excess weight has served as a type of shield or armor that would make people not notice us, and now that we do, we have to figure out a better way to cope. I'm not sure exactly what that way is, but if you feel unsafe, I do think a self defense class would be helpful.
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:59 AM   #15
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djay- Yes that is what happened to me, I gained about 60 lbs in about a year and a half, went from being one of the cutsie girls at work to being unnoticed and ignored. No one mentioned anything to me, of course I would probably be really hurt if they did. But one girl repeated how someone asked her if I was pregnant. That really hurt and I'll never forget it. Now I get a few questions like, are you losing weight? like duhhh, yes! It is nice to hear though.
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