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Surreal Afternoon

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Old 11-20-2008, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default Surreal Afternoon

My office/meeting rooms (can't really call it a studio because it's tiny and I don't shoot here) have been in the same building for several years. Most of the people in the building have been here as long or longer than I have and we all know each other and tend to socialize back and forth between offices when things are slow.

Today a group of us were sitting on the steps outside chatting and one of the women who weighs about what I did when I first started out (240+) was talking about a diet she was on and how tough it was becoming for her. I don't even know what diet she was doing, but it was something really restrictive and between Halloween just passing and the gearing up of holiday foods, she was feeling pretty down.

So I mentioned that I found that if I kept up with my healthy snacking, that I tended to do better at not being tempted by the stuff that gets brought in, and that I found that being *too* restrictive was counter productive.

She turned to me and said (not meanly, but in a kind of "what do you know" sort of tone): "Well, that's all well and fine, but you don't know what it's like. You eat all the time and still wear cute clothes. And you're always going to the gym and working out and talking about running in races and things. You just don't know how hard that is for me."

She went on to say that so many people thought it was so easy and always offered her advice and that she was just so tired of "skinny people" trying to "help" her when they obviously had no idea.

I just sat there with a stunned look on my face. I wasn't upset at her at all - she was honestly suffering and I could tell she was about to cry and wasn't being mean or anything. I just couldn't (still can't) reconcile her words with *ME*. Skinny? What? Eat all the time? Huh?

The other women in the group recovered faster and one of them started laughing. We all sort of realized at one time that this particular woman had only been with her company for a little over 8 months.



I'm sure there are a bunch of women here who can relate. I still can't get over the surrealness of it.

Of course one of the other women explained ... and I actually did find a photo of myself from about 3 Christmases ago where I was at or near my highest weight. We actually wound up having a really good conversation about dieting vs. lifestyle and I hope she comes and visits 3FC - I gave her the link.

But wow. I'm still sorta shell shocked.

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Old 11-20-2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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Wow, that is surreal. While it's sad for her, it's kind of cool for you in a way in that you are now being seen as a skinny girl.
Be nice if she comes here, this place really is awesome.

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Old 11-20-2008, 06:03 PM   #3
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That RAWKS!! She's lucky to have you around.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:05 PM   #4
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Your story put a great big smile on my face, PhotoChick. There's so much learning in it!

I can identify with both sides of this story: on the one hand, the person assuming that others can't possibly know what it feels like to be in their situation, just because it doesn't show on the outside. What a wonderful thing to find allies and sympathetic souls in unexpected places!

And on the other hand, for the person that identifies with an image of herself she no longer projects. It's fascinating how we integrate things like weight into our overall image of ourselves, and how this image doesn't necessarily go away with the weight itself.

Thanks for sharing, PC, your surreal afternoon gave me a lot food for thought.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:11 PM   #5
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That must be a wonderful feeling PhotoChick! Not so wonderful for the poor woman, but we have all been in her shoes. I cannot wait for MY time to come. GO YOU!
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:36 PM   #6
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Wow - that's pretty cool. Though it feels weird, doesn't it? You are a completely different person than you were a year ago, and this woman being new to your life had no idea who you used to be. Hopefully, you will be able to share some of what you have learned over your journey with her and be of help and support, as you have been to so many of us here!

I had a similar experience myself, though not with someone who had known me for awhile. I was at Kohl's a few weeks ago trying on jeans and there was a woman in the dressing room with me who was trying on the same sizes I wore at my highest weight. She and I both went in and out seve ral times trying different pairs, I could hear her mumbling in the stall next to me. After several trips where we crossed paths she stopped, threw all the jeans in her hands on the floor and said to me "I don't know why you are trying on so many, everything you pick up is going to fit you! F** you skinny girls who think every pair of jeans makes your a** look fat!" She then stormed out of the dressing room and didn't come back. I waned to follow her and try to talk to her, she just seemed so angry. It really hit me when I picked up the jeans that she threw down and I realized that I still have several pairs in my closet in the sizes she had in her hands that I haven't been able to let go of - we all have issues with weight whether we are trying on 18s or 4s. I don't look at myself as a 'skinny girl' yet, either. She was absolutely beautiful, and I know that she didn't leave that store feeling beautiful that night. I felt like I contributed to that feeling for her without realizing it. I would like to think that she will find her way here, or to somewhere like here, as she seemed so unhappy. That whole experience felt pretty surreal to me, too.
I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

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Old 11-20-2008, 06:45 PM   #7
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What a wonderful story PhotoChick. That's happened to me around being single. I married late (39) and folks who only knew me married don't appreciate how long I was single...or think that I can understand their issues.

I hope someday that others don't see me as the formerly fat chick...and most important of all, I hope that someday I don't see myself as the fat chick. (I still feel like the fattest person in the room, even though I can objectively look around and realize I'm not.)

She's lucky to have met you! How is this changing your thinking about yourself? (Or is it not?)

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Old 11-20-2008, 06:49 PM   #8
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I always try to preface my weight conversations with those who didn't know me heavy, even if they are prompted by the other person talking (like this one was) with some sort of "I used to be really heavy" statement. I started after one woman said how lucky I was to be so naturally thin, and I said "Oh, I don't know, I work pretty hard for it" and she made a "you thin people just have no idea of how hard it -really- is" comment. I didn't have a coworker there to explain it to her, so I just had to stammer out a response.
Goal Met - 10/28/07 - My Progress Picture Collage - My Goal Story - Where Have I Been?

No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch!

Maintained Oct 2007-Sept 2011, then got pregnant. Our baby boy was born in May, 2012...now to lose the baby weight!!
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:50 PM   #9
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Great story PC! I can't wait for people to see me as the skinny girl again.
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Last edited by raw23 : 11-20-2008 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:51 PM   #10
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Congrats!It feels really weird, doesn't it? What a wonderful opportunity to share your success in a meaningful way!

It would be awesome if that conversation helps turn her around so that she can be successful.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? ICor 6:19
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Last edited by CountingDown : 11-20-2008 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:07 PM   #11
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How is this changing your thinking about yourself? (Or is it not?)
Pandora - that's a good question. I don't really know - I'm still kinda thinking about it to be honest. Right now I don't see myself as fat any more. I wear a "normal" size (you know .. like not a plus size, not squeezing into the highest misses size, etc.) in a 10-12 range. But I don't see myself as "skinny" either. I still have a belly and hips that are out of proportion to my height. I'm still not at a healthy BMI. I still could use to build some muscle and firm up some jiggly spots. And ideally I'd like to be wearing a 6 or so (not really sure what my size will be when I level out).

But I guess right now if I tend to think of myself as anything ... it's healthy. Not fat, not skinny, not in outstanding shape, not in bad shape ... just eating right and exercising and being healthy.

So I don't know that it's changed how *I* see myself but it's made me focus on other people's perceptions of me more. Kinda odd still.

I always try to preface my weight conversations with those who didn't know me heavy,
Manda - I do too, normally. I think what took me by surprise is that I've been hanging out with these women in a work/social situation for years. Literally. And they all knew me at my highest weight. So I just completely forgot - two things actually: (1) this one woman has only been with us for 8 months and (2) that I've been "not fat" for over a year now.

Ok, so typing that, made me realize my answer to Pandora's question is a little different: I suddenly am struck that I'm not-fat.


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Old 11-20-2008, 07:32 PM   #12
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So cool!!!! Kinda feels like you made it to the other side, no?

I've had similar experiences. Not exactly. But similar. Like when I'm clothing shopping and I'll be admiring something or I've just tried something on. Every now and then someone will say to me something like, "Well you look good in everything, you can wear whatever you want, you're so skinny." And I'm like all aghast. Did she just call me skinny? They have't a clue as to how I suffered with the clothing situation for so many years. It's very odd, I must say.

And then there's the ones who are shocked to find out that I used to be heavy and they tell me that they can't believe I was ever fat. That I look like I've ALWAYS been thin. And that it comes so "naturally" to me.

It's really like I've had 2 lives. My morbidly obese period or "Act 1" and my fit period, "Act 2". It's very, very weird when you stop to think about it. Luckily, I don't too often. But sometimes something comes up that makes it very apparent and one must stop and ponder.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:03 PM   #13
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Well that is a good feeling. I try to realize two things about people. #1 if someone is overweight they might not have been their whole lives (like me) and #2 if someone is thin, it doesn't mean they have been thin their whole lives.

I have to preface a lot of weight conversations as well. I started my job (aquatics) about 6 weeks ago. The other day one of my co-workers who is 18 and maybe a size 2 comes up and says "Cat your shirt is so big, why?" and I said..."well because I was bigger when I started here!". She was like no you're not big at all. Then I told her I have lost 19 pounds since starting and she was like "ohhhhhh wow!" Felt good to know the young skinny ones don't seem to think I am fat OR old haha!
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:08 PM   #14
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That is so cool.
I was once a skinny girl, who didn't have to work for it, so that is part of why I have had difficulty accepting the fact that I am fat.
But I LIKE the idea of having to accept the fact that I am no longer fat!

may you maintain for good.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:16 PM   #15
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Photochick, that is so wonderful. I am glad you had that experience.

Not to highjack your thread but I still myself as "fat" too. When is that going to change? I am in an 8--size 6 at some stores and still, (sigh) I see all the lumps and bumps. I feel fat as I walk too.

"Be who you are, say what you feel. Those who matter, don't mind. Those who mind, don't matter." --Dr. Seuss
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