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Old 10-29-2009, 10:16 AM   #1
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Default Does anyone else struggle with a fear of being more vulnerable if you lose weight?

I've struggled with my weight for years. For some reason, in the 170's weight range, I always struggle with fear. It's like I associate being smaller with being more vulnerable or weak.

I know where this comes from (my childhood and early 20's), but I have yet to find a way to overcome this issue.

Has anyone found a way to deal with this fear? By the way, I've been weight training for several months now and I AM really strong. Unfortunately, I still have this mental association of thin=weak and I'd like to change it. I need to change it for the sake of my health.
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:22 AM   #2
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Yes, I do worry about my vulnerability when I lose weight. I have not overcome this fear yet but I can't let it hold me back anymore.
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:30 AM   #3
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Yes. I've struggled with this. In fact that was one of the *reasons* I "became" fat. To distance people from myself. And it worked! BUT the price was just too hard and too expensive. It was no longer working for me. I was lonely, depressed, sad, anxiety ridden, underproductive, and fearful for my very life.

For me, it got to the point that I was MORE afraid to stay fat then to lose the weight. I was no longer a child or even a young adult. I was a mature woman (42) when I started my journey. So that helped me too. AFter suffering SO much for over 20+ years, I figured it HAD to be easier to deal with people, situations, vulnerability and just about anything else life threw my way - being happier, more self confident, slimmer and healthy. And yes stronger. I really felt much weaker when I was heavy, in hindsight of course. I've gained SO much self respect, self control, self discipline, and use of my body. And it has trickled down to every area of my life. EVERY AREA.

Having conquered my weight, I feel as if there's nothing that I can't conquer.

Last edited by rockinrobin; 10-29-2009 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:33 AM   #4
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I bought a shotgun. LOL
I'm struggling with it too. I was only overweight for 8 yrs but I started feeling this when I got into the 140's. I thought I was the only one.
Highest: 184
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:49 AM   #5
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When I gain weight I have less "man problems" & I think that is one of the reasons I have gained in the past. Recently, I have lost 30# and back out dating, hopefully this time it will be a good experience.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mom4life View Post
I bought a shotgun.
LOL - you gotta love the Texas attitude. (We have several).

Seriously though, I never really realized it, until I lost some weight this time - and my husband actually weighs more than I do! I am more vulnerable - even though I'm stronger.

When my 70 pound lab jumped up at me (she's finally grown out of that), my abs were stronger, so she wouldn't knock the breath out of me, but I had less mass and she was more like to knock me backwards.

And family wrestling matches are much more equitable now - I can't just sit on him! He can toss me around. But, I have more arm strength to fight back.

I guess the most important thing is to focus on the ways in which you have actually decreased your vulnerability. If nothing else, you should be able to run faster! Also, maybe some self defense classes if it really bothers you.
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Restart Date - 11/2/2016
Mini Goal 1 - 199 - Below 200 - by 2/27/2017
Mini Goal 2 - 189 - No Longer "Obese" - 4/15/17
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Mini Goal 4 - 156 - No longer "Overweight", also low weight in the last 12 years - 9/15/17
Mini Goal 5 - 145 - Because I NEEED little goals - 11/15/17
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:23 PM   #7
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Absolutely. I worry that I'll lose all this weight, have nothing to blame all of my problems on and then where will I be?
Making a major change leaves you vulnerable no matter what, imo. And I know that in order to be thinner and healthier, I'll lose a part of myself...that scared, fat girl who constantly doubts herself. But I think you also have to think about what you're gaining: a strong, confident woman who can overcome anything she sets her mind to.

Its scary...but luckily, its a journey we all have a lot of support for.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:00 PM   #8
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Not at all. I never had that fear.
Dearest Schumeany: Yes, those are size 4 jeans hugging my posterior. Thank you for being such motivation!!!
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:11 PM   #9
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Me either. When I was heavy, I always felt like a big, unfeminine linebacker-type. I longed to be petite and dainty.

It is always so interesting to see other issues and how a journey can be so different!

I would say, I guess, how much weaker would you really be? Does being heavy make you STRONG or just BIG? I know that I am a stronger person, I can run up flights of stairs that used to leave me gasping, walk for hours at the zoo when I used to have to rest.
SIX YEARS at maintenance weight!

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"I saw an angel in the marble and I chiseled until I set it free."

Last edited by Glory87; 10-29-2009 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:15 PM   #10
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In about 4 pounds I will officially not be obese anymore. It's scary to think that I am obese, but even scarier that I'm not going to be obese anymore. The pressure feels like it's mounting. People are noticing, old clothes are coming out of the closet, there are so many more things that I can do now.... and now I have to do them, which is scary. I've never had to wear heels before, I've never had to define my waist before, I've never had to work this little to get attention, all eyes are on me. It's scary.

And men, where did all these men come from? I'm married and I have no interest but is this how skinny women are harrassed on a daily basis? The eyes, the winks, the compliments, the cat calls.... I'm not comfortable with it at all. I'm doing this to be healthy, I'm not doing this for that kind of attention.

It's scary to be thinner.

"If you pay attention to when you are hungry, what your body wants, what you are eating, when you've had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist." - Geneen Roth
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:30 PM   #11
3 + years maintaining
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Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post

It's scary to be thinner.
But isn't it scarier NOT to be? You said you were in this for health reasons, correct? Getting to a "normal" weight gives you your best shot at the longest life possible, while having a higher quality of life (disease free, more confidence, energy, clothing choices, activity levels and so on).

I certainly hear you on the attention and all that stuff. But I believe that this is how it was always supposed to be. I believe you will become accustomed to it. You're still adjusting. It takes time. You'll get there. And in the meantime rejoice in the fact in what you've done for yourself. You're becoming the best you that you can be.

Oh and if you don't want to define your waist, don't.

Last edited by rockinrobin; 10-29-2009 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:45 PM   #12
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I find it a little bit scary, but also exhilerating. I won't ever be tiny or defenseless, because I'm 5'11" and have always considered myself able to take care of myself if I should ever be attacked. (I was attacked once and defended myself quilte nicely, thankyouverymuch!). But the scary part comes from the vulnerability. As I get slimmer, men start to notice me more. Last time I lost weight, I dated a guy for several months and I don't think it was a coincidence that I started gaining again soon after we stopped dating. I think I need to learn how to handle relationship stuff this time around.

But the part that ISN'T scary is the health stuff. I get around a lot easier, I feel a lot better. So that part isn't scary. It's the dealing-with-men part that scares me. And I'm not sure why, because most men are very nice people!

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Old 10-29-2009, 03:46 PM   #13
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I have the opposite experience. I feel so much stronger and more in control now, even at all of 5 feet tall. I get a lot more attention from men, sure, (as in, any at all) but I feel much more in control of our interactions. They are looking at me as something desirable and therefore I'm in charge, I guess, whereas I used to assume, if a man so much as glanced in my direction, that he was thinking 'fatty' or something even worse, and my self-consciousness gave *them* all the power.

It's funny how psychology changes as you change sizes. Maybe it's because I've been overweight since my preteen years, but I'm sort of enjoying all the stuff that goes along with being thinner and fitter and gaining attention. Actually, there's no 'sort of' to it at all.
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:26 PM   #14
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An idea- if you're feeling concerned for your safety because your now smaller maybe you should go to therapy or take some defense classes.

Just my personal experience - being larger doesn't necessarily mean you're safer. I wasn't sexually assaulted, but was carjacked at a much higher weight. When there's threats of violence, size doesn't matter. Not that I think that helps what you're working through... just how I've progressed through it.

Last edited by sprklemajik; 10-29-2009 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:38 PM   #15
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yes. i have the same fear.

but on the other hand, being fit and in shape lends itself quite well to being able to defend yourself. i have a girlfriend who is quite small, but she is freakishly strong. you would never know unless you tested her.

i agree about self-defense classes. what about taking up martial arts, kickboxing, boxing....anything like that as an addition to your workout?

there are many ways to take care of yourself. being aware of your surroundings, being confident, eye contact, alertness etc. size isn't the most important aspect. many instances of smaller people overpowering larger people, or at the very least being faster.

like i said, i struggle with the same fear. but i honestly just don't see how being larger is going to help. now...if we're talking no muscle...anorexic diet...lethargic thin? then i'd worry. but fit and in shape and strong and lean? not a problem.
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