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Old 11-07-2010, 09:49 PM   #1  
One pound at a time...
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Default Losing weight, gaining unwanted attention

I need help.

While the pounds have been slow to come off, somehow inches are falling away--I've gone down from a size 16 to a size 10 since I started eating healthily and exercising.

Here's the problem: Suddenly, I feel like I attract attention wherever I go. I've been invisible my whole life, and while that's certainly kind of depressing, at least it's EASY. I could depend on the fact that if I went out with the girls, it would really be just the girls--no interruptions from creepy men. I could depend on the fact that my guy friends were really just friends. I could depend on the fact that I would go home alone at the end of a night out. I never had to give relationships, sex, or "possible outcomes" much thought, I guess. And now...my status quo is being challenged. In the past two weeks, I've gotten free appetizers, free drinks, been serenaded by an Irish musician, and gotten some pretty weird "sexts" from a pro baseball player (unreciprocated, just to be clear).

I know, rationally, that I SHOULD be enjoying this, but instead I've just been super upset. I'm a really logic-based person; I like things to be rational. Rational behavior is a guy who looks like a model hitting on girls who look like models. Irrational behavior is that same guy hitting on...me. Instead of being flattered, I get so flustered by the apparent lack of logic that I find myself angry at the men in question, and super uncomfortable. For some reason that I can't pin, my reaction to this has been REALLY REALLY extreme, and not in a good way. After getting hit on at a party this weekend, I ended up sobbing. On another occasion, the attention was followed by my eating almost an entire box of oreos, because food has always been something I could hide behind--after all, no one wanted me when I was a "big girl."

So here's my question: Have any of you had similar experiences? How did you deal with it? And why is this affecting me so strongly? What can I do to make sure I stay on track? I'm worried that at some point I'm going to start gaining the weight back, just to make all the attention stop. Urgh.

Sorry this is so long, by the way. I don't really have anybody I can talk to about this off-line, I guess. Any feedback is appreciated
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:56 PM   #2  
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Ah, first of all
It sounds like you've been a people watcher for a long time. Losing weight has been hard work and now you need a new plan for meeting people.
It helps to play act for a while, be the outgoing person you've seen your friends be. Men tend to back off a bit and give you more appreciation for who you are.
It may happen that you enjoy being in charge.
Whatever you do be true to yourself, your new self.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:35 PM   #3  
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I've been experiencing something similar recently. I definitely am getting more attention now - a friend of mine just pointed out yesterday that when I walk around, guys heads turn all the time (I'm hoping she was being dramatic, but she sounded like she was unhappy about it - that's something she wants to happen to her). And the free stuff is nice, but a lot of times it's kind of whatever.

You have very little if any control over what others do. So I would move on from there and not worry about what they think, good or bad. Just focus on what you want, how you feel about how you look, and if they hit on you or not, just react how you want to react and don't worry about it.

Maybe practice your reactions in the mirror or with a friend. I've heard that helps.

Hang in there - you're losing weight for you, not for them, so no matter how they react, remember why you're doing all this.

Good luck!
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:16 PM   #4  
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although i didn't experience it exactly in the same way as you are, (i mean, i am an attention-wh0re so i bask in any kind of attention given to me, eheh...) but i think it's completely normal. your body's changed, but not what's inside your head. you are the same person, with the same self-esteem issue.

just before i turned 22, i was about 230lbs and i suddenly decided to go on this diet because my mom was doing it. i did it super strictly for 7 months and lost almost 60lbs. i met my very first boyfriend about a month into it when i was still over 200lbs. he was kind of abusive (psychologically) and always wanted me to lose more weight. i stayed with him for 2 years, even though he was always making me cry, because i kept thinking "nobody else will want me if i leave him, no one else ever had before". on the outside, i was actually looking pretty good though. i was about 170, fitted in size 12 pants, i was getting attention from guys on the street but just always disregarded it. inside my head, i was so fat and ugly. it took a looooooong time for me to realize that that wasn't the case. and it's hard.

i wish you good luck in trying to fix "your insides" just remember you are beautiful and you deserve everything that comes your way! no one is saying you have to go home with these guys. just nod and smile and say thank you, and if they are annoying ignore them. you can't let other people ruin your fun times out with your friends. and when you are ready to, then believe me, you will love the attention
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:22 PM   #5  
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Ugh, I feel you guys. I know for all of my highschool years I was around a size 16. When I first lost weight and got in the ten twelve size department, I was getting attention from guys and it sort of made me uncomfortable. As I've lost more, I find I get even more attention. It used to bug me at first; however, now its whatever. I just keep in mind what I want and screen my guys much more carefully. It is weird though because no at my smallest [8] I get alot more attention but I don't feel like I look normal. Its weird. I often don't notice changes until I take full body shot pictures and cover my head. Then I'm like ok...not bad. haha. You aren't alone though and you'll get used to it in time. Congrats though!
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:30 PM   #6  
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No one ever tells this other side of the weight loss metamorphosis story - maybe some of us DON'T want all that extra attention, and maybe we LIKED being invisible. All the attention is given to the "Yay, men notice me and want me!" camp.

I can't offer any comfort or advice on this matter, but I understand damn well how frustrating it is when you want to go out into the world and be left the heck alone. I was completely invisible up until I was 17 or so and then suddenly it was as if I had thrown off an invisibility cloak or something. The attention was new and I loved it and as a result I dated all these guys who weren't worth my time just because I hadn't had time to fix my standards accordingly.

Right now I am living in Japan, where I look exactly like everyone else, am "average" (actually, quite heavier than average) and there isn't much of a culture of men hitting on strangers here to begin with. When I visit home (New York state) I am reminded that being female means strange men will look you up and down like you're a fresh cut of meat on the market, and it feels so invasive and scary. In given situations it's fun and flattering, but when I'm out doing something mundane like buying tampons at Target I hate getting stared down and commented on. I'm worried that it will be even worse when I return home in the summer for good, hopefully at a size 2/4 by then.

A lot of folks will tell you "Oh, you should be happy so many guys think you're attractive!" but there are many sides to this situation. OP, have you dated a lot before?

As for staying on track and not regaining the weight, think about why you started losing weight. What made you decide you wanted to eat better and exercise? You've made LOADS of progress - it's damned impressive that you wear a 10 at 187 lbs might I add, I wore a 10 at 150 and I'm taller than you - is it worth letting the creepy man brigade win just so you can go back to being invisible?

Last edited by krampus; 11-07-2010 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:31 PM   #7  
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Thank you all for the feedback! I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in thinking/feeling this way. I think you're right--I guess we probably all just take time to adjust to our "new bodies" and all that comes with them.

And Krampus, I absolutely agree with your point--it's frustrating that this is a facet of weight loss no one really talks about. People talk about all of the perks, but tend to forget about the potential drawbacks...

(Also, re: the size 10 thing, I have no idea how this works, either. I'm like a weird bruised apple shape, so somehow my waist is substantially smaller than the rest of me, haha.)
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:08 PM   #8  
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I totally feel you, this is why I had packed the pounds on in the first place! I always used the weight to shield myself, even though I've never been invisible. I've always been a big, loud, personality but when it came to romance, attraction, and especially sex it's like I've been on a mission my whole life to keep guys away and it's like the best way to do it was to make myself wholly unattractive. It was when I realized that I was keeping myself down and out from some great experiences and people that I realized what I had done. I'm working on the weight now, but it's always nerve-wracking when I get some unwanted attention.

This is my advice to you: don't let it discourage you, upset you, or derail your progress! I reccomend giving yourself more chances (safer ones) where you can practice and get used to these things, on your terms. With the weightloss, it sometimes becomes necessary to shift out of the invisibility mode and into the light, which for many is super-scary, but it is possible! Start believing in yourself as a personable, friendly, outgoing person. You can do it, good luck!
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:20 PM   #9  
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Aww, yea attention rocks/sucks, it's not always positive attention, but you're beautiful (I don't have to see you to know that) and next time a guy gets saucy with you, get saucy back! Men either hate or love challenges, and you don't want the wussies that hate challenges anyway...
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:22 PM   #10  
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I can relate to this. I wasn't very attractive in high school, and was therefore not as confident internally as I could have been. Once I left high school, and entered college, I blossomed. It took a good year and a half to come to terms with this, and feel comfortable in situations where men flirted with me.

My suggestion is to give this time. Confidence with situations like this won't happen overnight. What you are feeling is totally normal.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:56 PM   #11  
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I have problems with this as well, and can't help but think it's at least partially related to my weight regain. I just don't know how to handle situations where I'm getting unwanted attention, and it upsets me a lot.

One situation that really sticks out in my mind, and which was followed by a binging session, happened when I was minding my own business at the airport. I was inside security waiting for a flight, along with at least two dozen other people (small airport, only a tiny holding room inside security to wait). Four men came in, and one of them looked me up and down, then sat next to me and put his arm around me. Two of his friends sat across from me, and another to the other side of me. I was completely surrounded by these four men, one of whom was actually touching me, and he proceeded to hit on me until I was able to get on my flight - about 15 minutes later. It unnerved me so much that I was shaking when I was finally able to get up and go to the plane. It felt extremely invasive and upsetting, and I compensated by throwing myself into the worst binge I'd had since I started losing weight.

So, I empathize. It's hard to deal with, and not many people talk about it. For me, I need to learn to be more assertive, and let people know when they've crossed boundaries. I think that's the only way I'm going to be able to deal with it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:25 PM   #12  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaygroundLove View Post
So here's my question: Have any of you had similar experiences? How did you deal with it? And why is this affecting me so strongly? What can I do to make sure I stay on track? I'm worried that at some point I'm going to start gaining the weight back, just to make all the attention stop. Urgh.
You'll note from my descriptor on the left that I am not qualified to be hanging out in the 20-somethings but your Subject line jumped out at me in the new posts as I'm going through the same thing! I specifically lost weight to get male attention and start dating after nearly 20 years alone, hiding in my fat girl suit. I thought I'd been handling the dating process pretty well over the past year until this weekend when I think of finally connected with "the guy".

Suddenly emotional, binge-type eating is back! Intellectually I know I'm just relying on old soothing behaviours to handle a stressful situation (even if it's a good one) rather than what many people call "self sabotage". And that's what pulls me out of it. It is perfectly normal to reach for an old coping strategy when stressed. What I need to do is face the emotion, feel the emotion, and even forgive myself for the bag of cookies I just ate. Escalating an old habit I briefly fell back into doesn't mean I want to be fat. It just means I need to pay attention and not take the default choice.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:01 PM   #13  
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BTW: Am I the only one who seems to be a "creep magnet" ???

In high school, I wasn't fat (I was like 105 lbs), but I was definitely nerdy, I still am and I'm proud of it ^_^ I played basketball, and started even but I sucked. I really sucked. I only started because our team was so small and the coach didn't have any better options who could run and keep up with the girls who DID know how to play basketball LOL. I had my share of guy-attention in high school, I just mostly ignored it unless they were part of the chess club (which I was a far more active member than the basketball team!). At least with the chess club guys I could carry on a conversation longer than 3 sentences haha!

BUT along with the nerdy guys, I also attracted the CREEPY GUYS! Guys who wrote me notes all the time, gave me necklaces, tried to sit by me and call me. And creepy guys who had a hard time taking "no" for answer!!!! Stalker types. I had to get 3-4 of my nerdy guy friends to sit with me at lunch if I couldn't get rid of current creepy guy. Nerdy guy friends are teh bestest, but it would take about 4 of them to "do the job" if it were needed to be done. I was NOT a strong person and I think I have a problem in these situations "not wanting to hurt feelings" and these weirdos seem to have a hard time picking up on the very very subtle hints.

Fastforward I get engaged my first year of undergrad. Fastforward I get married. Fastforward I have 3 kids while in grad school. (dumb move, I know!) Meanwhile I've been pregnant the entire time I'm teaching in grad school. I'm either post-pregnant fat or I'm actually pregnant while teaching. Seems to work pretty well as a guy repellent. That and I'm now a bit older than the freshmen I'm teaching.


THEN THEN THEN comes this semester. I've lost quite of bit of my "mom weight" and I'm looking kinda cute (imho of course ^_^ ) and I'm teaching a senior level lab for a change.

And along comes You-Know-Who from highschool. ANOTHER Creeper! How do I ATTRACT THESE GUYS? Is there a sign on my head? "Hey there, here's a target for the Creepy Sorta Guys!" Geez. Who raised these guys? This guy is NOT bad looking, he's smart (its a senior level chem lab right?).......and he says ALL KINDS of VERY VERY SUBTLE inappropriate things to me! (the worst one was under his breath, one of my female students says "I like your necklace!" And he says under his breath "And I like your body!" and I was completely dumbfounded!!!)

I'm like "WTF??? I'm your TA! Who SAYS STUFF like that to their TA???" I talked to a prof about it because I'm a little unsure of the legality of it. Fortunately there's only a month left of lab so it'll be over soon.....


But I couldn't help but think "I didn't have issues like this when I was fat + pregnant....*sigh* I should just get pregnant again!"


I totally understand, but thats mostly because the majority of attention I've started to receive has been CREEPY attention!!!

Last edited by boots; 11-08-2010 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:27 PM   #14  
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I have had a few problems with unwanted attention, but for the most part my clear disinterest keeps problems away.

For those who are having troubles with guys REALLY not leaving you alone and getting more friendly than you would like (in any capacity - sexual and platonic alike) despite your hints at not wanting to get that involved, it's worth it to practice really speaking your mind.

I took a PE course during my senior year of college on women's self-defense and empowerment. We learned some defensive techniques to get yourself out of situations where someone grabs you, forces you down, gets on top of you... etc. (God forbid we ever need to use this stuff.) But we also talked about asserting yourself in situations where people are making you uncomfortable, and those tips are just as useful; maybe even more so.

Here are some of the top suggestions that I took away from the course:

- Don't apologize if someone ELSE is making you uncomfortable. As women we are nurturing by nature and we have a tendency to be acutely aware of other people's feelings. If we have to ask people to go out of their way to do something, or to act contrary to how they are acting currently, we start with "I'm sorry, but..." - Bad habit. If someone is making you uncomfortable, just say it that way: "You're making me uncomfortable. Please stop."

- Just defending your ground with a strong stance and eye contact can be enough to ward people off. If someone won't get off your case and you want to protect your territory, as it were, stand up straight, position your hands with palms facing your opponent but keep your hands and arms relaxed to show that you aren't about to lop their head off, look them square in the eye, and make your point loud and clear: "Leave me alone." or "Stop." It shows your opponent that you're aware of what they're doing, and you don't appreciate it. It shows that you're not easy prey.

- Stay cool, calm, collected, and focused. Don't fly off the handle into an emotional rampage of screaming and accusations. Likewise, don't sit with your head down, eyes averted, voice quiet, body limp. Keep the situation in YOUR control. Speak slowly, clearly, and loudly. Breathe.

Last edited by cornellchick; 11-08-2010 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:27 PM   #15  
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The "not wanting to hurt feelings" complex is key. I had the same thing as you boots. Dudes calling me up threatening to commit suicide and sh!t. I should have said "good, see you on the news tomorrow morning" but instead I played along with them going "ohhh nooooo don't dooo that."

Too much caring about friends/boys' negative feelings that I was not equipped to deal with led to me becoming fragile myself for a period. I think the greatest lesson I learned is to keep my distance from people emotionally and say "pay me or shut up, I'm not your therapist" when they want to unload years of issues on me.
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