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Body Image and Issues after Weight Loss Including discussions about excess skin and reconstructive surgery

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Old 05-09-2007, 08:52 AM   #1
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Post Do you ever feel like a fake?

Let me explain a bit - recently I've been socialising in different circles e.g. I've joined some sports teams with people that have never known me to be obese. I've found myself privy to conversations that I know I wouldn't have heard if I was heavier....e.g. comments on other heavy team members, their physical ability, comments on they way heavier people dress (that they should cover up) etc.

To date I've kept my mouth shut and not participated in any such conversations...but I feel like I'm evesdropping and well pretty much fake. I know that I have no reason to 'confess' anyone that I was one of the people they were talking about but it still makes me feel odd but good in a way that they are not talking about me too.

Do you ever feel like you should 'fess up?
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:08 AM   #2
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IMHO . . . I don't think you need to 'fess-up', but you might feel better if you work the conversation around to saying something nice about the people who are being discussed in negative terms.
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:47 AM   #3
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I know what you mean. There is no-one at running club who used to know me when I was obese. A lot of my colleagues at work didn't either, but word tends to get around (and my old photo is still in the staff directory ). But at running club, people just tend to think of me as a decent runner because that's what I currently am, rather than as someone for whom running at all is a pretty big achievement.

I like it in that it's shifted my focus a bit. Instead of thinking "well, I lost 110lb so a sub 2 hour half is pretty good" (which it is, of course), I think "if I can run sub 2, can I run sub 1:55", then 1:50 and so on (I'm down to 1:43). Because no-one knows how fat I used to be, they base their assumption of what I can do on what I can do now, not what I used to be able to do, and I pick up on that.

It still sometimes floors me when we're talking about stuff like thigh chafing in marathons (join a running club for stimulating conversation!) and someone looks at me and says "with your skinny thighs that won't be a problem", or the time I said I started running to lose weight and they instantly replied "but you don't need to". I had to point out that that was because it had worked, not because I was like this when I started Even when I say I've lost weight people seem to assume I'm talking about 10 or 20 pounds at the most.

I'm feeling less of a fraud now that I realise that it's not just suddenly going to go back on again, and that I can live life as a skinny fit person without feeling out of place doing it. The more I live the life, the more it feels like me rather than someone I'm pretending to be.
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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Yup I feel like a fraud all the time!

I feel like I shouldn't be teaching MMA, like I can't do all the stuff I do, because look, ok, I'm HUGE! I'm still "overweight" I'm this girl who was bullied for coming last in cross country, I couldn't possibly run a marathon.

I have made a point of letting my instructors know that I was once bigger and that that is why I struggle with some physical things, because my brain doesn't think I can do it, not because my body physically can't. I have trouble with jumping kicks. My fat girl brain nails me to the floor if I have to jump.

I feel like a fraud when I walk into TOPSHOP and can buy clothes. I feel like I have to apologise for fitting into them. Although half the stuff still makes me feel like the Fat Girl!

When I'm paired up with heavier people in training who are struggling to get their head past their weight I almost want to spill my guts and tell them that I used to be like that, and that I still am like that to a certain extent.

I feel like a fraud in the gym. There is this very overweight guy there, and I watch him and think, "Good for you!" and I feel like he is my buddy, even though he's probably envious that I can RUN on the treadmill next to him. He probably hates me and he thinks my little smiles at him are smiles of pity, when in fact I'm his biggest fan, because at the moment, he trains in the gym more than I do.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:15 PM   #5
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Wow Finn that is so interesting to me. I haven't had this happen to me yet. I'm still so new to this. I wonder what I will do when the time comes. I suppose it depends on the circumstances.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:28 PM   #6
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I haven't had it happen due to weight but there are other situations where I've let other people voice their opinion (political, social or what not) while I keep mine quiet because I don't want a debate or I voice my opinion subtly. This wouldn't happen with someone I know real well but if it is a work associate than it is easier to let them say what they want to say and I will disagree with them in private. If it is a friend or someone close, I would definitely let them know my opinion and that I don't care for theirs
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:45 PM   #7
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I find myself wanting desperately NOT to feel like a fake.
There are times when I feel like I should confess to people who have never known me overweight. Even when the conversation doesn't call for it.
But-- as of yet I have told no one new that I have met since losing a good deal of weight that I am a "formerly obese" person.
I want to firmly stay put "in the closet" unless and until there is some dire and compelling reason for me to 'fess up to the truth---- that I AM a fat chick at heart.
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:19 PM   #8
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Usually I don't have to tell anyone about my wt. loss because DH always tells everyone "my wife's lost about 90 lbs.". Sometimes I wish he'd keep his mouth shut, LOL, but that isn't possible for him.

In the event when I hear others talking about overweight or obese people, it makes me cringe. I feel like they are talking about me, though they can't see that I used to be obese. Deep down inside I'll always have a weight struggle, but I don't think everyone needs to know about it. That's what I have 3FC's for.
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Old 05-09-2007, 05:25 PM   #9
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I don't feel like a fake as much as I feel like a fraud (if that makes sense). It's because I can't seem to motivate myself to lose those last 7 pounds! Yes, I've lost 30+ pounds but I want to be able to say I lost 40. So I feel like a diet fraud because I've only yo-yo'd since December. However, this week has been a Godsend as I've lost 3.5 pounds already and I think the motivation has returned! I sure hope I don't feel like a fraud for much longer!!
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2frustrated View Post
When I'm paired up with heavier people in training who are struggling to get their head past their weight I almost want to spill my guts and tell them that I used to be like that, and that I still am like that to a certain extent.

I feel like a fraud in the gym. There is this very overweight guy there, and I watch him and think, "Good for you!" and I feel like he is my buddy, even though he's probably envious that I can RUN on the treadmill next to him. He probably hates me and he thinks my little smiles at him are smiles of pity, when in fact I'm his biggest fan, because at the moment, he trains in the gym more than I do.
Just MO, but I can't help but think that maybe if you did tell these people these things that maybe it would help you as much as it "might" be some of the encouragement that they need to keep going.
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Old 05-09-2007, 08:48 PM   #11
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I used to tell people, especially when I was training women who were struggling. Now I find that people generally don't believe me unless I show them pictures, and the pictures make me cringe too much.

I still turn around to see who is being told "you're so small you don't need to work out so much" Gee, that's WHY I'm small in their eyes.

The really odd thing is that I find at my age, the "normal club" really is a lot bigger and less fit than me. Now I'm not really a member of the normal club again because I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum.

As Meg said, the only place I really know that I fit in is here!

Mel
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:27 PM   #12
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I think I will always feel fat, I stopped for a little nightcap last night, and a guy was talking about some fat chick, and I said whats wrong with fat chicks, he's like you're so defensive, and he knows I was one of those fat chicks. A gal walked in with a bald head from cancer, and I said she was so beautiful even without hair and the guy next to me said well have you looked in the mirror lately. Wow me beautiful
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Old 05-09-2007, 10:30 PM   #13
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It's definitely been interesting having moved to a new place after having lost weight. I moved here in January. People here just know me for the size I am. I get the "you're lucky you're skinny" comments and comments like "you're thin", and it always shocks me quite a bit because the only time that this has happened in my life has been the last year and a half or so. I can never believe they're actually talking about me! It is so surprising.

The other thing that has been nice about moving has been the fact that I don't get the comments about having lost too much weight (despite the fact that I am at a normal weight). People that tend to know you as overweight seem to have a hard time watching you shrink down -- I think they're just used to seeing you one way, and it shocks them to see the difference! People in my new place see me as a normal-sized person, and have no reference point to think otherwise. It's kind of cool. I often felt like I was being judged when I got comments from people who new my "before".
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:08 PM   #14
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This is a good topic, and it is hard to cope with. My boyfriends sister and mom are tiny. Sister is a 0 if not smaller and her mother is a 2 at age 53. They have always been thin and what not, but keep in mind they are not healthy by ANY MEANS!!!!! (life of processed food, smoking, drinking, and soda) Thank god my boyfriend understands and participates in the whole concept of being healthy and changing your life for the better! Anyway....they are constantly making fun of heavy people. I once weighed in over 250 pounds, and still haven't told them. I guess it hurts to hear people talk about others that way, but at the same time it's a token of their character, and i suppose i'm not about to correct anyone on that. Then again they don't really know how it feels to be treated differently because you're overweight. They don't know what it is like to feel 120 and look 200, and i suppose you can't really make them know. I don't think it's a good idea to tell them really because then you get that look of ohhhh...and they'll still make the comments just not around you. I agree with the comment of "why not say something positive about those people". His mom and i went to workout one day and there was a couple there working out and they were definately 300+, and when we came out she started talking about them, and I simply said....well I'm sure it's hard to workout in public with people like you around, and think it's incredibly motivating that they are there doing something about it. That was the last time she asked me to workout with her. LOL thank god!
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:41 AM   #15
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Oh my yes.

People are completely floored to know I used to be overweight, because I apparently look "naturally thin" and "in good shape" - the latter which is true!

See, I used to be thin, though not healthy. I've battled several eating disorders over the years, then ended up leading a very hectic life which often caused me to not eat much since I didn't have the time and found better things to do. I constantly cracked "fat jokes" and made fun of those who were obese and poorly dressed (example: OMG! That girl should dress her size, she's HUGE! A size 20 in a size 2!! She should NOT be wearing that, because no one wants to see her fat rolls hanging out!)

Needless to say, I became MUCH more sympathetic towards overweight people VERY quickly once *I* packed on the pounds. Karma is a b*tch! My definition of beauty has also become completely redefined by having once been overweight.

I'm still a fat girl inside. When people say mean things about others' weight, I feel compelled to state my disapproval. When people call me slim and slender, I stare at them in shock. I also forgot how much more friendly the general public is towards thin people. It is quite a shock to see how differently people react to me now... very bittersweet, really - I've always treated people the same regardless of physical appearance (even when I cracked "fat jokes," I was never mean to fat people!)
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