Confession: I Let Comments about My Weight and Appearance Affect My Self-Esteem

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/25/2009 6:10 AM   :  223 comments   :  17,123 Views

In our recent dailySpark survey, most of you said that you love our "Confession" series. While all of our bloggers are SparkPeople employees, we're also members, which means that like all of you, we have our own battles with weight, healthy living and self-esteem. After a year on the dailySpark, I'm comfortable enough to start sharing my own "confessions." I've been writing them for awhile, but I haven't published any. This is the first in what I hope will be many!

Two weeks ago, I posted a new profile picture on Facebook.

In it, I'm dressed to go out to dinner with friends, in a loose-fitting purple printed tank top, slim-fitting gunmetal pants and heels. My hair, which was cooperating splendidly, is extra curly and bouncy. I'm wearing makeup, and I'm happy.

I had gone to Spinning and yoga that day, so I felt particularly fit.

Arms akimbo, chin up and smile on. My yoga-toned arms are looking good--more defined than usual.

A couple of days after posting the photo online, I got these two comments from friends:

You are looking skinny!
I second her comment - rockin' body!


I got really excited and actually broke into a smile when I read them. I felt extra comfortable in my skin all night long. But then I started thinking.
Why did hearing that word--skinny--have an effect on my self-esteem? Though nothing about me had changed, I suddenly felt thinner, more attractive and more confident.

And it brought back memories of my youth, when my height, pale skin and long dark hair were fodder for mean-spirited, insecure teenage boys.
For something intangible, self-esteem is among the most delicate and easily fractured parts of the human body.


I grew up in small town where tanned skin, jeans and country music were de rigueur. I had a penchant for skirts (still do) and spent much of my time voraciously writing in my journal and reading about times and places more interesting than mine.

In high school, there isn't much room for diversity. Cliques aren't like Venn diagrams; you can only choose one. I was a "smart girl," which meant that though I had plenty of friends, I wasn't a "popular girl." And because I'd rather study than flirt with boys during class, I wasn't a "pretty girl," either.
I was OK with my stature, because I knew I'd make my way in the world and be a strong and capable woman.

The thing is, I never thought I was unattractive. And I wasn't. But other people--especially boys--at my high school made it their place to tell me I was.

The day before school pictures my freshman year of school, a football player barked in my face and laughed.

I came home and cried into my pillow; my photo in the yearbook shows the remnants of puffy eyes.

A straight-A student, I earned praise for my grades, accomplishments and packed extracurricular schedule. I got a full ride to journalism school at Ohio University and later won the internship of my dreams (Dow Jones Newspaper Fund editing program). But during those awkward adolescent years, what I longed to hear that I was pretty--and that I was skinny.

Instead I felt awkward and large, due to my height.

The great thing about life is that you can be whoever you want to be. You can surround yourselves with people who love and support you, and with time and experience, you can learn to forget about the rest. Who you were in high school, in your 20s, or at any other point in your life, does not define your entire life. No singular adjective can sum up your entire being.
That's not to say that I always felt confident with my body and myself.

When I started to gain weight in my early 20s, I brushed it aside. Then 40 pounds later, I felt awful, and no good hair day would remedy that.

It has taken me a couple of years to settle back into my body and regain my confidence. I still don't wear bikinis--I carry more weight in my belly and hips than anywhere else--and I often forget that I wear a size medium again and not an extra large.

Still, I've had some victories in this battle with my self-esteem.

My senior year of college my friends and I were invited to a party at the home of one of the popular guys over winter break from university. That football player who barked in my face was there. My stomach knotted up.
Later that night, I was playing pool--a game for which I have zero talent. As I was leaning over to take a shot, he said out loud, "Girl, when did you get hot?"

I looked over my shoulder and replied, "I was always this hot. You were just too dumb to notice."

Then I turned back around and took my shot… and made it!

It was like a scene from a movie--and that victory tasted oh so sweet.

Fast-forward to those recent compliments.

My weight has been a struggle for so long--I gained weight off and on until 2005--that I had resigned myself to be classified as a "bigger girl."

But guess what? I'm not. I'm tall (5' 10"), but I'm a good size. Like Coach Nicole, I have cellulite (and pale skin accentuates it!) and I won't wear a bikini (again, the pale skin and discomfort with being so exposed).

I can do real push-ups. I can do plenty of yoga poses that I couldn't attempt a year ago, including urdhva padmasana and tittibasana. I earned my yoga teacher certification. I can run a mile (or three) without stopping. And I rise to any fitness challenge presented to me.

Call me skinny, call me fat. Call me pretty, call me ugly. It doesn't matter. I'm still me. And that's a lesson I sometimes need to remind myself.
At the end of the day, I love myself. And that's what matters.

Do you let adjectives about your appearance dictate how you feel about yourself? What is the best compliment you've ever received? On the flip side, is there a rude remark that someone has made to you that's stuck with you?


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Comments

  • 173
    Hi All! Fact is, it is unreasonable to think we can get down to the weight we were in high school, and probably unhealthy to do so! I suffer comments from my mother, brother, and some work colleagues. Yes, I have gained weight. I think we all do after having children and aging. Some weight loss is needed to maintain our health. But we don't have to be twiggies! Strive for a healthy body instead of a model's! I was 120 lbs from the age of 14-24, and couldn't gain weight no matter what I ate or was forced to eat by my parents. Before I had to clean my plate or else. Now, I'm being put down (at 175 lbs) for having gained weight because I've been in the clean plate club! I am striving for 140 lbs. - 8/26/2009   4:15:55 PM
  • 172
    It's amazing what a few compliments will do! I lost some weight and people were praising me on Facebook also, which made my day. It even inspired me to keep up the hard work to maintain the loss (don't want to appear like I've "failed" the weight battle). But it's all so superficial; they wanted to know my "secret," which when I told them eat less, exercise more, no one responded to that! I also passed on the word about SparkPeople, so hopefully some will come here when they're ready to learn what it takes to be healthy.

    The scary thing is, now that I've gotten so much attention for losing the weight, I feel like I must do anything to keep it off, or I'll be a failure in the eyes of other people. But, really, I'm still the same person (insecure, geeky, caring, giving) no matter what I weigh or how I look, so why does it matter to me? I just hope that as I mature, I will come to a place where my looks no longer define me. - 8/26/2009   3:09:47 PM
  • 171
    I sort of had the reverse high school experience. I had a rockin' bod when I was in high school. Average height but legs that wouldn't stop, big rack and a nice shape. Then I had a boy tell me I had a body that could stop traffic... and a face that could stop a clock. Talk about a smack in the face! I was devastated and have had issues with having my picture taken ever since. But now - weighing more than 150 pounds more than I weighed in high school I hear "You have a beautiful face, too bad your body doesn't match". So, I had to gain 150 pounds to have a beautiful face!?!?!? It effected me for MANY years but in the past year or so I've come to the conclusion that I pretty much like myself and what other people think of my appearance is THEIR problem... I may not like my weight but I am working on changing that. People that make mean, hurtful, ignorant remarks are just mean, hurtful and ignorant. I don't have to sink to their level nor do I have to let their slime hurt my esteem. - 8/26/2009   3:07:55 PM
  • 170
    I was made to feel self conscious about my boobs and butt. The boobs grew in fine but I still can't get the butt to blow up! I also didn't like my stomach which I've always felt was too big. It wasn't until college that I was made aware of my good features. Those years did wonders for my self-esteem and I've never felt ugly since. As for the butt and stomach, it's what God gave me and I've learned how to work with them. - 8/26/2009   2:59:33 PM
  • 169
    I graduated from highschool in '97 ... recently had a highschool classmate tell me on Facebook that I was "hot". Never got that comment before! Made me feel really good about myself and my weight loss. - 8/26/2009   2:53:06 PM
  • 168
    Good for you! Great post. - 8/26/2009   2:43:33 PM
  • 167
    Wow! I can so relate to your high school experience! I am tall as well (5'9"), and in high school, I knew I weighed more than most of the other girls I knew. I had bigger hips and a bigger frame over all, and I felt like I was fat. Now, I'm hoping to get down to that weight (or 10 lbs heavier, really) because I know that I was a healthy weight in high school.

    I feel like I've always been overly sensitive to what people say to me (especially negative things). My dad would try to convince me to go jogging with him by saying, "Your thighs are looking big. Want to go running with me?" My answer was "No", but I remember that making me feel like I was too fat. I was teased about my hair in junior high school and since then have felt like it didn't behave very well or look as nice as others' hair. I put on weight for 6 years after my older son was born and remember feeling really hurt by my sister's comment about how fat I'd gotten. (Karma has come back to bite her as she weighs more now than I ever did.)

    All these negative messages seem to have been programmed into me, and now I struggle to reverse the negative thinking in my head. I'm making progress, and I hope to convince my DH to stop speaking negatively about his appearance as well.

    Wow, for someone who never comments on these blogs, I really typed a lot! Thanks for sharing your confession.

    - Karen - 8/26/2009   1:58:44 PM
  • 166
    Wonderful blog, thanks for sharing. Its funny how we let certain words affect our train of thought and how they keep in our minds to hurt us. I personally have had people say you have such a cute face...then I fill in the blank(but that body doesn't fit.) I guess you are right, words shouldn't matter, what should matter is how you feel about yourself at the end of the day! - 8/26/2009   1:34:19 PM
  • 165
    Wow! Thank you for sharing this confession, it is comforting and inspiring for me. I definately struggle with my self-esteem being closely linked to what people say about me, though more so with the things that I say about myself in my head. On the nice side, I have had a couple of friends tell me that they think I have the perfect woman's body and that they can't imagine me losing any more weight (unfortunately, in my head, the little voice still said "they're just saying that to make you feel better, they don't really mean it") but I still partially took it to heart.

    It is the mean comments that seem to stick like tacky in your brain. The two that replay themselves over and over in my head are when my ex-husband said to someone in my presence "I guess you could say I like big women." And then when my boyfriend after that marriage, when pressed for what his problem about the relationship was said "I wish you weighed less." - 8/26/2009   12:53:27 PM
  • GRANDMARANDI
    164
    I have always let others comments affect me, looking at it honestly it was never the positive ones. Working on that. Thank you for this blog, it really has me thinking. - 8/26/2009   12:51:09 PM
  • 163
    Wow! Thank you Stephanie, for showing me, that so many others have experienced the same pain that I have....from the childhood taunts to the current comments from strangers...the nails are still piercing my heart. Last year I became a new grandmother for the first time, the only problem is, my daughter lives in CA, and I in PA. I was too embarrased to ride on a plane, as I knew I would not fit in one seat, and couldn't afford two, now just how low is that? I daily combat the stares, the attitude of other people who think just because I'm heavy that I can't think, or have valuable insight to work situations. Sometimes I just want to give it all up, however, since finding this site.....my life is starting to turn around....there is a purpose...and that's living healthy...so thank you for sharing...and for understanding.... - 8/26/2009   12:32:29 PM
  • 162
    This isn't the best compliment, but definitely the most unexpected CRAZIEST thing I've ever heard: I wore a tube dress out on a date with my boyfriend. (I never in my life thought I'd go sleeveless btw.) We were sitting at a Subway and I had one of their salads in front of me when this older man passes by, looks at me, smiles and says, "Why you're no bigger than that salad!" I'm 5'6, 140 lbs and used to be well over 200. I couldn't believe he said that! I thought he was pulling my leg and that he was insane. I never felt small, EVER! Never thought I would no matter how much weight I shed. My bf and I just laughed and joked about being tinier than a salad. Lol. As big as a crouton. Later I saw myself in a reflection and that comment he made really made me see myself as thin/skinny when in reality I'm fit, but still curvy. - 8/26/2009   12:17:57 PM
  • 161
    Blogs like this are why I'm on SparkPeople. Its all about being a strong woman, not about the size and shape of your "strength". Outside factors challenge that thinking every day though ~ thanks so much for the post!

    P.S. I don't like to be called skinny either....but I'm really good with "athletic", "attractive", "toned", "strong"....should I continue? LOL :-) - 8/26/2009   12:01:44 PM
  • 160
    First off, thanks for sharing this Stepfanie! I think everyone, at one time or another, has been affected by negative comments from someone else. I've noticed I'm my own worst critic (particularly when it comes to photos), and I was very lucky to have survived junior high and high school without any major trauma, but I *did* gain a LOT of weight after I dropped out of college (well, was politely asked to leave -- ahem). So at a time in my life when I should have been my most fit and have the glowing late teens/early 20s skin tone and whatnot, I was about 30 pounds overweight. Whenever I'd go out with friends -- who were all thinner and prettier, at least in my mind -- I was completely ignored by guys. I went to a party where I met a guy who seemed to be interested in ME, and who told me to call him so we could go out some time. I was feeling particularly bold, so I did call him a few days later and one of his roommates answered the phone. When I asked for him, said roommate yelled out to him, "Hey, that fat chick's on the phone!" which was followed by the sound of several people laughing uproariously. I'd never felt so humiliated or ashamed as I did that day. I think I stumbled through the conversation with the guy and, of course, never saw him again. I tried to put it out of my mind, reminding myself that there are so some people who just don't think before they speak, no matter what age they are; however, it's struck me that while the burning embarrassment seems to be etched into my brain, I have no recollection of what that guy's name was anymore.

    I think the moral of my story is that we all have the power to think of ourselves in a certain way and we have NO power over what other people think. So why not grab the reins and realize everything that is spectacular about ourselves? Of course, being surrounded by people who realize this as well and support us, no matter what, helps tremendously with this. As for all of us here participating in SparkPeople, we're all moving toward a goal to be healthier -- whatever that means for each individual -- and that makes us all smart and strong in our own way. - 8/26/2009   11:49:22 AM
  • NEWLIFE2DAYANNE
    159
    Thank you for such a great blog. I'm sure that many of us can relate and been there.
    The most hurtful comments came from a dear friend when I wanted to apply for a job at a local company. She told me that I wouldn't be hired because I was huge. I needed to loose weight. Well I never did apply for that company. I moved onto other companies. In fact my last job, I knew that I was being discriminated at indirectly because of my size. I wouldn't be asked to go on company trips to various offices, to England etc. I then was laid off from that company.
    I have since put a plan in place to loose weight and keep it off. I've lost 43 pounds since Feb 10th of this year.
    I too was an Ace student in school, a couple of friends, but everyone's else friend . I wasn't a gorgeous girl, but I could say good looking.
    Today, I struggle when people say I look beautiful when I smile. Why don't I smile more often. But I can't see this. Even though I have lost these 43 lbs, I'm still not comfortable in my skin. I still feel like jabba the hut and this is what I see. I avoid mirrors because I don't like what I see. I can so a 1 min straight arm plank, I just tested at 20 min mile walk - these are things that I was not able to do earlier this year - my little victories. Oh I should say my latest victory is that the steering wheel in my car is free wheeling. No more rubbing on my stomach. I have about a 2 inch gab - yay.
    I'm trying to work on loving myself and seeing the person that I am. The one that gets the compliments and needs to accept them.

    Thanks for being open and honest with us. It gives us food for thought, whether this be for motivation or moving toward another goal or victory. You are a awesome person - don't forget that! - 8/26/2009   11:40:24 AM
  • 158
    I have always allowed someone else's comments or actions affect my self-esteem. It was awful as a child/teen and even as an adult, I "wear" the effects of that (weight).
    I do have many good qualities. I just forget about them, especially as I look into the mirror.
    I want to tell you how much I appreciate this article. - 8/26/2009   11:14:50 AM
  • 157
    Other people's comments on my figure have always influenced me more than I wish they would. I've been overweight since childhood and always felt like if I took up more space with my personality, maybe people wouldn't notice that my body took up more space too. But then when I was in college I read an article that asked, "Why do we always take it as a compliment when people tell us we look like we've lost weight? Is the message inherently that it is better when we as women take up LESS space in this world?" I still struggle with the influence of others' opinions, but those words have stuck with me since - I am proud of the space I take up in this world, and I am going to fill that space with the best version of myself, by MY standards. Thanks for this confession - it really hit home and I am also really proud of you and grateful to get to hear part of your story! - 8/26/2009   10:47:43 AM
  • 156
    I've been barked at, too. Luckily for me, it happened about a year ago, when I was old enough and tough enough to see the fool the barking girl was making of herself. But I've had to work all my life to not take the mean comments to heart. And I've noticed the better I get at that, the less likely it is that mean comments are made. The bullies who make themselves feel better by tearing other people down can tell when someone's an easy target, I think. - 8/26/2009   10:47:32 AM
  • 155
    I recently read in a book by a psychologist that it takes 50 positive comments to offset one negative, in terms of the effect on a person's self-concept and self-esteem. In simple words, it takes a lot of compliments to overcome one thoughtless or mean-intentioned jab.

    When I think back to the years when I was underweight I felt ugly and awkward. When I think back to the years where I was at my so-called "perfect" weight, I felt flabby and out of shape. Isn't ironic that we don't appreciate ourselves for the "total package" instead of based on size, shape, age, etc?

    The most hurtful comment I recall from my teen years was when a boy called me "Palm Tree." I didn't get it and thought it meant that I was too tall and too skinny - images I already had in my insecure teenaged head. Many years later, at a reunion, the same guy came up to me and told me that he had the biggest crush on me when we were in high school. I snapped out, "Why were you so mean to me, then?"

    He didn't know what I meant, so I told him how hurtful the "Palm Tree" comments had been. He just about choked apologizing and explained that his intention was to compliment me, not to hurt my feelings. It turned out that what I had interpreted as a slam had been intended totally differently. His explanation? A palm tree reminded him of a tropical paradise and that when we were kids, I was his idea of perfect beauty.

    Wow...how far off was that? My self image as a teen wouldn't even allow me to entertain the possibility that it was intended as a compliment. Nor did I even take into consideration that the boy felt intimidated and was grasping for the right words to break the ice.

    Now that I'm REALLY mature (a.k.a. old), I realize that the only person I need to please in terms of how I look is me. - 8/26/2009   10:30:51 AM
  • 154
    Yes, I let adjectives about my appearance dictate how I feel about myself. I've had so many negative statements repeated and repeated, mostly from my brothers, and sometimes my father, that I can no longer accept a compliment. I always pick it apart in my head and turn it into something negative. I'm having a hard time stopping this old habit. - 8/26/2009   10:11:51 AM
  • 153
    Two comments, that unfortunately my parents made to me years ago, have stuck with me. When I was 12 and just starting puberty, my mother commented, "My goodness, your thighs are getting big!" Forever, I've felt that I have huge thighs and had inherited "Nana's cankles." When I was in my 30s, my father said, "Just how fat ARE you going to get?" This was when I weighed over 300 pounds (and kept going until I weighed over 400 pounds).

    I've noticed that even though I've lost an enormous amount of weight (over 240 pounds), I still don't think of myself as "skinny." I do love how I look, though, and I love my body as it is. I love being able to do things like run, walk, bike, hike, kayak, ski, and many other things, without the pain and breathlessness that I used to when I was so overweight out of shape. I love that my body does what I want it to!

    As for what other people say, I guess I don't take compliments very well, though I always say, "Thank you." I am trying to marry up the new, beautiful me with the person I feel inside. That takes time, and I figure that as long as I'm conscious of needing to accept it wholly, I am moving in a positive direction. - 8/26/2009   10:10:00 AM
  • 152
    Thank you for pouring your heart out. I, too, was one of those girls in high school. I never was the popular one, although I had tons of friends. I was everyone's friend. I have always struggled with my weight. It has been an uphill battle for me. I have diabetes and I am in remission, and I find that each day I have a new struggle to bear. I found your blog to be very inspiring, so I again thank you for sharing this with me. - 8/26/2009   10:01:55 AM
  • 151
    I just do not understand why we treat ourselves so harshly. You would NEVER judge the person next to you this harshly. How can parents allow their children to think so lowly of themselves? I thank the good Lord that my Mom and Dad taught me to respect myself 1st. I was able to take the same message to my child. - 8/26/2009   9:54:15 AM
  • 150
    Thank you so much for this article. Words are so powerful!

    I do wish that instead of referring to "real push-ups" you referred to them as "full push-ups" or "traditional push-ups." For those of us still working on our knee push-ups (sometimes known as "girl's push-ups"), it dimishes our work.

    Pesha - 8/26/2009   9:36:10 AM
  • 149
    This blog so touched me...I can't remember any one comment but so many negative comments etched their effects on my psyche and injured my body image and at times my self confidence. Negative comments stay with us forever, we can shove them to the back but they still reside in our souls. I no longer believe the negative things (most of the time) but it took a long time to get to this point. Thank you for sharing a very personal blog. - 8/26/2009   9:33:04 AM
  • GRANDMAJO37
    148
    In both grade school and high school, I was underweight and called skinny. In fact I was skinny until about age 38 and spent all my time trying to put on weight. Now at 72 I am about 20 pounds overweight, have been 40 pounds over.

    I struggle with the old habits of being able to eat everything and anything I want and not being able to gain an ounce. And being pre-diabetic I need to lose more weight and watch my weight.

    I quit looking in mirrors because I still see myself as skinny. And it is frustrating to have people call me skinny now when I know I am overweight. Just because they are more overweight, they think I am skinny.

    I keep trying to work on my eating and exercise, but I do a lot of backsliding. The problem is I don't really want to do the work necessary to get the body I want to have. - 8/26/2009   9:32:52 AM
  • 147
    It's interesting LORANORTH ~ I was told I was too TALL to be a ballerina! The "skinny" part I had down pat when I was young. And, Stepf, because of my experience, when I read that comment that you were looking skinny, I took that as an insult! Isn't it funny how our experiences alter our perspectives. I grew up being compared to a stringbean, a beanstalk, a scarecrow, and a rail (as in "thin as a rail") - so "skinny" has negative connotations for me. I don't feel the same way about slender or fit, but that "skinny" word makes me feel 10 years old again! Now, at age 58, I'd be elated if anyone thought I was skinny! Why, oh, why do we care so MUCH about what other people think? - 8/26/2009   9:12:56 AM
  • 146
    I will forever be conscious of the size of my butt because the boys in high school used to call me "pear". And I wore a size 2! - 8/26/2009   8:58:41 AM
  • 145
    The worst thing I ever heard, was from my dance teacher when I was 10--and I know now that it wasn't even directed at me. She was telling the class that to be a ballerina (and boy did I want that!) you had to be tall and very thin. We had a good five-minute lecture on the subject, and heard it many more times over the years. One thing she said was that some of us, as we were, would be too heavy, and I "KNEW" she was talking to me. And no matter how good I was, I wouldn't have that dream of being a ballerina because I had the wrong body.

    Couple that with girls my same age bemoaning how heavy they were, and my own secret knowledge that I was 10 lbs. heavier than any of them. With 2 hours of dance lessons every night, I know now that I probably had better developed muscles than any of them as well. But I only saw myself as fat, fat, fat.

    As far as the comments of others affecting our self-esteem?

    As people, we rely on other people for a lot of things: affection, employment, friendship, a ride to work, companionship . . .
    We ask our friends' opinions if we are trying to solve a difficult problem; we want their advice on the day-to-day of our lives. What we say to others and what we hear from others matters! So of course the comments of others affect our self-esteem. This is natural and normal.

    The tricky part is learning to accept their positive comments graciously--and keep them with us to boost us up when we are low--and letting the negative comments fall away. Most of us do the opposite (I know I can be particularly hard on myself). But if we can learn to do that, we've won the battle.

    - 8/26/2009   8:50:24 AM
  • 144
    Oh Stephanie, how you have literally taken the memories out of my locked box. How ever did you get the key to it?

    ALL MY LIFE, my weight has fluctuated. In grade school, I was over weight. Given the nick-name of "NO KNEES" by my parents because there was no defining where my calf, knee and top part of leg were....just kind of all ran together. Overweight to the point that the doctor made my mother put me on a diet the summer between my 4th and 5th grade school years. Goal, to lose at least 20lbs.....end result...lost 30lbs. But, the 30 lbs made such a dramatic difference in my appearance, I was thought initially to be a newly transferred student to a school that I had been going to for years.

    In junior high school and senior high school my weight went up and down....low enough to wear a bikini, high enough to want to hide every bit of skin. Did it affect my 'boyfriend' situation, no....I had the same boyfriend from 8th grade all the way through my senior year. When I was "skinny" I was very active in working out at the gym where my parents bought a family pass for all of us...but I'm pretty much the one that stuck with it. My main focus though was my legs....NO KNEES haunted me so much...the leg press, calf raises, the stairmaster and the bike became my best friends. The ones I could depend on...always pushing me....always there for me...and drying my tears when I was mad at the ones who labeled me. The pavement became my escape...running sometimes 5 or 7 miles a day...I was able to release all my frustration and not worry about what someone else thought. Finally DEFINITION! I began to receive many compliments on my legs....VERY TONED, VERY DEFINED AND VERY, VERY STRONG. Was I "skinny"? Yes....not model size two thin...but I was a size 5/7/9......but because of all the heavier than most weight lifting....I was carrying my 5'5" frame around in a 160lb package.

    Fast forwarding now.....young marriage, young pregnancy, young divorce, single mom (little income) life....all over an 7 yr period....gaining 129 lbs over those years....topping out at 289 lbs. While being a single mom....I had lost down to 249 with diet/exercise. I have since (3 yrs ago) remarried (to a wonderful man), lost even more down to 229.

    Today, I am 257....and NO KNEES has crept itself back into my life. As I am writing this, I have looked down several times to curse it's existence. Muscle still there? Most definitely! Just not showing as much as they used to. Occassionally that most sought after compliment about my legs will come..........AND IT MAKES MY DAY!

    Do I think that getting compliment on being "skinny" is what effects our attitude...yes and no....it's not about being skinny at all. If ANYONE has some sort of negative view or if someone has made a negative comment....no matter what it's about......ANY COMPLIMENT....NO MATTER WHAT IT'S ABOUT....is going to lift our spirits. That's the way we are made.....it's the human way. Not saying it's the right way by any means, but it is what it is. WE have to learn to not let it affect us in a negative way. - 8/26/2009   8:42:33 AM
  • 143
    I've not received any rude remarks regarding my weight or how I look. People here tend to be more discreet like my friend once told me that I had large muscular calves and I just told him that I danced and did martial arts. When I was in high school I knew I was on the shorter (5'1) and chubbier side then only one person dared to tell me that and I knew that he said it as a joke so I just punched his arm and laughed it off. Really he couldn't even dream of doing a cartwheel which was really easy for me to do. Rude remarks about my body comes from myself, I'm working on accepting it now. The best compliment I've received is not really something that was said to me, although I get the occasional 'you look slimmer' remark, it's more of the reactions on peoples faces when they realize that I look smaller and more toned, their eyes kind of pop out, just a little. - 8/26/2009   8:16:02 AM
  • 142
    Growing up the only time I was NOT fat was from birth to 4 years old and I bear the scars of being an obese child yet today. I feel I will always have those scars but I am slowly learning how to live a normal healthy life thanks to SparkPeople. This is the first time in many many tries that a weightloss system such as Spark is SERIOUSLY making those changes. Thank you, Stepfanie for baring your soul to us and showing that it can be done! - 8/26/2009   8:13:32 AM
  • 141
    my father never called ME fat but he would see people on the street and called THEM fat slobs or whatever and I always wondered what he thought about ME. One of the things I can't forgive him for now that he's gone. And yes, people would yell out their car windows at me for being fat. But I've gotten over that pretty much and have taken steps to live a healthier lifestyle. I've learned that my weight does not reflect who I am and if people can't see past the exterior into the interior, that's their problem, not mine.
    lin - 8/26/2009   8:08:59 AM
  • 140
    Talk about bringing up bad memories! I was never teased or picked on in school for my appearance or my weight. I suppose because at 5' 2" - 120 lbs. I wasn't overweight. My 'fatitude' started in the awkward pre-teen years and was perpetrated by my parents. I recall coming home from trick-or-treating one yar and spreading the "haul" out on the floor and having my parents tell me I should be eating carrot sticks and running around the yard instead of eating that because It would make me fatter and no one would like me. I felt self concious about my appearance, but it wasn't until after high school that I started to put on weight.

    The most recent compliment that comes to mind was at a picnic at my mother's, one of her friends told me I was so gorgeous I looked like a movie star. It was made sweeter because my Mom was right there to hear it. Not surprisingly, the only comment she made about my weight loss was "I was going to tell you that you needed to lose so weight but I figured you already knew it."

    I enjoy getting compliments. They do make me feel good, and if I am feeling particularly "fluffly", they can change the way I feel about myself. - 8/26/2009   7:34:17 AM
  • 139
    The best compliment I've received came very recently. I was wearing a work outfit that I've worn before. I just tucked in the shirt this time and wore a belt. Hubby looks at me and tells me that I look good in that outfit. That doesn't sound like much but that almost never happens without prompting. I felt soooo good that evening! It was a good day. - 8/26/2009   7:26:00 AM
  • 138
    In my early teens I had acne really bad.....there was this boy I liked in school that was older that I was. During lunch period he and a friend came over and were talking to a friend of mine and I could hear them remark how ugly my face was...........ugggg...I still hurt to remember that....several years down the line and face was pretty much cleared of acne then he showed some interest in me...........I guess that remark would have always been there between us so I did not return his interest - 8/26/2009   7:13:44 AM
  • WHOLY_FIT_48
    137
    Thanks for sharing your story. However, "skinny" DOES NOT EQUAL "healthy". Oh how I wish we as a society and especially here at the SP community would get rid of the word "skinny"! - 8/26/2009   5:34:10 AM
  • 136
    Thanks for sharing. I think we all fall short of what we'd like to be and most of us spend so much time on us that we fail to see others feel the same. - 8/26/2009   5:00:05 AM
  • SUGARPUNK52
    135
    When I was young some guy said to me " if you lost some weight,you'd be kinda pretty".I asked him why didn't he just say "kinda ugly"? The one that stuck the hardest though was something my mom said.She wasn't being mean or anything like that.She was just telling me what she thought.She said " plain's plain,thank GOD you're not ugly ".This was said AFTER she'd told my baby sister how beautiful and wonderful she was.It took a long time before I even cared about myself or my appearance. - 8/26/2009   1:25:22 AM
  • 134
    Great post. I have lost a lot of weight (115) and my self image and weight don't always match. I sometimes go to the store and shop and try on clothes just to remind myself I wear size 6 or 8 not size 20. I delight in the positive comments of others and as you said they cause me to feel better and of course they really have nothing to do with who I am. This post was a great reminder for all women. - 8/25/2009   10:58:51 PM
  • 133
    Those nasty comments when you're young never leave you. When you get comfortable in your own skin, however, they fade into your subconscious. I'm lucky that I did get comfortable with who I am, even though I have mostly always been overweight. (I lost 130 lbs when I was in my early twenties, only to zoom back up when I had my first daughter at 28.) Since then, I've learned that I am an intelligent, compassionate, witty
    and very spiritual woman - and that my weight has nothing to do with ANY of those things!
    My unforgettable comment? When I went to a new school in 4th grade and the teacher introduced me to the class and told me to take a seat, one boy (and I don't even remember who he was) piped up "If she'll fit!" 45 years later the memory survives - but luckily only surfaces every once in a while.
    - 8/25/2009   10:57:30 PM
  • 132
    Thanks for your blog, I couldn't not have said it any better. We've all been their. I am going to try not to let negetive comment affect my self esteem (it' rock bottom right now]. People are telling me that I don't need to diet, that I'm skinny, but I'm not. So like you, let have happy thought. Lets tune out the bad and put in the good. - 8/25/2009   10:47:38 PM
  • 131
    I think we all were "that girl" in one way or another.....isn't it funny how we all end up in the same place? We were all insecure, but different types of people handle it differently. Some make themselves feel better by making others feel worse. I, like Stephanie, was on the receiving end of a lot of that. It did hurt my self-esteem; I was painfully shy. But I made it, and I've become a better, more compassionate person because of it.

    Thanks so much for the blog! - 8/25/2009   10:37:38 PM
  • 130
    The one bright side to all the hurtful comments I endured when I was younger is that I have that experience to relate to my own 11yo DD. She hasn't gotten teased yet, but it seems to be a rite of passage for young American girls to endure some torture about their appearance at some point in their middle to high school years. Thankfully so far she hasn't endured any teasing, despite being a little heavy, very smart, and not much into clothes or boys. So if & when it happens I have more to share with her than the typical response of "Ignore them" (yeah, like that's going to happen) or "They're just jealous" (Huh?!!) which was the advice that my parents gave me, while also saying "You would be so pretty if you just lost a little weight...". Now there's talking out of both sides of your mouth at once! :-\ - 8/25/2009   10:19:45 PM
  • 129
    I too have had my share of nasty comments from males and females alike and it does weigh heavily on my self esteem. Am trying on ignoring nasty comments on my looks or actions but still have a lot of work to do. I applaud you!!!! - 8/25/2009   10:10:20 PM
  • 128
    I'm going to share this with my 15-year-old daughter. She's one of the smart ones at school, not one of the popular ones, and I think it might help her to know that other people have lived through some of the same struggles she is going through. Thanks for sharing. - 8/25/2009   9:42:48 PM
  • 127
    If you lived near me I'd get you that T shirt that says "Boys are Dumb"... Cause they are. - 8/25/2009   9:27:36 PM
  • 126
    "Who you were in high school, in your 20s, or at any other point in your life, does not define your entire life." Those are truly words of wisdom that I could learn to live by. - 8/25/2009   9:15:28 PM
  • 125
    I still (40 years later) remember the kid in high school who asked someone, who was taking my photo, "Why are you taking a picture of that dog?"

    On the other hand, my best friend's mother always said I had a perfect face. I adored her for that. - 8/25/2009   8:02:43 PM
  • JSTURTLE
    124
    Thank you!!! What a great blog - I can relate to almost all. So motivating! - 8/25/2009   7:53:51 PM

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