Poll: Do People Really Understand the Mental Hardships of Being Overweight?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  237 comments   :  24,792 Views

For the past year I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with some of my former classmates of 1980. Once a month we come together to sit down and catch up. We talk about old times, our families, jobs and everything in between. We can literally spend hours lost in conversation, laughter and sometimes tears. These great women, many of whom I knew in name only back in the day, have become such a wonderful network of support and encouragement for me.

Having spent most of my life, age 12 to 43, struggling with my weight, I never felt at peace with my body until the past 4 years. High school was a rough time for me. I was always heavier than many of the girls in my class and because of that I never felt like I fit in. I felt like a misfit. Much of that had to do with a lack of self-esteem on my part. I started my first diet when I was 12 and continued off and on until age 43. It’s a legacy I am not proud of, but one that has allowed me to get me to where I am today.

Many of these ladies never had a weight issue in high school so they could not understand, and rightfully so, the isolation of those of us who did. Thirty years later I can see the wisdom that my weight does not define who I am, but at age 15, 16 even 18 it was totally what defined me or what I thought at that time.

So this brings me to my question—Can those who have never struggled with their weight understand the plight of those of us who have?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand we all have struggles, but five years ago when I was forced to reflect on my own life I felt as though I was facing a mountain so high it was hard to see the summit from where I was standing. How could someone who only needed to lose 10 pounds or less relate to me who had to lose 80? How could they understand the emotional baggage of having to shop for an extra large size or larger? How could they understand the fear of being judged every time you went out to eat? Having others peer in your cart at the grocery store to see what you are buying? How could they understand the physical pain in your joints because of carrying the excess weight? The pure fatigue of doing just the simple things in life?

I once had a thin friend tell me years ago to just quit eating and the weight would come off. As simple as that seemed, that is precisely what I had been doing for 30 plus years and it only was making me fatter. She had little patience and more importantly little understanding and compassion.

However, when I started my journey I discovered that my weight issue was more involved than just eating fewer calories and getting in more exercise. While they are both very important and essential to our health, I had to walk the painful gauntlet of why I was using food to suppress my emotions. I was, and still am, to some degree an emotional eater. Food was the first thing I turned to when everything in my life began to spiral out of control. Food became my friend, confidant and comforter. It never judged me and it made me feel good--that was until guilt reared its ugly head. The minute the guilt kicked in was the minute I vowed I would start again the next day only to fail less than an hour into that day. I allowed my perfection to stand in my way of my success.

This journey we are on is one of self-discovery. One I like to call, “the why we do, what we do, when we do it” journey. In all the many years I spent dieting, the one area I failed to master was connecting my emotions to my eating. In other words, I had to stop and ask am I eating out of hunger or to suppress feeling the true emotions in my life.

My friend and I could never see the world in the same way. She believed if only I was better disciplined I could drop the weight. Sadly our friendship drifted apart and we both went our separate ways. That was a little over 7 years ago.

A few months ago I ran into her at my local mall and she was shocked to see how much weight I had lost and to hear that I was running. She was very complementary; however she appeared somewhat uncomfortable since she had put on some weight since we last saw one another and I could tell she wanted to get on her way. We said our good-byes and shared a hug and went about our day, but I was a little saddened that she felt the need to explain to me why she had put on the weight. Unfortunately, this is the most difficult aspect of the journey--and that is not judging ourselves like we feel others judge us. We should never feel as though we owe anyone an explanation unless we believe it will change the path we are on. So while many people may not be able to relate to our plight of having to lose 20, 40, 80, even a hundred pounds or more, our goal is not to change them but to change us.

Do you feel others judge you before they really get to know you? Do you believe those who have never had to deal with weight issues can relate to those of us who have?

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    Actually I think the judging is worse from those who were overweight and lost it fairly easily - after all, they did it so why can't you. - 10/1/2013   7:35:56 AM
  • 236
    I don't think that people that have never been overweight understand what it is like. My mother in law, who is underweight, told me she understands what I am going through because people teased her about being underweight and too skinny. No, you don't understand my plight. I also feel that I have to look that much better, be that much smarter, be that much more of everything, just to compensate for the fact that I am overweight. It hurts, it's a struggle, it's draining, and it gets old. - 4/3/2012   3:12:01 PM
  • 235
    OK, I know you won't understand me but I really do understand you.
    Yes, I have never really struggled with my weight.
    Yes, I am not always happy with my weight but I know that others would kill to be my size.
    All my friends have weight problems, my husband struggled with weight issues for years and so does my daughter.
    I understand and sometimes I feel like I am the same size as they are.
    However, I look in the mirror and I know that I am not.
    I have the same pain and suffering but I can't share that with someone over weight because they are dealing with their own issues.
    How do you think the "skinny" person feels when we fight the same demons.
    I am sure you can't understand either but I am in two worlds.
    Where are you????? - 8/7/2010   5:35:54 PM
  • 234
    What bugs me is the whole "naturally thin" term. Don't assume people are naturally thin. I, for one and many people I talk to are working very hard at staying at a healthy weight. If I do give in and become overweight-to-obese, I gave up the fight. I failed. I stopped caring.
    On my job, I regularly council people about their weight and diet as it relates to health and illness. I get many snide remarks such as "easy for you to say". It's every bit as hard to maintain a weight as it is to lose weight. One might even argue that it's harder.
    So stop and consider that people do know what you're going through and please don't generalize based on appearance.
    - 7/5/2010   3:53:26 PM
    Thank you for sharing your story. I have been large all my life. I weighed 12 pounds when I was born and the weight problems only got worse. High school was a nightmare. I didn't fit in anywhere.
    My working carreer was OK because I worked for a family owned company and there were a lot of the family members with weight problems too. Now that I am retired I am finally taking the time to figure out why I am an emotional eater and what my trigers are. Life is finally becoming what I always thought it should be. - 7/3/2010   3:53:15 PM
  • 232
    Absolutely not!! They will never understand, as my overweight friends and I have discussed many times. I work with a woman who is naturally thin (and can eat whatever she wants,) and I mentioned the calories in something and how I'm careful about eating it, and she said "I never think about that" and I said, "Of course you don't, you're thin" (not snarky, just commenting) and she remarked, "Yeah, but even if I wasn't, I don't think I'd care." And I had so much I would have loved to say, starting least with 'Oh yes, you would.' I made a mental list of all of the things that being overweight has held me back from, and I wanted to spit them all in her face for being so ignorant. "Just eat a salad and go for a walk." Do you know how many times I have heard that from thin people?? If it were that easy, I'd be a size 4. But it is SO much more, and no matter what struggles they may have had in their lives, those who don't struggle with weight can not possibly ever understand. That is an absolute certainty. - 6/28/2010   9:32:11 PM
    Yes, I feel people judge me for my weight. In the past I tried to overlook it but in the last year I have notice how big of a problem me be overweight is for other people. It has really limited the things I would try to do and my social life. I have a phobia of being around people that know me because of it. It's sad because I have been a little over 300 lbs about 9 year ago and was very active and dating serveral guys, just enjoying life. I really don't know what make it so bad for me this time. I am laid-off and have giving my weight a lot of thought in preparing for the job market. I had a friend be told that her work history was good but the company felt she could not perform the job because of her weight. What happen to the day of job history, professional and personal references getting you the job. Weight discrimination is an under the radar issue especially in this economy. - 6/5/2010   7:07:39 PM
  • 230
    Mmm...never really been overweight, so true, I guess I don't understand the "struggles." But I do know this: since wieght really when you come down to it is energy in vs. energy out, what better person to come to for advice on managing a healthy weight than someone who has managed it successfully, always? - 6/1/2010   6:48:07 PM
  • 229
    I've almost always been on the heavy side, except for the last part of grade 12 (due to bulimia, unfortunately) & the first year of college. Then I've slowly gotten to where I am today. Since re-joining SP in February, I've lost weight very slowly, which is fine. I went to my 10th & my 20th year high school reunions, & no one cared about my size. Except for elementary school, I've never really been teased harshly about my weight, which I know is rare. It did hurt when it happened, though.

    In junior high, I met some friends with whom I'm close to this day. Both of them back in school were really thin & couldn't gain weight, no matter what they did. One of them's still really thin to this day, while the other's gained weight, but she's certainly not obese. With the former, part of it was stress at home as well as the fact that she was & still is active. Even after 2 children, she's still thin, although maybe a little too thin. The other started gaining weight after her first child. I know that part of it was keeping on some of the weight after pregnancy, but, with her, it was also being away from her childhood home (her parents, most especially her mom, was nasty & abusive verbally & emotionally &, upon occasion, physically. She literally kicked & threw my friend out of the house!) & finally being in a calm home. She's in a great place now overall, & I know that her weight gain's partly from that. She's happy & her weight's a sign of that.

    As far as understanding the mental hardships of being overweight, neither of these friends really understood it, although they certainly were very good to me & I was thankful for that. They had their own issues, although I never understood why they wanted to gain weight. I do see now what their concerns were. The one friend still doesn't understand what it is to be overweight, but she's still as kind & sweet as ever, & she's still concerned that she doesn't gain weight. However, she's fit & healthy, & that's what she's got going for her.

    My other friend does understand a bit now, although she's certainly not obese - just not super thin & just a little bit overweight. Still, she's happy & the healthiest she's been overall in years. - 5/26/2010   9:57:21 PM
  • 228
    You told my story! I have had weight issues all my life. I am just now admitting to myself that it is severly tied in to my mental state. I am working to sort out my life, my feelings, and my health. Kudos to you for sharing this story. - 5/26/2010   8:18:26 AM
  • ASHLEY0713
    Your story has hit the nail on the head with me. I feel that people do look at me in a different way because Im a bigger person then if I was small. I have always been a bigger person myself and I had the same troubles in highschool. I really appreciate you sharing your story it just really made me aware that there are people out there who struggle in the same way that I do. - 5/25/2010   3:41:31 PM
  • 226
    Slippery slope. When you see a friend and/or family member getting more and more hurt by their emotional eating/non activity it's hard not to say please stop. Can I understand, I have not grown up with weight issues but it is not about the weight it is the same as I can't relate to an alcoholic exactly. Yet I can understand how hard it is but maybe not the same way. I also fear to much understanding can turn into enabling so to me it's a very slippery slope. I can't get someone to realize something they are not wanting to deal with but I still try and hope they realize it for themselves. - 5/24/2010   4:44:56 PM
  • 225
    I know other people have judged me but I own my body now and that doesn't matter to me anymore. This is my life and I can't let that deter me from my personal goals. What someone else thinks will not change me and can no longer affect how people make me feel about myself. It took me a long time to say that. I think its hard for people who haven't had to do it to understand your plight because they don't have the experience. I don't fault them for it. But it give them no way to put input on the situation since they aren't familiar with it. - 5/24/2010   11:20:47 AM
  • 224
    We are judged by appearance. Children especially make fun of overweight people. - 5/23/2010   11:34:43 PM
    I was thin until I hit my mid 20's. I cannot say that when I was thin, I understood the emotional termoil of carrying extra weight.

    Now, as an overweight person I can understand the painful side of it physically and emotionally. I'll be honest though-- there have been times someone with a great/healthy body has walked past me and I've felt a stab of jealousy and judged them for being thin...

    It's a 2 way street. - 5/23/2010   10:11:22 PM
    The immediate answer I would give to the question is: No, people who have never had to deal with being overweight can't relate to those who do. I would add to that people who have no trouble losing weight can't relate to those who do. My husband went from a very physical job to a much less physical job, and, in about 3 years gained 30 pounds. Then, just by cutting out a few snacks in the evening, lost 20 of those pounds in a matter of a couple of months. He is definately NOT overweight. He's one of those people who can eat anything he wants and not gain weight - or if he does gain a few pounds, he can take them off just as easily as he put them on. He does NOT understand the struggles I have had trying to lose weight. He insists that we keep snacks like potato chips and cookies around the house because he can eat them. But he doesn't realize how hard it is for me to avoid them when they are sitting right there in my own pantry cupboard.

    Another observation I would make is: Who says you have to be a size 2 or a size 4 to be the right weight? I think our society has made weight more of an issue than it really should be. Back in the '40's, you were considered way too skinny if you were a size 2. They liked women who had "shape" to them. The popular women actually had hips and a butt. Imagine that. I honestly believe that every person was designed to be built differently. For me to wear a size 2 or 4, I would have to have surgery to make my bones smaller. The natural spread of my hip bones just will never allow me to be that size. Yes, I need to lose weight to be a "healthy" weight, but I don't think we should all look anorexic, either. - 5/23/2010   9:54:43 PM
  • 221
    This is so very well written, and ends especially well. "We should never feel as though we owe anyone an explanation unless we believe it will change the path we are on"

    - 5/22/2010   11:20:37 PM
    I don't think people that haven't experienced being overweight knows exactly what it is like to be judge because of that issue. I think they can pity, and I think they can sympathize and be compassionate. I don't think though anyone can ever really tell exactly what someone else feels being overweight even other overweight people. I have seen some shows that show overweight people never experience love, and their self esteem is so low that they have no confidence. I am a little different than that I know I am beautiful inside and out even being 360lbs. Do I want to lose weight yes but do I hate myself and hate the way I look ?? NO! I love who I am, I don't need to be anybody's ideal look or a size 2 if I don't want to be. I am glad I do have a fiance and someone who backs me up, but ultimately it is my choice if I am gonna exercise or eat that brownie. I have to be strong with myself, yes I see people stare sometimes and that pushes me. But no one will know till they have same experiences. People who judge though aren't worth my time. - 5/22/2010   5:15:20 PM
  • 219
    It is true -- people tend to judge others by appearances, whether size, clothing, cosmetics, perceived beauty, or whatever. Judging because of size may be more common because people feel that it could be controlled, which we know it can be, ultimately -- although often with great difficulty. I have lost about 60 pounds, and sometimes when acquaintances mention that they have noticed, they are apologetic -- "Well, not that you were THAT big, or anything . . ." But I realize that they must have thought I was big at the time. Now when I see a very overweight person, I feel sad for him or her, and vow to never go back. I also feel like telling them about Sparkpeople, but that could be offensive, too. - 5/22/2010   8:11:01 AM
    I had gastric by pass surgery more than 8 years ago... I have regained almost 30 pounds and still stuggle with emotional eating... Food has always been my drug of choice and now I use Sparkpeople to keep me on track...The discomfort that comes with the feeling of being completely judged or unacceptable never leaves you... I work each day either with my journal or just reading others comments to keep me focused and on track... I've never experienced anything as wonderful as Sparkpeople, the information, support, and motivational materials are simply the BEST. - 5/21/2010   5:13:22 PM
  • 217
    Everyone is guilty of judging other people before getting to know them. Its instinctual. If you see someone that's wearing some ridiculous getup or something, you're going to form an opinion about them. Its how you proceed afterward. I've been judged before getting to know me based on so many different things. I even judge myself, much worse than others, in fact.

    Someone relating to weight issues is all relative to so many things. Some people have kind, loving and supportive people in their lives regardless of their size, others have people who mock them or treat them differently because of their size. Some of us have deep emotional scarring and others are completely fine. People who aren't overweight can relate to certain aspects that they have experienced. Someone who has been picked on for other reasons aside from weight can sympathize with someone who has been picked on for weight. Even someone who was popular can empathize with someone who has been picked on. You can't feel the full effect of the damage or judgment unless you have experienced it yourself though, and even then we all think and feel differently. - 5/21/2010   12:45:22 PM
  • 216
    No, I don't believe someone who has never had a weight issue has any idea of the hardship, the hurt, the pain, the self-loathing, the depressin, the desperation and all of the other emotions that go along with being over or under weight. My grandmother proves that to me on a pretty regular basis with her "you need to stop eating, you're just getting fatter and fatter" comments and her "you need to do something before your husband leaves you!" comments.

    BUT, I also recognize that other people face a host of problems and issues that I could never relate to. I could never understand the hardship of having a child with autism, the pain one feels while watching their spouse losing their battle with cancer, the desperation of trying to end an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the shame of going from being the "popular girl" in high school to being a single mother shopping at The Salvation Army (as I saw happen to many girls I went to school with).

    I think the lesson here is that we all need to learn to treat each other with kindness and compassion, not with judgement and criticism. - 5/21/2010   10:48:16 AM
  • JQZFY348
    No one can understand if they have not been their themselves. I believe this to be true with any struggle, what ever it may be. - 5/21/2010   10:44:39 AM
    I have countless stories of being judged for being heavy. Sadly it has happened to me even from my closest family members and friends. But I have a new attitude about all of that since I found this group and have a source of inspiration - laugh about it! My husband and I are big, and we know it, and we at least keep a sense of humor about it all. We went to Los Angelos about a year ago and attended the Jimmy Kimmel show. My husband was using a cane at the time due to a bum knee. Even though all the seats were available and open when we walked in, they still made us climb to the top back portion of the theatre to stay away from the camera angle. We took one look at each other and roared. It was better than feeling bad about ourselves! My husband got them in the end though, because he managed to get his own cameo during the live band section, by sticking his head between two people and making his big mug look like it was right beside Jimmy Kimmel. Too funny! - 5/21/2010   9:16:23 AM
  • 213
    I actually had a discussion with my ex-boyfriend from high school last night about the double standard with weight issues. Weight issues are not just for those of us who are significantly overweight. He has been skinny his whole life, extremely skinny (I think he is 6 feet tall and weighs 150 dripping weight). He has TRIED to put on weight, work out, etc. and still cannot gain weight. He gets comments from "bigger" people about how he is too skinny, blah blah blah. And you know what? It bothers him just as much to get those comments as it bothers me when people say stuff about me being big. In high school I was extremely thin and was asked if I was anorexic. I wasn't and at the time I laughed it off thinking are you kidding me? because I thought I was FAT. Then I had kids and actually DID get fat. Then I lost weight and became the skinny girl again, then had another kid and now I'm REALLY fat. It is a constant struggle. Those who have never had a weight issue (too thin or too fat) really do not understand the mental toll. The problem is, unless you truly know a person, you may never know if they have been through that or not. Not all skinny people have never had a weight issue, and not all fat people have always been fat. I will say that being fat has made me appreciate how nice it was to be a "normal" not-too-fat not-too-thin size though. - 5/21/2010   9:14:45 AM
  • 212
    I love your story. I am about to mbark on a wild ride fmy own. I have been a fathful spark reader for over 3 years and while this program has helped me maintain my weightand keep my sanity I have found it is not enough fr me. I have mde the decision to have WLS. On the 7t of June I will have teprocedure known as the Sleeve. I have attended not one but two semminars undergoe psyciatrict evaluation ad will have an upper endoscopy and pre op testing before that date. I am exhilarated nervous but very excited. Pray for me ad my journey ahead. No regreats! - 5/20/2010   12:23:27 PM
  • 211
    I was always thin - a stick actually all through school, and into marriage. Then fat. Then divorced, Then very thin. Married and now fat. I think I've seen it all and felt it all. - 5/20/2010   10:28:08 AM
    Please. So they might not understand your struggles with weight? Do you understand whatever struggles they may have? Oh- or are we going to assume that since they are thin, they don't have any struggles? At least, if they do, they cannot possibly be as bad as the ones a fat person has? Geez. What a self defeating, self pitying attitude. They might not fully understand what it's like to be fat, but there's a pretty good chance you don't understand their demon, either. Having been on both sides of this...I can say the people that have been the meanest, most judgemental, have been the overweight people I now encounter when I am out. Because, obviously, I am now "that" person who doesn't understand their plight. Being overweight was one kettle of emotional fish for me, but becoming thin opened up another bunch of issues. Do overweight people proclaim to know and understand those issues? - 5/20/2010   9:44:08 AM
  • 209
    No. People who have never had an issue with weight don't understand what it is like to lose weight. That does not reflect negatively on them, it just has not been part of their experience. I never thought about weight until it became an issue. - 5/19/2010   9:40:28 PM
  • 208
    We are all judged by our appearance. Is it the way things should be? Well no, but that is how we were designed. I am not making an excuse for those that judge and then are rude about what they see. We must all remember if we did not make judgements about each other how would we find a mate? I know I have been judged by the thinner population. I have also wished for a better outcome for myself but, in the end wishing for my situation to change and not changing my situation ended in the same result. We all have a journey in this life and if we could all realize that rather than be rude to each other except those around you for who they are. We all have pain, issues and needs. Those of us that are overweight happen to show a lot of our pain outside of our bodies rather than hide it. We show our pain for all the world to see. I hope that all of you find your way on your journey and heal your pain on the way. - 5/19/2010   5:52:18 PM
  • 207
    I think that its fairly obvious by reading some other members' comments that people who have never had to struggle with their weight do not know what it is like to live with yourself when you are significantly overweight. Yes, they may have their own struggles with body image, we all do. However the neverending spiral of guilt, shame, sadness and powerlessness that obese people can feel is something that naturally thin people may never understand. Do they know what it is like to feel judged by others as being lazy so often that you truly believe it yourself? Do they dream at night of being thin and healthy only to wake up with that same fat weighing you down? I could go on and on, but I don't need to. They people that have struggled with their weight will understand, and the people that haven't will probably not. - 5/19/2010   11:21:26 AM
    I too struggled with weight through my middle and high school years. I constantly compared myself to those "super skinny" girls who could eat whatever whenever and look amazing. Now, looking back at pictures, I was a skinny girl. It wasn't my actual body that was out of whack, it was my self esteem and self confidence. I always felt like I should look like those model girls in magazines. Because of that, I thought everyone was judging me against that standard. I don't know that I'll ever get back to that skinny me, because who can get back to your body at 18 after kids, but I know am going to focus on being a happier me. I am not focused on a number on a scale or on an article of clothing. I choose to focus on energy, health, and happiness. - 5/19/2010   9:47:41 AM
  • 205
    The question that comes to my mind reading all these comments is "are you feeling judged, or are you actually being judged?" All too often people are self conscious about a thing and they assume that everybody else sees it, is thinking about it and judging them on it. In fact most people are too absorbed in their own issues to be expending much energy thinking about yours. Usually we are judging ourselves and then projecting those feelings onto others. Yes, people are going to assume if you are overweight that you are lazy about your diet and about your fitness - accept it and move on with your day. You know the truth whatever that truth may be.

    A wise person once told me, don't compare your inside to anybody else's outside. Your insecurities about your weight should not be compared to that thin, fit person that appears to have all the confidence in the world - you don't know what they are dealing with and it may be something that makes your weight issue look like a paper cut. - 5/19/2010   8:04:29 AM
  • 204
    I probably judge myself more harshly than other judge me. I've fought weight for as long as I can remember The cruel names of childhood still haunt me at times. Yet, even when I was underweight after my second child was born I saw only fat when I looked in the mirror. That was more than 30 years ago. When I look at photos from that era I can hardly believe that I truly saw myself as fat. So, it's no wonder that I judge myself so harshly today. I dread the scale, yet I'm drawn to it as a moth to a flame. I know I have good qualities, but I focus only on the weight most of the time. I do think food is a difficult 'drug' in that we have to eat. We can't give it up and stay on that imaginary 'wagon'. When it comes to food we have to make choices, sometimes good, sometimes not. I hate shopping for clothes or trying to find something in my closet that can somehow disguise the all too obvious. I 'know' everyone is looking at me, judging me. Logically, this doesn't compute, but I've never been a creature of logic when my weight was the issue. I keep trying to see the positives in my life, there are so many. But, weight drowns out the beautiful music, a harsh light that puts everything else in the shadows. When it comes down to honesty, I probably judge myself so harshly because I cannot stop judging others. My gut reaction is a sad commentary on my distorted view of humanity. - 5/19/2010   2:06:55 AM
  • 203
    I wasn't overweight until mid-30s. Up until then I believed if a person was fat it was because they weren't doing anything to change the fact. Hmmmm...funny how I put on over 45 lbs in 6 months by simply not working any more in a physically demanding job. This sure opened my eyes to how difficult losing weight can be. I'm much less judgemental now..you never know when your life might mirror the one's you're passing judgement on. - 5/19/2010   12:40:34 AM
    I absolutely think that people judge us unfairly. It's hard for those that have never had a weight problem to understand all the emotional turmoil we go through daily. I have a friend that is overweight and is trying for another child because she thinks that she would never be able to adopt because of her weight. That is definitely unfair judgement. - 5/18/2010   9:16:20 PM
  • 201
    Thanks for sharing!! - 5/18/2010   5:37:27 PM
  • 200
    This blog really hit home for me. I was that girl, that woman, that "had little patience and more importantly little understanding and compassion." I, too, judged anyone over 140 lbs as "fat" and disgusting, with no discipline and a lot of laziness. Of course it was easy for me to judge, I had never had a weight problem. Now I do, and I realize how I was back then, and yes, I do explain to people why I gained weight, and I feel embarrassed to be around old friends and relatives who knew me as thin, and I'm constantly talking about how I know I need to lose weight, etc. I no longer judge others for their weight issues, but there really is no way for someone who was always a thin person to have any understanding about what overweight people feel or to have any compassion for them. - 5/18/2010   4:45:31 PM
  • 199
    Wow, this was amazing! This is exactly how I feel. My sister has never had a weight problem. She wants to lose about 15lbs, but this is nothing to my 75lbs, and I feel that she doesn't really understand the emotional baggage I'm carrying around. This blog has been very encouraging. - 5/18/2010   3:49:56 PM
  • 198
    I see a lot of people saying that thin people cannot relate to what overweight people go through. Did it ever cross anyones mind that some of those thin people are thin because they take care of themselves? Not only do they 'understand' but rather they are experts at this lifestyle; hence the fit bodies. Of course not all thin people are healthy, but I think that the majority are.

    I mention this based on personal experience. I run at least 5k a day and eat incredibly healthy. I always get comments like 'why did you order a salad, you're so skinny!' and I find it very irritating. It never seems to dawn on people that perhaps the salad is WHY I'm fit. The judging goes both ways! - 5/18/2010   3:38:07 PM
  • FALCONS_26
    Wow, I just had this same discussion with my boyfriend the other day. Most people don't understand the emotional struggle that comes with being over weight. I have been over weight most of my life. I found this blog to really hit home. Its a struggle I have every day. There are things I don't want to do because I don't feel comfortable being around people. - 5/18/2010   2:43:29 PM
    this was really eye opening. As someone who has never been greatly overweight I have judged people unfairly. I hope i can stop that today. My mom is overweight and I am sending this article to her right away. - 5/18/2010   2:24:31 PM
    yes being overweight is not just the pounds . the side effects of weight are emitional . we try to hide from others not just ourselfs . we do not want you to get to core of our problem . the way others treat you is one small part of the pain. you would not treat anyone the way the treat overweight people . I have had otehrs say that stink has to come with the weight . they are wrong . you can be odorless and heavy keep your faith that all will be well . - 5/18/2010   12:21:58 PM
    For the past year, I've shared an office with a woman who weighs 90 lbs soaking wet and thinks that anyone who is even slightly overweight is lazy. She talks all the time about how she hates to go out shopping because she sees all those "disgusting" people and it makes her sick. I've tried to discuss it with her but her mind is closed, so I change the subject when she starts in again. I guess since she eats junk all day long and doesn't gain an ounce she figures everyone else can, too. She teases me constantly about all the "healthy" food that I bring for lunch everyday. But hey, I'm proud of what I've done in the past year to get myself healthy - I eat right, exercise almost every day, and my weight and cholesterol are dropping dramatically. I feel better than I have in years, and I'm really happy about where I am now and where I'm going to be. She, on the other hand, has a lot of health issues and is always sick or in pain. I'll never be as skinny as she is, but I'll always make sure I'm as healthy as I can be, and in the long run I'm the one who will be better off. - 5/18/2010   12:08:12 PM
  • 193
    Do I feel others judge me before they really get to know me? I don't feel it, I know it. As a young person, I was tormented about my weight. I was the target of daily verbal and physical abuse, and half the time it was relative to my size. I'm learning now how to change the things I've been conditioned to believe about myself, but it wasn't easy. I think part of it is just that kids can be cruel, and part of it is that thin people have no concept of how their more "acceptable" size is an advantage to them. They look at a large person and see someone who has "brought it upon themselves" who is "lazy" and has no "self control." The assumption is that they, the superior people, have it all together in a way fat people don't. It's socially acceptable discrimination. - 5/18/2010   11:50:01 AM
  • 192
    The question "Do you believe those who have never had to deal with weight issues can relate to those of us who have?" is incredibly misleading. It implies that people at a healthy weight never have to deal with weight issues or struggles.

    While I've never been overweight in my life, that doesn't mean I haven't struggled. I've worked very hard to maintain my weight (and trust me, I don't have the greatest genes). I understand what it takes to remain a healthy weight so I'm not walking around looking for people to judge.
    Everyone has something to work on, myself included. I have very thin friends, who I encourage to exercise to become healthier. But if I spread the same encouragement to overweight friends, many of them become defensive. It's such a taboo subject, and many times its not judgement, it's wanting my friends to be healthy and live active lives.
    Do people judge you before they get to know you? Of course. But you have control over whether you do that to other people. And that question rings true not just for weight, but for a lot of things. Do you "judge" or make snap decisions about the skinny blond girl carrying a chihuahua in a bright pink Coach purse? Do you judge the guy in the back of the bus with tattered clothes and a long beard? What about the woman with the big, frizzy hair?
    - 5/18/2010   11:48:01 AM
  • 191
    I have a story for you about this same kind of thing. Before my b/f and I met, he had gone through a divorce and had tried to ask out 30 - 40 women. They were all very thin and pretty. They all said no. He is bald, overweight, and definitely not a stud. He was just friends with a friend of mine and sometimes he would call when I was at her house and he would hear us joking around, laughing, and having fun together. So he decided that he had to meet me after hearing so much about me. We hit it off right away. And we have been together for 5 years this coming November. If he wouldn't have changed his ways of thinking, he would have missed out on a good thing! - 5/18/2010   8:18:51 AM
  • 190
    Yes, I always feel that I have been judged.. And I guess I have done that also.. Kind of an instinct, though I realize and sympathize myself later.. - 5/18/2010   4:12:31 AM
  • 189
    I am my worst critic. Even when I weighed 110 lbs I still beat myself up and thought I knew the negative things people were saying about me. - 5/18/2010   1:46:56 AM
  • 188
    Well said. I too always felt judged, and in a way still do, but now in a good way. Which I guess reinforces that I was judged before. Sadly, I've allowed my appearance to define me as a person. Before weight loss - I had a poor self esteem and image - I didn't like myself at all. I was/am a good mom, friend, daughter, sister, etc. But I didn't feel like I was. I never felt worthy of any good comments people would make to or about me. This healthy lifestyle journey is one of physical AND mental changes, and so far I don't see an end in site. It's an evolution - a metamorphosis of sorts. I'm glad I have my spark friends with me on this journey! - 5/17/2010   9:02:09 PM

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