ALICIA363 wrote a great blog a couple of days ago and it got me thinking. It's about one of her barriers to success: fear of becoming "One of Them". It's a personal reverie, but it really is addressing how we develop internal prejudices and attach them to external things, like, in my case, body size/shape. In her case, athleticism. www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
I had to go through a similar process myself, addressing my fear of success at the weight loss game. I truly did fear losing the connection with people who held this attitude about thin folks. Including myself.
Where did we get the idea that "thin" equals "mean"? Is it from the almost cliché portrayals in the media? Think TV or movies, two girlfriends over ice cream, looking across at their nemesis, "I forget, why do we hate her?".
Or perhaps we had a specific individual in our lives, someone who was important to us, like a mom or a sister, or someone we looked up to at school... that either exemplified the "thin = mean" attitude or taught us by their comments.
Or we might have been bullied, had comments made to us directly or about us, related to our weight. Being sensitive souls, we took it all in and defended ourselves by putting up an inner barrier. We labeled ourselves as "good" or "victims" and the other guys/gals as "bad" or "bullies".
Many heavy people have a prejudice toward thinner, more "beautiful" people. I took one of those tests that measures responses to show your hidden prejudice that was based on heavy versus thin, and found out that my own prejudice was in favor of the heavier! No wonder I had problems accepting myself as thin!
As with any form of discrimination, the solution lies in getting to know a few of the population and finding out that like all humans, there is a mix of good and not so good characteristics... but as individuals, not as a class!
Yes, there are some thin "mean girls", but more thin "clueless", and a large population of thin folks who have to work every bit as hard as I do as a POW. "You can't tell a book by its cover" definitely applies here.
Until I *did* succeed and walk a mile or six in their shoes, how would I know about the problems of "trying not to lose any more"? How would I know about the issues of the five pounds that feels like 50 to someone whose natural weight was less than what I used to carry?
By befriending some naturally thin people, I found out, for example, the gal who was naturally thin and had this huge chocolate bar on her desk? It didn't tempt her the way it would me... it sat there for MONTHS! Same chocolate bar. Not like me, where the chocolate bar would be a new one every day (or sometimes multiple times a day). She's not a compulsive eater. I am.
When my own body took on ten extra pounds last year? It felt like a humongous burden! 10 pounds added to 120 is almost 10% of my body weight. 10 pounds added to 210? Not as much, proportionally. So don't envy the thinner among us... when they complain about that 10 pounds, it's as scary to them as my original 80 or 90 was to me.
By getting out there and running in races, I found out that most winners are every bit as encouraging of the last runners as we are admiring of them.
My sister learned the same way I did... by observing and reasoning. We still reject the attributes of character that are ugly... but recognize now that they are independent of the body size they come wrapped it. It's OK to be thin and fit... it won't turn you into the "mean girl" example that probably started this internal barrier in the first place.
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It's at its best when friends and family are along for the journey! Creatively, consciously, and consistently making choices to support long term health and personal growth... I am GRATEFUL for every single day!
(And thanks, Ace, for reminding me of my roots!)