May 14, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Fit

Laughing Cat Photo: Rikki's Refuge

Guest Post by Genie

Yet again I'm very grateful to Genie for sharing more of her experiences with her usual wit and insight! Thanks so much Genie!--Crabby 

A funny thing happened on the way to fit. People started treating me differently. And making the strangest comments. And offering the strangest advice. Lots of others have written about what to expect after weight loss, so I thought I would share some things I experienced. Anyone who has lost some weight knows all about the fun stuff that happens, but there is some odd or not-so-fun stuff too. It’s easy to write about the fun stuff but the weird stuff is a little, well, weirder. And it was certainly unexpected.



1. Suddenly, everyone is an expert on my “diet.” While I insist that I am not on a diet, they insist that “Oh, you can’t eat that!” when I am at a gathering. I insist that I “can” eat anything I want to, I am not on a “diet,” this is a lifestyle change, and I “choose” not to eat certain things most of the time. But everyone knows best, don’t ya’ know!

2. If they aren’t an expert on my “diet,” they think I am an expert on weight loss. I find myself being asked “What are you eating?” or “What are you doing?” often. Few folks like the answers. I am not an expert and only know what worked for me. This is hard work and most of the people who ask want an easy answer. They don’t want to hear that I have completely changed how I lived my life, how I eat or how I restructured my time so I could work out an hour a day most days. One person even asked why I didn’t just go to the local doctor who is still handing out prescriptions for some so-called weight loss drugs. Yep.

3. Speaking of doctors, while at a recent visit to a doctor I found myself being asked for advice by the women worked there. Seriously? Those women are health professionals, and this isn’t rocket science. Will you believe me when I tell you that they didn’t like my answers either? They didn’t. They were impressed by the downward ascent of the weight numbers on my chart and impressed by my blood pressure and resting heart rate. But they did not like the answer. Not at all.

4. Other women friends started claiming the strangest quick fix solutions that they were doing that I “should definitely try to speed things up.” Ladies, I’ve tried some and they don’t work. Do your research! All of my friends, due to my small community and my profession, are academics; therefore, they know how to do research. They really do. Why does the subject of bodies suddenly make people stupid? Quick fix solution #1: “Oh, no! I can’t have lunch with you until I get back from my trip. I’m only eating a romaine salad for dinner until I get there. I can’t go to (fill in exotic locale here) fat. You should try this with me. You’d lose so much more so fast.” Are you serious?! She isn’t “fat” and can we talk about health for just one minute? That’s just one example, but you get the point. Cranky readers are smart enough to know how effective quick fixes are. And no, that didn’t last and she didn’t get healthy.

5. Then, there are the backhanded compliments. Here’s my favorite, “Oh, you look so pretty! I hate you, you skinny bitch!” What the hell was I supposed to do with that?! I mumbled “thank you” and changed the subject. This came from a woman who had asked me numerous times, “What are you doing” and didn’t like the answer. There are also the comments of seeming concern, “You don’t want to get too thin, do you?” and “You’re disappearing!” Like that’s gonna happen! I’ve noted on more than one occasion that I will never be anything close to “skinny,” and I’m not kidding. I like dark chocolate, great wine and awesome beer and I don’t like to starve. I’m not built for “skinny;” there is nothing to be worried about on that front. I will confess a little envy for women who are built for “skinny,” but that isn’t me. I’m still plenty “curvy” and will be until the end, I suspect, baring a terrible illness (she writes knocking on wood). I will take care of what I’ve worked for and be grateful for that.

6. I don’t like to shop. Never have. I do 99% of my shopping online. Yes, even for bras and that’s a whole other problem. But I realize that now, when I do put a foot or two into retail establishments, the people who work there treat me differently. Now, I am a potential sale in more than the accessory or plus size departments. This made me angry. Really angry. And I was made aware, again, of how unfair the world is to some people. I was reminded of why I developed a hatred for shopping. The internet retail world doesn’t judge. The people at the local post office may think I have a problem since I return a lot of things, but the sales people online don’t judge! The anonymity of online shopping has long been a safe haven, and I suspect will remain so because I don’t like to be angry. I’d rather work out (or write a guest post for Crabby!) than spend time being angry—it’s exhausting. I have a nasty temper.

So, while getting fit has been completely worth it, there have been some odd moments along the way. Have any of you noticed anything on your way to fit? How did you handle it? I’d love to know. The fun stuff and the rewards of health and more energy totally off set the other weirder stuff. It is fun to fit into smaller places in the world, pick up heavier things and move faster. But I have also lost the weight of a friend or two along the way. With my new confidence, I will no longer tolerate negativity more than I have to. Maybe that confidence is the biggest gain of all?

15 comments:

  1. This is by no means a getting-fit experience, but all my teenage and adult life people who haven't seen me in a few months have greeted me with "You've lost weight!" Er, no, I hadn't. Mostly I weighed exactly the same as I had for years. Why do people remember me fatter than I am? I have no idea, but it sure is weird.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Yes, isn't it odd that is so widely believed to be such a compliment? I don't think they remember you as fatter - I think they are just saying what they'd like to hear from others. Always seems a of a bit tin-eared choice to me.

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    2. No, it's not the thin-is-a-compliment thing. Sometimes it may be, but some of them are close friends of mine who know me better than that, and they have to be convinced (with numbers) that I really haven't lost weight. And some are relatives on my mother's side, where there is a branch that tends to thin and who recognize weight-loss as Not Healthy. (She had emphysema. Some of her relatives had cancer.)

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  2. Lots of people talk about making changes and getting fit (a discussion often had while drinking coffee and eating buns), but very few of them get off their bum and do anything about it. Less talk more action. You obviously understand this so well done you :~)

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  3. Death Ride GrandmaMay 14, 2015 at 2:47 PM

    Well, I lost weight, but not enough to make any dramatic differences in how I am seen (never got out of regular sizes, or even to the top end of those). But I know what you mean, because I have a couple of very close friends who have struggled for years with weight issues, and they tell me about what they experience. I think the thing is to just feel sorry for those people you describe. I try to react to people who are so sure they know the answer (whatever my particular problem is, and I've had brain cancer, so have had some pretty, uh, creative ideas thrown at me) the same way I react to a 5-year-old who solemnly tells me how to do something of, to his or her perception, grave importance. I smile, I thank them and if they are prepared to listen, I try to bring them back to the world of thought and science. Or if they are actually 5 years old, I try to be sure they don't get too close to knives or matches...

    As you know so well, the answer is not in a pill bottle or a magazine; it's inside us. Until we are ready to hear it, there is no answer. Not too surprising that people don't much like that. Pity them, and keep that inner glow of satisfaction you have soooo earned!

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 14, 2015 at 3:04 PM

      DRG, what a great comment! And likening clueless "helpers" who are no help at all to 5 year olds is a really great idea. No use letting them upset us--just nod attentively until they wander away to the next shiny thing...

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  4. It's true that no one wants the answer that it has to be done the hard and correct way. That's in everything! There are no shortcuts, however, to any place that would be worth going.

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  5. Well I think we have been bombarded with so much destructive talk and advertising that those messages and attitudes manage to seep in and corrode your brain. On the up-side I think I am seeing a general shift in many people's thinking.
    I have caught myself dropping some smelly judgement or diet talk into conversations and immediately regretting it. I thought I had scrubbed all that junk out of my brain but sometimes "Oops! Look what popped out of my mouth".
    I am obese and I get comments and I get people treating me like I'm 6 and only vary rarely now, I get abuse. I pretty much ignore what needs ignoring and accept that other people mean well but deliver clumsily or are consumed by their own issues, myself included.

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  7. As a personal trainer this was hilarious to me! I mean you are losing weight and looking good, take the good with the bad girl! I know alot of ladies (especially the older ones) who struggle to diet and exercise, AND wish that someone would give them any kind of compliment...(even a backhanded one!) You did it for yourself but enjoy the fruits of your labor! Who knows, you may even inspire someone else!

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  8. OH, BABYCAKES,!! Ditto! Ditto! Double DITTO!

    You are not alone! All the way through your post I kept thinking, DID I WRITE THIS? But my "favorite," going from 396 to 145, on my own, over years of lifestyle change and no "diets or surgery, and happily holding, also for years, is said in hushed tones... "Honey, are you sick? Do you have cancer or something?" ... Back from Obesity, my weight loss story, is not selling well, and I suspect it's because there is no "how to" or quick fix! ... Glad to read a post from another healthy gal who tells it exactly the way it is!! Blessings!

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  9. Great post. I've also found MDs don't know jack about nutrition. Hell my doctor smokes! I too am hearing "oh, you don't want to lose too much weight, you might get sick." I say get sick from what?

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  10. Hi , i like this post great information , thank you and keep going

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  11. Hi,
    That's interesting! I thought it was mainly, ahem, alpha males who would give unsolicited (and usually questionable) advice. :)

    And that part about health professionals asking you - that's wild, and kind of funny! Yet I've been in so many health facilities lately (fortunately not for my stuff), that one can't help but notice that the folks in there may need to heal themselves. I remember one scene.... I overheard the doc in the hospital telling a patient in very certain terms that he had to stop smoking, almost with the wagging finger. I was there quite awhile visiting that day, and sometime later I saw the doc slip out and begin puffing extravagantly.

    Very interesting post!

    Dave/Tabby

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  12. Just in case anyone checks in late: I wanted to apologize for not responding to all of your comments as I usually do when Crabby lets me in on the Cranky party. None of the electronic devices in my house will allow me to comment! Technology is Big Magic!

    Please know that I read and appreciate every comment.

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