NOW I Am Good Enough To Talk To

I often get asked about how people I knew reacted to my extreme weight loss.

The reactions varied greatly, but there was one reaction that I often think about because it still annoys me, even after all these years.

This story involves the husband of a friend of mine. I met her when I was already a size 28, so she had never known me as a “regular” sized person.  Whenever I visited her or saw her in the halls at church she was extremely nice and friendly. But her husband? Never spoke to me. Never looked at me. Barely acknowledged I was standing there. And that must have been hard to do since I weighed more than he and his wife put together! But somehow he managed it.

I tried to chalk it up to his inept social abilities, but secretly I wondered if his lack of friendliness was because of my weight. After all, I saw him talking to other people all the time, and his business as a professional required him to interact with people both on the phone and in person.. And he was good at business, as they were relatively affluent.

In my heart I really did think his attitude was about my weight.

As I lost more and more weight I experienced many great reactions to my success. Exclamations of surprise, questions that wore me out, and congratulations from every corner. But one reaction I’d rather not have received was from this guy.

An elderly gentlemen in our had recently church passed away and John and I agreed to meet at the church for the funeral. (At this point I had lost about 90% of my weight, and weighed about 165.) I got out of the car and started walking up to the main entrance of the church. Disembarking from his car was this guy. Our paths crossed and the following happened:

He took some quick steps over to me, threw his arm around my shoulder, and said, “Diane – so great to see you. Where’s John? How are the kids? So sad about Mr. “X” passing away isn’t it?” I remember stepping away from his unwanted “hug” and automatically answering his questions.

All the while my mind was whirring. “DON’T TALK TO ME NOW.” He and I walked into the church together – he rattling words out of his mouth a mile a minute and me fuming., “Who did he think he was? Why was I now worthy of his attention?”

I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t in a “funeral” frame of mind during the service. Instead all I could think about was his reaction. And I got madder and madder. I wanted to jump out of my seat and go ask him why he barely spoke to me when I was fat, but now that I was an average sized woman he was willing to grace me with his presence? But I didn’t. I sat there and tried to focus on the pastor’s words.

Has this ever happened to you? Are there people in your life who you feel judge you for your appearance, or avoid you? If so, I’m sorry. I know how that feels and it’s not fun.

It’s as if that guy, and others like him, ignore the overweight people of the world in favor of the “pretties.” And that’s wrong.

I often felt overlooked as an obese woman. I felt as though there were people, like him, who judged me based on my outward appearance, found me lacking, and moved on. I want to encourage you to not let those kinds of people get you down or make you angry. Why not?

Because they are just not worth your emotional energy.

Focus instead on those people in your life who you can help, who love you, and who appreciate you and others for who you are inside, not what you look like on the outside. To me, it is all about respect.

How do you handle these types of situations?  Diane

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About Diane Carbonell

Diane Carbonell is passionate about weight loss. Subscribe to regular blog updates and receive the latest information on weight loss, weight maintenance, and healthy living. Keep up with Diane by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Yes I can really relate to your story! Some men can be so shallow can’t they! Sorry guys I know you’re not all that bad! When I was at my biggest weight I felt that people looked down on me as a I was someone to feel pity for. That just made it worse for me and destroyed what little confidence I had. When I lost weight people treated me differently … like I was someone else. I just don’t have time OR patience for people like that any more.
    Ali@ Ali weight loss recently posted…Diet tips while on summer holidayMy Profile

  2. Oh my yes, I have had people who treated me this way. I know it is common in people who do not know us personally (obese people are often invisible to sales clerks and service positions) but I have had experiences where people who did not give me the time of day when I was over 250 pounds suddenly think we are best friends when I got under 200.

    When I was a normal sized teenager (I had three thin years between 15 and 18), a woman I babysat for confided in me that her husband would divorce her is she gained weight. Imagine living with that pressure??
    Jane at Keeping the Pounds off recently posted…Hoppy Easter and Lustful ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Obese people really are invisible to some people, which is ironic because we are anything but. I have had the same experiences you have Jane. Very sad.

      I cannot imagine living with that kind of pressure that you described, but I too know women who have been told the same thing.

  3. I’m having a really hard time right now actually going from someone whose been “overlooked” their whole life to being noticed! Case in point: I posted a photo on Facebook of my self the other day, it wasn’t a particularly great photo, but it clearly showed my weight loss – I got about 30 comments on it telling me how great I looked. I understand people are being nice, but it makes me REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE to get all of that attention. I’m not sure how to deal with it now that people are noticing me. I would be furious in your situation as well! We live in a strange world and sometimes cruel world, unfortunately.
    Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not recently posted…Glen Rock Opt-In 5K Race RecapMy Profile

    • I am so anxious about when this will start happening to me. I have already gotten a few comments but it’s mostly noticing something is different but not being sure what! I understand most people are trying to be supportive and encouraging but it just feels so uncomfortable to have people obviously appraising your appearance.
      spinmethin recently posted…Crisis(let) Averted!My Profile

    • Jodi – It is a definite shift and is a strange experience. Congratulations on your weight loss. I found it uncomfortable to be “praised” as well because it meant that people were looking at me, which was something I had avoided for years. Those praises will fade over time as people become used to the new you. It still is strange though!

      Spinmethin – Don’t be anxious! I know it is uncomfortable for a lot of people ( myself included ) but try to look at it as a positive part of the process and maybe a way you can share your experience with others in the same situation you were once in.

  4. Yes – I have had that and it infuriates me! When my husband and I had our business in IL, I had corresponded with someone via email and phone a lot. We finally met in person and I will never forget how she kind of looked me up and down kind of disgusted. I will *never* forget that. Later on after I had lost a lot of weight, she went on and on about how good I looked and how huge I was before. All I wanted to do was poke her eyes out. Ugh!
    Lori recently posted…Bikes and bird nestsMy Profile

    • Don’t you wish we could just give them a little poke?! that’s exactly what I wanted to do to that guy in my post. Give him a poke. I restrained myself though. :)

  5. As the founder of the best skin care clinic in Andheri- a suburb in Mumbai, India, I have had to deal with the bruised egos of a lot of overweight men and women over the years and most of them have been unable to deal with the profusion of attention that is suddenly bestowed upon them when they lose weight and start looking attractive. I would not be so judgmental of people who ignore overweight people or grudgingly acknowledge them in the midst of a gathering. It all boils down to basic human tendencies and our subconscious affinity for the ideal figure which in our real world is slim and athletic. Maybe in another dimension the ideal figure is round and roly poly but we are stuck in this world! This sense of aesthetics and the appreciation of beauty is present in our DNA and that is what drives some people to ignore or ill treat obese individuals. We have all been guilty of it at some time or another in our lives consciously or subconsciously and it is something that we cannot escape from. Unfortunately that is the way it is and I guess it is our duty to recognize this human fallacy and be more empathetic of such individuals. All the more reason I say for people to get healthier and fitter. More love and attention is always welcome!

    • Totally disagree. Yes, we are all driven by an instinctual desire to pursue people who would be healthy and strong for reproductive purposes, but we also live in a civilized world where we interact every day with people we DON’T want to procreate with. This guy flat out ignored her in a friendly conversation. Do you think he treats other people he’s not attracted to the same way? Old women? Men? Children? No. He’s a rude schmuck, not a helpless victim of his desire to spread his genes with the most fertile candidate.
      spinmethin recently posted…Crisis(let) Averted!My Profile

      • True. This guy is probably one of a kind. Most guys would probably just be too embarrassed to even go near someone they ignored earlier because she was obese and who has now lost weight and become a stunner.

      • I don’t think this guy was one of a kind because he was just one in a long, long line of people (both men and women) who totally changed how they reacted to me after I lost half my size. He was one of those people who was the “total package” in his own eyes. He really thought he had it all together but only wanted to associate with people who he perceived as having it together.

        For me, the larger issue is bring this topic to the forefront of our minds today, because no matter how people look on the outside, we all deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

    • Why do I have to be empathetic to some guy who is a scam artist? I mean, speaking as someone who has had to deal with that junk for most of her life, who has been 5’8″ and around 125-130lbs since she was in high school. If those poor, helpless souls who just can’t help themselves think they are fooling anyone with their behavior, they’re kidding. If this were a successful breeding strategy, guys like that wouldn’t spend most of their weekends alone and whining that the they hate the world because they can’t nail a supermodel.

      Besides, despite urban myth, most thin, pretty women do not have a “fat friend” in order to make themselves look good. Some of us simply have treasured, beloved women friends who happen to be overweight, and in my youth, guys like that learned right quick that treating my friend like trash in order to get next to me wasn’t the way to get on my good side.

      If this technique were reproductively successful, there would be a lot fewer frustrated, resentful, celibate men wandering around complaining to anyone who will listen that the reason they can’t land someone who looks like Christina Aguilera is because they’re “too nice.”

      • @Janis – I agree. We do not need to be empathetic to him. I wasn’t then and I’m not now. There really is no excuse for his behavior.

        You are right – I never had a “fat friend” when I was a normal sized teen/college student. Rather I tended to hang out with people who I had a lot in common with. And your last paragraph? You said it better than I ever could have!

  6. In a somewhat relate blog post by Ashley at http://www.nourishing-the-soul.com/2012/04/the-cost-of-beauty-privilege/ I left the following comment yesterday, via Facebook:

    “Every morning in contemplative prayer, among the things I ask myself is to remember that what somebody looks like, or what they don’t look like, is not a reflection of who they are. That behind every pair of eyes is a heart, and a soul, and a life’s worth of experiences which I know nothing about.

    No, I don’t see beauty as privilege, any more than I see ugly or race as a reason for shame. I truly believe that if one accepts beauty as a privilege, then one immediately relegates a lack of beauty to the back of the bus.

    Granted we may be hundreds of years from getting there, but I look forward to shame and privilege both making the endangered species list…”

    I agree with you 100% Diane. Very nice thoughts on how to handle our latest form of prejudice.

    • Exactly. Beauty is nothing to be admired. It’s like a birth defect in reverse. It’s not an achievement or an accomplishment. Despite what the cosmetic industry would have us believe, it takes no effort — the fact is, we all have to look like something. If beauty is to be admired, then deformity is to be shunned, and I don’t want to live in a world where that’s the case.

      Besides, it makes no sense. This attitude of “beauty uber alles” is not just morally offensive, it’s incorrect. Evolution favors many kinds of contributions to human society. The person who looks ugly as sin could be the one who can invent something needed, grow better vegetables than anyone else, or do something similar that’s vital for survival. If evolution is “survival of the fittest,” it’s important to remember that fitness is measured in a million ways. The ugliest cavewoman on the savannah could have been the one who chipped the most flawless flint arrowheads. Sure, she wouldn’t have won any contests, but the guy who landed her probably ate a lot better than any of his cave-buddies.

    • @Roy. Thank you very much and you hit the nail on the head. Beauty really does come from within and oftentimes it takes some hard life lessons for people to learn that. External beauty fades but the internal beauty of a person is what endures through life changes, physical changes, bumps in the relationship road we all travel, and other life events.

  7. It does make me really, really angry to see how often people I know who are overweight are judged unfairly for it when it comes to things like their intelligence, ability to do a job, and general worth as a human. And, of course, I know from first-hand experience how awful it feels.

    I had a boss who gave me a terrible performance evaluation, and I’m quite sure that my weight had a good deal to do with it. I work with another woman now who has totally changed her attitude as I’ve lost these 75 pounds. I am quite sure, looking at her, that she has had to fight really hard to stay as rail thin as she is, so while I resent the way she treated me, I mostly feel badly for her.

    • It makes me angry too. I am sorry about your boss and you coworker treating you like that. I admire the fact that you can feel sorry for her because that shows you are a nice, compassionate person. Honestly, although I hated my decade of obesity, it did give me much more compassion and empathy for people who struggle physically and emotionally with food or other situations in their lives. I try to see the good in people even when they don’t show it.

  8. Focus instead on those people in your life who you can help, who love you, and who appreciate you and others for who you are inside, not what you look like on the outside. To me, it is all about respect.

    Diane, I love that statement above. It is so hard when we are treated like that & many of us have had that happen due to weight or other things. Yes, I have had people treat me differently due to weight & yes, looks… it is tough but you are right – focus on those that love us no matter what!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & FrustrationMy Profile

    • You have such a great supportive family Jody and that makes it easier when people do treat us differently because of our looks. Thank you for spreading acceptance throughout your life!

  9. I can certainly relate, and I think that is why I have limited some of my social activities since my weight gain about six years ago. (I had gained about 40 pounds in 2006 and 2007.) Certain people at work didn’t want much to do with me after that. I had a friend who stopped asking me to do things with her. Now that I am again losing and it is becoming noticeable, I get a more positive reaction from those same fickle people, but having once been shunned by them because of my weight, I have been enlightened by their true character. I have decided that I just don’t need people like that.

    There is no doubt that some people just don’t want to be around significantly overweight or obese people. But those who stick by through “thick and thin”–the ones who will offer of themselves, no matter what– are the persons I call my friends.
    E. Jane recently posted…Springtime RenaissanceMy Profile

    • It does shine the light on how people really perceive obese/overweight people does it not? I was honestly surprised at the people who stopped associating with me when I gained almost 100 pounds during my first pregnancy and didn’t lose it. I had mistakenly thought we were friends because we just “were” but the friendship was obviously based on more than personality.

      I’m sorry you have experienced these types of reactions. It’s never easy and always hurts.

  10. wow that is really upsetting. I definitely can relate.
    liz recently posted…Wednesday weigh in and Pictures!!!My Profile

  11. Can’t relate as I’ve never lost a huge amount of weight but in thinking where his mind was at I have this to say……. As someone who has great respect for the human body and feeds myself really well, works out, gets plenty of sleep & exercise, it is really disheartening to see someone harm their most precious gift, their health, by being obese. Truthfully I do lose respect for those who are so obese. I am not trying to be mean, just being honest in saying that when you see someone who doesn’t respect themselves, it’s hard to have respect for them and sometimes it makes for an uncomfortable situation. That being said it would never stop me from having a friendship with someone, but I would be sad for them.
    marie recently posted…Down & DirtyMy Profile

    • I also have a huge respect for the human body, for those who have found their way and/or have kept their health intact. I feel guilty my body isn’t where God wants it to be. I have tried many, many things (and blame only myself when failing) and am now in therapy trying to figure out why this still hasn’t gotten me over the hump of losing the large amount of weight I need to lose.

      I appreciate your honesty, and believe me, we can see it in your eyes that the respect level is lowered, which unfortunately makes us feel even worse about ourselves and makes us want to hide. I work the front desk at a dentist office and the practice manager is tiny (and who can and does eating anything and everything). I am friendly, with a good sense of humor, but largely (no pun intended!) I am ignored in favor of her. I’m not jealous as I’m a fairly confident woman, but people can unknowingly but glaringly be rude… I have been there (thin and healthy) and I have been here (older, fat and seemingly anonymous). It hurts. I only ask those who have never been there to try and understand it is truly complicated for some of us.

      • Thank you for such an honest and kind answer. In looking at a picture of my family (my 8 siblings & I) you would see the picture of health. What you don’t see is my brother has CF, my sister MS, my dad and brother type 1 diabetes, I have arthritis and a brother that died from CF. My dad has taken great measures to eat right and work out every single day to keep his diabetes in check. All of my siblings and I work out and have great health habits, my sister is an R.D.

        We put a lot of effort into being healthy because most of us are at a disadvantage with health problems we have through no fault of our own. So when I see someone taking their health for granted it most definitely saddens me because I would do anything to keep myself healthy, my arthritis has been excruciating at times.

        My dad and brother work out every day and are in such great shape, when I see people headed towards a path that could lead to diabetes I just want to plead with them and tell them they have no idea what is in store for them. My dad is awaiting a second kidney transplant right now. Even though he’s 65 he’s in such great shape he’s at the top of the list. His first transplant lasted 17 years!!!! (they give transplanted organs a life of 5-7 years) Because of his good choices those organs lasted as long as they did.

        Don’t mean to write a book, but sometimes I want to tell people “My family and I would kill to trade bodies with you”. Trust me I know it is not easy. I envy naturally thin people as well, it’s just not my lot. I have to work twice as hard as most to keep my health in check. If God feels I can handle an ailment that is one thing, but I will do everything in my power to keep problems at bay and let God know I appreciate the health I do have.
        marie recently posted…Down & DirtyMy Profile

        • Marie – That was a a really good reply to MY reply! :) Here’s to victory (your staying there and to my getting there!).

          • I admire both you Laura, and you Marie, for having an honest dialogue about this really sensitive topic. This is what I love about the blogging community. Respect goes both ways and by addressing these concerns honestly and with respect, you make us all better and hopefully more sensitive to the needs and feelings of each other.

  12. Wow…I can’t think of anyone that has treated me that way, but I’m sure there are people I’ve met since being smaller that would not have given me the time of day when I was bigger. And vice versa! People are strange, indeed.

    As for how to handle them. Well, I take the high road. I figure this guy at your church must have a TON of issues and self-loathing inside that cause him to act that way. I’ve dealt with people who are just plain mean/rude/awful to others and I believe they hate themselves enough, deep down, that they don’t need me hating them, too. If I can’t feel compassion, I just content myself with indifference towards them.
    Meg (@LadyMegSoprano) recently posted…Giving Rugby A "Try"My Profile

    • You are kind and really wise to take the high road because loathing them does nothing for you or me as people and is harmful to us emotionally in a lot of ways.

  13. I CAN relate. But his reaction (or lack thereof) is about him, not about you or your weight (whether up or down).

    I have often wondered how much my own view of myself colored the way I reacted to others…and whether or not it colored the way others saw me.
    KCLAnderson (Karen) recently posted…An Ode To Real WomenMy Profile

    • I agree Karen and have talked about that before. I know that some of my “invisibility” was due to my own desire to shrink into the background and not bring attention to myself.

  14. I didn’t realize until I lost the weight how invisible I really was when I was bigger. I’m still surprised sometimes, look around to see who this person is smiling at/talking to, but it’s me. I’ve had people tell me how awful I used to look, but never anything as extreme as your jerky guy.
    julie recently posted…Low-Carb Gurus and skinny people eating sweetsMy Profile

    • I didn’t realize it either. As I lost the weight and noticed how differently people reacted to me, it made me realize that although I took up more physical space than most other people, I was invisible to a lot of people from sales clerks to acquaintances.

  15. I think I had a couple people do the opposite. Heavy people who avoided me when I was thin. It was NOT because I was oozing HOW TO’S, because while I talk on my blog, I do not talk about weight loss in person the vast majority of the time.
    vickie recently posted…New photosMy Profile

    • I have had that too. There was one person who I thought was a friend who now avoids me. Not because we had words or anything like that, but rather because she has been unsuccessful in losing weight. I think she feels like I may judge her. That makes me sad because like you – I don’t mention weight unless someone asks me about it first.

  16. When I weighed 417 pounds I was virtually invisible to the world which is VERY ironic because as you said, Diane, we are anything but invisible when we are obese. And yet we are treated that way often. Some just completely overlook. In fact I heard once somewhere that this the most acceptable form of blatant discrimination in our society–against obese individuals. Someone commented above that they were even given a poor evaluation at work. Obese people are often viewed automatically as lazy, stupid, gluttonous etc. Very sad. I am still quite obese b/c I weigh 270 but there are already a handful of people at my children’s school who suddenly are nice to me who were completely rude to me before.
    Holly from 300 Pounds Down recently posted…Amanda has arrived!!My Profile

    • Hi Holly, I experienced the same thing when I was 250 pounds. I was invisible everywhere I went. I couldn’t understand why and it always made me angry.
      Lisa recently posted…37 With BourbonMy Profile

    • @Holly – you are right. Obese people are one of invisibles, which is sad for the person struggling with obesity and sad for the masses that ignore the obese.

      It is discrimination and it seems to be “okay” to do in society. I wonder if that is going to change now that the majority (66 percent) of Americans are now either obese or overweight. Will it go the other way?

      I’m so proud of your weight loss efforts. You are doing such a great thing for yourself and for your children.

  17. If I was treated like that when I was heavier, I think I was quite thankfully unaware. I know people like that, but I’ve never felt on the receiving end, which is good thing! That is an atrocious way to treat an individual.
    Taryl recently posted…Frustration on R2P2VLCD24My Profile

    • You are blessed Taryl ! I do know people who did not feel they were treated differently when they gained/lost weight, but they are in the minority of those I speak with.

  18. Believe me, if you’re one of the “pretties,” you know better than to think that these guys are complimenting you or even care. It’s something that a lot of women (and most men) won’t believe — that there is no positive benefits to having losers hanging off of you and trying to lie, cheat, and scam their way into your good graces — thinking you’re to stupid to realize what they’re trying to pull.

    Take it from a “pretty” who is 46, unmarried, has to be honest a fairly low opinion of men, and is determined to stay quite merrily single. Men do not like pretty women. Not at all. They do their damnedest to fake it, but fake is fake is fake, and most of them just want to be seen by their buddies talking to you. From the neck up, you’re an obstacle — and no one likes an obstacle. :-P

    • There is no positive benefit to having anyone be “friendly” toward you for their own gain. It is not healthy for you or for them either, although they may never see it that way.

  19. “In every interaction we have the opportunity to lose ourselves or find ourselves.

    Show mercy, for mercy is all that has been shown to you,”

    From The Course in Miracles.

  20. The post I wrote last week about people not holding the door for me when I was 250+ is kinda like this post. I was always offended and angry when people never noticed me, or held the door open when I was fat. But somehow, 100 pounds light, I’m now “worthy” of talking to and having doors opened for me? It still makes me angry. I wish I had a better answer on how to deal with this type of stuff, I just don’t. Sometimes people are just rude.
    Lisa recently posted…37 With BourbonMy Profile

  21. What an interesting post Diane. Rude people are everywhere. How sad. For the people they’re rude to, and for the inner drama that makes them rude in the first place.

    • Rude people are everywhere. I find it interesting that it seems acceptable to be rude to or make fun of the obese when it is not and should not be acceptable to make fun of people based on other aspects of their lives.

  22. Wow. I bet that was so embarrassing for his wife, too, I would die if my husband treated people that way! :(

  23. This is the first time I have ever responded to one of your blogs, but I felt compelled to comment.
    Unfortunately, feeling invisible can actually be preferable to being noticed. The sort of unwanted attention that you received can be the subconscious stumbing block to weight loss. I guess it boils down to feeling that our lives are worth living to the fullest potential and refusing to let other people’s issues (either past or present) define how we feel about oursevles. Again, as you so eloquently said, it is all about respect.
    Thanks for a very thought-provoking blog.

    • Kathy – thank you for taking the time to comment. I can see your point as moving from being overweight to a normal weight does bring attention. I felt very uncomfortable when people continually exclaimed over my weight loss. I’m not the type of person to bring attention to myself (then or now) and I still don’t feel great when people compliment me. I quickly change the subject and bring it back to them.

      I agree with you – we need to try as hard as we can to not let other people’s problems and issues cloud or define our feelings about ourselves. That can be a great challenge can’t it?

  24. Great post, Diane, but sad that people are like that. It’s kind of surprising to me that he did that to you, or that from some of the comments it appears to be more common than not, but maybe I’ve just been a little bit blind to this phenomenon because I always try to treat people equally, no matter what their race, weight, background, whatever. Sometimes, though, you run into people who aren’t worth YOUR time. They might have a great business, a nice family, but if they cannot acknowledge people as people, then there is something amiss in what they are as a person. Thank you for sharing, and I hope you never have to cross paths with him again!
    I ❤ 2 Eat recently posted…5K Ramp Up: Week 4My Profile

    • You are the kind of friend we all need! Sadly, it is very common and this little story is just one of many I could share. He wasn’t worth my time and I never did become “friends” with him although I was polite to him when our paths crossed.

  25. It’s about him not about you. Can’t control how someone feels or thinks about you. Everyone has a different level of emotional intelligence, too Interesting topic. Don’t take it personally, IMO
    Karen P recently posted…Second week of maintenanceMy Profile

  26. I was really interested to read your post about being “invisible.” I have lost more than 140lbs and have had some interesting experiences with others reactions to my weight loss. The most surprising reaction was from a person that I considered a good friend. All of a sudden she started to ignore me, stopped talking to me and wouldn`t sit with myself and some of our mutual friends. She subjected me to this kind of behaviour for a year before she would finally come clean and tell me the reasons for this rude behaviour. She couldn`t handle the fact that I had lost weight when she wasn`t able to lose weight. I couldn`t believe that someone who had been a friend treated me so badly because I had success and she hasn`t go there yet…..

    I think that many of those who have commented that this is the problem of others are quite right. I can`t let this `friend`s`behaviour get me down too much, I can`t control this.

    • Congratulations on your phenomenal weight loss Shelly. I too had the experience you are going through now. I lost my best friend of over 10 years after I lost weight. She just could not handle the change and it still grieves me at times.

      I finally came to the point where you are. You can’t control her reactions. You can still be kind if you feel like that is good for you emotionally, but at some point you have to let it go for your own emotional health.

  27. deniseselah says:

    from “no eye contact” to “putting his arm around you”?! WHAT. A. CREEP. makes me sick to my stomach.

  28. Oh wow! This is shocking!
    This scenario have not happened to me before … I’m so sorry that you had something like this happen to you. I don’t like people who is like this – they only want to know you when you are either successful, beautiful looking etc.
    blackhuff recently posted…Always wanted a slim faceMy Profile

  29. I frequently comment (mostly to myself) about how “invisible” I am at 300 pounds. One time I was in a boot camp class at the gym (yes, I’m fat, but that doesn’t mean I’m not more fit than most or that I’m not participating in things that will help me get more fit/less fat). We were playing Ultimate Frisbee–one of my favorite games. It happened to be with a group of people I hadn’t played with much before, so I don’t blame them for being a bit skeptical of my abilities. I got so frustrated, however, because noone ever threw the frisbee to me–even when I was wide open. At one point the trainer, who was very well aware of my abilities, yelled “Hey….T is wide open.” and my very immediate response was to yell, “Well apparently if you weigh 300 pound you are invisible in ultimate frisbee.” I was so torched! They never did relent and include me in the play. Luckily though, the next time we played there were a bunch of people there who were familiar with my abilities and I loved seeing their jabs drop every time I stole the Frisbee from them :)
    Teresa recently posted…A Quick Check-InMy Profile

  30. I am happy to say that has never happened to me. If it has I never paid attention to it. I think if I were you I’d go ask him. :)
    Sheri – Motivation for Health & Fitness recently posted…Back To BasicsMy Profile

  31. I can completely relate to this post. My husband is a cyclist and works in the field. I would often have to attend events with him related to cycling. One look at me, and the people would know I did not ride. As I lost the weight and started to ride with him, I did not interact much with them. Then at this year’s holiday party (100lbs loss later), all of the people that in the past did not speak to me at the parties, came up to me, asked me about riding with my husband, etc. I could actually see some of them look and point at me from across the room. I have been invited to ride with them and I just cannot do it. They do not understand all people love to exercise and eat well. I thought I was the one uncomfortable around them before but I realized they did not know how to talk to me that did not include anything about cycling. Now since I ride, I guess we are now in common. I still struggle with it but my husband is a great support. Thanks so much for this post!

  32. I completely relate to this post. My husband works in the cycle business. I would attend work events, one look at me, and the customers/clients would know I did not ride and did not speak to me. As I started to loss the weight, I limited my contact with them. I started riding with my husband and he would talk about it with them. At this year’s holiday party and a 100lb loss, I was shocked at how many of them talked to me, asked me about riding, and invited me to rides. It was actually hard to handle because before I did not even get eye contact. At times during the night, I saw groups of them looking at me and pointing. I heard people say “I cannot believe that is —’s wife”. I always thought I was the one uncomfortable around them but I learned that they were apparently uncomfortable around me. I am sorry for your interaction. I does make you angry and wonder why. At this point, I see them and tell them I am happy to ride with my husband and not with them for now. Thanks for the great blog!!!

  33. Wow!! You have put into print my experiences over the last year. When I started losing weight in 2009 I was size 24-26 and I was invisible. Odd since I was usually the biggest person in the room. I didn’t want them to look at me and I didn’t look them in the eye. Usually people would run into me because they were making such an effort to not look at me.

    Now that I have lost 145 lbs. and I am a normal size I get chatted up all the time!! The way I am treated by people now is so drastically different than the way I was treated in 2009. I still am adjusting to this size….the mind takes a while to catch up to this new reality. I recently was told I was little and petite, but I still don’t feel that way. Still working on this new normal. Thanks for a great article!!! Brenda

  34. Alexarrie says:

    I never thought this can happen to any other people especially to you.. There are actually a lot of things to be thankful today and I am one of them because I found your awesome post here…
    Alexarrie recently posted…Stop Anxiety AttacksMy Profile

  35. Thank you for sharing this! I feel like I’ve had many such “before” reactions and have yet to get to the after, but I do wonder!!
    me recently posted…Would’a, Should’a, Could’a….My Profile

  36. I’ve lost 91 pounds since last summer. At first I was troubled that women pretended they didn’t notice my weight loss (around 50 lbs) then around Christmas the praise started pouring in! Suddenly EVERYONE was stopping me and asking me about my diet. It was almost embarrassing how effusive people were. Men and women I barely knew were coming up to me left and right; it was a heady experience and I will admit I loved the attention.

    But with the sweet comes the sours and soon their praises took a turn towards the jealous and spiteful, ( around 75 pounds) for example we were at a party and one woman asked my husband how it felt to be married to the new and improved wife?” Another complimented me then followed it by saying, “Wow, imagine how good you’ll look when you take the rest of it off!” To my husband, “Uh-oh you better watch out-somebody is going to try to snatch her up!” To me, “I know your husband must be happy with the new you.” (For the record my husband never once gave me any grief over my weight gain. Not once. Ever.)
    I notice that many of my old friends are treating me differently too. I think perhaps they are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the big physical change I made. I understand that because it is hard for ME to wrap my head around it most days.

    think anyone who experiences a 100 pound weight loss is in for life altering experiences. I dunno-I sometimes wonder if I should just move and get a fresh start where people judge me for myself and don’t have to accept the “new me.” It’s starting to become painful. I am STILL me. I just look different. I dress different. I have more confidence most days too. But at the end of the day-I am still me!