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