Are people who are overweight and then lose weight perceived as being more attractive than people who just ARE at normal weight? I’ve been meeting up with people I haven’t seen in months and so many of them seem to be shocked by how FANTASTIC I look. And although it is nice (but somewhat squirmy too, I never know what to say other than a sheepish “thanks”) I wonder if they are really thinking, “OMG you used to be such a fat frumpy cow, I can’t believe you actually wear zipped up pants now!”
I wonder if people meeting me for the first time now think there is anything at all remarkable about my appearance, or if I just seem like a regular, average-ish kind of person.
Or is it that people expect people to kind of get worse looking, and in worse shape as they get older, so when somebody reverses that trend it’s really like WOW?
I know that in the past couple of years, I attributed many things to being “old.” Like I had these big fat pads on my knees. I had never had fat knees before and I thought, this is because I’m getting old. Um NO. It was because I was FAT! I had all kinds of aches and pains that I attributed to age. Guess what? THOSE aches are gone, and the aches I have now are only because of exercise and running crooked (still working on that!).
I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this, just some foggy thoughts on a (happily) foggy morning. I love exercising in chilly weather!
July 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm
I’ve had that same experience (with “You look fabulous!”). Unfortunately, I’ve also had the experience where, to people who never knew me as big/fat (as the gas station dude referred to me), I had a friend who made it her life’s mission to fill them in. I’m not embarrassed by it, and it comes up naturally, but to have someone you consider your FRIEND bring it up out of the blue… and then keep referring to it… Oh my. So what those people are experiencing is the: such a pretty face thing. You used to JUST have a pretty face. Now the rest follows (plus I’ve found even with me, the personality follows) — cute body, more confidence, radiance, happiness, etc.
As for new people, I find that people will encourage me to eat something not knowing that, like an addict, I really can’t. If I have one, I’ll have a dozen (or more). Then I explain the weight loss thing. I find that people either look for evidence (not hard with me) or “can’t believe it”. Both are uncomfortable, but part of the journey.
The worse with both groups of people are the set-backs. I’ve lost a lot of weight 3 times. This is, what I plan to be, the LAST time. Having it comes back gives too many people a reference point. LOL.
Congratulations. This is one of the milestones on the journey. BTW, it goes away as soon as everyone has seen you. Then you’re back to you.
July 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm
You mean your FRIEND (airquotes!) would tell people you used be be big/fat? NO!! How awful!
It’s interesting, nobody has really encouraged me to eat stuff other than my mother.
Yeah, the setbacks… I am still so aware of how NEW this all is. Part of me can’t believe that I’ll be able to keep it up long term. One day at a time I tell myself.
July 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm
I think some of it can be attributed to a healthy glow – usually when you lose weight, you are eating so much better that your skin looks good, your hair is shinier, etc. Not to mention you feel great – and I think that shows!
July 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm
You know, i always can’t wait until I get to hear everyone raving about my weightloss but when it happens I end up feeling worse somehow, because I realize what maybe they thought of me before.
July 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm
I think it’s probably the difference between the then and the now…
I have a friend who recently lost a lot of weight. She looks completely different and where I previously used to see her as totally asexual, to me she now looks like a babe, when in fact she’s just another well built woman with long blond hair in her mid-forties.
You have given me hope though – a lot of my niggles are probably not due to age, but fat! Yay, I can get thinner, but I can’t get younger!
July 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm
Enjoyed your latest blog post. Reminded me of the one I posted about myself this week on my blog. I just try to bask in the compliments and not ponder too much on the past or what others think now There is a lot to get use to when you lose a significant amount of weight. Enjoy the new you and celebrate your improved health!
July 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm
Probably they are just not used to someone looking so different!
But I’m glad you’re so free and fit now, and that many of those symptoms and aches are gone!
July 29, 2009 at 7:00 am
And one which only someone who has been there can write.
My mom is currently lamenting a ton of aches and, IMO (and yours?), many of them are weight and not age.
now it all becomes how to gently phrase that to her…perhaps it’s all sending her YOUR WAY.
July 29, 2009 at 11:58 am
“I can’t believe you actually wear zipped up pants now!”
July 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm
A few weeks ago at my brother’s wedding my cousin who we had not seen in over a year came walking in. She has lost 70+ pounds so of course all of us were telling her how great she looked. Later I was talking to her, she was kind of in shock and she said that she did not know what to think. She did not know if it meant she used to look horrible and now looks better or how to take all of the compliments. I had never thought of it until then and your post reminded me of that. I think the thing is that inside you are the same and whether we want to admit it or not, people treat you different when you are larger than if you were not. Compliments flow easily when there is no extra fat to consider.
Anyway I rambled but foodie FYI you are gorgeous just how you are today right now. I have seen your pictures and my first thought was WOW she is beautiful!
July 29, 2009 at 5:12 pm
Once again: “me, too!” regarding what I thought of as “aging” was the effect of (in my case) morbid obesity. Any time I try to pick up my son (who’s 80 pounds), I think to myself, “Oh, my poor body! How on earth did I carry the weight?”
I got to be on the delivering side of the amazed congratulations/compliments this past weekend at a family reunion. I’m not sure how much my brother-in-law lost, but he’s feeling and looking much healthier now. (He’s always looked pleasant, so, in my mind, it was more of him looking so very changed, and so obviously tickled at the changes in himself.) I think that people are just simply amazed by such a drastic transformation when someone loses a lot of weight, because we so seldom see (in real life, anyway) people change in that manner.
July 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm
I’m getting this same response from people who have known me and haven’t seen me in a while. The people who have been with me all along notice, but I think to them I look the same, only smaller. It’s been so gradual, it’s not a shock. I think that people who are used to you one way are taken by surprise when they see you a different way. People who are meeting me for the first time pretty much just think I look normal.
Take the compliments with an enthusiastic “Thank You!” You’ve worked so hard and you deserve to be super-proud of what you’ve accomplished. I never take the compliments as “wow, you looked so bad before.” I think most people realize how much hard work goes into losing a lot of weight and getting in shape and they are impressed.
I also have the things I attributed to getting older that I now realize were just because I was fat and out of shape. I feel 10 years (maybe more) younger now, and I’ve had people tell me I look much younger too. I think that may be because of my new energy level and attitude.
July 30, 2009 at 6:32 pm
I have gained about 20 pounds this year due to hormone treatment for advanced cancer. It sucks. I do indeed have a bunch of new aches that make me miserable – am treating with chiropractic, acupuncture, reiki. For a while I even resorted to Ibuprofen which I never used to take.
The nurse had said the aches are probably due to the various medications, but I do wonder if the weight gain isn’t part of it.
OTOH weight loss now associated with cancer going out of control and i’m a little leery when I step on the scale and have lost three pounds. Is it good eating, or metastases?
I really don’t like how I look at this weight. I’m struggling with my food. And exercise – ugh. I hate exercise and the chemo-related fatigue and aches make it so much worse. I walk. That’s it. And a two mile walk now puts me to bed for several hours.
Again, is it the weight alone, or is it the aftereffects of a year of intense chemotherapy, plus all the hormone meds and Pet CT scans?
Food for thought. (So to speak).
August 6, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Leila’s post really affected me. I too have noticed that 20 lbs CAN make a difference in terms of achey joints. Now I know I am losing weight after the doctor said “30 lbs down now!” but Leila, it feels like you are in a different place right now than me and I want to share the major upside to my own weight gain — I got a LOT stronger. I was a mediocre rower when skinny in college and 20 years later and 30 pounds heavier (not all muscle at all, but more middle-age spread with a decent level of fitness) I started rowing again and found that I was strong as an ox! That’s why those big rower girls used to stomp me back in college! So, Leila, I can only imagine some of the hard feelings you are facing as you battle cancer, but maybe focusing on your body as gathering strength to fight the bad cells and cope with the chemo is ENOUGH for now. Maybe the 3 pounds down can be a sign of your getting your old body back and the 20 pounds up can be it fighting — and both can be happening at the same time.