Tuesday, January 24, 2017
When you've lost weight, there's no doubt you get a confidence you were missing when you were heavier. When you've lost a LOT of weight, you tend to go through this phase of feeling like you want to tell all other fat people that you know what it's like to walk in their wide width shoes and share your new found wisdom. You see the person that other people are looking at because of their size and you want to run up to them with your pom poms and in your best infomercial voice scream "I was your size and I lost weight without crazy measures and you can too!"
It comes from a good place. It comes from a place of empathy and knowing that it sucks to be that weight for various reasons from health to comfort to social to shopping and just about everything in between. But we all know that getting and keeping the motivation you had when you start a new program is often waning and not something you can depend on. You have to find a balance of what will work for you and what works for one person absolutely will not work for someone else. But try to tell that to people who have lost weight a certain way. Because that's what worked for them, they believe it will work for everyone and want to shout it from the rooftops and do fattie interventions in public as a way to help with the obesity epidemic.
I'll admit, the Mr and I had those same impulses when we were around the 100-150 lb lost mark, especially given how easy the first 100 lbs came off. It truly was portion control for the first 50 lbs and then moderate exercise with portion control for the next 50 and we thought "wow! Who knew it was this easy!?!" Well at 494 and 455 lbs respectively, any little lifestyle change in the right direction is going to make a difference. The second 100 lbs came off slower but it did come off in a way that had us buying clothes in smaller sizes at the end of season sales because we could count on that weight loss. Then it got stuck. We tried all kinds of tweaks and unfortunately you have to give those tweaks time (3-4 weeks) to see if they're going to work and if they don't, you've wasted a month. When you travel as much as we do, you've got vacation food and being off your normal exercise schedule that seems to have you losing the same pounds all year. But I'm getting off track a bit.
When we road tripped last weekend, we were in this antique store and just glanced down at this pinball machine. The owner, a dude probably in his late 30's maybe early 40's started yammering about it and everything that was replaced in it and I had to make it clear we simply glanced at it and had no room for it. Nope...he was just a talkative fellow and now what I wanted to be a leisurely poke around a shop was turning into praying for someone else to come in for him to pounce on or how could I do a stunt jump out the front window. He was telling us about another town that had a lot of antique stores and said "it's nice and level walking, no up and down hills or anything." Dude, you picked the wrong weekend to judge me. Inside I was boiling because he was doing what most people do when you see a fat person of any size. You assume they are sitting with a feed bag strapped to their face well on their way to morphing into the blob. I was running on severe sleep deprivation (which the Mr got the brunt of the day before) and Aunt Flo swinging off the fallopian tubes. I did what would keep me out of jail and walked away. Sorry Mr.
The following was relayed to me by the Mr when I asked why he didn't follow me once we escaped. He said the guy cornered him and started showing him these shoes he had on...some weird off brand and asked if he'd heard of them before. He said no and the guy proceeded to tell him how he just lost 110 lbs by doing nothing more than walking. OOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! The Mr was getting the fat intervention by a noob who thought he was laying down some knowledge. Well the Mr laid down some knowledge of his own and said "Congratulations, that's great! I used to weigh 455 lbs and I've lost 150 lbs and she's lost over 200 lbs." The guy was a little stunned and then was like "oh wow, how long ago was that and how did you do that?!?!" He said portion control and exercise just like him, no big secret like people seem to assume. He'd lost 190 lbs at his lowest but has gained some back but kept the majority of it off. The guy goes from intervention mode to 'we are simpatico' and starts talking about how he has a whole new attitude and didn't realize his weight was why he was so depressed and stuff that you just feel a little awkward hearing from someone you don't know. I'm happy for him just as I'm happy for anyone who is in any point of their journey to slay the weight demon. It's a never ending battle and one you should absolutely celebrate. I was just not in the mental place to have been able to handle it that day and I already knew he'd labeled us as one of those poor souls he could now help. I knew if I'd been the one to tell him of our weight loss, it would've come out much less eloquently than the Mr put it, I'm sure.
The next day when we were getting our produce for the week, that situation came up again and the Mr said "the worst part about that whole encounter is that it just confirmed to me that I'm no longer acceptable fat. I've apparently hit that tipping point where some stranger thinks I just need to hear that he used to be like me and I know how crappy that feels to be on the receiving end of that." I felt horrible because there has been an issue we've been dealing with that should improve with weight loss (still in the middle of it so I'll update at a later date) and I felt like this was just another punch in the gut for him. It was for me too because the guy clearly looked at me when he was talking about there being no hills to walk in this other town. It was when after he said that, my brain showed me the picture of me pouncing on him and yelling in his face "effer, I walked the hilly streets of San Francisco for 12 MILES when I was 10 lbs heavier than this. Streets that SKINNY LOCALS told me they'd never walk more than 2 miles and even then would likely call a cab for!" that I knew I needed to walk away. So I was not immune to the shitty feeling the Mr was going through.
Now that we are both better for the most part, we've begun tweaking the diet a bit to throw in a "big salad" or two per week or more meatless options on occasion. I need to be better about planning on Sundays because while I have stuff on hand for dinners, I don't sit down and plan them. I need to do that because the Mr is the most successful when he pre-tracks his meals.
We have seen intervention phase from so many people both in real life and online. The Mr and I were VERY careful to never do that to someone even if the urge was strong. We know what it's like to get the courage to just exist in public waiting for someone to say something, which I can count on one hand how many times that actually happened to me as an adult but still. To have some well meaning stranger come up to you and be like "hey you two, I was once like you and
So if you should find yourself in the awesome position of having lost a goodly amount of weight, resist the urge that will inevitably come over you when you see your former self in someone else. They are fat...they KNOW what they need to do just as we all did when we were at our heaviest and the last thing that will give them a mental boost is the unsolicited advice of a stranger thinking they have the whole weight loss game nailed. Also don't assume just because someone is fat that they haven't already lost weight or aren't already actively in the middle of their journey.
Have you ever given or been tempted to give the 'intervention' to a stranger? Have you been given the intervention by someone who assumed because you still have weight to lose that you're not already doing something about it?
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