For a long time, either in casual settings, or in the workplace, I was silent about my weight-loss history. To some extent, I just wanted to be accepted for who I am. At the same time, I often consciously stopped myself from talking about it for fear of seeming ‘weak’ or ‘flawed.’ When I reflect on that, I’m sure its because of a value-system I inherited which sees weight as a ‘women’s issue’ (just look at any Jenny Craig or Weight Watcher or other weight support group.) I’m not saying that I support or even understand that prejudice — it was just something that I seem to have absorbed.
Of course family and friends have seen me at my different weights and they are aware of my focus on healthy weight management. But even within those circles I often constrain my conversation for fear of sounding ‘preachy’ or ‘needy.’ Its no fun to be the one at the table that everyone looks at guiltily when they’re trying to decide whether or not to have the fudge cake for dessert. Or to choose the dessert oneself!
For now, however, I’ve decided to be more open and clear. This is facilitated by the fact that I’m in a new job, and no one knows anything of my history. I bring a WW water mug to sip during staff meetings, and I am clear about not wanting to participate in office candy and cookie activities. The other day a colleague mentioned the temperature in the office and I remarked ‘ever since I lost 50 pounds a couple of years ago, I always feel cold.’
As I ease into this new openness, I’m trying to find a happy medium that makes it clear I care about maintaining my weight, without becoming labelled the office loony, or the guy that everyone has to tiptoe around. Its early days yet, so I think it will be a while before I figure out how its working.
The bottom line is that being clear about my weight loss history is something that can help me banish any inferiority or guilt about it. It seems to me that if I appear sheepish about my weight loss, or I hide it in any way, I might be signalling to MYSELF that it isn’t all that important. And the more I am confident about it with others, the more content I may feel about it myself.
Being ‘Jonathan the Weight Loss Guy’ might seem like an unhappy or unecessary label, but I’d be fooling myself if I thought I could stop people from pigeonholing me regarding ANY aspect of my life or behavior. In essence, my goal is to ‘just be myself’ with friends and family in terms of all of my personal and professional interests, and when weight management is relevant, be up front about THAT too.
Having my cake, and eating it too? I’ll keep you posted.