Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

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.

Jonathan.SDP@gmail.com

10 thoughts on “Out and About

  1. Stephanie says:

    By being open you will certainly help a person or two that you would not have otherwise. Anyone who has a problem with what you have achieved only speaks to their OWN issues – it has nothing to do with you. Your openess on this site is so helpful to so many – you can see that both men and women strongly relate to what you go through. Thank you!

  2. strechy says:

    Only a handful of people saw me at my heaviest, and it was just a few years that I was stuck in the burbs that I was obese.
    When I see old friends now, they see the same old thin me they always knew.
    Do I need to always confide my weight gain and loss to attempt to help others?

    People constantly ask me the secrets to being slim, and these are people who never knew I had a weight problem. They listen, and state they would NEVERr eat or exercise the way I do, so…?
    Very few people would embrace my eating plan, even though I like it a lot and it works for me. I eat a lot of nutrient dense low cal foods, and a lot of raw foods like avocado, apples, salads, nuts, mushrooms, (the list is thankfully long)

    But people want their cake and weight loss too.

  3. Quinn says:

    Jonathan? Losing 50 pounds and keeping it off for a few years is a HUGE achievement! You should be proud. I am in awe of you.

    If your weight loss history is appropriate to the topic at hand, then bring it up. No need to hide this.

  4. Greta says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you are being so open, but in my own life I find it works better to keep quiet about my eating habits. I usually follow a vegetarian diet for health and to help me lose and maintain my weight. Vegetarianism is even less understood than dieting, but neither are really embraced by the American public. Vegetarians makes meat eaters uncomfortable. Dieters make eaters uncomfortable. We bring out the guilt in other people. This is not a good position to be in. Any talk of dieting to a non-dieter can also have the same effect as a devout person bringing up their religion to the non-devout. People don’t want to be “converted”. They don’t want to diet. They don’t want to eat healthy. If they want to be thinner and more fit they usually want something for nothing and are not willing to put up with the work of exercise or the deprivation of a strict eating plan. That’s why I think it is better to be quiet about it and seek out places where like minds can discuss the issue such as this board or meetings of dieters.

  5. Deirdre says:

    For a long time, either in casual settings, or in the workplace, I was silent about my weight-loss history.

    I generally don’t talk about it with anyone except my doctor, not because I’m ashamed, but because it’s no one’s business. Commenting on people’s bodies is simply too personal (especially in the workplace). It’s rude to mention someone’s weight gain. It’s equally rude to mention weight loss. Praising weight loss is the same as condemning weight gain. Whether I weigh 150 or 350 is my business, and only my business.
    I have made lifestyle changes; eating more healthfully, and getting more exercise, that have resulted in weight loss. I did this partly for the health benefits of those changes in and of themselves, and partly because I know I was being judged for weighing more than is considered attractive. I know that attractive people are assumed to be smarter, nicer, and more capable, and I wanted that advantage however unfair and unfounded. I may have given into those societal pressures, but I’m damned if I’m going to condone them and add to them by talking as if weighing more or less really makes a difference in a person’s value.

  6. jonquil says:

    I’m willing to be open if someone asks me, but I have found, over and over, that my “story” makes people extremely jealous and resentful. Particularly women, I’m sorry to say. Even my oldest and best friend is jealous and competitive about it, but still asked me “how I did it.” Yet, when I explained my methods, she just glazed over and got even more resentful. I guess she was looking for a magic pill, and all I’ve got is a story of hard work and patience.

    And the fat women in my new neighborhood, who never saw me before I got fat, are ready to kill me. I have forsaken the “club,” evidently. Every month I maintain, rather than gain all the weight back, seems to make them nastier. And because I’m wearing clothes that fit, and are not black, navy, dark grey or dark brown– wow, that’s like a red flag to a bull. You would think women in their 50s and 60s would be way past this sort of high school behavior, but no.

    All of the guys I know, by contrast, are perfectly o.k. with my weight loss, probably because there is no direct social competition involved. My brother is right behind me, and my husband is overjoyed, in fact he’s the only one who has been inspired to lose weight himself!

    So just standing there, being myself, successfully maintaining, is somehow being too “open” or in-your-face, for some people. It seems to generate a thought pattern something like “she lost weight, I can’t, so she’s a b%$@#*ch.” How stupidly self-destructive is that? All that mental energy, spent on envy, which could have been used to get healthier. I’d be happy to help people, to be more open, but they don’t want my help, they want me to disappear. Or fail. Oh well. It’s their problem, not mine.

  7. stretchy says:

    I was so relieved to read the posts here. I have met the women Jonquil speaks of, and the people who closely question me and then ridicule my diet & being a vegetarian. It is hard, especially when I travel to the midwest or overseas. Like I am some freak who won’t eat “normally” . I understand what Greta is saying.

    People do ask about weight loss, and when I mention vegetables, I get responses like “vegetables are nasty” or the “glaze over” Jonquil mentioned.

    There is no quick fix. I have little tips, but it makes me feel frustrated when people presume we are starving or eating things we don’t like just for vanity.

    Hello! doctors everywhere are shouting for people to avoid the grease and sugar and start moving! Fill up on veggies the way Jonathan does, and move more. It makes sense.

  8. Mercury says:

    I guess I’m just vain, because I love when people compliment me on weight loss, and it’s generally done in the office. I don’t think it means that my coworkers hated me before. I consider it like I just got a Phd. It’s not that people without them are stupid – it’s just nice to be recognized for your hard work and what you’ve accomplished.

    I came to the board today because I wanted to share a small success – I work for a software company, and we have “tech lunches” every Thursday where we are served pizza, natch. Today I took in my snack (plain non-fat yogurt, olive oil & salt – it’s delicious, I swear!), and had no pizza. My snack tasted great and filled me up.

    Of course, it looks a little weird, and everyone made a point to comment on how disgusting it must be. I’d forgotten how annoying that can be – I’m about to eat this thing you’re making fake puking noises over, you know – but I also know that we all rib each other everything, and it’s all in good fun. Food for thought.

    I was a vegetarian for a while, and it did make people uncomfortable. I see this from both sides too, though. I work with two devout Muslims, and I feel weird about drinking in front of them if we go out to dinner. They say they don’t care, and I think it’s sinful NOT have a nice glass of wine with a good dinner, but I still feel awkward for some reason.

  9. Contessa says:

    What I tend to get from my co-workers is comments like “You eat so healthy!”. I don’t tell them I am dieting; just eating to be more healthy. Apparently many of them think that I am a vegetarian because I eat so little meat compared to vegetables.

    Now if I can just be more consistent on exercise.

  10. Zsuzsa says:

    The people around me also make fun of my eating a carrot, apple etc. I have a vegetarian friend and everytime I am around her, I hear someone questioning her about her unhealthy, unnatural lifestyle. A person eating a huge piece of cake or a fatty hamburger and smoking a cigarette seems so natural, afterall. Johnatan, you wrote about your collegues in some former post, so I hope the people around you are more understanding.

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