Dear People Who Stare Disdainfully At Me Everywhere I Go:
Go ahead. Ogle me with your eyes, mouth agape, jaw completely slack. Go ahead and think the completely judgmental thoughts you’re thinking about me–I don’t give a flying fuck. This has happened my whole life so I’m used to it. Doesn’t mean I like it, but I’m used to it by now. My skin is pretty thick.
You don’t know me, you won’t know me, and I don’t want to know you. All I need to know about you I’ve learned from your disapproving stares. You know the one, because you’ve perfected it by giving every fat person you see the Exact. Same. Stare.
You know the one–the one that makes every fat person uncomfortable no matter if they’re only 50 pounds overweight or 250 pounds overweight. You know the one–the stare that cuts holes through the souls of the folks subject to it, and that makes them feel small, and not in a good way.
What you don’t know is that I am a work in progress.
You don’t know how heart-wrenchingly difficult it was for me to make the decision to have weight loss surgery after spending decades in a body that just couldn’t keep the weight off, no matter what modifications to behavior or diet were tried (and so many were tried).
You don’t know that it is likely that I’ve already lost an amount of weight that is probably equivalent to your skinny ass off of my body. You don’t know that I am vigilant about the things I put into my body now, and that I meticulously document every bite, lick, taste, and sip. You don’t know that I go to a therapist and a support group weekly to learn new behaviors for this new lifestyle I’ve adopted. You don’t know that I also belong to three online support groups for bariatric surgery patients because I need all the help I can get in this fight for my life (and each and every day is a fight). You don’t know that I squeeze in exercise when my busy schedule allows me to do so, and how much this frustrates me.
I am a work in progress. And yes, I am still fat, even after losing 167 pounds from my heaviest weight.
You don’t know how hard it is to unlearn so many deep-seated food behaviors–many of which involve your upbringing–in the hopes that learning new behaviors will finally, finally give you a fighting chance at a healthy life.
And every other fat person you cast that stare of disdain and disapproval upon? They’re works in progress too.
So cast that disapproving stare inward and look hard at yourself. You are likely a work in progress too.
I’m behind on my daily bites, so here they are for yesterday and today. I was a protein beast yesterday, getting in 88 grams. I got in 28 grams of carbs and 30 grams of fat, so overall a great day.
Today I got in 83 grams of protein, 38 carbs and a bit more fat than I like with 46 grams. Gotta cut back on the cheese…
We know so well that our procedure was STOMACH SURGERY, not BRAIN SURGERY – and we still need to face and deal with our head battles on a daily basis.
Being 1/2 and 1/2 (half Mexican and half caucasian) I understand the cultural/physical challenges we face, too!
Hang in there! You are doing awesome! And as an 8-year post op, I find your journey still inspiring!
Happy Holidays to you!
Thank you for the encouragement…there are days when I wonder if I’m doing this whole thing right at all. I’m trying so hard not to fall back into old habits, but it is a struggle. But like I told someone today, “The surgeon only operates here (pointing to my belly); THIS (pointing to my head) requires constant maintenance.”
I think as long as I can accept that I will always need help with my head game, I might just do all right.
Bravo! I feel like printing this and handing it to every a-hole I see doing what a-holes do. I swear I could feel every word I just read, deep inside. I hate being stared at. I am not a freak show. I am a human being. I have feelings, and you DO NOT know what is in my head much less how my body got to look this way.
At 190 lbs, I feel like I get just as many stares as I did at 380 lbs, just fewer “DAAAMMMNN”s. What is is so wrong with a person that they feel that shaming someone for what they look like is acceptable or appropriate behavior. Fat shaming DOES NOT have the effect they’re hoping. In fact, just the opposite. We tear ourselves down enough. I know I don’t need any help.
Kudos to you for seeking out and finding so much support. At times I wish that it was as easy to find wls support groups as it is an AA meeting. Sometimes, I find myself needing nothing more than contact with someone who gets what I’m going through. Fortunately, I just need to wait for a new one of your blog posts to feel less alone. ❤
I am so glad that I can share this experience with you and that you can identify with me too! And you are absolutely right–we most certainly do not need help being shamed because we do it enough to ourselves, and HAVE done it enough to ourselves for so long that others feel like it’s okay to do it too. I say no more to that–I am trying hard to love myself as much as those who love me unconditionally do, and I think as I get better at that, my self-confidence will show through that much more. At least that’s my hope. 🙂
As for the support…I knew going into this that it was something I was going to need because the folks around me (except my hubby) were so far removed from the situation that their version of support was not going to be appropriate or adequate. I needed to be around people who knew what this path entailed both physically and mentally. Thankfully, my doctor is affiliated with a fabulous psychologist who runs a weekly weight loss support group at the hospital where I had surgery. I started going to group before I had surgery and still go to this day. It has been one of the most important things I do for myself each week. I’ve also sought out online support in various forms, and have struck gold with each one so in that regard I am fortunate. I know not all online support groups are truly supportive, but the two I have found really are fantastic. Let me know if this might be something that is of interest to you.
We can do this, stares, glares, and all. 🙂