Thursday, January 10, 2008

What it's like to be fat

The first thing is that I couldn't even think about writing this post until I'd lost 50 pounds. Because you feel that everyone's judging you, for being lazy, eating too much, not taking care of yourself, not trying hard enough. You feel your voice doesn't count. You feel you can't talk about what it's like to be fat until you've proven yourself, shown that you're taking steps not to be fat anymore.

And now, I'm still overweight so it's not easy to talk about it now. But I don't want to be one of those people who only talks about what it's like to be fat from the vantage point of a nice, safe size 6, where how horrible it was is only a vague, awful memory.

I want to talk about while I'm still in it because for once I want to give power to my words from within my own situation. I don't want to write some chirpy "after" post once I've reached my goal weight about how much it sucked to be fat. I want to write it while I'm living it and while it's real.

So what does it mean? Well, let's see.

You don't fit into chairs. When you go to a restaurant and someone suggests eating outside, you do a subtle scan of the chairs to see if they're sturdy, if the arms are narrow, if you'll be uncomfortably spilling over the sides of the seat during the meal. When somebody asks if you want to go to a baseball game, you hope they have tickets for the expensive, roomy seats. Nobody wants to sit next to you in the Metro or on the bus. You see every seat fill up around you while the one next to you remains resolutely empty. You try to pretend you don't notice, try to pretend you're just being polite when you give up your seat so that two people will sit down and one less person will have to stand.

Shopping sucks. You see all the gorgeous, pretty clothes in the normal departments as you bypass them on your way to the plus size department, where the clothes have gotten trendier every year but are still not fabulous, and the same pieces cost more. Most of them are designed for women with huge chests, which I don't have, and they fit all wrong. Looking at yourself in the dressing room mirror is depressing. Looking at yourself in any mirror is depressing. You don't want to go wedding dress shopping, because even though most dresses come in large sizes these days, the samples at the stores don't, and how are you supposed to pick out the most important dress of your life if you can't even try it on? Even with the zipper down?

You never think anyone wants to date you. When a guy starts talking to you, you assume he only wants to be friends. You have no confidence to make the first move, to even believe it when somebody makes a move on you. You assume you're misinterpreting. You hook up with guys because you think you need experience, because you think that if you were thin you'd already have that experience. It doesn't matter that much if you really like the guy.

But it's not just about dating. You never think pretty girls want to be friends with you either. You assume they're embarrassed to be seen with you, or can't understand what it's like to be you, or look down on you. You can never engage in those lighthearted conversations about clothes and shopping and guys and flirting and looking hot. You feel a chasm between you and them and it's impossible to tell if you're imagining it.

Nobody will ever talk about it. You can't make reference to it yourself. It's the elephant in the living room and if you ever mention needing to lose weight, or having to shop in the plus size department, people look awkward and look away. It becomes your job not to make people uncomfortable, not to talk about it, not to push it.

You think about it all the time. You are always aware not just of how you look but of how much space you take up, of whether your chair is sticking out too far from the table so that someone has to squeeze around you, whether you'll fit into the crowded elevator.

When your significant other tells you you're pretty, or beautiful even, you assume he's saying that because he thinks he should and not because he believes it. Not because you're self-deprecating or have low self-esteem or anything else; you can accept all other compliments from him, about being smart or funny or whatever, and you can even smile and say thank you when he says you're pretty, but you don't internalize it the way you do other compliments, you don't really believe it, because how could it be true?

You can't sit on your significant other's lap because you're afraid of crushing him. Sometimes you don't want to try new positions because you're afraid of crushing him.

Your health becomes scary, even if you're currently healthy. Overweight women have a higher chance of infertility, of complications during pregnancy, both with the baby and with themselves. You think about diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk of certain types of cancer. You look around and notice that there are no fat old people. You think about dying young.

Reading women's magazines is an exercise in jealousy. The designer clothes featured never fit you. When they run a feature on the best clothing for every body type, there's one category for "curvy" or "full-figured" or whatever they're calling it that month. The implication is that if you're overweight, that's your body type. There isn't a category for overweight and pear-shaped, overweight and top-heavy, etc. But you can't look at all the other categories that might match your body type because the clothes featured there aren't available in your size. Tons of stores are entirely off-limits. When your significant other sees a pretty dress in the window of J. Crew and suggests that you look at it, you make some excuse because you don't want to admit that even the biggest size there is probably too small for you.

It hasn't ruined my life, it hasn't killed my self-esteem. I haven't let it destroy other areas of my life, things that make me happy. But it's always there. You can never forget that you're fat. You see your excessive size in every look you get, no matter the context. The reminders come from all around you. But they also come from yourself.

118 comments:

La said...

I don't know what to say that isn't going to sound trite, but this post REALLY spoke to me. At my heaviest, I weighed 240 pounds. At 5'1". I have been there. I still am there. Even though I'm not as heavy anymore, and I don't have to deal with the same kinds of struggles? That feeling will always be with me. Thank you for being brave enough to write this. Thank you.

And a kajillion, bajillion hugs.

Swistle said...

Well done.

LoriD said...

Jess, this was just amazing. I have a cousin who has struggled with her weight her whole life and I read each of your points thinking of her. The only time anyone would talk to her about her weight was when she would shed some pounds, and then there was a lengthy discussion of the program and the goals. Unfortunately, she's about 15 years older than you and her self-esteem has been eroded. Despite the fact that she has a PhD, a great job, a gorgeous home and a few really great friends, she is still not a happy person. I always wish she lived closer to me so I could help her lead a healthier lifestyle and hopefully regain some self-esteem.

You've done a great thing by writing this, Jess... both for people who have been where you have been and for those who can't truly understand what it's like to live with these challenges.

lspoon said...

I had no idea about most of that. You always see people on shows like the Biggest Loser who talk about how they want to fit into one airline seat but that's the extent of my knowledge about the difficulties of being overweight. Thanks for opening my eyes.

Tessie said...

This is very well written. I hope you are so proud of it.

JMC said...

I'm with La in not knowing quite what to say. I've only sort of been there and/or am there. I've always been in-between fat and normal weight, so I've never had to worry about fitting in a chair or people sitting next to me on a bus or train. BUT, I've never felt that I looked good in trendy clothes, even though I've never worn plus sizes, because those clothes don't really look good on anyone over a size 6-8.

I definitely get what you're saying, ESPECIALLY now that I'm married into a family where every sister-in-law (and there are 7 of them) is no bigger than a size 4. I'm always self-conscious at family gatherings, though it gets easier every year, the more I realize that THEY don't care, it's ME thinking that I'm the biggest woman there and being self-conscious about it.

Flibberty said...

Wow. This was very well done indeed.

Deutlich said...

About 90% of what you wrote, I went through when I was overweight. I mean, I was borderline diabetic from it all and still didn't listen to the doctor about eating right & exercising for another 2 years after.

I remember in college that alllll the girls in my dorm hallway would get all prettied up for the night's festivities by borrowing each others outfits and getting all excited about the evening. I was always the outsider looking in. I could never muster up the self-esteem and I definitely did some crazy, uhm, "dating" just to validate myself.

But that's really neither here nor there. I'm incredibly proud of you for moving forward. your progress is amazing and I thank you for sharing this with us.

Hazel said...

This is a very eye opening post. Well written!

violet said...

thank you for that. i'll just leave it there.

Nilsa S. said...

This is an amazing post. Very brave of you. I find it so ironic when we adults get mad at kids, teenagers for teasing the fat kids in their classes ... when really, all they're doing is projecting what's taught in society and in their homes. At least they're brutally honest about it versus the hushed "oh my's" and talking behind your back.

I think it's amazing you're taking this journey. Despite how you've felt on the inside and looked on the outside, you still found true love. Clearly you are one heck of an amazing person.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for such an honest post. As my weight crept up in my twenties, I went through everything you described. But, being ashamed...and as you said it is our job to make others feel comfortable...I never would talk about or even admit how painful some of the realities of being overweight are.

Good luck to you on your weight loss journey..and wish me luck on mine!

nancypearlwannabe said...

This post was really lovely. I was always the chubby kid and no matter how hard I worked at it I still always felt like I had that inside me. Your post was very brave and it made me feel better that there are other people out there who felt the same way. Thank you.

distractedspunk said...

Jess, this really gave me a new perspective on something I never thought about. I am so grateful to you for sharing this with blogland, because I think it's something most girls don't think about when not in that position, of what it actually means, rather than, "Oh my god, I am getting so fat." The layers of a seemingly complex lifestyle that both reprimands and ignores has never been so clear to me as this post has made it.

Again, thank you for that. I'm so proud of you for being open and honest enough to share that with us.

Clink said...

Brilliant. Thank you for your honesty and bravery; you've definitely opened my eyes.

Tilly said...

Thank you for sharing, Jess. You are so brave. It's crazy how no matter what size we are as woman, we are constantly thinking about our dissatisfaction with our body. You are not alone.

blogging said...

this post is something to be proud of, jess. you are truly a talented and beautiful woman.

also, i echo clink's sentiments...thank you so much for your honesty and bravery; you've definitely opened my eyes.

dreamgirl said...

this was a great read, and you made me so proud! thank you for opening my eyes. i have 100% faith in you that you will achieve whatever goal you are trying to reach, and we're all here to support you whenever you need!! :)

nicoleantoinette said...

Eye openingly wonderful in a heartbreaking way. Spectacularly written. Thanks for your honesty.

pessimisticredhead said...

Thanks for being so honest. Your writing is very poignant.

L Sass said...

What an amazing and honest post, Jess. The sad thing is that I have felt a lot of the things you write about--not thinking I'll look good in any clothes, not thinking I fit in with the pretty girls, not believing my significant other's compliments, even though I have never been seriously overweight.

Body image is a serious problem for women across the spectrum, and I'm really glad that you were able to confront it so honestly.

The key for me in the last few years has been focusing on being fit. When I focus on what my body CAN DO instead of how it LOOKS, I am much much happier. It's functional, not decorative!

Le Petit Chic said...

Thanks for that powerful and honest post.

Michelle said...

it took a lot of courage and strength to write that post jess. i am fortunate to not have faced the struggles that you have, but you definitely opened my eyes with this piece.

Carrie M said...

thank you for being brave enough to write this. i don't know that i could, although i relate to much of it.

3carnations said...

That's a beautiful, brave and yet sad post.

At my heaviest (non-pregnant) I was 20 pounds heavier than I am now. At that point I was surely bordering on obese, if I wasn't already. I know what you mean about always thinking you don't measure up...

I was friends with two really pretty and thin gals, and sometimes I felt like the "ugly friend".

Ideally, I should probably weigh 15 pounds less. However, 10 pounds lighter would put me at the lowest weight of my adult weight, the weight that I was at when I got pregnant. I was happy with that weight...Truth be told, I'm also fine with this weight.

I'll never be thin, but I feel that I'm certainly average...Next to some thin friends, certainly I'm chunky...But I'm happy with myself, and don't compare myself anymore.

I think as I've grown older, I've learned that at any weight, you are "good enough" for the people who matter. It's only you who might feel not good enough...Then it's up to you, and it sounds like you are certainly owning that feeling, and I commend you for losing 50 pounds!

Stephanie said...

'm so glad you decided to post this. You are a lovely person, inside and out and your writing just continues to get better and better.

Wonderful post, my dear.

Alice said...

::hugs hugs hugs hugs::

awesome post.

while it's obviously not the same thing, i did spend the first 23 years or so of my life scrutinizing myself against every other girl i saw, being unable to wear normal stuff, assuming no guys could be attracted to me, etc.. but it was because i was waaaay too skinny and had no boobs or hips or anything vaguely feminine as a result, and assumed no one would ever want to cuddle a bag of clothes hangers.

congratulations on writing this, and on taking charge of your body.

Amber said...

Hi there, I came over from La's blog. I thought perhaps you (and anyone else reading this with body-image issues) might enjoy a new show called "How to Look Good Naked".

It addresses this self-loathing so many of us women feel about our bodies today and I was extremely touched by the first episode. Lifetime is re-running them so you can still catch the first ep. I highly recommend it. It's...really quite amazing because it shows how our view of ourselves as women have become so distorted by the media.

I'm no fan of Lifetime, btw. Most of the shows on there are kinda sucky, IMO, but this one is really worth watching.

The Ex said...

Holy shit Jess, you almost made me burst into tears at my desk. It’s true, everything you’re saying is true. EVERYTHING. And I’m glad I’m not alone and you aren’t either.

DG said...

Hey Jess, long time reader and first time commenter... What you wrote is inspiring and beyond eye-opening. Made me think of all the times I throw around the phrase "ugh I'm so fat" and should probably be a little more careful. And the no old fat people - never really thought of that. I don't know you well but I can tell that took a lot of guts and I'm so happy I was able to read it. Thank you.

Pickles & Dimes said...

Beautifully written. Such a great and honest post; I loved it.

Congratulations on what you've accomplished, and good luck with the rest of your goals!

I'm proud of you.

Banana said...

Very, very well put Jess. I felt myself nodding along in many places. Also, congratulatoins on the continued success.

each of the two said...

that was real. real and not clouded with self-pity, just the facts.
incrediably brave.
thankyou.

i hope you re-read this and realized one of the many many many reasons your fiance says you are beautiful.

Maxie said...

This was really beautiful and so honest. Amazing.

Congratulations on losing the 50. Believe me, I know how hard that is.

Saly said...

I love this and the courage you show in sharing it is amazing.

Well done.

A.P. said...

what an amazing post. i love how completely honest it is. you have shed a new light on a very sensitive topic for many people. weight is an issue for everyone. thanks for writing this. :)

Marie said...

Awesome post Jess. And you're an especially wicked awesome person yourself.

Artemisia said...

Jess,

This is an amazing post. Thank you for being so honest -- and sharing those thoughts and experiences that I either don't know about, or, I am ashamed to admit, know about and try to ignore. I am sorry.

Thank you.

I hope you are so proud of yourself! ; you really should be.

Also - this is wonderfully written. You express so much and with such clarity. Well done!

BS said...

You're awesome.

sally said...

I haven't read your blog before today and we've never met but I think you are living inside my head because these are very very similar thoughts to what I think almost every day.

fairydogmother said...

What an incredible post, Jess. You have much to be proud of here!

Erin said...

This is a fantastic post. :) Thank you for being so honest :)

Penny said...

That took an awful lot of courage to say, and you said it so well. Congratulations on the courage then and now.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I hear so much of what you had to say as I grew up overweight and have stayed that way until recently - I applaud you for stating the truth as it is and how you see it becasue truth be told it's how we all see it. My hats off to you for tackling such a genuinely delicate subject ..

bridgid said...

This was a beautiful post, and I think you exhibit a huge amount of strength in just talking about it. You rock.

Kat said...

As another long time reader but first time commentor - I just had to say WOW! What a powerful entry, both thought provoking and tear jerking - you are an amazing writer and congrats on the first 50 and good luck on your journey!

alyndabear said...

This was the most perfect post I've ever read - because I found myself nodding along to every SINGLE line.

Thankyou Jess - for sharing what it's like. I hear you, girl.

Lacey Bean said...

Absolutely beautifully written!

d e v a n said...

Amazing post. Thank you.

d e v a n said...

Amazing post. Thank you.

tarsi210 said...

You said it the way it is, sister. It's exceptionally hard to live in a society where thin is the goal and you are simply bombarded by it all the time. Even if you are a strong person (as you clearly are), the constant reminder that you're in the Tubby Group wears on you. Thanks for the wonderful words that reveal what so many of us regularly feel.

ana said...

Reading women's magazine is a self inflicted torture, whether or not you are fat. Because even if you are really skinny chances are you are not as skinny as those models in the magazine. This world is fashioned to make you give in, if you manage to not let it crush you, you are a winner. And clearly you are a winner hun.

fully operational battle station said...

Jess,

I just really really like you. And I love your honesty and willingness to tell it like it is. You really are awesome!

And as others mentioned, it helped open my eyes. It's such a bummer how every single woman has body image complexes. Mine? This may sound ridiculous but I hate the thought of looking too thin, to the point of anorexia. Which, coincidentally, my sister has.

Much love Jess! You are such an amazing writer and person....

Jamie

autobiographyofmyfeet said...

Beautiful.

Damsel in Digress said...

the honesty of this post is striking and captivating. we should all be so talented to write in such a beautiful, uncontrived way when discussing something so deeply personal =)

i'm so glad you did this for you. how we use words can say so much about us. & jess? you're absolutely beautiful. this post makes me wish i had more people like you in my life. more people like you in life in general. blame my boyfriend who has made me watch the star war trilogy (4-6) fils the past three nights in a row, but in my attempt to say something about your spirit, all i can think is: the force is great in you.

Leaf, probably... said...

Wow. This must have been hard as hell to write, well done for doing it anyway.

ttcmb said...

This post made me cry. Amazingly written and something that a lot of people never have to experience. Thank you for writing this post. I have never been there but it gives me more perspective and hopefully I can remember not to judge so quickly. I say that because it is hard not to working in the hospitals when the attitude is all around you. It is hard for me to even admit to the prejudice in the health field, because it makes me feel like a bad person, but it runs rampant in the hospitals I have been in. Next time I think something judgmental, I will come back and read this post. Thank you.

theotherbear said...

Jess, what an amazingly written post.
I am so glad I clicked over and found your blog recently.

Kim said...

I can relate to a lot to much of what you've said and it's incredibly well written, Jess.

And you are beautiful, you know that? :)

daily editor said...

I found your post through La, and wow, I'm so glad I did. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who has these thoughts. I could write the "after" post about what it's like to not be fat anymore, but the honest truth is that I don't bask in the glory of being a size 6. I live in constant fear of becoming an 8 again, and then a 10, and so on. It's a constant struggle, and while other people may look at me and think I'm not at all overweight, all I see are my imperfections and whatever shape my body is when I look in the mirror, and I'm never happy with it. I get so sick of myself, but I still feel as awkward now as I did when I was a size 16.

shay said...

wow!
That took some guts. I had no idea.

I'm by no means fat but I still struggle with some of the same issues with the trendy clothes. I think it's there for all of us.

I wish this wasn't so important in our culture:(

Tarah said...

Jess,
I am visiting from Jamies blog.
Thank you for a wonderful post. Your honesty is amazing. Thank you for this!

sid said...

Loved your honestly. I'm not fat but I live in constant fear of picking up more than 3 kilograms. You do not want to be a member of my family. Being fat will not be tolerated.

Libby said...

magnificent.

i wish i'd had the courage to write something like this when i was losing on ww too. but i dont think i ever realized just how big i'd gotten. it is only in retrospect that my eyes saw.

i'm so so proud of you.

Emblita said...

Wonderfully said Jess- I know that feeling fat is a horrible epidemic (I am not immune btw)and maybe the reason people shun overweight people is because they are feeling fat and guilty themselves.
I'm not sure if I said that right... but I hope you know what I mean.

In my case I have a horrible time finding anything that will fit my chest- everything seems to be made in a one-cup-size-fits-no-one mold. Ugh.

thedalaimama said...

Your strength, honesty, and spirit are both beautiful and inspiring. Thank you!
Dawn

A Margarita said...

Wow, that was really really brave. To open yourself up like that on the world wide web takes a lot of courage and I commend you for that. I had no idea that the world could be such a rough, judgemental place for overweight people. Good luck.

heidikins said...

I know this is late, but I still think it counts. I love that you had the courage to post this, I love that you were honest, and I love that after reading this I love you a little bit more.

You are amazing girl, keep it up!

xox

AlieMalie said...

i read this yesterday but didn't have the chance to comment. i just want to say that it's amazing what you've written here and so damn true. like i said on La's blog, i've been there and am still there to an extent. and, well, there's a part of me that will always be there for the rest of my life. i don't think this sort of mindset fully leaves us - even when the fat is gone.

awesome post. thanks. :)

Becky said...

Jess,
I don't know if I've commented on your blog before, but I've been a reader for a while now, and I had to say that this post made me cry. I've never been really big, but between my big Norwegian bones and being a little heavier than I should be anyway, I've always felt fat. Of course the way most people measure a "healthy" weight doesn't help (Die, BMI, Die!).

I totally identified with a lot of what you said, and I just wanted to thank you for being so honest. Sometimes reading things that your subconscious has thought about is exactly what you need to make you realize how you feel. Does that even make sense?

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I'm really happy you posted this. This makes you brave and you should be proud of that, sometimes being able to SPEAK OR TYPE about something that you usually only think if the bravest thing you can do....and I also think that is when a feeling of acceptance with who you are, where you are, etc comes in. Is when you can acknowledge in the open how you feel about it.

Those who matter in your world won't mind if you talk about it...if you feel the way you do. Those who matter in your world also don't mind how you look.

"You hook up with guys because you think you need experience, because you think that if you were thin you'd already have that experience" AND THIS...I promise, is not true. :) lol

Thank you for the honest post, I think you're a gem.

Princess Pointful said...

So I'm joining the club of people who love this post.
(found you through La, btw.)
I feel like I should put this on bulletin boards all over the place.
Thank you for having the courage to write this. Hopefully it helps more than a few people open their eyes.

bubandpie said...

Powerful words.

She Likes Purple said...

You brought me to tears and at every weight in my life (even the thinnest I've been) I have felt these things. Years and years of a painful eating disorder will forever distort how I see myself. It's something you never fully recover from.

You are brave and honest and strong.

And an inspiration, as well.

Anonymous said...

i love you always

seven said...

Thanks for your honesty. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who struggles with this.

Jess said...

Crawling out of lurkdom to say beautiful and very touching. Thank you.

maggie said...

Ugh, I cried.

I easily weigh about 60-70 pounds more than either of my two best friends. One of them wanted to celebrate her birthday at a Korean spa, where all the girls walk around naked, and I had to think up an excuse because NO WAY IN HELL am I walking around naked with my two size zero friends. They MUST have been kidding. And I still can't decide if my size didn't occur to them and therefore didn't matter, or if they were just inviting me to be nice.

flutter said...

I don't think I have ever felt like anyone gets it. Until I read this. You get it. I wish you didn't, but you do.

Thank you.

Stefanie said...

79 comments? Wow. Do you really need my thoughts, too? ;-)

I just wanted to echo the people who said they never really thought about a lot of these aspects before, and I'm so sorry you've felt that way so often.

Also, have you seen that new show "How to look good naked" yet? It's on Lifetime Friday nights, and it's hosted by Carson What's-His-Name (the blond guy from "Queer Eye"). If not, I think you should check it out. (OK, I've seen only one episode, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy and "woman power now" and stuff.) :-)

Ashley said...

I just found your blog, and I think at just the right time.

Something my mom has always told me the skinny girls, the looks will eventually fade and wrinkles will find them...one thing that will never go away is the type of person you are.
Let me tell you, you are a beautiful person, you may not feel like it, but what you wrote is something that came from the heart and that is special.

YOU GO GIRL...I will be cheering for you at the finish line!

Hiya, I'm Kristie. said...

What a tough post, but you wrote it so well. You are brave and honest and I think we all appreciate that.

Ms. Karen said...

The chairs... I just love it when folks bring out those trendy little folding chairs and expect me to plant my fat fanny in it.

Or movie theater seats that leave bruises on thighs...

restaurant booths that are too narrow, and the benches go down so far you end up sitting with your boobs resting on the table where you can fill your bra with dropped food.

This is an excellent post and very well written. Thank you for sharing it.

Hope said...

Jess, I've always loved the comments you leave on other people's blogs but only just came to read you now after La's referral.

I'm so glad I did!

Because this was an achingly accurate portrait of not only what it feels like to be fat, but what it feels like to be different from that blasphemous thing called 'normal'.

Your words really touched me and I just wanted to you to know that. :)

Chaotic Joy said...

I have never been here before, I linked over from Bub & Pie.

Thank you for writing this.

claire said...

I'm really late in leaving this comment (i've been trying to catch up today) and I wanted to add my comment to the huge pile of 85! comments.

ME TOO. Everything you said here, ME TOO. Except i'd like to add the feeling that everyone is looking at you and judging you when you enter a crowded room. I haven't been to a club since i was a teenager because of how uncomfortable and self-conscious i feel. Ugh.
Good for you (us!) for making the change. I hope these feelings disappear over time for both of us.

Julie Pippert said...

This was moving, brilliant, spot on magnificent.

Anna said...

This is a really touching and true post. I hear you girl- I hear you. I am not brave enough yet to touch this painful subject for myself. Our weight becomes our shield of invisibility against the world.
Your post made me tear up. I hope you revisit and explore this issue again :)

Merle said...

I am ashamed of myself as I read your blog. I am thankful to you for giving me perspective. The image of you sitting alone on the bus will never leave me. There are so many things that we never speak of. I am grateful that you said the truth.

the new girl said...

I am fumbling with words right now and I feel like whatever I say isn't going to express my thoughts very well.

The way you describe your feelings and experiences is so real that it sticks in my heart.

My mom struggled so much with her weight and your descriptions take me right back.

Very awesome post.

Alicia said...

Hello, I saw this post on Indie Bloggers. I just want to say that I hear you. I go through my own battle, a lot of it in my head, about my weight. I KNOW that I think I'm heavier than I am (I have lost about 45 lbs; I was up to 250 at one point--I was fat for me) but when you are 5'10" with extra padding, it isn't the same as being average height with extra padding; you go into those cute, cheap stores like Vanity and Rue 21 and nothing fits. It will never fit. It comes to your belly button because it's made for SHORT people. So you feel gigantic no matter how much weight you lose.

10 years ago, was about 50lbs lighter than I am even now, running sometimes twice a day and not eating well just to look a certain way. I lost 20 lbs. in a few months...and I still fit into the largest size at Express. These days I get it, my height and structure make it tough to fit some clothes (for example, J. Crew was not a reality for me even when I was skinny) but some clothes look fabulous.

Also, I noticed that you are getting into running (?) That's great! I am also training to run a local 5K this spring. Good luck to you!

Jummy said...

I'm so glad that you linked to this entry on today's entry (even though I'd like to think I would have found it eventually).

You echo many of the feelings that I feel and you've expressed yourself so well. I relate completely to having the seat beside me go empty on buses, especially in the winter time (the added bulk of winter jackets), looking at clothing in stores and magazines, knowing they don't come in your size. And boy do I ever relate when it comes to men: any man who talks to me must only be interested in being friends; I don't even dare think otherwise because it would be too painful.

Congratulations on the weight loss and on your journey to be your best self (healthwise). You're inspiring!

cady said...

wow, that was so powerful and very well written.

Lara said...

Oh my gosh, Jess. I have seen you commenting on other sites I love and I don't know why I didn't click over until today. Because, seriously, are we the same person? (I think we have the same body-type, same thoughts, etc etc). I heart you, and I know exactly how you feel. Except I have never been brave enough to post about it. Perhaps this will inspire me to try. (Um, also, how did you lose 50 pounds?)

Travel Junkie said...

Hello,
I love your blog. I had been a sexy size six most of my adult life, that is until after my son was born. Now, I am 178 lbs at 5ft 4 in. I HATE MY BODY NOW. I should not complain because I have not endured the pain you described, but yet I feel that I totally understand you. I am desperate to lose this weight. I wont feel attractive again until I do. I appreciate your candid, honest expression of your world. I will be creating a blog that will document my struggle and journey with weight loss. I would love to post a link on my page that leads to your blog. I hope that is ok with you. I want my readers to be blessed with having read your story.

Cheri said...

Found you thru Flibberty, so glad I did. This post is amazing and unfortunately heartbreakingly true.

Jackie Star said...

Oh My God, its me your talking about me. Jess you write the truth!
Love every word!
Jackie

Erica said...

This post is why blogs were invented. So that one day, you could write these words and I could read them and say thank you.

Anonymous said...

I never realized that other people feel the exact same way as I do. Thank you for sharing that as I'm not that brave.

Mandy said...

Thank you for writing this and for having the courage to write it. I am fighting my own battle now and its a tough one. Its an intensely private one as well. I've lost a lot of weight before and gained it back. This time though, its time for a permanent change and I'm ready for it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

sandra said...

Just discovered your blog through La's, and had to say that this was a really, really great post.

Rassles said...

I just learned about you over at Ask and Receive, and I just want to reiterate all the above comments: You have just described my life. Thank you for being so relative and honest, and for writing this.

internetfruit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
internetfruit said...

Beautiful, and very brave. I stand on the "after" end, but I have to stay I still feel some of those things. While I was losing my weight I kept waiting and waiting to "get out of it" but you never really do. At least I didn't. I still feel like my weight is an elephant in the room, even when no one there knows I used to be overweight. And I still don't believe my husband tells me I am beautiful because he means it. At times I don't trust my beautiful friends. And I don't look back on it and think how awful it was, because it still IS awful. I am and always was that overweight girl who boys prank called on the weekend. Those feelings don't change once you lose the weight. Even today, eight years later - I read your words and it is me you are writing about. Thank you.

kate said...

I like that you included the part about not making people uncomfortable.. along with everything else, as it was all excellent.

That's definitely something I think about. Don't talk about it, don't make comments about clothing or food or working out. When I forget and I do, people's eyes go straight to my stomach, and then away awkwardly.

Thank you for this whole entry, it's amazing.

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Kelly said...

Wow. Thank you for writing this. It speaks the words that are so hard for so many of us to say. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I feel like it has helped me see into the life and feelings of some of my most cherished loved ones.
You have done a great job in writing this, and as a person who has wondered what it is like to be overweight, it has helped me empathise better.

Sunny Dee said...

Thank you for writing this. I'm a college student and I have struggled with my weight my entire life. No one who has never been overweight can possibly understand what it's like. You can't sit on someone's lap and you can't give someone a piggy back ride. You can't go to pool parties; you wear pants when it's 90 degrees out because shorts are too revealing; when you're getting basketball jerseys you're the only one writing XL on the sheet. Your post opened my eyes to even more limitations that I hadn't even realized. I'm really motivated now to lose this weight that has been holding me back for years.

Anonymous said...

Everything you said is poignantly true. As a person who is 5'6'' and WAS 240 and now is 110, I can truly tell you that if you have body issues, fat or skinny, you will always feel insecure and unhappy. Sure, I have happy moments. Especially now that I am constantly referred to as the skinny girl. However, it doesn't matter, people still talk about you behind your back. And sure, I used to WISH for this sort of gossip...but now that it's happening, you still feel yourself trapped in a void you can't ever fill. I truly wish you all the best, and hope that you can conquer whatever goal you pursue. However, may I just suggest that sometimes the grass may be a bit greener on the other side, but it still wilts.

susical said...

This was eye opening for me. My mother was very overweight for my entire childhood, until she lost ~150 lbs through Weight Watchers 7 years ago (and she's been hungry ever since - she has struggled a lot), and as a child I was very insensitive to her. I didn't understand. I am beginning to understand, and I wish that we had a more open dialogue about what it is like - me and my mother, and also as a society. From my perspective (for whatever that is worth), it's starting to be less of a taboo subject for pop culture, and I hope discourse such as this will become more common (and high profile) as well.

Dolcy said...

I never imagined how your life can be this hard just because your look doesn't fit the society,but I had a theory I apply since high school that every overweight girl has tremendous something about her, weather personality,intelligence or kindness..the net result:I have great friends which their look can't stop them from being admirable..just like you seems to be :)

Anonymous said...

I totally got you when you were talking about how everyone thinks pluz sized people are lazy and weak-willed. I am a teenage girl and I have a thyroid condition that makes me overweight. In high school I weigh so much more than everyone I know. But it is impossible for me to lose more than a couple pounds at a time. Last year I was so depressed with myself I pretty much went anorexic, again, nothing happened. Don't you want to wear a sign on your shirt that says, "I'm trying to lose the weight, ok?" I do, and I give you much props for writing this because I am so there it's not even funny. You did awesome, thanks for writing this.

Waiting Lisa said...

This is a great post. I have a million stories like yours that I have never had the guts to write about. It's the one topic I stay away from on my blog, despite being something I deal with daily.

Well done.

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RandomBlogger said...

Whether or not they show it, everyone has things they don't like about themselves. The media is always trying to make us feel like we're not good enough; if they can make us feel like we NEED their products, then they're more likely to get our money. I haven't been overweight, but I still have plenty of things I don't like about myself. When I look through the magazines, I also feel jealous.

I just don't want you to feel like you're alone in all this. It sounds like you have had some specific people in your life who have repeatedly put you down. Perhaps this could be family, classmates, "friends". If it is possible to cut these people out of your life, I would definitely do so. I have also had people in my life who claimed to care about me, but at the same time they made it their mission to make me feel terrible about myself. They targeted so many different aspects about me. I think self-confidence is something that really starts at home and at a young age. If you have never had the chance to build self-confidence because certain people have always cut you down, then it's hard to build it on your own. I had to cut several people out of my life entirely before I started getting some self-confidence...and it has been a tough road that I'm still on. Gradually I have started realizing that those terrible things people said to me weren't true at all -- so what my face looks like this, I have dark hair here, I've got a lot of zits there...none of that matters or defines me as a person. For me, the more I focus on the negative things people have said about me, the more I feel out of control of my life.

I know developing self-confidence is soooooo much easier said than done. For me, getting away from negative people in my life was also extremely difficult, and it has taken me years and years to do so. Sometimes, you can't get away from certain negative people -- perhaps they are your family, someone you work with, someone you go to school with. I wish there was advice I could give on how to ignore these people. It's a terrible situation to not be able to get away from people who are verbally and emotionally abusive. The best advice I could give is to try to associate as much as you can with people who make you feel good about yourself and who reassure you that NO ONE has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. For me, finding these kinds of people has taken years. I think the best thing for me personally was when I started seeing a counselor who specialized in abuse of a kinds, including verbal and emotional. Hearing on a regular basis that people did NOT have the right to treat me this way was very empowering. It has taken time, but I am starting to see a glimmer of hope ahead, which is much more than I can say for the past few years.

I don't know how much all of this applies to you, but I hope some of it has been helpful. For the parts that haven't been helpful, take them and toss them out the window. YOU have the right to feel good about yourself, and NO ONE has the right to make you feel otherwise!