Sunday, May 6, 2007

Please Don't Stare

I will now step on my soapbox with a public service announcement:

People stare. People talk.

When you are obese, this is a fact of life. You may not notice when you are gaining the weight, but once you have been living with it for a while, it becomes clear. They stare and comment out of disgust, disbelief, pity, ignorance. Well, as our moms taught us, it's rude to stare and if you don't have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself.

There are so many misconceptions about people who are overweight: we don't care about ourselves, we have no self control, we are unclean, we are ill-educated and we are blind and deaf. All right, I don't know if anyone consciously thinks the later, but it sure seems that way. Because people do stare and worse yet, they snicker and comment and make stupid cruel comments like they are on the playground. Remember, being overweight means you have big shoulders physically, emotionally it can still hurt.

{End commentary.}

Now I have to be honest, I find myself looking these days. (Though never staring.) You see, I have not quite equated my weight loss into a smaller mental picture of myself, so I spend a lot of time wondering. I wonder if the person I am glancing at is my former size and if so, I am glad I am not them. Of course, that makes me sad, because I know others have thought the same of me.

And then the caretaker in me comes out and I want to help them. But it doesn't really work that way. You have to make your own choice when it comes to making such a huge life change, it's just exactly like alcohol or drug addiction, it's a disease. People can tell you it's bad for you, but until you decide that it is, there will be no helping you. You have to help yourself.

Instead of trying to take people by the hand, I am becoming very public about my weight loss. I tell everyone about it and I encourage questions. Telling people does a couple of things - it makes me feel good, because I am proud of what I have done so far; it makes me publicly responsible for my choices and harder to fall back into old patterns; it hopefully inspires people to make the changes they need to make.

So, I talk too. But I don't point out other people's weight problems. I concentrate on my struggle and make it clear that I am willing to help anyone facing the same demons.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 186

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