Things I Learned About Being Overweight by Becoming Thin

Let me just begin by repeating for the 1000th time how much I love fall! I have been eating pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast everyday for like 2 weeks and the weather is now just perfect for biking and running most days. Yesterday it was a little dreary, but at least the temperature was nice! I was very glad to be able to bike to the gym today, especially, so I wouldn’t have to contend with game day traffic on campus (though for some reason there were about 1 million gym bros to contend with at the gym).

This was good, because today started out kind of poorly: I had been planning on making some Christmas presents, but I haven’t actually used my sewing machine in like 6 months. The other day, I was trying to gather up materials to make these presents and discovered that I had left my interfacing, quilt batting, etc back in Harrisburg. Luckily, my wonderful husband was able to mail this to me so that I didn’t have to go spend upwards of $9/yard on this crap again. I decided that today would be a good day to reattempt work on these projects…only to discover that my cutting mat and rotary cutter are still in Harrisburg! WHAT?! I can’t believe that I basically brought none of the things I need to sew with me. After writing this post, I’m probably going to go venture to Hobby Lobby to see if I can get a new mat. *sigh*

Another interesting thing that happened today was the inspiration for this post. I was on Reddit this morning (of course) when I came across an askreddit thread asking overweight people to discuss issues that the overweight face that most people are not aware of. A good question, but, being that this was on Reddit, most of the answers were either people being all like “I don’t understand how overweight people can literally be the worst” or people talking about their weight loss journey/issues with weight loss without really providing a unique answer to the question (many were just pointing out how hard it is to lose weight; I would say the majority of people are aware of this problem, even if they can’t understand it fully). There were two types of responses that struck me, though: overweight people pointing out issues that I never was aware of even as an overweight person (this has happened to me at other points in life, too) and people like me who have lost weight talking about the things they learned by losing weight. This made me reflect – what things have I learned about being overweight by losing weight, either by reading about others’ experiences or by noticing a changed experience myself. I have mentioned several of these before, but I feel like they are worth mentioning again. Warning: the last two “bullet points” are really more like paragraphs, because they are complex points I want to make.

  • Apparently people go around judging the food purchase of the overweight. Now that I hear this, I’m not surprised – people tend to be quite judgey – but it never occurred to me that this might be happening to me when I was overweight. Also, now that I am aware of this, I notice it all the time, and I am certain it happened to me, but that I was just oblivious.
  • My clothes and shoes wore out faster when I was overweight, because they never quite fit right. My feet were too wide and made my shoes loose; the arms on my sweaters would stretch out from pushing them up; my beltloops would tear from trying to yank on my pants; my jeans would tear from my thighs rubbing. I never realized this would stop happening when I lost weight!
  • Chairs. I was aware that some overweight people have trouble fitting in certain chairs/break them sometimes, but I thought these concerns did not apply to me because I had never had those problems. Well, I might have “broken” one chair. My office chair did this weird thing where the adjuster broke and it would just wobble around, and I assumed I broke it due to being over the weight limit, but I checked and at my highest weight I was at least 10 lbs under the weight limit so it could have just been a fluke. After losing weight, though, I realized how much better my chair experience really is now. I fit in airplanes and buses better; I can sit comfortably on almost any random chair (though (though I need more padding, now!); I can fit into tiny cars  more easily; and I sometimes even have room to set things beside me on chairs!
  • Overweight people are often invisible to/ignored by society. In a way this was good, because not all attention is good attention (I will say though that the amount of street harassment was fairly equal because now instead of being outside as a “fatty” I am outside as a runner and both are apparently displeasing to rude men). Strangers are way more likely to hold doors for me, talk to me (and hit on me, ugh), and just in general be nice to me than they were before. And I don’t just mean random strangers – this is especially true at clothing stores, where I receive SO MUCH more help now. I never noticed this one because it is difficult to notice lack of attention, I think.
  • On a similarly related note, people that you know treat you way differently (not necessarily nicer, just differently). I mean, I guess I was somewhat aware of this, but I understand it a lot more now that not everyone I know knows that I was once overweight. When you are overweight, everyone just kind of assumes you really dislike yourself and that you are really sensitive about it. And I’m sure everyone is to varying degrees, but most other people tend to think it is like the number one thing on your mind. Like, if you make factual statements like “I can’t find anything in this store because they do not carry my size” they freak out. The worst is when you mention briefly being fat and they continue to reassure you that you are not fat. There are two reasons that I think people do this: they are either afraid of indirectly insulting you by not disagreeing (like, they think you will say you are fat, they will just sort of nod or something, and then you will exclaim “HAH!” Got you! You said I am fat you meanie!”); or they are possibly quite unaware of how large you actually are (I am guilty of doing this to people myself). As I said, I was aware of this as an overweight person, but now I really understand how weird it is because of how comfortable people feel asking me about my body, now. They think nothing of asking me what I weight, what size I wear, etc., and they accept most comments I have to say about myself because they don’t feel like they need to reassure me. The last holdout seems to be my legs. Every time I factually mention that they are big and I have trouble finding pants, people still freak out trying to tell me that it’s ok. Newsflash everyone: I am aware it is ok.
  • An extra bullet point for lessons I probably still have to learn

2 thoughts on “Things I Learned About Being Overweight by Becoming Thin

    • Losing weight really does give you perspective on so many things. I am glad I can understand how much value and love I deserved as an overweight person in comparison to how much I actually received and how much I receive now.

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