Friday, May 22, 2009

Why Are People So MEAN About My Weight?

Yesterday I went into a burger joint. I was scared to death. It's been years since I've walked in this place, because my husband always did it for me. And it's not just walking in. When I'm in a town where people know me (and my car) I HATE going through drive-throughs too. I even hate buying "junk food" in the store. The anxiety is almost paralyzing.


Because people are so MEAN to me when I do!

I get disapproving stares. I get people look at what I'm buying, then at my figure and shake their heads. Occasionally I get some lady who will say something like, "you know that's not good for you?" or, "That's not for YOU is it?" I wonder if they're really wanting to say "what an ugly, sloppy fatty- you shouldn't eat that. You should duct tape your mouth shut and then maybe you'll lose some weight."

I hate how I feel when people look at me that way. I don't eat a lot of junk food. But I do like to treat myself after a good workout week. I've lost about 60 pounds over the last three years, and I'm really making an effort to keep the weight off. But even at Size 14, I still get the remarks:

Just last month, I was on a business trip and the hotel offered free dinner. I heaped a ton of pasta on my plate- intending to save some money by eating half and saving the rest for lunch. I step into the elevator with an older couple, and the wife proceeds to ask me, "Are you actually going to EAT all that??" I was angry that she would ask that (it's none of her business) but I was happy for once that I had the "right answer," and politely told her, "No I'm saving half for lunch tomorrow." Her response? "Yeah, right. You're going to eat it all." I was SO glad we reached her floor at that point. But SO stunned that she would say that to me. And even worse, upset at my inability to respond in a way that affirmed myself.
Another example:

I was about to end a month long series of three day religious fasts (one each week). I decided to add my favorite snacks to the celebration menu, and ran downstairs to the store to buy them. As I stood in the check out lane, the woman behind me asked, "You're not going to eat those, are you? Oh, of course you are. You're probably just going to have a few, right?" I looked at her and said, "Ma'am, I haven't eaten in three days, and I intend to eat the whole thing." I paid and left. But I wanted to cry.

So when I went to the burger joint, I tried hard not to look at anyone. I didn't want to see their disapproving stares, and I didn't want to deal with the shame of someone like me eating what was obviously not good for me. Why is it OK for them to eat it, but not me? All these feelings of anger came out, because I'm in good shape: run 8-12 miles every Saturday, can out kickbox, step, or power-pump most of the other people in the gym. But I'm bigger, so people can't look at me and tell I just ran a half-marathon with my friend last weekend. They can't tell the Dr is always impressed at how healthy I am at my checkups. All they see is somene a little larger than normal with low self esteem and for some reason they feel driven to attack.

Why do they DO this?
And how shoud I RESPOND?


SavedAspie said...

Someone sent me this link to an article: "Fat Bias Worse for Women"

Fleecy said...

My suggestion: tell them to be a little more concerned with what comes out of their mouth, than what goes into yours. :)

SavedAspie said...

Fleecy, that was a good one! Thanks!

Fleecy said...

Glad you like it. I hope it teaches some people to mind their words a little... some people say awful things for no good reason all the time. Sometimes people need a reminder that their words can have much more impact than one might expect, slinging around hostility is irresponsible.