Depressing Research: Losing Weight Will Not Make People Love You

by Charlotte on May 30, 2012 · 28 comments

Why didn’t I have my phone with me?! Of course there’s an actual “awkward silence” app…

Gym Etiquette Sin #398: Cracking loud, inappropriate jokes with relative strangers. Just because you’re both in close proximity in hilariously compromising positions still does not give you license to go all Chris Rock in Vegas. (Although if you actually are Chris Rock then you are granted full immunity. And also I’d like your autograph because Hair was one of the funniest-yet-thought-provokingest documentaries I have ever seen.) Anyhow, I (re)learned this one the hard way when I made a terrible joke to a person at the gym (who would probably prefer I don’t identify them) the other day. It started as a way to relieve the awkwardness of one of those strange situations you only find yourself in in gyms but, per my usual, ended up making things way worse. “Awkward silence” was invented for that moment. I wanted to tie my mouth shut with the resistance band I was holding. (And no I’m not going to repeat the joke. Even though it was super funny. Because saying it out loud was bad enough. My kids definitely do not need this one immortalized on the Internet. Their college entrance essay can be “My Mommy Was a 12-Year-Old Boy.”)

I blame the Gym Buddies.

Working out with these girls for so many years has made us mighty comfortable with each other and our “stretching mat” conversations — that actually take place all over the gym, including in bathroom stalls — encompass everything from marriage counseling to dinner recipes to fashion tips to, yes, some blue humor. I’ve gotten so used to both giving and taking the occasional dirty aside that sometimes I forget I’m not working out with my girls and I probably ought to censor myself. Context is everything, right? But embarrassing faux pas aside, I wouldn’t trade those conversations for anything. I’ve learned a lot, cried a lot and laughed a lot with those girls. And today’s conversation did not disappoint.

We were discussing who was fat as a kid.

For something that should be very clinical, you’d be amazed at how fast the conversation got serious. Being overweight at any age carries a huge stigma in our society but overweight kids carry an immense burden — and I’m not talking about the physical one. To admit to being a chubby child is to admit to all those years of being vulnerable, scared, angry and ashamed. It’s admitting that it still hurts, even years down the road. Even after losing the weight.

It turns out that two of the Gym Buddies were quite overweight as kids, a fact which had the rest of us expressing disbelief for several minutes because they’re both so svelte now. One Buddy, in her determination to convince us she really was big, blurted out “I was over 100 pounds!” As the rest of us gave her the stink-eye, she added, “In second grade.” Oh. “And I was a B-cup!” Ooohhh. I have a second grader and I cannot fathom taking an 8-year-old to get fitted for a woman’s sized bra. (Probably because he’s a boy, duh. But still.)

The conversation turned to how both had lost the weight — one in high school and the other in college — and then how wildly the rest of our weights fluctuated during those tender times. While I was never overweight as a kid (I wasn’t skinny either – spot on average. Still am.) I was at the height of my eating disorder in late high school/college. I was too thin but every bit as vulnerable and painfully self-conscious as the other two. Another Gym Buddy related how she’d gained a bunch of weight in college (“the fun way: drinking beer and eating pizza at 2 a.m.”) and then had to lose it.

It was with this in mind I read about this new study that found that not only do people judge you negatively for being fat, they still judge you negatively even if you become thin. Lose/Lose!

“The researchers asked young men and women to read vignettes describing a woman who had either lost weight (70 pounds/32 kilograms) or had remained weight stable, and who was either currently obese or currently thin. Participants were then asked their opinions about this woman on a number of attributes, such as how attractive they found her, and their overall dislike for fat people.

The team found that participants in the study – published in the journal Obesity – expressed greater bias against obese people after reading about women who had lost weight than after reading about women who had remained weight stable, regardless of whether the weight-stable woman was thin or obese.

“We were surprised to find that currently thin women were viewed differently depending on their weight history,” said Dr Janet Latner, study lead at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, US. “Those who had been obese in the past were perceived as less attractive than those who had always been thin, despite having identical height and weight.”

Obesity stigma is so powerful and enduring that it appears to even outlast the obesity itself.” (Emphasis mine.)

I was surprised. Hearing about my friends’ weight struggles only made me love them more! But perhaps the difference is the people in the study were discussing strangers and we so often boil down people we don’t know to the sum of their appearance. Lindy West explains it on Jezebel, writing, “Because you don’t really qualify as a thin person; you’re just a fat person masquerading as a thin person. You’re tainted. All that stuff that supposedly made you fat—laziness and moral turpitude and lack of willpower and that pneumatic Dorito funnel you had installed next to your bed—that’s all still in there, waiting to make you fat and gross again! Despite all of society’s protestations that fat people are just thin people with temporary gluttony problems, it turns out that they don’t really see fat people that way. Fat once, fat for life.”

It gets worse. The researchers noted “that negative attitudes towards obese people increase when participants are falsely told that body weight is easily controllable.” Which, hey, we’re told all the time! Seen a diet pill ad lately? A talk show? It’s so ingrained in our culture that we don’t even recognize the bias anymore. I found it particularly telling that most of the comments on the Jezebel piece centered around which diets really work, how to lose weight and (oddly) whether or not someone can be “pro-gluten” or “anti-gluten.” Even as we’re discussing the myths we’re buying into them!

The part that made me the most sad is that I know that a lot of people who’ve lost weight internalize that message as well. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I’ve gotten from people who say they’ve lost weight but they “still feel like that fat girl” or are so terrified of becoming fat again that they go to extreme measures to control every ounce they weigh.

What’s the solution? I don’t know honestly but I think it starts with kicking this notion that if you could just weigh the “perfect” number then everything in your life would be unicorns pooping rainbows. Fat, thin, formerly fat, eating disordered: so many of us have held that belief for so long that it’s hard to define who we are without talking about our worth in terms of our weight. We’ve cried and thought that if we were just thin enough then people would love us. And now science has even taken that away from us.

But there’s hope. My experience with my Gym Buddies has shown that while losing weight might not convince everyone to love us, but that those who do love us, love us no matter what.

Were you overweight as a kid? Be honest, when you hear that someone has lost a lot of weight does it change your perception of them for better or for worse? Do you think your personal weight history affects the way you see others’ weight loss?? Make me feel better: Anyone else ever stuck their foot in their mouth with a really raunchy joke? (Dear Mom and Dad, I’m sorry!)

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

radioactivegan May 30, 2012 at 11:45 pm

I was a chubby kid .. and I’m a chubby adult. When I find out someone has lost weight, I’m in awe (and maybe a little jealous). For now, I’m just going to keep believing that things will be better when I lose a few pounds … :\


Alyssa (azusmom) May 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

I should walk around with a shoe in my mouth, since I stick my foot in it constantly!

When I hear of someone who used to be fat, I get jealous. Truly. And it also makes me a bit hopeful, as well. My weight has fluctuated all my life, and while I’ve never been obese, I HAVE believed that my weight made me unlovable. But my husband doesn’t care that I’m 40 pounds heavier than I was when we met. And I don’t give a rat’s patootie if someone I don’t know doesn’t like me. Not anymore.
Nowadays, reading this brings to mind Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” It is SO true!


Missy May 31, 2012 at 12:28 am

I’m going to answer the easy question first: I have a raunchy sense of humor, my mind is always going “there”, and I have definitely stuck my foot in my mouth more than once.

For the hard stuff: I was a chubby kid, and it was bad. I am an obese adult, and it’s worse. I’ve been battling my own body ever since I can remember, and I have internalized all the self-defeating crap I’ve heard, and now I just say it to myself: I’m fat, I’m lazy, nobody wants to hang out with the fat chick. The worst part is, these are not things anyone’s saying to me, I’m just assuming they’re thinking them (sorry for the awkward sentence.)

That said, when I meet someone who has lost weight in a healthy manner, I am proud and ecstatic for them. Maybe a little jealous. But willing to ask for tips.

I am working to lose the weight, both for health reasons, and to be a better role model for my children who both unfortunately inherited my body type and gain weight easily. I am trying to be less concerned with my appearance and not assume people are judging me, but I guess that’s the point of your post – they do. (sorry for the novel. this is a sensitive topic for me.)


Jaded May 31, 2012 at 1:24 am

I was overweight as a kid and still currently overweight. I was always near the top of my class size wise. But I found, as when I was in elementary school there was maybe one other person in my size neighborhood, but the time I got to high school there were a dozen in my class. MAny around my size and some were larger. For perspective, I was chubby until middle school or so. By the time I was 12, I was basically a C-cup and wearing size 11/12 or 13/14. By the end of high school I was solidly 14-16, In college, it fluctuated a bit more, I dropped to a 12, but by the time college was over, I was about a size 18 (16W). In adulthood, I have pretty much stuck around an 18, with a few periods when I was more like a size 20 (18W).

I am working on losing 85 pounds and about halfway there now, down to a 14-16 — a bit bigger than I was in high school. I think the size charts changed. :D

Amazingly enough, I don’t recall any weight related incidents in elementary school, middle school or high school. Maybe a few comments here and there. But nothing to impact my self-esteem. I mean less than 5. Maybe there was one in 5th grade or so, but once I creamed that kid in mercy, he shut up. Sure I was subjected to some of the lame stuff about being picked last for sports and so on. But in reality, I was actually OK at sports, and people started picking me in the middle. Since all the girls were picked last, I didn’t think it had anything to do with my weight at all.

I got it a little worse in middle school from girls. Maybe one in particular. I never did figure out why she wanted to pick on me. Maybe weight. Maybe because I am black and sound like a “valley girl.” Who knows. Anyway, I called that girl on it, and she stopped picking on me. I remember another boy stealing my lunch money 2 days in a row from my backpack. Once I figured out it was him, I called him on it and he quit. I only got bullied a few times growing up, and these were crappy bullies, because the minute I said something to them, they were done. I guess people couldn’t believe that a “pushover” like me would standup for herself.

I honestly never realized there were negative stereotypes about overweight people until I was older. I never really felt like I was so “heavy” or “abnormal.” I was fairly active. I road bikes, played outside, and was on the color guard in high school. I also had thicker thighs, bigger arms and a round belly.

The worst comments came from my extended family, they would make comments about my weight, but I don’t remember any from my peers.

I decided I wanted to be in the best shape ever in time for my 35th b-day. I’ve got one year to go. I have never put any work into losing weight. I am avid reader about health. I have been off and on in adulthood with exercise. But all weight loss attempts haven’t stuck. I have tried and not started many times. Or lasted a week. This attempt feels a lot more real, and as I result I am making progress and a lot more committed.

One of my friends “struggled” with her weight in high school. In reality she was totally normal, but our high school was full of straight and slim women. And she was hippy. So she felt “huge.” In her late 20s she got into serious shape, and she is trying to get back to that status (she has since regained about 15 of the 30 or so pounds she lost). I think the hardest thing about being a current or former “overweight” person is learning to love and accept your body as it is now. And how it will be in the future. We get so many messages that we aren’t good enough, and never will be, especially if you have been overweight, and it is difficult to just be.


geosomin May 31, 2012 at 1:47 am

Yes. I sure was. In my head I sometimes still am. I look at recent pictures of myself and am often stunned at how utterly “normal” I look now. I am gaining confidence, but it is strange how it lingers with you. In my new job where people never knew the “old” me, I almost feel like I’m lying to them sometimes…like they don’t really know me completely since I still think of myself that way sometimes. Silly really, because they do. The me I am now is really who I am…
Knowing that it is a bit of work and dedication to stay healthy has made me respect people who have lost weight and keep it off or work hard to keep it off. I’m happy when people are healthy and live their lives…and am finding lately that I am leaning towards a dislike of overdoing the diet/health thing. If your life is completely consumed by diet and fitness, you miss so much…
I wish I could go back to young me and tell her it’s gonna be all OK when I grow up :)


Liz May 31, 2012 at 6:17 am

I was at a health weight until 5th grade. I gained 20 pounds in a short period of time and then struggled with my weight all the way up through college. Even though I was really active most of the time, I still OBSESSED about feeling and looking fat in front of my thinner friends. Literally every minute, I would remind myself to suck it in or sit a different way or pull down my sleeves to hide my arms (as I was wearing a bulky sweatshirt in 95 degree heat to hide my whole body). I’m at a healthy weight now and I feel so much better than I used to, but it seems less about me feeling physically better and more about me feeling so relieved that I’m not struggling the way I used to. The feelings and negativity that I used to experience (especially in high school) are still so easy to recall. I think they will probably stick with me forever. It’s even worse for a friend of mine who has been obese without exception since she was 3 or 4 years old. Everyone else in her family was overweight, but they have all been fit and active at different periods of time except for her. I think it is the single biggest factor influencing her self-perception and self-damaging behaviors as an adult.


Crabby McSlacker May 31, 2012 at 6:28 am

Yikes, depressing study!

Though kinda of a weird, artificial way to evaluate how people feel about real live humans. And if someone has really lost the weight, and is not perceived as obese, I guess they could choose not to ‘come out’ about it but how ridiculous would that be? Anyone who judges character by size, let alone former size, and reacts negatively has some real issues they need to work on and it’s all i can do not to call them superficial idiots. Although i guess I just did!

I have nothing but admiration for those who have made major lifestyle changes in order to be more healthy and I can’t fathom the superficial mind of someone who would condemn that.

And raunchy humor… I’m a HUGE fan.


Naomi/Dragonmamma May 31, 2012 at 6:34 am

Until I hit puberty, I was scrawny. My mom stuffed me with weight-gain shakes until I tipped the scales at 55-pounds: when I was TEN years old!
Definitely not the key to popularity, however. I was a dorky kid with thick glasses, homemade dresses and a bowl hair cut courtesy of my dad. I can’t imagine that things would have been any worse if I was overweight.


JavaChick May 31, 2012 at 7:42 am

I was average as a kid, my sister was a little on the chubby side until she got braces and could hardly eat anything for a few years. My sister got skinny and stayed skinny, I got chubby in my late 20′s when I started a full time office job and it’s been downhill ever since. When I hear that someone has successfully lost weight I am generally impressed and happy for them.


Lydia May 31, 2012 at 7:52 am

I was a skinny tall kid when I was a kid. As an adult, I have a very athletic build. I’ve never been so much as chunky in my life. But even I know what it’s like to struggle to lose five pounds or whatever silly bit of weight I try to lose every now and then. I can’t even imagine having large amounts of weight to lose. The dedication and the self-control that goes into doing that is so impressive to me: the changes that you have to make to your lifestyle to make that happen are incredible! I don’t know if I’d have that will power to lose all that weight if I had it to lose. I’m thankful that I’ve never had to try!


AJ May 31, 2012 at 8:28 am

I was overweight, am now thin and fit, and terrified of gaining it back. Thing was, although I can empathize with overweight people and their struggles, the reason I got fat was because I was lazy and overindulgent. Since that was my experience, I find myself viewing other people in the same light. I realize in my mind that people become overweight for many reasons, but I can not seem to help judging them the way I judge myself.

It was HARD to lose the weight and I see so few people who are overweight actually willing to put forth the effort that it took for me to get where I am today. This really perpetuates the same feeling that I had when I was overweight. But when I really, truly look at myself, I can see that it was purely grace from God that helped me change. One day I wanted to be healthy and strong more than I wanted cake. Was that some amazing thing about me that made me better than all the people who still choose the cookies? NO. God gave me everything I have- the energy and determination, the physical health and ability- all of it.

Because this is true, I can in no way look at myself and think I am somehow better than someone else. I can’t know why someone is overweight, what physical and emotional issues they are struggling with, what they are currently doing or not doing to get healthy. I can only share how much my life has changed and encourage them in whatever stage they are in.


Sara May 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

I was tiny as a kid. Not too thin, but thin for my age. I remember I was the last one of my friends to hit 100 pounds–for me that was 6th grade. Interestly, and frustratingly, I’m now one of the biggest of all my friends. I still deal with disordered thoughts about how I’ve “let myself go” and I get mad at myself that I’ve struggled with my weight since college. I have had health issues that have contributed to my weight–hypothyroid and PCOS and even with meds and exercising six days a week I still stuggle with losing the weight I need to. Since I was smallas a child I think I believe I should still be small or I should not have weight problems. IT is a twisted cycle.


Amy May 31, 2012 at 9:07 am

I was chubby as a child, obese as a teen, and then mostly overweight (to varying degrees) all of my adult life. This study 100% validates what I’ve been saying for years now – that it doesn’t matter if you lose weight – you’re STILL the fat person.

Usually, unless the person has lost enough weight to be “magazine/Hollywood thin,” most people still see that tummy roll or thigh chub and think they are “still fat” but just not “as fat.” Once you’re stuck there, you’re stuck there for life. Your family and friends almost expect you to gain the weight back, and the thin culture doesn’t think you’re quite yet thin. . . so there goes the slippery slope and boom! you’ve gained all your weight back and then some. Because why bother trying?

I sound defeatist, and I know it. I’ve struggled my whole life with trying to be average (or slightly above) instead of very overweight. Sigh. This study sure doesn’t help things for those whose weight is emotionally driven.


Abby May 31, 2012 at 9:22 am

I know I’ve written about this before but I was heavy until college and anorexia. I mean over 200 lbs in high school (though I am pretty tall). I think I had undiagnosed BED but in any case this “To admit to being a chubby child is to admit to all those years of being vulnerable, scared, angry and ashamed” really wasn’t my experience. I know a few times I wished I was built more like my skinny classmates but the vast majority of the time I was really happy. I had a huge group of great friends, was in all honor’s classes, dated, and was in a bunch of extracurriculars. I wasn’t athletic but heck, I’m still not. I just found out what kind of exercise I like.

I flirted a couple of times with losing weight in high school (mostly when my mom was on a weight loss kick) but it never really stuck and I wasn’t that bothered by it. I was happy. And I feel like society these days tries to convince me that no, clearly I was miserable because I was fat. I MUST be happier now. In fact it was deciding to lose weight in college (when I was unhappy being far away from my family and friends) and the anorexia that that triggered that made me the screwed up mess I am now.

I would wish the pretty awesome experience I had growing on any kid but I wouldn’t wish this on them. The fact that no one picked up on my anorexia for so long because clearly it’s normal to want to shed pounds at a ridiculous rate makes me sad about our society.

At the same time I do have trouble admitting that I was overweight. I’m not sure whether it’s a fear of being judged like this or the anorexia making me ashamed.


Cat May 31, 2012 at 10:47 am

People will always project their feelings onto others – whether it’s about weight loss or other issues. That’s human nature for you. Show me someone who’s never felt jealousy (especially when it comes to body size/shape) and I’ll show you a liar…or Buddha. I imagine he’d be pretty zen about the whole thing.


Helene@healthyfrenchie May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I totally agree Cat, people project their own insecurities and fear to get fat on others.
Personally I really admire people who have lost a lot of weight, especially since I seem enable to lose those pesky 5 /10lbs that annoy me so much!
I was a really skinny kid until puberty and bulimia hit me :(


Laura is Undeterrable May 31, 2012 at 10:58 am

My sense of humor is horrible. I blame it on working in construction and marrying into the military. And just being a horrible person (kidding…).

I was a pretty average kid, maybe on the high side of average. I was always bigger than everyone else because I hit my final height of 5’8 in 6th grade. Honestly, it was really tough to always weigh more than my friends, even though I was 6 inches taller. It never clicked in my mind though. I was horrified when they put our weight on our softball trading cards.

Regarding the main controversy – I think in general we assume the worst of people. I’ve been trying to change my thinking about strangers and give them the benefit of the doubt. One example is in driving. My husband gets super upset when someone is driving “like a maniac.” (maniac driving = driving faster than you) He assumes that the driver is just a jerk and thinks they are better than everyone else, or is drunk, or is on drugs, or is running from the cops, yada yada yada. I’m trying to reframe my thinking and ask myself “what if that person just got a call that their mom is dying in the hospital?” Realistically, probably not what happened, but what if? The driver didn’t cause a wreck, isn’t really getting in my way, and if I recieved that phone call I’d drive the same way.

I think the same thing applies to obesity. When it’s a stranger, we as a society assume they are lazy and don’t try or are too stupid to know better. When it’s a friend or family member, we know the struggles and the effort they’ve put in and view them in a more positive light.


Jenna Z May 31, 2012 at 11:07 am

I was overweight as a kid (after the age of 8) and it was NOT fun. I just started a series about my weight loss on my blog part 1 is about childhood through high school and part 2

If I am totally honest, I do judge people based on their weight loss. It matters to me how people lost the weight and how quickly. I know this is terrible but I do not see weight loss from surgery as being as praise-worthy as weight loss from diet and exercise. And I think a lot of people are that way. Even though I KNOW surgery is not a magic bullet, and it takes a lot of work and constraint and constant vigilance and it’s not fun. But I know that it IS possible to lose weight using healthy eating and physical activity and back in my brain I see people who had surgery as lazy and not willing to put that amount of work into it. I know, it’s horrible! Please don’t flame me!

And at the gym, I judge people who have always been thin quite a bit more negatively than I do people who I know have worked hard for years and lost the weight, brought down their blood pressure and cholesterol and such and are now in great shape. Especially teachers, if I know one instructor has been overweight and lost weight and another has always been thin and athletic, I will choose the overweight one every time. Because they KNOW where you’ve been and watching them is even more motivating. I was that way about gym teachers in school, I HATED the teeny tiny lady gym teachers telling me try to at least run the straights parts of the track or hustle to get the ball. And I would really glomm on to the ones that were trying to get back into shape or had already started their transformation, the same commands seemed so much more understanding coming from them.


Sarah May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I saw this study too. I think that people who know me who know I’ve lost weight, genuinely are impressed that I lost it, and kept it off. I’ve never come across anyone who thinks of me as the fat one now because I used to be fat. Although I always feel like the fat one next to my cousin who is a beanpole (good metabolism and not very interested in food).

I wasn’t fat as a kid so have no particular memories of that.

I myself am impressed when I hear that someone has completed a weight loss journey – although if they were really large I do sometimes wonder how they got so big without deciding to do something about it earlier. I suppose that’s because for me I noticed a bit sooner.

Best policy is not to judge, especially strangers. You never know whats going on inside someone else’s head.


colleenzo May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I was average as a kid, very athletic as a teen, and then got a bit chubby in/after college. I’ve since lost about 35/40 lbs and am on the thin/fit side again. I don’t think I have any lasting effects from my weight gain, because it feels like THAT was the break from the norm, rather than vice versa. I never felt like the ‘fat kid’… in fact, I didn’t realize I WAS chubby till I saw some particularly unflattering pics, and that’s what kicked my butt into get to get back down.

I will say that honestly, when I hear that someone has lost large amounts of weight, it makes me feel MORE respect for them, because I can only imagine the dedication, hard work, and self discipline it must have taken to lose it. It wouldn’t occur to me to think them less attractive because of it.


The Girl in Yoga Pants May 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm

This makes me wonder about the participants’ weight history. If those people had remained weight stable or had lost weight, did that affect how they viewed the people they were judging? I think that’s very interesting. Personally, I think more highly of people who have lost weight, I guess because I’ve struggled so hard to lose my own. I think that matters. I wish they would have factored that into the study.


Rebecca May 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I recently had an old college friend–whom I haven’t seen in person for ten years, but who has seen my recent photos–tell me I was a dead-ringer for a contestant on “The Voice”.
I was horrified to see how *big* she was.
Because yes, I did look like that in high-school and college.
I no longer do.

But it kind of proves the point, doesn’t it?
He remembers me overweight, no matter how I currently look.

When I hear about people losing a lot of weight,
I am both jealous and instantly feel like I’m not trying hard enough.
Like I am not measuring up.
Like I need to go run a 5K immediately.

I’ve struggled with weight since I was 10–
always a little rounder, a little heavier,
a little less interested in sports,
always a little more interested in sweets.

What’s really frustrating is that I was *incredibly* active when I was a teenager–
walked to school,
rode my bike to my after-school job,
rode my bike on the weekends,
played tennis–
I wasn’t sitting on my ass and eating Twinkies.

But I was still *big*.

I don’t know how much of my weight loss was due to simply getting better food
(poor family = lots of processed shit)–
or how much was due to me making an effort to run,
to go to the gym,
and recently, to do Crossfit and handbalancing and competitive dance.

It just feels…so damn unfair that I work as hard as I do,
and still do not look the way that I “should”.

Having a sprained ankle and being forced into rest isn’t helping Ye Olde ED, either, I gotta say.

Everything about this makes me sad.
Especially the fact that, at 30,
I still believe that if I could *just* lose twenty more pounds,
I would be enough.


Jody - Fit at 54 May 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I was a fat kid. I was teased & grew up feeling bad about myself. Yes, it took years not to see the fat kid in the mirror. Some days, I still do but most days not. I feel great when I hear stories about people losing weight – well, I should say losing it a healthy way. I know from experience how hard it is to lose AND keep it off. The one thing I did learn though is that just because you lose the weight, it does not mean you are going to LIKE YOURSELF. Losing weight & love of oneself – separate to me…


Kiya May 31, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I’ve been pretty average. Gained the freshman 15 & another 20 over the few years after college. In the last few months, I’ve finally lost 15 again, and it was HARD! When I hear of anyone losing weight, I always feel excited and proud for them. I know how hard it is to make a lasting change, and it makes me value their struggle more.

I also wonder about the weight history of the participants of the study. I think if you have experienced how easy it is to put on the weight & how hard it is to take it off, you view others differently.

And dirty humor for the win! I say awkward silence gives you bonus points :)


George Super BootCamps June 1, 2012 at 5:31 am

I must say that I’m not entirely surprised that people feel dissatisfied when they lose weight if their goal is to feel better about themselves. They’ve got it the wrong way round.

When I was doing my NLP training I remember a story I came across by John Overdurf where he had worked with a severely obese guy who had pretty much run out of options. He had tried all sorts of diets exercise and other plans, so when John talked to him he didn’t see the point in trying to help him lose weight. He just asked him what he thought he gain when he had lost weight. The response? Happiness with himself. So John, knowing that you don’t achieve goals and then get the feeling about the result, but you aim for the feeling and then get the result (because you need to be able to develop the goal state – the way of feeling and being as a result of the goal – to be able to work toward the goal!), decided to work with helping this guy feel better about himself. And you know what?
Because this guy learned to love who he was, he naturally ended up losing a truckload of weight.

That one story, and many subsequent experiences with coaching, hypnotherapy and NLP clients has taught me the value of making sure your goals are properly sorted through. When I work with clients (and I teach the same process in my motivation ebook ‘How To Do What You Don’t Want To Do’ I ask them the sorts of questions that help get to the bottom of ‘why’ with their goals. And I also teach them how to put themselves in the state that they want, because you can have a state (your emotional and physiological being) right now! You don’t have to wait for some external event to feel a certain way. It’s quite the opposite; you feel a certain way (your state) because of how you think. Train yourself to use your brain in a specific way and you make the outcome of your goals that much more likely (and sometimes people end up not wanting the goals at all because the goals were only ever a way to reach a certain state!).

Just my 2 pennies worth, and now I’m off to write my own blog post about this!
Keep up the good work,


Fran K June 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Great post. Glad I’ve been led to your blog, am subscribing. Yes, I was overweight as a kid, remember dieting at 12, cuz that’s what my Mom did. Still fighting the battle to this day.


Ruth June 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

I was overweight most of my life, and about 3 years ago I lost the weight. I feel jealous still towards others that lose weight. I am happy for them, but can’t seem to see that I don’t need to lose any more and can just be happy and supportive. I am pretty sure that’s what others feel too, jealous and wondering when it will come back on me. Maybe I have a shallow outlook on others, but I know what sad thoughts go thru my mind. I am so worried about gaining it back, it was so hard to lose and it feels like I am fighting a battle against something so big, it will take so little to wind up back where I was. Not sure it this makes total sense, but it’s all jumbled in my mind too.
Oh, and I am bad for making terrible jokes as well, and sometimes at the worst moment, or to the worst choice.


Lindsay July 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

I was a chubby kid, am a chubby kid. In the twenty years I’ve been alive I think I’ve been on the atkins diet, mmmm, maybe 7 times (only taking it seriously twice). The most I’ve ever weighed has been slightly over 200 lbs. Once, a few years ago, I sliced about 40 lbs off my original 180, and nearly reached my goal before tumbling back down. But in that time people around me treated me better than they had my whole life, and it wasn’t just acquaintances that treated me better either. My close friends and even family were more accepting and open with me, and I completely resented it, I still do. Nothing about me changed except for my weight and yet they all treated me differently. So whenever someone notices I’ve lost weight and compliments me on it, like a knee jerk reaction I instantly feel slightly bitter.


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