I'm Not Losing Weight to Make You Feel Bad.

Since I've started losing weight I've come across the whole gamut of responses from friends and aquaintences - I don't generally talk about it very much (it excites a lot of expectation and that's a pressure I don't want to put on myself) but at over 50lbs gone the difference in my size is noticable, as is the change in my eating habits (if I'm eating out I ask for the dressing on the side, to swap the chips for salad or potato, I don't have dessert, and so on).

Some people have completely failed to notice (my colleagues and some of my closest friends) - or, at least, have not commented on it at all. It's possible that the people who see me every day haven't noticed because it's a gradual process (certainly, looked at objectively in a mirror I can't actually see any difference. The smaller clothes do rather give it away, and I can see a difference in photographs).

Some people are happy and supportive for and of me (usually boys and/or thin people) - there's a small subset of people who've lost weight themselves and they're very supportive.

Some people want to know how I've done it and are treating me as a guru! I've directed several people to Slimming World and a couple to the wonderful world of Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred. Lots of people at my class ask for my advice about getting their head into the game as well, and that's incredibly gratifying (and rewarding if it works for them, too).

Some people are threatened and/or angry about it. I've had some good friends react in very peculiar and negative ways; I try exceptionally hard not to be a diet bore (that's one of the other reasons I don't talk about it), although I know I can be a bit of a nutrition nut (I try to make positive choices, because it's better for me, and when I'm cooking for others I try to ensure that it's a balanced, healthy meal as well as a tasty one) and the choices I make about the food and drink I put into my body are only ever about me, but some people do seem to take it as a judgement on them.

I can see why, I suppose - I've always been either the fattest or the unfittest (or frequently both) in the group (except for a blissful year in my teens when I grew 5 inches and all my puppy fat melted away. It soon came back) and I am no longer either in most of my social situations so that upsets the status quo of the group dynamic, and causes people to re-evaluate their place in the group. It's comforting when you're not the unhealthiest (you may be fat, but you're thinner than X) and that's how you judge or justify yourself then when that changes you're no longer able to use that justification, and may feel as if you're now being judged by others.

The fact is that fat people are judged where ever we go - not as much as we suspect in our dark moments, far more than we hope in our smug ones - I've lost a great deal of weight (and am no longer morbidly obese, hurrah) but I'm still fat and I know I'm still judged. People view me as lazy (less guilty than I used to be, but still guilty as charged for a significant percentage of my time), stupid (absolutely not. Willfully obtuse, probably), ugly (fat isn't pretty), unsexy (it's in the eye of the beholder, that one, but again, fat isn't pretty), greedy (guilty as charged and working out the reasons behind that's been half my battle) and undeserving (utter nonsense, and usually something we personally have to battle our own demons about anyway), but my weightloss - my choices - are not a judgement on anyone but me. I am not consuming anything (or not consuming something) for any reason other than my own health and what I deserve.

I've worked damn hard to get where I am right now, and the fact that I'm not choosing to undo some of that work by having a dessert that I'm not hungry for or chips that I know will give me indigestion later is only a reflection that it's not personally worth it to me to do that (that I feel that I deserve to have arms nice enough to wear something sleeveless more than I deserve food that I can really take or leave), not a judgement call on someone else's behaviour.

I don't have any reasonable answers yet for learning how to deal with this one - it's difficult because most of it's coming from someone else's issue and it's not something they're looking to deal with themselves - so far focussing on the positives for me and revelling in the support and cheerleading that I do get (and paying it forward when appropriate) is the best I've been able to do, but it's far from the total solution.

I hope that eventually the new status quo will settle in and it won't be an issue anymore - and yes, of course I hope my friends will have healthy behaviours because I feel fantastic right now and I want to share that with them but I'm not going to value them any less if they don't because fundamentally it's most important to me that they're happy (and I know that they're not stupid, ugly, unsexy, nor undeserving. In fact I have smart, lovely, beautiful friends because I deserve them!) but that's going to take time and meanwhile I'm just going to focus on the fact that I haven't come across any saboteurs this time around and take joy in that.

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