As a former fat dude, I’m all too familiar with feelings of being judged about my weight. It may not always have been as bad I felt it was, but the judgement was there… be it around business associates, clerks in the store, to the single women in a bar. I know overall I was often treated very differently 150+ pounds ago than I am now. Like me, maybe you were scorned, mocked or ridiculed. Or maybe if you were “lucky” you were just plain ignored. And maybe you also had thoughts similar to the ones I did, thoughts about how “if I could only get people to see that I am more than just my weight”.
We have talents, we have skills, we have hobbies, we have interests, we have things to offer that have absolutely nothing to do with our weight.
Then you lose some weight, maybe a fairly drastic amount like I did, and you see a shift in how people treat you. Maybe you become more attractive to the opposite sex. Salespeople in stores come up to you with a smile on their face to see if they can help you. Maybe you finally got that promotion. But maybe there were some bumps along the road?
During the period of time we’re losing weight – especially if you’ve had RNY or maybe VSG were the weight comes off rapidly, you can suddenly become the center of attention around friends and coworkers as they see these changes happening. Your weight loss becomes a regular topic of discussion, you become… a curiosity.
For some people this is great! Cause in some ways, for so many it almost seems to make up for the attention we’ve been lacking for so long. That now, any attention, no matter the reason, seems like a good thing. No? Heck, some of us even turn it into something we embrace and try to use to our advantage in many different ways.
For many others this is a stressful thing. After spending so much of ones life in the shadows, to suddenly be thrust in to this spotlight is a scary, disconcerting thing. Something we’re not equipped to handle.
But even those of us who have embraced it, I have to think that along with those who have shunned this attention have all had a moment or two where we’ve sat back and reflected upon this new found attention and asked ourselves “what was wrong with me before?” Where we were once defined by our significant weight we now seem to be getting defined by our weight loss. And maybe we even pose to ourselves once again “if I could only get people to see that I am more than just my weight”.
The thing that got me wondering about this today was something to do with another public figure being talked about online – something about talking publicly about having had bariatric surgery… I’m not really sure, I never went past the headline because I suddenly got the impulse to writhe what I’m writing here now.
I don’t know that there are any of us that are or have been significantly overweight that has not wanted to tell the world at one time or another that there is more to them than just their weight.
Should that be any different when it comes to our weight loss? Should it be any different now that we’re “normal”? And should it be any different simply because someone is a celebrity?
Yes, there are those of us who embrace this new us… not just in where we are now, but how we got here. We blog about it, we start businesses around it, we virtually shout about it from the roof-tops. We’re one side of that sword. But for everyone of “us” out there, how many of “you” are out there that just want to be you. Just want to live your life as someone that is much healthier than they were before? You are the other side of that sword.
I can understand how there are so many on the “us” side of this the sword want to help others, want to beat down the stigma and bias of obesity. We want others to have the same shot at a healthier life like we’ve got. And part of that means getting the word out… and who better to help us do so than celebrities that are in public eye? And some have… with mixed results. Others haven’t… and I often have seen a lot of lamenting of that fact by those of us on this side of the sword.
It’s another double edged sword. Celebrities put themselves out there in public eye. Their life tends to be up for grabs, up for public consumption. Some relish in it, feed off it, and are masters at playing it to their advantage for all it’s worth. Others are more reluctant about it, making great effort to keep their public and private lives distinct and separated as much as possible.
I’m not sure why it struck me like it has, or why it has just recently. But yea, there seems to be a push by “us”, an assumption that if you’re a celebrity, and you’ve had weight loss surgery, you are on our side of the sword.
But is that fair? What if those celebrities are just like us, and at the end of the day they sit back and think… if I could only get people to see that I am more than just my weight.