thistlechaser: (Moon)
[personal profile] thistlechaser
Last week when I donated blood, I had a conversation with the tech drawing it. She told me how good my veins were, and I told her I thought that must be because I had lost weight, that they used to have to take it from the back of my hand because they could never find one at my elbow. She asked me how much I had lost, and I told her. As usual, she was all smiling and happy for me and asked me if I was happy, if it had changed my life, all the same questions everyone asks.

I'm so tired of lying about that. Everyone who asks that always asks with a big smile. They want me to say yes. They expect me to be happier now. They want me to say that yes, it changed my life.

But you know what? That's not really true, and I'm really tired of lying about it. With a few exceptions, I was happier when I was heavier. It sucks that now I always have to worry about what I eat, to weigh myself and worry all the time. To endlessly be worried about regaining my weight. It had been wonderful to be able to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, as much as I wanted! Now? I eat a piece of sugar free candy and worry it will start me on the road to regaining my weight back.

The problem is, the tech who drew my blood was heavy. As soon as I said that it hadn't changed my life as much as I had expected it to (I did give her two examples of positive ways it had changed things), I saw the disappointment on her face. It wasn't until hours later that I realized that by me not being positive about weight loss, it might have made it harder for her. (If, when I had been heavier, someone who had lost a lot of weight spoke not-positively about it, it would have made me less interested in trying to lose weight myself.)

Ever since then, days now, I've been thinking about that. Where does the responsibility fall? Do I lie and help people, or do I be honest and maybe not? (I suspect that I'm an exception, I think most people would be a lot happier after they lost the weight.) The thing is, it's bad enough to not be happy about losing all this weight, but it's even worse than I have to keep lying and saying I am. (Usually I try to keep the subject from coming up at all, but sometimes it pops up before I realize it.)

All that being said, I wouldn't switch back to heavier, just for health reasons. Plus it's nice when I meet new people at work, to no longer know I'm the fattest person they've met in their whole life.

Date: 2017-03-27 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been reading too much of a particular blog, but--you have zero responsibility to strangers to support their weight loss efforts by invalidating your own feelings about it.

Date: 2017-03-27 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, that's a good point. It's just the weight loss struggle is so hard, I hate making it harder for anyone. I'll just continue to try to keep the subject from coming up, since I generally don't want to talk about it much anyway. (Back in high school, I had some teacher who lost hundreds of pounds, and that became the only thing she ever talked about. It's not wrong to talk about it if you want to, but to me it's just not a subject I want to dwell on.)

Date: 2017-03-27 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In terms of talking to someone who's also on the weight loss quest, I think you do better by being honest. I think too many people think that if they lose weight everything is 100% magically better in every way. Or that weight loss surgery is an easy fix. 'Cause neither of those things are true.

Date: 2017-03-28 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Agreed, neither are true. And I think you're right, it's better that she knows ahead of time.

I'm glad I made this post, now I feel less like I have to put on a sunny face for everyone who asks.

Date: 2017-03-27 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I definitely don't think anyone has responsibility to lie about their own experiences to make people feel better -- definitely not strangers, and one could choose the path of a "little white lie" if one chooses, but I don't think one is ever obligated to do so.

The other thing is, I think genuine data is good? Like, if the tech is trying to lose weight, I'm sure she sees plenty of data about how losing weight has changed people's lives for the better -- there is no shortage of that narrative out there. And if some people's experiences, like yours, do differ from that, I don't think it's a bad thing to be aware of it.

I guess there are times when positivity is more useful than candid data, but I don't think life-long behavioral changes are one of those circumstances... Maybe that's just me, though, being a fundamentally lazy and change-averse person...

Date: 2017-03-28 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you're right. In the long run, it's probably better that she gets to see that it's not all sunshine and roses.

Thanks for the comment! I feel more comfortable talking to people about it now. And who knows, if they catch me on a good day, maybe I'll be able to honestly tell them how great and wonderful it is. Bad days will be more balanced between good and bad.

Date: 2017-03-27 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Would it be possible to regain your weight?

I think if someone asks they must be aware of getting an answer, not necessarily what they would like to hear.

Date: 2017-03-28 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unfortunately it's not just possible, it's common... People lose all their weight, a hundred pounds or a lot more, and they can quickly gain it all back if they're not very very careful.

And you're right, I suppose they shouldn't expect just the answer they want to hear.

Date: 2017-03-28 07:08 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-03-28 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it's important that people know that just losing weight doesn't make your life perfect. Maybe the disappointment you saw in her face was her coming to the hard realization maybe she shouldn't keep putting off that thing she's been wanting to do but waiting until she loses the weight. Which is a great outcome, IMO.

Date: 2017-03-28 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's a really important thing. I guess on some level, I thought losing the weight would vastly improve my life, but instead it's just the same life somewhat easier in some ways (and harder in others).

Agreed, I hope she got that from it!

Date: 2017-03-28 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Losing weight was uncomfortable for me. I'd grown used to having built-in cushioning, and I never could sleep or sit comfortably until I gained it back.

Date: 2017-03-28 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It does have its benefits! I never sit comfortably anymore, my tailbone always hits the back of the chair and such. Plus I think it's why I'm endlessly cold.

Ah well! There are ups and downs to everything.

Date: 2017-03-29 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I swear the being endlessly cold is something they need to put in the literature. No one tells you, "Oh, and BUY A LOT OF HOODIES," and they SHOULD.

Date: 2017-03-29 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeeeep. Even when it's like 70-72 out, I wear two pairs of socks and slippers/shoes! And that's with a sweater. And my hands are usually always cold, too! Ugh.

Date: 2017-03-29 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you are doing the right thing by being honest. A great deal of people - myself included - see (saw) weight loss as a magical thing that will fix all the problems with their life, when really, it will only fix some of the health issues (maybe) and some of the self-esteem issues (maybe). Maybe it will set someone on the path to changing the rest of the things, maybe it will make them feel more in control or more sociable or more powerful, or more whatever they are looking for, but maybe it won't, and I think you are helping to gently introduce that idea by being honest about your experience. I lost weight, but there was still other shit I had to fix that being thinner did not fix.

Down here there is a stock reply women give when someone asks them how they lost weight. "Oh, I just stopped eating when I wasn't hungry." I wonder how many of them just don't want to get into it, and how many of them are only saying that because they think it's what you're supposed to say. I don't know ANYONE for whom it was that easy, or that lightly considered and decided, either. For most people I know it sucked, and for many it continues to suck. It is not a magic bullet.
Edited Date: 2017-03-29 12:10 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-03-29 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ha! If only it were that easy.

I guess I did believe that as well. Maybe if my life had been more impacted by my weight (if I wasn't online all the time) it would have made more than a difference. But the only real difference I experience on a regular basis is the whole cold all the time thing. :P But I know there are other benefits as well, so... I'm sticking with it.

This is a really good comment-conversation to have though. Hopefully being honest will help folks!


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