1. txgardenia

    txgardenia Full Member

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    Hi everyone.

    I recently started reading 'fat is a feminist issue' by Susie Orbach. She talks about how some women say they want to be thin, but they unsconsciously sabotage their efforts and on some deep level, want to remain overweight.

    I scoffed at this as I was reading it, thinking 'no way, that isn't me'. But then I started thinking what I would lose if I were no longer overweight....

    Background: Most of my life, i was thin. I had ups and downs during certain stressful periods where I would gain tons of weight, but I always lost it again just as quickly because I would lose my appetite quite frequently. I have only maintained a consistently overweight body in the last 3 years.

    Well, my whole life I have always struggled with unwanted attention from men. That may sound really stupid, because most women want to be attractive, right? But I don't think most women truly want to be accosted when filling up the car with petrol, in line at the grocery store, constantly dealing with drama at work because some male co worker has taken a fancy to them. It cripples your life. Now, I am not really that good looking. I am not classically pretty. I'm not ugly, but I'm no Angelina! My best friend tells me that there's something about me that attracts stalkers (although she was no help in figuring out what!!). All through my life I have routinely gotten so sick of it at certain points, that I purposely bought hideous clothes that made me look awful, just so I could sit down on a bench at the mall without some creep sitting down next to me and trying to get my number.

    Going along with this, I have never been able to have male friends, even though I get along better with men sometimes because i have a keen interest in motorcycle riding and videogames (not something a lot of women are able to chat with me about). But any time I make a male friend that I think is going to be around for a while, eventually I find out they want something more and I am bitterly disappointed.

    Well, since I have been fat, I have made (and kept!!!) several male friends for the first time in my life. I have also made a really close female friend for the first time in years. Previously when I was thin, I would get criticized for 'being a flirt' when I was friendly to people, and women would frequently be really rude and unkind to me. I felt that I couldn't smile or be cheerful towards any men because I would get a backlash of women telling me I was flirting and hurling criticisms at me.

    Since I have been fat, I feel like I have been able to be friendly without any problems for the first time in my life. I chat with strangers on the tube, laugh with the guy who gives me my Starbucks, talk easily with women who give me genuine smiles for once instead of dagger looks and glares. I feel really free. I think deep down I am mourning the idea that I will lose all that once I am thin again.

    I think there is too much emphasis in our society on what I like to call 'the mating ritual'. You can't get away from it even if you have no interest in it! I have never been a flirt intentionally.. in fact, if I fancy a guy I turn into a complete imbecile, blushing and stuttering. I don't think I have ever deserved the kind of treatment women have given me. And I certainly never enjoyed the constant barrage of opportunistic men trying to chat me up (believe me, if I'm not Angelina, these guys were not Brad Pitt either!!).

    Anyway, the point of this rambling post is that I realize i do feel quite sad at the thought of having to go back to my old ways of keeping a smile off my face, avoiding eye contact and never saying more than I absolutely have to, when dealing with men. Or the loneliness of never having a female friend to confide in. Being overweight has freed me from societal expectations of what a friendly woman means. Apparently, a friendly woman who is thin is advertising herself as being 'on the market' simply by going outside her front door. Whereas a friendly fat woman has complete immunity and can chat and smile and no one thinks a thing of it-- she is JUST being nice!!

    I would like to look good again, for myself... and I would like to wear nice clothes as I have in the past, but I feel on some level that either I must hide my body, or hide my personality. Either I must look good but say nothing and appear aloof and unfriendly, or I must make myself look unattractive and frumpy so I can let my personality out. :confused:
     
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  3. Micci

    Micci Gold Member

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    Hey, interesting post.

    I too have read Fat is a Feminist Issue and enjoyed it but in retrospect found it a bit limited in what Susie Orbach found as womens' inner need for the defense that fat can provide. I do so relate to what you say but for myself, I discovered that my fat had other messages to give me.

    I am wondering if you can find other ways of protecting yourself, I found getting older no end of a help in avoiding wolf whistles and annoying advances :)

    But seriously, I feel you describe the truth in the way society works a lot of the time. You suggest wearing unattractive clothes and not smiling or being friendly as a way of protecting yourself when slimmer again but that you don't really want to do this.

    This is a debate well worth getting into here. As I said before, the aging process works to make a woman literally invisible a lot of the time. For example I have to work harder to get served in places abounding with younger people. Something I did when younger and slimmer and AFAIK fairly attractive worked to protect me from the hurts you describe a lot of the time. It would happen (not the colleague thing) but I would get annoyed and then let it go, maybe that helped. I was also lucky enough to have female friends on a deeper level than being competitive over men.

    Thank you for starting this conversation.
     
  4. Harriet101

    Harriet101 Full Member

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    I too read FIFI and it helped me be more objective about the reasons I ate like I did. I feel terribly sad at the conclusions you draw about having to somehow not be yourself in order to avoid unpleasant experiences.

    In your shoes I would actively seek out decent people with whom you can be yourself and who respect you for you. My sister is in London and she met people at the meet up groups (google it for info) - here you connect with people based on interests. Or why not ask for a WL buddy living in London here on the forum?

    There are lots of decent people out there for whom your size is not an issue and men who can be gentlemen - sounds like you have had bad luck in not meeting them til now.

    Hope this helps. I have gone from being a slave to my eating habits to actively takking charge - lots of hiccups but Im getting there - we all can
     
  5. small steps

    small steps Full Member

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    What an interesting topic - I have never thought of extra weight as being good - a way of avoiding undue attention and a way of getting women to be nicer to you. It's such a sad reflection on society and what a barrier to you being the best you.

    I have always thought of the issue of weight from the other perspective. When I am slim I will do X, when I am slim, I will be more fulfilled. I read an interesting book by Roth Green called Women, Food and God which suggested that being slim does not cure all issues - when you reach your perfect weight, in an unfulfilling job, you will still be unfulfilled. Your issue is backwards, losing weight brings more drama.

    Stay strong - try socialising in different places, somewhere more intellectual or with more creative people - people who will not be so small minded or petty.

    best of luck xx
     
  6. Elemental

    Elemental Chasing the Rainbow

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    I find it fascinating what you say, I've thought the very same aout myself for a while now - only I beleved i subconsciously wanted to stay fat because if i was slim i might struggle to be faithful or stay with my husband :( Being slim and gorgeous and selfish and insecure were bad combos for me when i was younger, i'm in a marriage with someone who adores and respects me now and i desperately want to be slim and beautiful again for him but i'm scared i think that if i was slim and beautiful again then i'd want more than this life :confused:

    As humans we are programmed to always want better and being fat makes me demand and want less from people, because i feel inadequate myself .....

    So how do we get around that sort of thinking? Or is my theory totally different and horrible :sigh:
     
  7. txgardenia

    txgardenia Full Member

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    elemental, I know what you mean about wanting more than your current life. I feel this way also. I have come to the conclusion, after being married 2 years, that I really am just happier being single and I would rather not have my life choices limited by someone else. I also think being overweight is a way of boxing myself in, trying to convince myself to "want what I've got". I have only been overweight for 3 years now, but it has changed my life so drastically that i cannot even remember what it was like to be thin. I remember that I had a much easier time finding clothes and that physically I was more comfortable (no achy feet, etc) but I also remember vividly all the negatives I outlined in my original post. I know if men were noticing me, it would be so much harder to tolerate the relationship I am in now. At least while i am getting no attention, I can be smart about planning my separation and not just have to leave with no money and no place to go.

    Do you also find yourself limiting holidays or avoiding having "too much fun" doing something, for fear it will make your regular life intolerable by comparison? When I am trying to just "keep calm and carry on" with a status quo, I find myself avoiding fun experiences because they make my daily life seem so much worse by comparison.
     
  8. Elemental

    Elemental Chasing the Rainbow

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    Well it's my one year anniversary today and I havent really wanted to do anything, I don't like going out anyway though because of my weight - i hadn't really thought of it as being for any other reason but you could be right.....

    Thing is though is it just a case of the grass is greener?

    I had met a guy at work, it was the first time i felt lust in years, it was only a fleetinig moment because he was this beautiful young carribean man, very charming - what i would have fantasised about when my libido was still in tact, anyway ....as time went on - he kept coming in to talk to me , asking me about taking him out to see the sites as he wasnt local, at first i thought "wow" have i still got it? Now i think omg get out of my face i've got work to do!!!

    I'm scared that if i lose weight i'll leave my husband for a pipe dream and end up with nothing! But he does everything for me and eats like a racehorse and sometimes i think that if i broke up with him the weight would simply fall off without effort - so am i sabotaging my weight to stay in my relationship? Or sabotaging my relationship to lose some weight??

    Have you decided for sure you want to separate?
     
  9. Harriet101

    Harriet101 Full Member

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    Elemental you say

    As humans we are programmed to always want better

    I cannot agree with this - really our subconscious is driving the bus, and so many people have bad things happen to them as a child which programme their minds badly - bit simplistic but might go "I am bad. Now I must make the world agree with this verdict on myself, so I will do things that make me unhappy"

    This is the subconscious which isnot logical

    so really I think what drives people to do anything is to get their experience to correspond with their world view

    When you talk about fear of being unfaithful if you lose weight, I wonder if you are creating a mental trap for yourself - you wont even let yourself have a clear focus on what you want.

    Your body size does not decide if you are faithful/unfaithful - your mind does. You need todecide what you really want. If you had a clear choice between your marriage and freedom with no bad consequences/guilt, what would you choose?

    I had hypnotherapy for the reasons I put weight on and it was the best thing I ever did. I am now learning to control my subconscious. You reaaly can make the decision to be happy and free from these demons. It takes time, but the journey is fun in itself.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. girlygirl1

    girlygirl1 Banned

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    Geneen Roth has written tons of great books about food, weight and eating disorders. She also counsels young dancers and helps them through anorexia, bulimia etc and terror of food and eating.

    Feeding the Hungry Heart is good, too.
     
  11. Elemental

    Elemental Chasing the Rainbow

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    And a large part of our subconscious is driven by our primal needs for survival. If it weren't that we are programmed to strive for more and better then we'd all still be living in caves and eating raw meat, would we not?

    I've tried hypnotherapy but having attended lectures on it i found it to be a little like cutting up the goose that laid the golden egg, I think sometimes we need to be tricked into behaving properly. Eating small amounts of low calorie foods and going out of our way to extend energy goes against everything we are hardwired to do, we are all compulsive improvers, compulsive survivors, we're all just surviving a bit too well and probably seeking out emotional reasons to underpin the fact that we just have it too good!!

    Rant over......... :sigh:

    Oh and losing weight wouldnt "decide" whether or not i was faithful but it would free me to make bad choices, it would actually give me a choice which is what i'm scared of!!!
     
  12. candyloss

    candyloss Full Member

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    Jeez, Ive been slim at times in my life and though I was never stalked or had anyone declare undying love for me because of my looks, I liked people thinking I was pretty. Though no dawn beauty, I felt good about myself and it was great to receive compliments etc. However, at a deeper level, I felt I didnt deserve it and when I thought '' Hey, I am attractive'' I felt like a big head. But, my God, after going through the hell of putting on a lot of weight, feeling like crap and a big heap, if and when I get to start looking good again, Im going to embrace it. So there is truth in what the book is saying in a way I guess. That said, Id only be delighted to get a wolf whistle now, FAT CHANCE, haha. But if and ever I get one again, Im going to go up and kiss the guy on the face, haha, well maybe not but Ill most deffo appreciate it and myself too for turning things around!!!!!!!!!!
     
  13. blossums

    blossums Full Member

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    This is a very interesting topic for me as I know a large part of me actively fears losing weight. It has been true every single time I have lost weight that I have had problems with unwanted attention and in the past decade I have been quite unable to lose weight for more than a few weeks before panicking slightly and gaining it back quickly

    I know that I have much much better skills at fendng off unwanted attention now but still seem to have an underlying fear of being slim - or even of just being slimmer than I am now (not slim at all!)

    I would like to figure this out as I really don't like feeling as overweight as I am at the moment - it is affecting my movement and health as well as fitness, aches and pains etc

    Thanks for posting this, hope you figure out something that works for you, and if you do, hope you'll share it here :)
     
  14. meoww

    meoww Silver Member

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    This is very interesting, in my LL group there was a woman who had returned, she previously lost weight and gained most back again, she said how it scared her, she felt exposed.
    I think we may have different levels to this.
    I know how *****y women are and I also know I would be a very different person had I not been a fat teenager. And I had horrible teen years due to my weight, but it made me caring, compassionate and wiser.
    So even though I know I dont fear what will happen once the weight is off, I think there are a few things slowing me down.
    I stopped at my current weight for 3 months, and I know I felt comfortable, I felt so much smaller and healthier I didnt feel as spurred on to continue.

    I think we all should picture ourself as we want to be, we should say every day to ourselves, this is what I want, I want to be thin! I need to remind myself this! That no, I dont want to stay where I am, I want to get into those size 10s!

    I think we should remember, that in almost every case, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to being thinner.
     
  15. dietgirl24

    dietgirl24 Full Member

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    I think a lot of people sabotage their diet because of low self-esteem-they don't think they deserve to be thin, deserve to be successful/happy etc etc. This has been an issue for me but recently, I have realised, why not me? Why am I not just as deserving as anyone else out there? Surely if I put the work in, then I deserve the results.

    I've gotten that whole "you're too flirty" thing txgardenia but you shouldn't care so much what other people think. As long as you're happy with yourself, that's what counts. :) What I consider friendly, other people would consider flirty. Besides, what's wrong with a bit of banter anyway?:) I think you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, people will always have some kind of opinion on what you do, not always good but I find most of the criticism boils down to jealousy quite frankly. I've been told "I talk too much" but what am I meant to do, sit in a corner and cry? It's always some miserable dry person who says that kind of thing!! If you're an open, friendly person, then you will seem approachable so you get loads of randomners, I know all about this! But it's really easy to get rid of men if you want also! Just be a bit of a ***** to them and they will go lol
     
  16. txgardenia

    txgardenia Full Member

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    Thank you dietgirl :)
    I know I shouldn't care what others think. I do try not to. It's easier said than done tho, unfortunately. But I am working on it! :)

    I have just come back to this thread and read everyone's comments. I'm so relieved to know that I am not alone. I was worried, after posting, that no one would understand and would just think I was conceited (something I have been told in a scoffing tone by other women, when expressing dislike for unwanted attention from men). I especially identify with the person who said they felt 'exposed' after losing weight.

    I have lost a few pounds, about 5 I think. I have been on and off my diet for the last 2 weeks. All told, I think I am finally settling into a mindset where I can go ahead and lose. My main motivation is that in spring 2012 I am hoping to make a big career change, and I want to be able to shop for nice business clothes without being depressed because stores don't carry my size, or being judged negatively in interviews because of my weight (something that in London is all too common).

    A lot of people say that in order to lose weight, you really have to do it for yourself. But if you think about it, a lot of the reasons we *think* are for ourselves, are really just for other people. We all have to find the reasons that are truly a priority for ourselves.

    It is all too easy to say "I want to lose weight so I'll look good in clothes again" while feeling secretly angry and resentful that we must put ourselves through all this trouble just so that we will fit a societal stereotype of what's attractive. I know that I have that resentment. I have been skinny many years of my life and yet am happier now that I'm fat. So not only do I have the resentment of trying to fit the world's ideal of what I should be, I also have the fear and anger of possibly giving up my newfound happiness. My mind wants to cling fiercely to that happiness because I really feel I deserve it after all this time, and I feel very protective of myself. Anything that threatens that happiness is viewed with suspicion.

    So I think the key to me losing weight and also staying happy, will be focusing on the areas of being thin that I do truly want for myself, and ignoring those that I am dreading. It sounds simple, but in practice I find it quite difficult. There are a lot of what-if's. I think I will lose enough weight that I feel fit and healthy (I am 5'6", and for me, my comfortable weight is about 150 pounds) and then I can decide whether I want to lose the rest of the weight for aesthetic reasons (my best looking weight is about 125 pounds). I am leaving that choice open for myself, to make later, when I have lost the weight necessary for health. That way I can go ahead and get started, and say to myself with all honesty, I can lose 50 pounds and still be invisible to men, acceptable to women, not attract much attention and yet feel 300% better physically. Then after that is done i will work on myself emotionally and see if I am ready to lose the remaining 25 pounds.
     
  17. dietgirl24

    dietgirl24 Full Member

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    Ooh well done on the weight loss hun!! :) Yes I know how fashion oriented London is but on the upside think of all the places you'll get to shop in when you get to goal!

    I think there's societal pressure on people to "have it all" especially women-to look hot, perhaps have kids, be married, have an amazing career, great social life, travel, have at least one hobby..urgh even thinking about it is exhausting lol! But I think you need to chuck that pressure to one side and go for what *you* want yourself. People are like apples and oranges, they are all fruit but different kinds. Everyone is unique, no two people are the same so it's natural that everyone wants different things. The trouble is, advertising and marketing prey on people's insecurities. Women's magazines always harp on about the latest diet, the fashion magazines have pages and pages of ads for designer clothes, there are so many anti-wrinkle creams on the market despite them not even working! I could go on but you get my point!

    This will probably sound fuddy-duddy but I think as long as you stick to your own values in life, no matter what anyone says, then you won't go far wrong x
     
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  19. 888sally888

    888sally888 Full Member

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    Gosh dietgirl your target weight is TINY!!
     
  20. dietgirl24

    dietgirl24 Full Member

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    Nah it's still an okay BMI for my height. Were I taller, say 5'10 or something, then it would be too low
     
  21. crazyfluffysparkles

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    I worry that I will feel sort of exposed when I lose weight. People generally guess my weight a couple of stones lower than it is - perhaps due to posture?! I like that I can be invisible when I want to be - sure I might like to be noticed now and then but my weight is like a protection for me.

    I can blame my weight for things too whereas if I were a healthy weight I would have to take responsibility for things that go wrong.

    Wow! We are the same height and our goals are so far apart!
     
  22. blossums

    blossums Full Member

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    txgardenia I really understand your conflicting feelings about this and like the way you are trying to think of the reason that you would like to be slimmer or healthier

    Like you I have set as a goal a weight that is actually considered still overweight but I know I was happy at that weight and felt fit and healthy

    All the best with sorting out these conflicts in your mind xx
     
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