One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

INSIGHTS

Just enjoy the trip you’ll take as a train.

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Just enjoy the trip you'll take as a train.

"… but I have to work so hard at it."

Someone said that to me today in a discussion about weight loss. I don’t think she reads my blog so she has no idea of my personal weight history but I have to laugh at the statement 1.) because I used to say it, 2.) because it implies that people who don’t have a weight problem don’t have to "work for it".

I used to think that there were "lucky" and "unlucky" people when it came to body size. I was one of the unlucky ones. I would say things like, "Just looking at food, I gain 5 pounds" and "I’m just big boned." I’m not about to say everyone has the potential to be a certain size or look a particular way but what I want to focus on are ‘excuse statements’ like these. Let’s be honest, they are excuses, at least they were for me. Actually they were more then excuses they were a way for me to rationalize being and eating unhealthy.

So back to this statement, when she said it I felt a tinge of "Don’t talk to me about weight missy, look at you, you’re skinny." I may be wrong, I often am, but even though she didn’t say it that’s how I interpreted her tone. Am I really the person in the gym that makes other people wonder why I’m there. Me? I’m the one that they think doesn’t have to work at keeping the fat off?

WOW – I can’t believe it. I really can’t.

In all seriousness, I know there are people who are blessed with better metabolisms then others, there are some who don’t have the emotional connection with food and still others that are happy no matter what size they are. But by saying "it’s hard for you" you are implying it’s not hard for others. And the fact is… it IS hard for most. When you see a thin person don’t assume they didn’t have to work for it. Assume they work their ass of for it! They probably do! They probably skip dessert or (and this was novel idea for me) stop eating when they are full. They may workout, or take the stairs more then the elevator. They may even hate the body they are in just like I used to.

My point here is you can’t compare or make assumptions about other peoples bodies. Even if they are a freak of nature and have the ability to eat anything they want and never gain an ounce they may have other burdens to bear that you are completely unaware of.

One of my favorite children’s books, I Knew You Could!, has a great quote that I mentioned in an older video and I try and remind myself of it every time I get a jealous thought.

Sometimes you’ll look up and see planes in the sky,
And you’ll think to yourself, "I wish I could fly."
The cars on the roads will seem quick and free—
You’ll feel stuck on your track and think, "I wish that was me."

But the plane might wish he could get out of the air.
Saying, "I wish I could travel like that train down there."
The cars will watch as your speed right along.
And they’ll say to each other.
"Look how fast and how strong!"
Don’t worry about not being a car or a plane,
Just enjoy the trip you’ll take as a train.

Yes ladies and gentleman, tears are now streaming down my face. I cannot read that without getting emotional. I just think it’s important for us to realize that we only need to be concerned with US. Set your OWN goals, love who YOU are and just make the best decisions you can. You never know, people may look at you with envy for the things you have in your life.

Somehow this just became much more then about weight loss for me but I think you get my point. At least I hope you do. It’s funny how a statement from one person can strum up all these feelings for me.

Just remember to enjoy the trip you’re on as a train.




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Discussion

There are 21 comments so far.

    Tricia

    September 26, 2008

    This is EXACTLY what I used to think. I would see skinny people and automatically dislike them, because I assume that they are that way because they were lucky. Now that I *somewhat* fit into that realm (although I still can’t wrap my head around being the one people may be envious of)…I realize that skinny people aren’t skinny because they are lucky, but because they do all those things you are talking about. In fact, I get the *looks* and I’ve had several “What are you doing here” when I weigh in at WW each month. If only they knew…

    Check out Tricias last blog post..Just_Kelly

    pam

    September 26, 2008

    Great post! It is an unsual feeling to step out of our bodies and our mind and see ourselves through the eyes of another. They don’t know me, my path, history, sadness, happiness etc…they just know me right now. A little deep, however, it is funny to me how easy it is for us to see someone and judge them for who they are at that moment and not who they used to be. How come we can’t do that with ourselves. We carry all that “stuff” around with us that weighs (no pun intended) us down. Just a funny example: After my husband and I were married I introduced him to a friend. I ofcourse thought nothing of it, but his impression of her was much different than mine. Even though she gained some weight after her kids were born, didn’t keep herself up because she was busy, etc etc…I knew her as the star basketball player and the envy of all girls in our school. It didn’t occur to me that wasn’t who she was at all anymore.

    Erin

    September 26, 2008

    I agree with everything you wrote. I lost a significant amount of weight two years ago and for the first time in my life I was “passing for thin” (a great book by the way if you haven’t read it yet). I realized that the people around me who were fit or just thin (there is a difference) worked very hard at it. THey were the women who always ate lean cuisines and non fat yogurt. They were the women who worked out at 5:00am. I thought they all just naturally loved that kind of lifestyle but then I started asking them and I found out that they are conscious of their health or size all the time, some to a very unhealthy degree but you see where I am going with this.

    Roni, I will also ask you this – when I lost all that weight I found that fat people treated me differently. I felt a bit out of sorts when I would get into the elevator with several large women at work, the old me would have known exactly what joke to crack or look to give but the fat women didn’t recognize me any more. I was a little lonely for a while. I have gained all my weight back and then some while I was pregnant. I try very hard not to fall back in to my “I’m just big boned” thinking or look at fit or fat women as different heards. I am working down my weight and your site helps me but I am wondering if you have had a similar expereince?

    Check out Erins last blog post..In the beginning…Part Three

    SMK

    September 26, 2008

    This is a great post. I really liked the quote from the book. It is so easy to judge people and have them judge you. We can never assume where people have come from and what there experiences have been nor can people know what our experiences are.

    Roni, I think its interesting that someone just meeting you now puts you in the category of ‘a thin person who has never had to struggle with their weight’. One would think that it would feel good but I can see how it wouldn’t and how it can drag up all those old emotions.

    Once again thanks for being so honest and open on your blog. You always add a new perspective.

    vickie

    September 26, 2008

    Sometimes I wish that there was a secret signal or tattoo or something – to let other’s know that we know IT too – what IT is like – how hard IT is – how complicated IT is – etc.

    In blog land we CAN do this – click on the name – find their blog site and you know where they are coming from/their point of view.

    In real life – one has NO idea.

    I posted about this a while back – I have been sad at the grocery store (produce section) since my oldest started his freshman year at college. He often grocery shopped with me – we are produce pals – like the same things.

    (Roni are you now picturing yourself sniffling in the produce section when your little cooking buddy leaves for college??? – if so – you know how I feel).

    I was walking into the store – staring at the ground – trying to psych myself up to DEAL with the produce section (with no tears) and someone walked past me and said something like “you have a good day too” or the like – not a nice tone.

    she stopped me dead in my tracks as I tried to figure out why she was so ticked at me.

    I think that it was her inner fat girl assuming that I was an outer thin girl and that I was looking at the ground to avoid talking to her.

    I got it. I understood what I think she thought (if you follow me). It was all in her head. That day – my ‘sad inner mom’ out trumped her ‘inner fat girl’.

    Check out vickies last blog post..

    Rachel

    September 26, 2008

    I always think that too! When I see a skinny person I always assume they don’t have to try at all. It’s so weird! Lately I’ve been catching myself though, and I’ll think “What if they just lost 90 pounds?” You would never know!

    RooBabs

    September 26, 2008

    I love that book!! What a great reminder that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge (from either direction). Thank you Roni, as always, for your wonderful insight and thought-provoking posts. = )

    Check out RooBabss last blog post..Week in Review- Part 2

    madison (follow my weigh)

    September 26, 2008

    oh man i am sooo guilty of thinking “why is she working out??” at my gym. i always “yell” at myself for having those thoughts though. first of all i have to remind myself that working out is NOT only to lose weight, and you’re so right, no matter WHAT size, most women do have issues with their body and put as much effort into caring for it even as much as someone who has weight to lose.

    Check out madison (follow my weigh)s last blog post..vent optional

    Dawn

    September 26, 2008

    EXACTLY!!! I actually used to think this too before I finally got on the health and fitness wagon, I always envied the skinny people then after I started becoming healthier I realized that they do what I am doing and either they were over weight and are no longer that way or they have always eaten healthy and exercised and worked their ass off as you said and they stay slim because if it. The funny things is that people that I meet now just think I have always been how I look now, if they only knew. Then I see people that tell me I look good and my reply is “thank you, I work hard for it”.

    Check out Dawns last blog post..WOOT WOOT!! Ramay got a WIN!!

    Arlene

    September 27, 2008

    Another thought-provoking post, as usual. It reminds me of last Christmastime, when I met my boyfriend’s half sister … I was unhappy with my weight (still in the 220s, I think), but in the space of a couple of days, she called me “a hot blonde” and I was talking to a woman in line at Wal-Mart who said something about how good I looked.

    It’s all in how you look at things, I guess.

    Check out Arlenes last blog post..Caitlin

    Tammy

    September 27, 2008

    Guilty, as charged. But, the odd thing is…I am always reminding my 3 daughter’s EXACTLY this! Never judge anyone by their looks and treat everyone as YOU would like to be treated! I think they’ve learned the lesson I have not. While I like to think I practice what I preach, I know in my most despair body image moments, I do not.
    Too close to 50 for comfort, having forgotten who that thin girl I was 25 years ago! I am determined to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle! I will remember to be kind to everybody, no matter their body state or shape, because nobody knows the miles walked in another persons shoes! Thanks for always making me think!
    Tammy

    Shannan

    September 27, 2008

    Before getting into working out on a regular basis and meeting runners and others who are athletic, I never considered fit people to have to really work at being in the condition they are in. But now that I’m one of those people who has to work hard to accomplish bigger things, and losing weight on WW and by running, I can appreciate how much work and time really goes into it.

    When others comment on how long I can run (which isn’t that long yet) or how much weight I’ve lost, I feel kind of embarrassed, because I know that it’s not nearly what I’m trying to obtain so far, and I still have a ways to go. I feel like I don’t deserve all the praise YET. But, it has been a challenge this far, and I should be proud of what I’ve done to this point.

    Maybe others know more than I do that my hard work deserves recognition. I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’m so focused on my goals that I miss the little victories along the way, and make them count less.

    Maybe I’m going off the topic, now. But I think more people should congratulate each other on being healthy instead of assuming they don’t deserve it because they’re naturally that way.

    Check out Shannans last blog post..Week Four Done…and My Wedding Dress Fits!

    Shannan

    September 27, 2008

    To add to my comment, I did celebrate a small vistory last night. I fit into my wedding dress after 10 years! I did not, though, celebrate the fact that all I ate at karaoke night at church was some apple slices, grapes and water. I think we should celebrate our little accomplishments, too, to make us more aware of the work that goes into getting to our end goals, so we can appreciate other people getting to theirs as well.

    Check out Shannans last blog post..Week Four Done…and My Wedding Dress Fits!

    Amber

    September 27, 2008

    I’m new to your blog, Roni, but I just want to say thank you. I needed that quote from the book today.

    Laurie

    September 27, 2008

    I went back to my first WW meeting this morning since June ’07. )New location for me) I was feeling that I was losing focus and about to head in the wrong direction. It was strange to have people comment about why are you here? I was only up about 1/2 lb since my last WI but that’s because I’ve been good this week. It’s a lifetime internal battle…If people knew my history of ups and downs they wouldn’t ask. It felt a bit strange to be there…like I didn’t belong but I needed to go just as much as those people who still have a lot to lose.

    Miss D

    September 27, 2008

    AHA! I found your website! Love it btw!

    I think you must be talking about what I said. It wasn’t me comparing myself to anyone. My statement was about me…me making excuses for myself and the struggle every day to make the right decisions. It IS tiring to fight the fight every day. There are no assumptions that it’s easier for others and not for me…mind you I DO possibly have the worst set of genetics on the face of the planet…but I digress… LOL…When I made the comment, I was whining. No other way to put it. I wasn’t thinking of how easy it is for others, necessarily…but hard it is for me and me alone. I’m exhausted thinking about weight all the time…and I do. I obsess. I’m tired of being overweight and can officially blame noone but me.

    I’m proud of myself for losing 31lbs so far. I’m proud of myself for training for my duathlons. I’m proud of myself for being able to do things physically I never thought I could do.

    I’m not proud of myself for prolonging the rest of my weight loss by my poor eating habits. My comment was made in a moment of weakness. So while you had your thoughts above, sometimes when people make those comments it’s not to say it’s easy for others but that it’s simply a tough journey they KNOW you’ve personally made. A comment made as a way to relate to others who you know have or do struggle with weight loss. You’ve lost your weight and have kept it off…so you’d understand comments about wanting to give up and how hard it is. My comment wasn’t your lack of understanding me now that you are thin.

    Certainly it wasn’t made to bring back negative memories or comments or make it seem like you or someone else has it easier. Never was that my intention…never was that my underlying tone.

    Brianne

    September 27, 2008

    Thank you, Roni.

    It took me long time to come to the same conclusions that you have. I had to WANT it and OWN my shortcomings to get past them.

    Check out Briannes last blog post..“You’re Flaunting It!”

    roni

    September 28, 2008

    Miss D – HEY! I didn’t mean to make you feel bad or point you out particularly. Your comment just inspired me to bring up this topic which I think is an important one for those trying to lose weight. I really try to explore all my feelings and use them to remind myself and help others along their journeys.

    I totally understand where you are in and I still struggle daily. Even though I’m not wearing my weight I still have a lot of emotions and food issues that I deal with.

    I hope there aren’t any hard feelings! I didn’t mean to point any fingers, again just getting inspired to write.

    See you Monday – Let’s kick it up a notch!!! ;~)

    Miss D

    September 28, 2008

    Actually, I’ll see you tomorrow (well, today at this point) at Tish’s. We can ‘cat fight’ then!! LOL!! No hard feelings, and while I completely understand what you are saying (meaning I’ve heard the comments made to ‘me’ from others), I wanted to clarify my comments as well. Inspiration comes from all places….glad I could inspire! LOL!!

    roni

    September 28, 2008

    Miss D – That’s RIGHT!! :~)
    Thank you for understanding. When I write I really write for me and being on both sides of that equation is very odd sometimes. That’s why I do this site.

    OK I’m off for a morning run! See you later!!

    Zandria

    September 28, 2008

    Great post. You’re so right about this. A majority of people who are in shape have to work for what they have. They make choices every day — to exercise, to eat right — to keep themselves where they want to be.

    Check out Zandrias last blog post..Random Friday, Ver. 66