As my weight went up, the more self-conscious I felt. When I went out all dressed up I felt like people were looking at me and thinking ‘Oh wow, does she really think she looks good?’
When I laughed in public in the back of my mind I suspected that those around me were thinking, ‘Look at her pretending to be happy when we know all fat people are miserable.’
Then I started to lose weight and the voices in the back of my head started telling me people were looking at me and thinking sarcastic thoughts about the fat girl trying to lose weight. Or they were looking at my butt jiggle, or wondering if the spandex in my pants would hold up or explode as I forced it to exceed its stretching capacity.
Every moment in public I felt like I was on stage. Like I was being watched and judged.
Truthfully, the person looking at me in the restaurant might have been judging me, or she could have been wondering if her husband picked up cash to pay the baby sitter or if they would have to stop by an atm on the way home. The person beside me at the gym, might have been wondering if they remembered to put on deodorant that morning.
Most people, when you get right down to it are somewhat self-absorbed in their thoughts. Their problems, issues and world take precedence. Did I remember to take the chicken from the freezer so it could thaw in time for dinner? Do I have time to run all my errands before picking the kids up at school? Was that mole always there or did it just appear out of nowhere to tell me I’m dying of cancer? The list is endless.
Don’t get me wrong, the world is a judgemental place and people hold a lot of beliefs about the overweight. Its one of the last things people are allowed to be publicly biased against these days it seems. But most of the time they aren’t going to come right out and point and laugh at you as though you were a side show freak.
Sure some of them will stop you on the street and occasionally comment, some helpfully, some hopefully as they wonder if you can share your weight loss secret with them. Others, as I’ve can attest to can get angry if you don’t share your magic formula with them. So yeah, people are watching. But not as many as you think. Even so, there is something you have to do.
You have to get over it.
If they are watching, you can’t stop them. The only thing you can do is stop what you’re doing (people will have opinions about you stopping as well, I guarantee it). Barring that, you have to accept that people will watch and people will judge. I know this sounds a lot like my people have opinions, but this is the flip side of that discussion. This is about owning the spotlight that is on you. You are doing this for you.
Let people watch, show them that you are working hard for every pound. That you are not giving up. And that you are not afraid to sweat in public. That you are not afraid to gasp as you enter your cool down phase on the treadmill, soaked hair plastered to your face and shirt covered with sweat stains. Flaunt those pit stains. You earned them.
Then, cool down complete, stride with pride as you take your sweaty self to the showers. You can’t keep others from looking. As long as you do something out of the ordinary, and working to lose weight instead of accepting it or dreaming about it, is out of the ordinary, you are on stage. So swallow back that stagefright and own the spotlight. If it helps, remember, I’m the person in the back, applauding your performance.