I had just sat down at my desk with my favorite 3pm snack. A Fuji apple (sliced) and a bag of 100 calorie popcorn (kettle corn, actually). I wiggle my mouse to awaken my screen and just as I toss a few popcorn kernels into my mouth one of my coworkers walks by my desk.
“Why are you eating THAT?!” she shrieks.
“What do you mean?” I ask slowly.
“That’s not good for you…” she wags her finger.
“Its 100 calories,” I reply flatly.
This particular coworker has been watching my weight loss like a hawk since January.
“You’re doing good!” she’ll tell me when she sees my healthy lunches. Of course, she thinks she can understand what I’m going through since she struggled to get from a size 8 to a size 5 last year. And now here she is standing at my desk policing my food. I stare blankly at my computer screen hoping she’ll leave me and my 3pm snack alone. She hesitates, realizing that she’d made me uncomfortable. “I guess its not that bad, oh you have an apple too? You’re doing good!” she says before scurrying away.
A few days later, as I was getting ready to leave the office for the day, the woman who cleans our offices at night cornered me in the bathroom. She doesn’t speak english and I’m decent at spanish, but from what I gathered she said you’re getting very skinny! That’s good! I notice you keep fruit at your desk… the apples are good for you, but no more bananas… they have too much sugar!!!!
I gave her a quick “gracias” for her compliments and advice before slipping out of the bathroom as quickly as possible.
Weight is a tricky thing. If I were super skinny people wouldn’t hesitate to voice their observations about my body. How many times have we heard comments like “you’re so skinny” or “I see you eat, but where does it go?” when slender people are around. On the other hand, I’ve never heard someone say “I know that slice of pizza is going right to your midsection!” when they see me eating.
But once its clear that I’m losing weight (or trying to) everyone seems to have an opinion on what I should or shouldn’t be doing, eating or drinking. Suddenly everyone is a wealth of knowledge on me and my body. Almost as if they’ve been biting their tongues and now that I’ve acknowledged that I’m overweight, they’re letting out a collective sigh of relief. Its almost as if they’re saying I’m glad she’s finally doing something… I thought I was the only one who noticed!
Until now, people pretended that my fat wasnt there. They never comment on my body one way or another. They even censored themselves from saying certain things to protect me or not hurt my feelings. Before I started losing weight, my size was like the pervorbial “Elephant in the room”. I don’t mind when people observe my weight loss, it makes me feel good and helps to keep me motivated, but there’s a difference between that and people monitoring me. That makes me feel uncomfortable and not supported. It also makes me feel like I’m on display.
A note from Swimsuits For All: Swimming is a great way to workout, especially in the summer. There are plenty of stores that offer plus size swimwear so you look your best!