Monday, June 27, 2011

Which of these things does not belong...

As I sit here nursing a sore back, unable to run or P90X or even do core work, I thought I'd take the time to write about a topic that Ellen {love her} at Fat Girl Wearing Thin addressed the other day {please read it right now but don't forget to come back!}.  She is an amazing writer so I fear I won't do the topic justice, but with her encouragement, and my desire to write about my own experiences, I am taking the leap.

Ellen spoke about the "after" of weight loss, that basically once one reaches their 'goal weight' it is extremely hard to find a group of supportive people who can help one STAY at their goal weight.  For many, losing weight isn't the end-all be-all.  It's can be a very slippery slope and not some magical event that means one never has to worry about calories or workouts ever again {sorry to burst anyone's bubble, I thought the same thing when I grew my hair out, that somehow I would know how to french braid...but I don't}.  Well, for me, it was more like being pushed out of the nest.

My original support group came from a weight-loss website where I posted in several different forums.  We would bounce ideas, recipes, work outs, motivation, inspiration, and tips off of each other and often had 'challenges' to keep each other accountable.  I lost about 15 pounds all the while posting on this site.  It was wonderful to have the support and encouragement from so many others.  In return I also posted and answered questions, provided motivation (I think) and cheered for the other members.

Then something weird happened.  I started getting strange replies.  If I offered encouragement I would get comments back like "Easy for you to say, you're already thin" *{but I wasn't before}.  If I gave some ideas to control binging I'd get back "you just don't understand food obsession" {umm, I spent every waking moment obsessed with food when I was anorexic and then started binge eating and doubled my body weight in an unhealthy amount of time}.  At one point a fellow member told me I was lucky to have been anorexic and she wished she could be too just to be thin.  If you don't learn ANYTHING else from the ramblings in my blog please understand that you should NEVER, under ANY circumstances, say this to someone...okay?? Okay.

Let me say, I made several friends on this site and while they DID provide support I decided it was better to get off of the site and take those friendships to Facebook {Sheri }.  Perhaps I internalized the replies I was getting rather then letting them roll off of my back and assume the other person was just 'hurting' and needed to vent {read: lash out}.  But the comments were hurting me as well.  It's not like a person loses weight and somehow their self-esteem is through the roof and we become so self-confident that words can no longer hurt us.  For the most part, many of us are the SAME people we were when we were heavier.

It's extremely discouraging to feel so displaced.  There's still that chubby girl inside, which for me is amplified by the fact that I used to be so thin when I was anorexic.  I mean, I sometimes wonder how I can be the same person...the girl who all but stopped eating and went from 127 pound to 84 pounds in about 3 months AND the one who started binging and went from 84 pounds to 165+ pounds in about 6 months AND the one who STILL struggles to keep her weight down to this day.

I often feel there is no 'support group' for me...except of course the blog/twitter world {which I love dearly}.  Of the recovered anorexics I've met most are just the opposite of me...very thin and often fighting the urge to NOT slip back to those days.  As Ellen stated in her post, there aren't really any groups to support 'maintainers' due to the lack of celebratory milestones.  And, from what I have found, I don't often find my insights and opinion welcome with the still losing group...perhaps I come across as too "tough love"...but I certainly don't think it's fair for me to be judged as not empathetic or able to relate simply because I look 'skinny' in my avatar.  And, at times, I don't feel that I fit in with the "normal" know, the ones who eat when they are hungry, eat what they like and stop when they are full...they can self-regulate without guilt and generally maintain a healthy weight while making it look effortless.

I realize that on some level, I am overly sensitive on the whole weight subject.  When my 'normal' friends offer me something I deem as unhealthy or fattening they aren't being mean.  And when they tease me about ordering a Skinny Margarita and salad with dressing on the side it's probably more of a compliment then a put-down.  I shouldn't be as judgmental about their intensions as I felt the 'weight loss website' people were being about me.

I suppose I need to re-read what I closed with in my comment on Ellen's post:

"For me, it really boils down to finding a definition for myself that is outside of ‘dieter’ or ‘former fat chick’. I’m neither of those now, and it probably would have been healthier for me to have NEVER identified myself as those things before but in other terms…daughter, hard worker, runner, horseback rider, girlfriend, awesome friend, cool chick =), etc.
There are tons of benefits maintaining a healthy weight and for some of us it will be hard work, forever. But, for me personally, the more I develop other areas of my life and create happiness in all of the big AND small things, the more I can relinquish my old mentality that keeps me trapped in that one dimensional dieter’s plane."

*Even though I personally would like to lose a few more pounds I am within a healthy range and, for the most part, don't obsess about my weight.  Note that having been anorexic, THIS is a huge accomplishment.


  1. Lynn, I know what your going through "kind of". At least where you said about having support group. I miss that so much, I found a group of maintainers that I dearly loved and one by one they started leaving and that did something to me. Left me isolated and lonely with my own thoughts. It taught me something too, I need to find the answers for me and support me.

    I miss our forum, I don't go to FB much at all either just have nothing to really say. I love to blog, but also run out of things to say.

    Don't let what others say about you affect you. Your so gorgeous and strong! I so look up to you and how you are so disciplined with your clean food eating and running.

    Anytime you want to talk email me! Sometimes chatting one on one is the best way to get support.


  2. I am surprised, but not surprised by this. These people knew you within this group and embraced you at one point. The only thing that changed was the fact that you were having success. The comments made to you were clearly NOT about you, but about them and their insecurities. What is it about only offering support as long as you don't expect the other person to actually succeed? There is something seriously wrong with that, and I am heartbroken that this happened to you. I'm glad that you were able to find a new, more supportive group of people who value your opinion and are grateful for the information you have to offer (I certainly know how lucky I am).
    I think this post was written beautifully, Lynn. You expressed exactly what you needed to say and I'm glad to be aware of this perspective through your eyes.

  3. I am also part of an online "diet" forum and I have not said much about reaching my goal weight. I know that group is super supportive, but I also know that it is easier to identify with someone who shares the struggles and journey. I think we can have a great online support group - we just need to find the right people who can relate.


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