A Brief Rant On Weight Loss

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

You know what happens when you lose weight?  You’re the star of the show.  Everyone goes wide-eyed when you enter the room, tells you how good you look, asks you what your secret is.  You get your moment on stage where everyone stops and kisses your butt.
And then we wonder why women are so unhealthily obsessed with weight.
Look, I’m not opposed to losing weight as part of a healthy program.  But I do wonder what it would be like if we had the same astonished reaction to someone wearing a button saying “I think I’m wonderful just the way I am” and everyone crowded around to tell them how sexy they were and asked them how they did it.  Because there’s a constant stream of positive feedback for altering yourself to fit society’s needs, but pretty much zippo for happy self-acceptance.
You’re only sexy if you’re in flux.  When you hit a “normal” weight, people stop congratulating you, stop telling you you’re amazing, stop paying attention.  Is it any wonder yo-yo dieting’s a constant in life?
Is there any way we can actually get people to compliment you for who you are right now, and not just when you’ve changed significantly from last week?

4 Comments

  1. TheFerrett
    May 31, 2012

    Full disclosure: I’m starting my own weight loss program tomorrow. But I know. I’ve done this before.

  2. S Kennedy
    May 31, 2012

    Not as such, and the reason is (IMO) that when you encounter people, you are looking for and acknowledging changes. We appreciate the constancy of people in other circumstances that are designed for reflection, like graduations, funerals, retirement, or just talking about our friends behind their back. 😀
    I know that there are many circumstances in which, in the middle of a long talk, I’ll say “You know that so-and-so is really amazing. I love the way they always blahblahblah”, and I don’t think that’s unusual. It just takes more attention than the hindbrain constantly categorizing and comparing memories.

  3. Spencer Ellsworth
    May 31, 2012

    You’re beautiful, Ferrett.

  4. Mishell Baker
    May 31, 2012

    I’m of two minds on the whole weight loss thing. Everyone in my family other than myself is obese, and I grew up seeing that and I love these people and don’t consider them ugly. It also skews my view of strangers, and my threshhold for considering someone overweight is much visually higher than your average person (especially in Los Angeles where I live and am considered grotesqely fat despite being well below national average).
    On the other hand, I’ve also grown up seeing people who look at a flight of stairs as a huge obstacle, and whose knees are shot by the time they’re 40, and it has motivated me to be extremely proactive about never going above a certain weight (I up the number with each decade of life, and each child, because, really, people. Cut me some slack).
    Being overweight is a health detriment and reduces quality of life, especially as you get older. Added stress on joints, cardiovascular system, etc. are just not something you need especially when you’re 40+ and want to live a long happy life.
    To some extent, I see “I’m happy being overweight” as sort of like “I’m happy being a smoker” (except that overeating/underexercising doesn’t also endanger the health of everyone who stands near you, so there’s that). You are accepting a certain level of physical risk in the name of being happy with your current lifestyle. It’s not about appearance. Overweight people are not ugly to me, and yet I still think it’s better to keep my own weight down.
    But it’s not a black and white thing. It’s one of many things you should take into account in taking care of yourself. If eating a pizza with extra cheese will keep you from sliding further into a suicidal depression (I pull this example from my own life, because cheese is my Prozac), maybe that’s not ideal, but you have to weigh one health choice against another. Maybe you’re someone who eats plenty of fruits and veggies and exercises every day but just has the sort of metabolism that always keeps an extra roll around your middle anyway. You’re definitely healthier than the skinny person who lies around on the couch all day subsisting on nothing but rice cakes.
    So if someone has obviously lost weight, I withhold judgment until I know how, why, and how long it took. I’m not going to congratulate someone who went on a crash diet to fit into a certain dress size for an event. But if someone says, “I started college and I’m walking everywhere and the pounds have dropped off over the past year,” then yeah, I’ll be pleased as hell to hear that.
    I applaud beneficial lifestyle changes and improved health. So no, I don’t think a morbidly obese person should be content to stay that way. But that person should still love him/herself because that’s where the will to take care of yourself comes from. Self-hatred leads to binging and depression and substance abuse and any number of other self-destructive habits. So if you have to start by saying “I”m beautiful the way I am,” that’s okay I guess. Just don’t forget to add, “and I’ll be even more beautiful when I can climb a flight of stairs without gasping for breath at the top of it.”
    TL:DR – Weight loss is good if you are overweight, but focus on how you feel physically, not on the aesthetics.

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