With my history as a yo-yo dieter, I have often wondered who, if anyone, was noticing when I regained weight. I know I was certainly very aware of it. Was anyone else?
Not long ago I got a compliment that I looked thin. Many of us have issues with graciously accepting compliments for a variety of reasons that would need another whole post to explore. But in this instance, my immediate thought was that if my friend noticed I was thin, it surely meant she also noticed when I was not. That was a discomforting notion.
I should probably explain, for your better understanding, that I have never been obese. Just overweight. (And then not. And then overweight again. And then not. And so on.) So while I knew I needed to lose weight and that the baggy clothes I wore did not really hide that and maybe even drew attention to that fact, I never really knew how others saw me. Did anyone notice or care? Maybe the people in my life, most of whom do not seem to share my weight variations and struggles, are just not focused on the whole weight thing so I passed under their radar in that way. But probably not.
Regardless, I am thankful that if they did notice, they never said anything. And I am thankful that all my yo-yo years were spent out of the public eye. I feel so sorry for the celebrities who have struggled with their weight and had those struggles talked about and documented. Poor Oprah. And Kirstie Alley. And Jared from Subway who gained back 40 pounds after years as their diet spokesperson. Just recently I saw Jessica Simpson (on Oprah) talk about her embarrassment when she had gained weight and worn what was referred to in the media as “mom jeans.” There was such obvious pain as she talked about it. And the great irony is that those mom-jeans, which led to a media frenzy about her gaining weight and getting fat, were a size 6. Yes. Size 6.
As I write this, I can think back to how I felt about myself during my fatter days. It was bad enough that I knew I was overweight. I can only imagine how much worse I would have felt if I had known for sure that someone, anyone, was looking at me and mirroring my thoughts about myself. Thinking “Karen has really gained weight,” or “… let her self go” or some such thing. Because I am sure that someone did notice. I am glad they never said anything. It wouldn’t have helped. It would only have made me feel worse about myself. I never deluded myself about my size: I knew when I was overweight. But I may have deluded myself by pretending that no one else was paying attention. I’m going to go on thinking that. It’s easier.