A Question For People That Are REALLY Overweight

Hi. I don’t want to seem insulting or crass, but I do wonder about this fairly often. If someone could start an “Ask The REALLY Overweight Person!” that would be great. Thanks.
No? Oh well, then, here I go. How do you stand it? It seems like morbidly obese people are one of the last groups of people that can be very openly harassed and discriminated against, even made fun of right out in public. I am full of empathy and wouldn’t think of doing anything to make anyone uncomfortable, but I do observe these things very often. People seem to feel like it’s okay to stare, make comments, laugh, and worse.

It seems to be that living with that day in and day out over time would make one very depressed and extremely unhappy. I know that I couldn’t deal with it- being 25 pounds overweight is bad enough for the ol’ psyche. So how do you deal with it? Do you just stop noticing it over time?

Again, I’m sorry if this brings up bad feelings for anyone, and I’m not trying to be, well, anything. It’s because I do have so much empathy that I genuinely wonder and worry about this.

If I don’t get any replies I’ll understand.

Well, I’ve been morbidly obese for most of my life. Unfortunately my method of self-medicating for the crap I used to get from people was to find something nice to eat. Not the best strategy when trying to lose the weight again.

I’m also hugely clinically depressed - I’m still working on treating that, first, before I work on the weight. I’m not sure that’s going to be remaining a viable option for much longer, though - I’m starting to get some secondary effect that should be scaring me.

As for dealing with strangers? Well, it’s a bit of a yes and no sort of thing - for the most part, the people I meet in the street don’t say anything to me, simply because I’m obese. If I were to get into any kind of altercation it would be the first button that would get used, but most people don’t go around saying things like, “God, you fat slob.” Well, except at the beach.

Fortunately I’d never really gotten into sunbathing.

But there are enough that I’d say I bump into someone who feels the need to say something hurtful, usually in the guise of trying to “help” me that I tend to avoid leaving my apartment.

Of course, that’s also a behavior that fits well with massive, chronic depression, so, I can’t say it’s all on the obesity.

It’s harder because our vice-our problem-our whatever is clearly visible by all.

I’ve battled my weight all of my life, and managed to stay at a reasonable weight most of the time. I had gained a lot of weight when I first got married, then lost 100 lbs over the course of a year and kept it off for almost 15 years.

Then I fell and hurt my back. Not having medical insurance, I haven’t been able to get anything done about it, and it keeps getting worse. I can’t lift much or walk for any distance before my legs get weak and collapse. So I haven’t been able to exercise, and I’m in pain a lot of the time. I’m also a “comfort” eater, which just adds to the problem.

I have recently found a chiropractor who is willing to work with me on payments, so I’m going to give it a try. She has helped a friend of mine a lot, and the things she explained to me about my back on my first visit made sense. I hope it helps. I have become much more reclusive than I normally am, because I don’t like the way I look. I know I’ll never be a size 10 again, but that is ok. I’ll settle for a 16.

I’m really overweight. Have been all my life.

I haven’t really been made fun of since I was, oh…12, maybe. Possibly a little remark here or there by teens at the mall or whatever, but meh.

I have wonderful friends. Wonderful family. I get laid enough. I have real boyfriends and real relationships. I’ve always been active - I played softball from 5 to 18, I just completed my black belt.

Maybe I don’t think or act like a fat person? I don’t turn to food (I turn to cigarettes!)…I just have stupid genes and stupid habits. I just live my life, people accept me, and it’s ok.

I’ve also found that no one really likes the body they’re in. Fat or thin. I have a friend who is trying to bulk up because he’s too skinny and hates it. I have another friend who can’t find anything to wear because she’s a sprite. I’m just like them, right?

I don’t mind people harping on fat people too much…it’s just ignorance. I make fat jokes. My skinny friends make skinny jokes. Making fun of fat people is about as creative as making fun of retarded people or “ethnic” people.

There might be a difference between becoming fat and always being fat. I can’t look back wistfully on the days when I was thinner. I’ve never been thin. Even when i was working my ass off to be thinner, I still was never going to be thin (when I was at my lowest adult weight, I was lower than my weight at 12). Never was going to look like a supermodel. I just needed to be happy with who I am and I’ve had 28 years to come to grips with it.

Gaining weight because of an emotional or physical issue seems to be harder to deal with. You physically see yourself turning into something/someone else. That seems hard.

I think that the amount it annoys/bothers a person is an individual thing, which sounds dumb because so’s everything else that could be compared. But, it just doesn’t bother me as much as it would bother someone else, like you perhaps. You say you know you couldn’t deal with it, I take that to mean that you’ve had times in your life where your weight was making you unhappy and you actively sought effective ways to change that.

It seems kind of obvious to say that while I have been bothered by my weight, apparently not bothered enough to find the gumption to commit to a realistic weight-loss plan. I mean, what else can the answer be? No, I’m not one of the tiny percent of people with glandular issues. Although I’ve clocked a regular weight gain with every hormonal BC experience, obviously the benefits of the BC are worth more to me than using a different type or increasing the calorie battle. I’m overweight because I like food and dislike exercise, period.

It just doesn’t matter to me as much as it matters to others, I’m sure it should but it doesn’t. Someone who would meet me and say “Hey, wow, didja know you’re a big huge person and you should do X to fix that?” is not someone who’s opinion I’d be likely to care about. Some random kid shouting “Hey fatass!” is more likely to make me think other people shouldn’t be allowed to breed rather than get all morose and beat myself up about my appearance.

I’m a generally happy person, sure I bitch about my weight and make sporadic attempts at improving it, but it’s basically just one facet of my appearance, not some big Who I Am self-image. I bitch about my hair and make sporadic attempts at improving it too, like every other woman I know.

I’m glad to hear that you’re happy, ** ZipperJJ**. I bet you’re beautiful at any weight.

I don’t know how big any of you are, but just so you know, I’m talking about morbidly obese. Like the kind of big that really attracts attention.

The reason I couldn’t handle it is basically just because I’m highly sensitive, and I notice every single little thing around me- every nuance. I’d be constantly picking up negative reactions from people, and I wouldn’t be able to tune it out or ignore it. It would slowly eat at me until I wouldn’t want to leave the house eventually.

I love food- the sensory experience and everything about it. I do use food for comfort, also. I think it’s just genetics that makes me not huge, but also the fear of being treated like crap if I were really big.

I am approximately 100 pounds overweight, just on the cusp of being morbidly obese.

Of course I hate it. Try strapping 100 pounds to your body and see how much energy you have at the end of the day. Try reading some of the offhanded, cruel comments that are made in posts here - one of the most intelligent gathering of people on the Internet. Those who know me have never used my weight against me, which is a blessing.

I have struggled with my weight since I was 12, and the most I have ever been able to lose was thirty pounds over the course of three months. No one noticed, or at least, no one said they noticed. I became so uncomfortable with how different my body was, I gave up. It didn’t feel like that at the time, but that’s what happened.

It’s very difficult for me to resist the temptation of self-pity or give in to the bitterness I feel when I realize how often I am dismissed because of my weight. I’d like to think that character counts in human relationships, even romantic relationships, but most men treat me like a genderless construct - interesting to talk to, but completely unsexed.

I have accomplished a great many things in my life so far - earned a Bachelor’s degree, written two books, became a teacher, guided and protected students. Yet, for all my intelligence, creativity, compassion, humor, wisdom, and strength, I cannot do this one thing. I cannot do it for myself. I cannot do it for anyone else. At least, in twenty-three years of trying, I’ve always failed.

My weight affects my health, both physically and mentally. It affects my self-worth. It may well decide whether I find a partner in life or remain alone, because no matter what else fat does, it limits my options.

I’ve qualified medically for the morbidly obese check mark for decades, but realistically have only been at the stare and snicker obesity level (over 250 for me) for a year or two.

Perhaps growing up getting made fun of helped, I had early training in ignoring other people. Of course, I wasn’t really that big as a kid, but kids are merciless. So I learned not to be bothered then, and by the time I was a really big adult the negative reactions happened less and I’d stopped noticing all but the loudest ones anyway.

My best girlfriend was over five hundred pounds before she had gastric bypass done a few years ago. She’s lost two hundred since then, but of course is still quite a bit larger than recommended. She was always a super-sensitive person, as she gained through the years she stopped going out and around as much as possible to cope with being unable to stand the thought of people judging her. Well, that, and when you’re really that big it’s difficult to go places, fitting into regular provided seating doesn’t happen, etc.
Yes, she sometimes got treated badly because of her weight, inconsiderate service staff would just stare at her if she asked for a straight chair because she was unable to sit in a chair with arms, for example. People said things, children asked uncomfortable questions, buying clothes was impossible, she was physically in pain all of the time because of back and leg strain issues, etc. It bothered her, greatly, and she restricted her activities because of it, but never had any success in turning things around until the surgery.

So she was sensitive, she was miserable, but for years and years she just wasn’t successful at fixing it. So she coped, by being as housebound as she could and brazening out what she couldn’t, because she just didn’t have any other option. Being treated like crap sucks, but since most of us still have to go out into the world regularly, you just deal.

My weight gain was gradual, and always coincided with pregnancy, so I really didn’t notice quite how big I was getting. I was either pregnant or too exhausted to make any effort. And depressed about the state of my marriage. There’s all sorts of complicated things going on with that that I won’t go into now, but for a time, NOT losing weight was an act of defiance for me.

But as to your question about people taunting you: I can honestly say that even at my heaviest, there were very, very few instances of any stranger or anyone, for that matter, insulting me about my weight. For the most part, the overweight are invisible. Ignored. Overlooked. Much more often than teased (once you are out of school, that is). And even in school, I don’t recall the really heavy kids getting teased to their face. We might make comments behind their back, but to their face…no.

An example of the invisibilty thing: my boss set us a task to do to observe selling techniques in other types of stores. I was to go into a furniture store and see how quickly I was approached and what type of approach was made. The implication was that the aggressive, commission-only sales staff would be all over me as soon as I set foot in the store. So I chose a fairly small store, where there was only one large room to wander in…no side rooms to get overlooked in. I walked in, walked around, read labels and signs, sat on couches and chairs, watched the staff and the one other customer, took out pencil and paper and made note of prices, held up fabric samples…and never once got approached or even spoken to. Totally ignored. When my thin coworker did her walk-through later that day, she was approached immediately and was asked all the proper probing questions.

For the record: I’ve got a BMI in excess of 40. I’m morbidly obese.

I have been fighting fat since I was a child, so much so that my self image has always been of a fat person, even in periods of my life when I really wasn’t. Today I’m almost 65 years old, about 5’4" tall (I lost about an inch in height to worn out spinal discs–it happens) and I weigh almost 270 pounds. People don’t harass me, with the exception of a few idiots on YouTube who, instead of arguing against whatever I posted, choose to just drive by and sling an insult. These insults almost always begin with the words, “You fat . . .” followed by whatever filth is their favorite.

I’m getting really worried about my obesity now, because I am suffering from arthritis in both knees, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes, all of which are exacerbated by my weight. I had a job I really loved doing, but had to quit because my body just wouldn’t take the strain of carrying all that weight.

I have lost a ton over my lifetime in various diets. Every time I have dieted I have lost weight . . . but never enough. I always hit the dreaded plateau where, no matter how “legal” I stayed I either lost no weight at all, or actually gained. It’s kind of like the “wall” that marathoners hit after a certain point. But I’ve never been able to break through the wall.

My sex life has been wonderful . . . in my imagination, because I’ve never had the confidence to put myself out there. I know there are women out there who actually like fat men, but I wouldn’t know where to look for one.

Oh, I’m jolly. Everybody thinks I have a great sense of humor (and I do). But as somebody once said, nobody really loves a fat man but his grocer and his tailor.

I suppose you can gather from this that I have also suffered major depression at various points in my life. At the moment I’m relatively stable, but there have been times when the idea of kissing a train seemed attractive. Of course, I wouldn’t want to damage a train.

So, have I satisfied your morbid curiosity, Alice?

Yep, me too.

Alice, thanks for the compliment. It really does matter what’s on the inside…

My cousin is someone you would look at and say is “morbidly obese” (over 500lbs). But he has a career and a life and is a totally fun guy. Everyone loves him. He’s the oldest of us cousins and I’ve always looked up to him. He might not always be happy but he doesn’t get hung up about his weight. He just lives his life and his weight is part of what he is but not all of what he is.

And about being looked down on and ignored…I agree maybe, somewhat. I’m shy so I TRY to be ignored so I don’t notice it too much. One thing I DO notice is that I judge good looking people on their looks, but negatively. I usually assume hot chicks and dudes are stuck up. I have never been attracted to a “traditionally handsome” guy. They do not appeal to me at all.

I had a friend in college who was stunningly beautiful. Perfect body, great skin, blonde hair, beautiful eyes. What was even more amazing to me was that she and I were friends. She talked to me in class, we even went on a trip together once. The fact that she was hot and I was me made me like her so much. We didn’t stay friends (just drifted apart) but I’ll always remember her as a stand-out “hot” person that I actually got along with.

I’m 5’ 6". I used to weigh over 350 lbs. I know I did b/c when I hit 350? I stopped weighing myself…and I know I gained weight after that.

I was pretty miserable. I was invisible. (And I wanted to be.)

But as far as being invisible–I have to share this story. I was working as a cashier at a store when I was at about 290. Had a line and this customer and her three/four year old finally get up to get checked out. Give her the ol’ “Hi! How ya doin? Did you find what you needed?” grin as I began to check her out. The kid goes, accusingly, “Mommy!! She’s not a fat lady like you said!”.

To my credit, pardon the expression, but I absolutely eyefucked her while she had the decency to look HIDEOUSLY embarrassed.

But I digress.

I had tried every diet. Hell I did Optifast BEFORE Oprah. (My thoughts, oh, enjoy it–it won’t last! I got down from a 20 to a 10 in six months—and went to a 26 in a month after. That! took a few years off my life.)
I comfort ate of course. And as you get heavier, the harder it is to exercise. It goes on an on. My knees are shot and I’m not even 40.

But something clicked at one point for me, and oddly enough it was from Louis Anderson’s book Goodbye Jumbo, Hello Cruel World In it, he makes the point that losing weight is basically deciding “Do you love yourself enough to stop trying to kill yourself? Check yes or no.”

I thought about it for awhile and figured yes. Its been a slow slow process. About ten years—there is no quick weight loss solution. Don’t ever believe the hype.

I’m 205 now. By all yardsticks I’m a fat ol’ heifer. But I have days where I feel gorgeous. It took some therapy, some antidepressants and lots and lots of thinking.

Just my few cents on the topic.

I’m currently in denial.

Its working for me.

With a BMI of nearly 57, I am most definitely morbidly obese. It wasn’t so bad when I was younger. It seemed once I hit puberty, the weight gain started. A lot of how people view their life and their world has a lot to do with how they were raised, in my opinion. My mother is also very obese and throughout my life she was always vocally paranoid when we were out in public. If someone was laughing, she just knew they were laughing at her. She refused (and still does) to go to restaurants where the booths were snug because she knew everyone was making fun of her. On top of always putting me on diets until I moved out and constantly making comments about my weight, I grew up with pretty low self esteem. I’ve gotten slightly better but I still worry that people are staring at me, or thinking horrible things about me. It does depress me a little because I care A LOT about what other people think about me. But it hasn’t gotten to the point where I’ve become horribly depressed. Yes, I’m depressed but not so much so that it’s interfering with my life. The ironic thing is, I’ve never really been verbally teased or ridiculed. It’s all in my mind.

Thanks for your replies, everyone.

I really didn’t want it to be like that one thread a few years ago where some chick wanted to know what it was like to have huge labia, 'cuz you know, hers were tiny and cute. Thanks for not taking offense.

It’s good to hear that so many people are accepting of themselves and enjoy life in spite of this huge issue, no pun intended. It must just be that lately I’ve been encountering heavy people that are unhappy, and I’m glad to know that that’s not necessarily the case with everyone.

I apologize, Alice, for my snarky comment at the end of my post. I was in a dark mood at that moment. Fortunately those moments don’t linger long.

That’s okay. It’s just something I’m trying to process right now- as I get older, I gain more weight, and I used to be skinny. I’m still not “fat” (unless I’m in denial) but I am starting to see that with what I eat, it’s a possibility in the future. Good genes can’t hold out forever over Jack-in-the-Box. I can definitely see where it might be perceived as morbid curiosity, and maybe it is. But talking about things helps me to process it, so I talk about things. If I can see how it would feel to be obese, maybe that’ll keep me from getting obese. You know?