Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ask this, not that: Weight loss edition {A Three Things Thursday post}

It all started with a conversation about my boobs. And, if you have seen a picture of me recently, you might be inclined to ask: What boobs?

It's a fair and very valid question as I barely fill out an A cup thanks to weight loss and nursing Miles. It is what it is what is ... until I change it, which is what I was telling some friends this weekend. One day, as I've written here before, when babies aren't in my future, I will seriously consider skin removal surgery. While under the knife, it only makes sense for the doctor to give me something as he takes away. Namely, boobs.

As we chatted about the procedure, I discussed other areas that could be addressed during skin removal - arms and legs.

"Can you have the extra skin on your legs removed?" a friend asked.

"Well, yes," I replied, as I thought she asked if it was possible. And it is. Others took it as her asking me in a way that implied I should do it.

Oh, how things can be taken the wrong way.

The question didn't - and still doesn't - bother me. I have been asked far more invasive, far ruder questions/comments when it comes to weight loss.



"What was your starting weight?"
I have been open about my starting weight for the purposes of this blog and print stories but I shudder when people ask me in real life ask. Why? They wouldn't have asked me how much I weighed then so it's not an appropriate question now. Also, by knowing how much I've lost, they know how much I weigh now and, for the most part, I am no longer concerned with that number. In any other situation, it would be considered pretty rude to ask someone her weight. Losing weight doesn't make it OK.

"You lost, like, a whole person."
Yes. There are people who weigh 120 pounds but the last time I checked I didn't lose me, and I am still a whole person. I was a whole person then, too. For me, I dislike the comment because I still find some frustration that I allowed myself to get to 245 pounds and though losing weight was good, I shouldn't have gotten to a point that I needed to lose 120 pounds (or 115, depending on the day). I don't like to be reminded that I was carrying the weight of an extra person.

"Wow! You must feel so much better. Right?"
Sure, some days I feel good. Other days, I feel like ass crack. It was the same when I was overweight. I hate the implication that you must feel bad all the time when you are overweight. Even worse, I reject the idea that being at a certain weight equates feeling good as weight loss doesn't solve all of the problems.

P.S.
I don't always like to answer questions about weight loss because it's not who I am anymore. I am not the 245-pound girl I wrote about. I would much rather talk about running ... or Miles ... or Mark ... or running.

For you ...
What do you think are rude questions to ask about weight?

24 comments:

  1. I think any question about weight is rude, unless it's in the context of "you said your kid was having a hard time putting on weight, how is that going?" or similar (so, follow up to someone else talking about it to you). To this day, I will avoid reading anyone's weight, whether it's a celebrity or a blogger talking about it. I don't want to know. It's all so different. People tell me they are surprised I weigh as much as I do, cause I look like I weigh less. Wow. Thanks for caring what I weigh. And even though I wrote this (http://www.ilaxstudio.com/blog/2013/09/24/quit-looking-at-me/) , asking people not to comment on how I look, someone still continues to do it in blog comments, over, and over...

    It must be frustrating to have people ask you about it all the time, especially insensitively. But I guess the people who make stupid comments would be making stupid comments about something else, if it wasn't that? ;) We all have those people in our lives... lol.

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    1. I remember that post! A good one, per the us ;) I think it is pretty dangerous to comment on someone's weight, loss or gain, because it can trigger disordered behaviors or an emotional issue.

      And WTF about the you "weigh as much as you do"? Numbers are numbers and mean nothing about body composition. I am going to go tell a body I'm surprised he weighs so little because he looks so much bigger. I think it will be totes fun :)

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    2. Thanks ;) Yeah, I think it's something that you don't ask about unless you are a doctor, trainer, nutritionist, or something that is brought up, to you. Just, no.

      Ha ha ha. "You can't really weigh that much!" Do you want me to step on a scale in front of you? Geesh, people ;)

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  2. My height bothers me more. People assume because I'm 5.9 that I MUST be a great runner. Do a google search and you will find that most of the elite runners are tiny things. There is an "Ideal" height for running and I am above it. It's harder to move all these legs and arms. I'm also tired of people assuming because I have never been over weight that I just am genetically lucky. Nope. Since HS I have been very aware of what I was putting in my mouth. I've continued to learn more through the years and of course things change with science and what's "best" for us as well.

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    1. Very good points! I also like that you aren't genetically gifted - people need to know that health isn't given but hearned.

      And, because I have to: OMG. You are only 5-9. I thought you were way taller. J/K. Everyone is tall compared to me.

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    2. In every picture, I look about 6.3. I sometimes have a hard time believing I'm only 5.9 too by looking at them...

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  3. I dislike how people judge you by what you eat once you lose weight. Like once you lose weight, you are not allowed to EVER eat something unhealthy. "Ohhh, should you be eating that?" umm. mind your own beezwax.

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    1. YES!!! You must be an example to everyone. Except, sometimes, a candy bar tastes good.

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  4. I have not been overweight (good family genetics) so I am always continuing to learn from posts like this. I hope it's not out of line to say that it seems to me that the intention behind what people say matters. Several of those comments actually could be intended as praise or support -- though perhaps phrased in not the most sensitive way.

    "You lost, like, a whole person" is an awkward way to put it, to be sure... but could mean "You have achieved something I think is so incredible that the only way I can think about it is by a massive exaggeration."

    "Wow! You must feel so much better" might mean "I admire you greatly for making a radical change to improve your health and well-being, and wish I could make positive changes like you did."

    Yeah, they're not exactly body image-affirming ways to phrase things... but I suspect that, depending on who says them and why, sometimes people are trying to let you know that you inspire them.

    One thing you could do when people ask you about your previous weight is to talk about what you could DO then versus now. Could you climb 3 flights of stairs without resting? Walk a couple of miles? Run? Haul trees out of your yard? Because your functional fitness now is awesome, and that matters not just for your next race, but for living life. That could be a positive way to redirect the conversation.

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment. You always come from such a great perspective! (P.S. MAJOR CONGRATS on your half PR. You and your running mama are awesome!)

      I also love the way of phrasing how life is different now and, in a way, easier. I can do yard work and walk the dog and chase my kid. I am definitely going to adopt this!

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    2. I've been thinking a lot about functional fitness since reading a post that Heather at RelentlessForwardCommotion wrote: http://relentlessforwardcommotion.com/2014/04/functional-fitness/ . It's a good, thought provoking article.

      And thanks for the congrats! We had a great time :-)

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  5. Hmmm. Really good questions. I think asking about weight is about as rude as asking if a woman is pregnant. Unless you see the baby crowning, you probably shouldn't be asking.

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    1. I hope I never see a baby crowning. Ever. Even if I have another one. I don't need to see it ... so never need to see someone's weight either.

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  6. I think it's rude to ask how much someone weighs. Even though I don't find it rude when I was asked about my weight in high school, only because I am underweight, now I find it rude. Why is it anyone's business. I also hate it when individuals ask how much you gained while pregnant or have gained so far. Now that I am pregnant I get it all the time.

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    1. I must warn you that all social decency seems to go out the window with pregnancy. And, it's weird because it's such a private thing. Literally.

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  7. Weight is such volatile territory. I had someone ask me in an Instagram comment what my starting weight was. I never said a thing about a weightloss journey. Oy.

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  8. Personally, I think that any questions or comments about weight are pretty rude. Period. As a small person, I detest it when people say things like, "If you lost any more weight you'll disappear," "Eat a cheeseburger!" "Are you SURE you eat enough?" or my personal favorite, "You'd better stop running, you're losing your butt and your husband won't like that!"

    Yup, somebody said that to me.

    I would never dream about commenting on someone's weight other than a generic, "You look great!"... which could or could not even be weight related anyway.

    The lack of tact/filter that is so prevalent in today's world is just appalling to me.

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  9. I hated being told that I would be such a pretty girl (woman?) if I could just lose the weight. That bugged me -- and I remember being asked if I had seen the dr. about my weight. Totally insensitive and hurtful. So now I'm much smaller and people ask me how I lost the weight - which is OK - but once I tell them there's some deprivation (don't eat too much! ha!) and that exercise is always involved -- the eyes glaze over and they walk away. Which, I guess is OK. Love your perspectives.

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  10. My starting weight was 8lb 7oz. Man, I've really let myself go since then. ;)

    In all seriousness though, I've never had a weight problem so I can't relate to many of the questions you get BUT I used to work with a woman who would comment every time I ate something unhealthy that "one day it would catch up to me" and she "didn't know how I could get away with eating like that". I don't know why she was so concerned about what my weight might be one day. Maybe she was just unhappy with hers?

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  11. Oh! I just remembered! My cousin recently lost quite a bit of weight and one of her friends kept introducing her to people as "This is Candice, she just lost a ton of weight!" My cousin got really upset by that and rightly so! How would that be an appropiate way to introduce someone?

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  12. "Sure, some days I feel good. Other days, I feel like ass crack." This is why I enjoy reading your blog so much. I'm recently trying to push away all my excuses that I use to not take better care of myself...I feel like I'm getting closer every day to doing a better job. But I don't feel awful every day and I don't hate me now. Some part of me thinks if I can't love myself now (overweight, fresh out of grad school, a few years married, considering a baby - what a great time in my life!) then what makes me think I'll magically love myself later. That notion that everything must feel and be better after a weight loss or lifestyle change is misleading. We will always have our up and down days. Also, you said ass crack. <3

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  13. I love you. Seriously.

    I think ALL questions about weight (or skin color, or scars, or hair length, bla bla bla) are rude. Unless posed by a health professional or a fitness trainer, you don't ask or comment. Ever.

    Loving these comments, too. My mom, who is a teeny tiny person, gets so many ridiculous comments about her weight. I don't understand what gives the people the right to comment on stuff like that. Makes me wanna punch someone...

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  14. Love this post and your insights on weight loss, Kim. Very powerful for many who are inspired by your story (and others like you) but may not realize how their questions are felt. xo

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