"I was worried about you," he said, "but I didn't want to say anything. I am so glad you lost the weight."
"Wow," she exclaimed, "you look SO much better! You looked sick before. I mean, you just look so much better now with the weight gone!"
"Holy cow!" she said. "You look amazing! I can't believe the change! I hate to admit it, but I felt bad for you before! I could not believe how heavy you had gotten but now you look great! You look NORMAL!"
"Those jeans look so good on you," he confessed, "I was never attracted to you when you were big, but now..." (nervous laughter).
"Thank goodness your diet worked!" she whispered. "You don't know how unhealthy you looked before!"
The words kept coming. I was 175, 180 pounds and people finally felt like they could tell me how I "really" looked before and what they "really" thought of my body at a higher weight. I suppose people think they are giving compliments. You look better. You look great. But they are giving feedback on what they thought of you before. You were too fat. You looked bad. Sloppy. Unhealthy. Unattractive.
I was not offended. I felt a flush of embarrassment, though, knowing what they had been thinking all that time.
"I couldn't understand HOW you let yourself get that way," she said. "I just couldn't!"
Really? And here I thought you just loved me, liked me, or cared about me as I was. I fooled myself into believing that my weight, my looks didn't matter. That you saw me for me, and enjoyed who I was, as I was. If I had known then what you really thought, well, it would have hurt me terribly.
It is different when people give a compliment without sharing how they *used* to feel about you. It is so nice to hear "you look great" or "you've lost so much weight!" or "that shirt looks amazing on you" or some other nice positive thing. But sharing of how, when I was fatter, you thought some negative thing about me... well, that is better left unspoken.
They've all shut up now. I got fat again. No one says anything. But I hear what they implied,
I am worried about you.
You look sick.
You look worse.
I feel bad for you. I can't believe how heavy you've gotten.
You look abnormal.
I am not attracted to you.
You look unhealthy.
I don't understand HOW you let yourself get that way... again.
The silence speaks. I know what you think. The way your eyes widen and then dart away when you see me 30 pounds heavier is enough. You don't have to say anything.
Thankfully, this time, I care *far less* what anyone else thinks of me, my journey, my body. I am doing this for *me* and for my children, and that is it. I will do what is best and right for *us* and I am not going to give five more seconds of my life thinking about what other people around me are thinking of my body.
You gotta let that stuff go. Teasing and laughing and snickering at the fat women behind her back are grade school kid behaviors. If grown people (or even rude kids) want to make fun of my legs when I am walking to the pool in my swimsuit, that's none of my business! That's between them and their god. My business is taking care of myself and my family and enjoying the one wonderful life I have been given. That is what I am doing.