Weight and appearance

(62 Posts)
Simpkins Mon 07-Jan-13 11:58:17

This is a bit of a personal rant, I'm hoping others out there will have opinions to share too though so we can vent together!

I have a weight problem and have done so for my whole life. I've come to the conclusion in recent years that my issues were terribly emotional ones- I am scared of failing at losing weight, and so the myriad diets I have "done" have not really started as I have not wanted to admit that I'm on them so as to not risk failing (how fucked up is that?) I also eat when I am trying to drown my emotions out- which I do a lot as the envioronment I grew up in, whilst loving and happy, was also about making sure everything appeared fine even if you were dying inside (mum was dreadfully unhappy married to dad and this was terribly obvious to my sister and I but we never acknowledged it and still haven't in any detail) and sadly I learned this very well and am now repeating this pattern. That's a whole other thread though!

On a personal level, I think that I am "frightened" of losing the 3 or 4 stone that I need to as I am so so SO cross that people will think of me differently. Why the hell should they? I will still be me, I am disappointed in "society" if all of a sudden I am slimmer and - hey presto! I am not invisible any more. Its almost like my weight is a way of shunning the way that I feel society prizes thinness- but at the same time I know that I need to lose some serious lbs for health reasons. I want to be around long term for my children and for me to enjoy life. I did lose weight in my teens and I know from first hand experience that I went from a nobody at school to having lots of attention in a matter of weeks- I lost a fair bit of weight one summer due to just generally growing up and having an active time for the 6 weeks, and all of a sudden people wanted to know me. I was just a kindly swot before that. This makes me FURIOUS. It didn?t at the time of course, I was thrilled that I was suddenly popular.

In particular, if my husband ends up treating me more nicely because I am thin (which I am terrified of as I think it is amost a certainty) then I will have to make a difficult choice- do I stay with a man that quite plainly does not love me for "me" but what I look like? I am not sure if I can bear the disappointment in him or even myself for choosing such a twat, if you'll pardon the expression.

So many issues here!

Has anyone else been in a simlar position with wanting to lose weight? What were your experiences?

Darkesteyes Sat 12-Jan-13 16:15:08

Boulevard one of the reasons it grates with me is my mum has the same attitude as some of the Fat Police posters on that AIBU thread.
Someone like Beth Ditto will come on TV and instead of admiring her for her talent and fucking AMAZING voice my mum will sit there and bang on and on about her size.
You should have seen the look on her face though when Lisa Riley danced so well at Strictly.
I dont normally watch those kinds of shows but my mum had it on and got proved spectacularly wrong.

mindosa Mon 14-Jan-13 11:31:33

No I am not Rosemary Conley but the OP asked for an opinion and I gave it. I have no anti feminist agenda re weight. I simply think being a healthy weight is better for you and looks better.

I dont subscribe to the ethos that women should punish themselves to be stick thin, hairless etc but I do think that obesity is a massive health issue and we shouldnt try and justify it because of feminist principles.

The same way smoking and excessive alchol and dangerous to your health, so is being excessively under or overweight.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 13:52:19

simpkins, it seems to me (wild guesses from a stranger on the internet) that the problem is your husband. your first post is about a lot of things that "people" think, but a later post seems to point that this is about what your husband thinks. I suspect that a part of you feels controlled by your husband, or in danger of being controlled by your husband, who doesn't like fat people on some level, and if you lose the weight you are effectively "knuckling under". I think you should look at this and find ways of feeling free and safe from control within the relationship (this may mean actually changing some things in the relationship - I don't mean you "feel" controlled and it is in your head - I mean maybe you are being controlled, and you are fighting back through your weight) and then you might find yourself free to lose weight for yourself.

larrygrylls Mon 14-Jan-13 14:11:40

It was a feminist issue when I joined the City in 1986, when it was normal for all the guys to be several stone overweight and still have beautiful gfs/wives. Fast forward 25 years or so and it is very equal. Everybody goes to the gym because they know what being obese does to you, both in terms of life expectancy and quality of life. Nowadays, most women will also be quite judgmental about men who have piled on the pounds (just check some of the threads on MN about not fancying obese husbands).

Should looks in either sex have anything to do with anything? Probably not but we are still bodies and minds and it is natural to look at both when we interact with people.

Simpkins Tue 15-Jan-13 12:22:52

Are you in my head curryeater? You have articulated in one little post something that I have never really acknowledged- thank you for helping me understand it!

I have always known that there is something a bit “fuck you!” about me not losing weight- a bit of defiance somewhere in it all. But I have never been sure where or why this has been. I have thought on it recently and come to the conclusion that now I would really like to lose weight for my health, and not for any reason of vanity (or toeing the line perhaps) that it finally feels achievable. I am still scared though. And from a feminist perspective the health issue trumps anything that media or society or even just my husband might think- I just want to make sure that I am here for as long as possible for my children, and so that my life is longer and I can therefore fill it with more of the things I want to do.

Thanks everyone for talking to me about this.

Xenia Tue 15-Jan-13 15:26:38

On the first post why do you think no one takes you seriously or wants to know you because of your weight? If women can carve out fascinating careers and get to the top they are courted for much more than looks. i could have lunches every day of the week with people who think if they buy me a meal they are entitled to time with me. They are not after my breasts but my brain, career and connections.

The richest woman in Australia is not very thin. The solution is get going on a career and people will want yo because you are the best economist in the UK or run a great business or are head of the association of girls' schools or whatever.

Simpkins Tue 15-Jan-13 23:45:25

Xenia- its not that I don't think anyone wants to know me or takes me seriously because of the fact that I am overweight, more that I am pretty sure I will get a better reaction if I am not.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 08:48:39

Well... that conclusion is correct except for a few African tribes. So the question might be why do men and women want men and women who aren't overweight? It is not just engrained through sexism. Surely it is wise we do not have fat acceptance because if we trumpet that as a desirable norm people will die off or at least die early. Now that 60% of British people are overweight and we are the second heaviest nation on the planet it is just as well we are not all working hard to get to 20 stone as some kind of desirable nirvana.

Adversecamber Fri 18-Jan-13 09:27:28

I have had both CBT and counselling and they are very different treatments. I think you would benefit from having counselling regarding your childhood and how it has affected you.

A lot of disordered eating is down to emotions within us. I am the opposite in that I struggle to eat due to anxiety.

I have encountered a lot of hostility, only from women I hasten to add who have criticised my thinness.

I loathe the way lots of people feel as if they can comment on weight, it is so very personal.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 09:36:12

AC, I would hope most people would not comment on the weight of others. I don't think I've ever met someone and mentioned their weight to them. I am more interested in them as a person than how they look.

There is a real feminist issue in here. If people think looks are their main currency that is very very sad. My looks are 1% of what I am perhaps, if that. I don't spend much time in mirrors and genuinely my life is about loads of things such as work, children, hobbies and all kinds of things. Looking in mirrors and worrying about if my hair is straight just seems a world away from me and how I am and also we used to have a sin of vanity in the UK and sayings like - pretty is as pretty does, beauty is only skin deep etc.

We seem to have lost the view that fussing over appearance is a moral wrong. That is a pity which has done people of box sexes not much good.

Lifeissweet Fri 18-Jan-13 10:52:29

A lot of the OP rings bells with me. My weight yoyos from overweight (BMI of 28/9 at biggest) to the middle of normal (around 22/3) and I have a very odd relationship with my weight and with food. I find I am unhappy with my weight at it's highest and strive to get thinner. I find that the effort it takes to lose the weight can be pretty all-consuming. When I have had success at it is has been because of absolute determination, which can rather take over. Then, when I get to a sensible weight I feel oddly deflated. I am irritated by people making comments as if I have suddenly become a better person. I hate the fact that my Mother seems to approve of me more when I am thinner. I don't like getting people's approval for my weight. It annoys me because people don't tend feel the need to express approval about other aspects of me as an individual, so why about my weight?

I am heavy at the moment - and unhappy about it, even though I am perfectly health (I sometimes think people mistakenly think that fat always equals unhealthy. Yes, it does in a lot of cases. Certainly being obese does, but I have never been obese, just larger than what is considered in the 'normal' range. I am fit and active and rarely ill. I cycle to work everyday and I eat good stuff (just too much of it). I can't be content, though, because I feel such a pressure to be thinner. It is almost as though I feel being big is a character flaw of mine.

For those trying to say it's the same for men - it really isn't. Being overweight as a man is not the same. My DP is overweight. He has a similar BMI to mine at the moment (27), but looks chunky and well built rather than fat. He talks about needing to lose a few pounds, but doesn't feel the same sense of shame and guilt about his size that I do (and I think women as a whole tend to). It is just a fact and he will maybe do something about it when he feels like it. I loathe myself a lot of the time.

GiveMeSomeSpace Fri 18-Jan-13 16:26:26

I think that a large part, if not the majority, of the change in other peoples attitude towards us is because we are happier in OURSELVES when we are in better shape. Happier people are more attractive. I dont think the physical side is a big as the personality side of things.

And I think it applies as equally to men as to women. (I am a man)

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