I went on a retreat recently, where I had to discuss my weight loss journey and my story. For some reason, just thinking about being overweight as being "my story" is very emotional for me. I think about it, and I cry. And believe me, I am not a cryer...but I am now, and only with this topic. So over the past couple of weeks, I have been searching for the reason why.
Why do I cry when I think about my story?
Why do I get emotional thinking about weight-loss?
Why do I get sad when I see other people overweight?
Why do I cry writing this post?
Why do I get angry when people talk crap about other people, especially bigger people? Well this one I can answer...I just hate people talking bad about people in general. Doesn't matter the reason, it gets me angry, sad, and I feel bad for that person.
I think there are multiple reasons for the reactions I have. Granted, I think I have only figured out the surface of these reasons, but it's a start.
First, people suck. No offense, please don't stop reading unless you are someone who enjoys making others feel bad or don't have an empathetic sense in your body. If you do, keep reading. People suck. You know you think it to. I am not saying everyone does, but a lot of people do. I often question why I chose a profession where I help people for a living. I literally went into debt to learn how to help people, spend 8-10 hours a day with multiple people, trying to teach them what I know and help them get better. Why did I choose a job where I work with so many people, when people suck. The reason is because not everyone does, but those people that do seem to stick out. It may only be a handful of people that are jerks, but one adds onto another and those bad memories and emotions just stick with you. Now, I have digressed a little, but in essence, not everyone is bad. I have done a really good job at only surrounding myself with positive people in my life. If you are a jerk, I don't really want to get to know you. It is hard to find caring, empathetic, inspiring people in this world, I don't need to make it any harder on my life.
Where I was going with this is that even though people suck, there are good people out there. But because people suck, being any type of minority in this world is hard. I learned this at a young age, about when I was 10. I lived in the South in Georgia, had parents going through a divorce, and I was Jewish. I don't really remember being overweight until 3 years later, so that wasn't even part of it yet. I had friends who were raised christian and their parents wouldn't let me come over to play because my parents were divorcing. How stupid is that. I don't want to go into too many other ideas, but it's like people saying you're going to rub the gay off. Come on... I was a 10 year old kid, but I was clearly a threat to their family...to this day I still don't get it. So then add in increasing my weight by probably 30 lbs. I was a big tomboy living in southern Georgia. I played sports, wore sneakers, long shorts, and t-shirts. I had a small group of friends that were great. I was never one of those people that wanted to be the popular kid, that wasn't me. I always surrounded myself with people that liked me for me. To this day, I still do that.
Over this past couple of weeks I have started to realize that I think of being overweight as a "minority". I use that word because people of minority are usually the ones getting discriminated against. Basically anything besides a normal sized white male... As of 2018, in seven states, 35% of adults are "obese". In CO, is 22.6% of people. That is actually a lot of people, but percentage wise, it's small. It might be smaller for the amount of Jewish people in the US, which is 1.6%, but it's still small.
When people think of bullying, they think of LGBTQ, black people, nerds/geeks, fat kids, and religious people different from their own. Those are the big ones I can think of. These days I feel like anything different is fair game for bullying. It stinks. But this isn't a post about bullying. It's about people not realizing they are being mean, or just not caring. Either way, STOP! I think that is part of the reason I get emotional. Fat people are bullied. It sucks. It may not even be to my face, but it's there. If it is to my face, I don't take it, I stand up for myself, or I leave. But even just hearing people talk bad about other bigger people is infuriating. What makes people think it is ok to say mean things to people? Regardless, if we look at being obese as a circumstance of bullying, then things start to make sense. We are judged, we are made fun of, and even if you don't really care about what others think of you, something deep down inside is looking for acceptance. So we care subconsciously. No one wants to always be the odd person out. We are already the odd people out, I don't need another reason to be that person.
The next reason I came up with for why I seem to have an emotional crisis at the age of 32 is that I think not enough people stand up for themselves. Granted I believe that is a personal issue, but it takes time for people to come to terms with internal issues and be able to stand up for themselves. We also don't always know why we need to stand up for something, or the circumstance just doesn't warrant it, maybe we don't want to create a scene, whatever the reason, it's ok to be quiet sometimes. Other times it isn't.
I was in the airport boarding a plain recently and it was Southwest. For Southwest, you are allowed to choose your own seat and it's based on your boarding number. I was A40ish, which was pretty good. I had a lady behind me, not super skinny, but not really overweight either, she was maybe 60. She came up next to me and said "I saw a bigger guy in front, I don't want to get stuck next to him." I am still trying to figure out what I should have said in this circumstance, but instead I didn't handle it as I should have. I didn't stick up for other people, and I regret that. I simply stated she could sit wherever she wants with her number. I didn't know who she was talking about, I didn't really care. All I could think was that you don't know what he is thinking boarding the plane. He probably hates planes and this entire situation more than she can even imagine. If you think about the other person, maybe you won't say stupid things. I don't know if it's because this situation hit close to home or what not, but I could've said something different. I am one of those people who stick up for strangers ALL THE TIME. I almost got beat up in a night club for sticking up for 3 stranger 21 year olds who went into a bathroom and a creepy guy was trying to follow them in. This guy was probably 2 times my size and my boyfriend at the time was really scared. He went and got a bunch of military people to come step in because he thought I might end up in the hospital. I stick up for people all the time, but why was this different? Still figuring that one out....
Another reason I think this is a sensitive topic is because I feel like it is never ending. From 13-32 years of age, it has been a constant battle. I think I am starting to realize that the weight doesn't matter. It is how I feel that matters. Granted, I'm not 400 lbs, I'm 180 and 5'3", but all that matters is me. I feel strong, I feel confident, I feel empowered. That has nothing to do with my weight. That has everything to do with my outlook on things, who I surround myself with, what I choose to read and look at in the media, and my working out. It's what I do for me that really matters. If I feel strong and confident, I can take anything that life throws at me. If not, I feel weak and scared. I choose strong and confident. What do you choose?
My name's Amanda and this is a blog about my story and my life. My hope is to motivate some of you to get going on your weight-loss journey as well as help people along the way. If you have questions about how to get started, or anything else, feel free to ask.