Home My Journey Losing Weight and Losing Identity

Losing Weight and Losing Identity

by Erika Nicole Kendall

It’s rare that I get to enjoy daytime TV. Usually, it’s all Backyardigans everything, all Dora everything, or whatever’s on PBS Kids (hey, anything to avoid the toy and junk food commercials)… but getting something for myself to enjoy? Not often. However… every Tuesday for the past few weeks, I’ve made it a point to make sure that Mini-me is napping right when Dr. Phil comes on.

Why? “The Housewives of Dr. Phil.”

I don’t know how I managed to catch it the first time, but I’ve been hooked ever since… for one particular reason.

The entire episode is nothing more than Dr. Phil himself, in a room with six women: a woman who was cheated on by her husband and has thoughts of killing him; a woman who was so depressed about her weight gain that she spent her entire day in bed beckoning her maid to do everything for her while having an emotional affair with another man; a woman who has a history of verbal abuse (be it from her mother, Mom’s significant others or her own significant others); a woman who could not date to save her life; a fifth woman who is incredibly attractive (at least, to me she is) and, apparently, flaunts it inappropriately; and a sixth woman.

That sixth woman is why I’ve been so interested in this show.

Meet Alana. (Uh-lah-nuh – she’ll feel some kinda way about you saying “Uh-lay-nuh.”) Alana has been overweight her entire life. Alana used to weigh well over three hundred pounds. Alana had gastric bypass surgery, followed up by a few corrective surgeries for clean-up work. I… it’s hard to explain Alana, because in a lot of ways.. she is me. Without question.

She used to be the charming funny girl, feeling like she had to accept everyone because she didn’t want anyone refusing to accept her. Less judgmental because she felt like she didn’t want anyone judging her. There’s also an element of “if I cast my net wide enough, the more people there are that I can claim as friends… I can still be popular even if it’s not because I’m ‘hot'” at play here, as well.

She was traumatized by her peers because of her size. She has a sister close-in-age who was slim at the time, and always felt like she was compared to her in a negative way. I feel like, by watching Alana, you could tell that she always felt some form of pressure to look more like her sister. It’s as if the heat was always on her from family even if they didn’t beat her over the head with it.

Alana and I both share that. I’ve always had jokes (I admit they weren’t always funny, but I sure did always crack ’em anyway), and I’ve always been non-judgmental. I never considered whether or not it was because I was trying to encourage non-judgmental attitudes around me, though I could see myself fearing someone snapping back at me with “What do you know? You’re fat.”

When I started to gain weight – somewhere around elementary school – I was picked on by my peers, but when I moved… it rarely came up. I was the charming funny girl.

I’m not vocally judgmental like Alana, though – never have been, never will be. I certainly make judgments – we all do – but I avoid verbalizing ’em. I’m not mean unnecessarily – I do bust out attack mode to protect myself and my daughter, but who else would? – and the phrase “skinny bitch” isn’t in my vocabulary. I never felt threatened by other women, just because I’d always felt like I was in another realm. Attractiveness is a competition – the competition is what encourages you to look better – but I simply never chose to compete.

But damn all that, though. We both lost weight and have new figures to praise. It should be that easy, right?

No. Absolutely not.

I think we take for granted, sometimes, the things we leave tied up in our appearance. As I was telling a friend last night, things change when you lose weight. Whether you want to admit it or not, a lot of our sense of self-value can get tied up in whether or not we look like “the ideal,” and this is especially different for Black girls. Even when we’re built like “the ideal,” we certainly still don’t look like her. Going from being unnoticeable and practically getting away with murder to being much more attractive to many more people and being an attention-getter is difficult. It messes with your sense of self.If you’re not careful, the fact that others value you more because of your appearance will cause you to value yourself differently because of your appearance.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t feel like I’m looking at a different person. In fact, I know I’m not. I’m still active in my community, I’m still Mommy, I’m still giving, loving and accepting. I’m still empathetic. Like, I’m really not that different. But everyone around me changes in ways that I haven’t. It makes it hard to understand who you truly are and whether or not you value the right things about yourself when the people around you insist on acting like you’re someone different because you look different.

Me and my old face

When Alana talks about modeling, I cringe because that’s what I’m dealing with mentally right now. The idea of looking at yourself in the mirror or in a photo and saying “Wow, that’s me?” and being amazed is… it’s something I can’t put into words. Even now, it’s hard for me to embrace and accept that I’ll be standing in front of an audience in a neon pink bikini for a figure competition next year. It’s hard for me to look in the mirror and see such a different face than what I’m used to. It’s hard to understand that these [much, much smaller] breasts, this [much, much smaller] tummy and these [much, much smaller] hips belong to me.

The strange thing about looking in the mirror and “not feeling like I’m looking at a different person” is that I still don’t expect to see a different person. If I’m not careful, I still feel like I’m staring at a stranger in the mirror. It’s hard to not look in the mirror and see the old me… still happy, still overweight. It’s hard for me to understand the life that I have, even though I love it and I live it happily. The connection I have to the old, overweight me and my fear of changing into someone even more different from who I am now (and who I was at 328lbs) makes it difficult for me to see myself at competition level. It’s almost frightening to me.

Me and my “new face” …because I refuse to take a serious picture.

I think the theme, here, is acknowledging how much of ourselves and our identity is wrapped up in our appearance. How much of who we are is tied up in what we present to our peers? I mean, Alana admits that she was the “jolly fat girl” because her appearance called for it – she didn’t place judgment because she didn’t want to be judged. I can even understand her belief that it’s now her time to judge others and demand that they vy for her attention. (If you are drawing more attention, it only makes sense that you’d use more discernment in who you allow to get close to you. That’s just life.) But all of that was based on her appearance… so perhaps it is inevitable? Perhaps as your appearance changes, so goes your personality?

I reject that. Alana says, “Looking in the mirror, I’m lost.” I think that’s key. If you are lost as a person – unable to recognize your strengths, unable to identify your weaknesses – I do believe it’s easy to adopt society’s principles about what makes a person worthy. (Worthy of what? Who knows.) I think when you feel like you have no idea who you are, you let your peers tell you and it becomes too easy to get sucked into that.

I cling to the things that I’ve always loved and adored, because the person I’ve always been fits into it all seamlessly. Things that are new – like a figure competition, for crying out loud – that could potentially change my sense of identity… scare the hell out of me.

What this is teaching me, really, is to be open to changing. Be open to seeing what I grow into. Be less stubborn about clinging to who I used to be, and be more excited about the possibilities that come from what I will be tomorrow. Even though it’s hard to look in the mirror and see that this is me, I still look in the mirror and say “Wow, that is me,” and I smile at what my hard work has brought me. Each day is an opportunity to embrace the fact that everything about me – including my appearance – is always evolving, always changing and always deserving of my love and praise… or my reflection and effort to change.

So… in support of Alana and her continued growth, I’ll still try to watch every Tuesday. I’ll still root for her because I feel like so much of where I came from (and still am overpowering) is where she is and has been. I suspect the same is for a lot of women out there. Here’s to hoping she — really, here’s to hoping we all heal happily and healthily.

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Yannie November 30, 2010 - 2:19 PM

She has been on a few shows. Tyra and a show with Toccarra

Erika November 30, 2010 - 2:45 PM

Giiirl, I told you. All Nickelodeon and PBS kids EVERYTHING when Mini-me is awake. I can’t win on the TV front. LOL

Erin November 30, 2010 - 2:40 PM

What a great read! I lost about 90lbs and have struggled with similar things but don’t know who or how to talk about them. No one wants to hear about how I got thin and find it frustrating that ppl are nicer to me now. But it’s frustrating! It makes me mad that people who used to not have the time of day for me are suddenly quite interested in knowing me. Men and women alike. I’m not different, but it took (and continues to take) a long time for my head to catch up with my body. I just keep chipping away at new goals and when I stop to look at myself in the mirror, its hard to explain, I know her. And I don’t. I’m working on owning it.
Anyway, I get it. And it’s nice to know someone else does.

Erika November 30, 2010 - 2:57 PM

I understand completely! I just feel like… anyone who undergoes such a major physical change would have to deal with that reality… that reality that society is superficial as hell, and to not let THAT affect how we look at ourselves as individual people. It’s strange, but it’s real.

The weirdest thing was people who I’d been tight with for a long time, all of a sudden asking for more of my time than they’d ever asked for before. That was jarring… but that has more to do with THEM, not me, so I just try to enjoy myself without internalizing THAT silliness.

Since I’m STILL in the process of changing my body, I’m trying to embrace the changes I STILL HAVE to undergo as well as what I’ve accomplished thus far. It’s strange owning up to that. *big hug* I understand you a lot on that. 🙂

Sarah November 30, 2010 - 2:46 PM

Hi, Erika,

I love your site and have gotten so much encouragement and great advice here. Thank you so much for all you do!

I can’t help wondering about the fact that you posted a picture of yourself actually distorting your face in the mirror, to accompany a post about being comfortable with the new “you” that you see in that mirror. I could just be completely dense and missing intentional irony here (it HAS been known to happen, lol). But if not, I really think it’s something to think on!

Erika November 30, 2010 - 3:59 PM

LOL Thank you, and yes I did it on purpose. LOL

Considering all of the “serious” photos that I’ve taken over the past few days (will be able to share soon!), being able to look at myself with my tongue hanging out while talking about the person that I look at every day actually makes me smile. ‘Cause no matter what size I am, I’m always silly. LOL 🙂

Kimberly November 30, 2010 - 4:09 PM

I can completely identify with this thread. I’ve lost nearly 200 pounds (with another 35 to go before reconstructive surgery). I never truly believed that fat people were treated “so much worse” than average-sized people…until I lost nearly 200 pounds. The difference is astounding and quite difficult to verbalize.

I, too, am having issues learning about the new me. I thought I was the “old” me in an improved, healthier body. However, the weight functioned very much as a security blanket for me and I’m having issues accepting the new and “not quite finished” me for what I am. The most surprising element to all of this was that I could feel my self-confidence diminishing with seemingly every pound lost. It should be the exact opposite!

I’ve always been slightly “judgy” as a person, but always tried to interact with folks in a constructive manner. I now find myself being more judgy of myself and more compassionate of others. I go out of my way to engage with morbidly obese people so they don’t feel left out. If someone sitting beside me on a plane needs to raise the armrest, I don’t even blink. I used to be that person on EVERY flight. I now know that small/thin/healthy people have problems of which I couldn’t imagine. I couldn’t believe that a young, beautiful girl (let’s call her “Meg”) in my support group didn’t feel gorgeous, valued, or possessed an almost extreme amount of self-hatred where her body was concerned.

I write all of this to say that it’s a daily struggle for some women, accepting their formerly fat bodies for healthier ones. Every morning after I shower, I spend a few minutes looking at myself naked in the mirror. I MAKE myself see the hard work and the changes. I MAKE myself acknowledge that the outside is different. I MAKE myself accept the fact that others will judge my worth based on my weight.

Then, I repeat my mantra:”I willingly release all that is not love and light in my life.”

After the mantra, I smile, get dressed, then engage in an activity that I couldn’t do when I was extremely obese. I use the stairs instead of the elevator, I run on the treadmill, I do yoga, or I simply savor the benefits of being the “new” me.

It sounds hokey, but trust, a mantra can make all the difference between internalizing my anger and disappointment with others or having a positive/neutral workday.

Erika November 30, 2010 - 5:23 PM

“I, too, am having issues learning about the new me. I thought I was the “old” me in an improved, healthier body. However, the weight functioned very much as a security blanket for me and I’m having issues accepting the new and “not quite finished” me for what I am. The most surprising element to all of this was that I could feel my self-confidence diminishing with seemingly every pound lost. It should be the exact opposite!”

I think that’s another HUGE part of this – you feel so much more vulnerable because your security blanket IS gone. It’s almost like you feel more naked, more available, more exposed… it’s frightening, in a way.

I’m ALSO going to co-sign the compassion angle. I was telling a friend last night.. some people take weight loss as an opportunity to release their inner jerk, and some of us become more compassionate. Alana, I think, took to using it as the opportunity to demand others earn her attention. I’ve kind of accepted (and been confused by) the attention I’ve received, and exercised my compassion by starting my blog.

It’s ALSO difficult to navigate the NEW environment and culture that being “smaller” brings – because NOW, you ARE competition. Women treat you MUCH differently. It’s not a matter of “A man who liked her wouldn’t like me anyway,” it’s “if he likes HER, I KNOW he should like me!” and it’s competition. THAT is beyond wack. LOL

My mantra sounds a little more like a Prince song with a long swear word in the title, but that’s okay. I think I like yours better. 🙂 LOL!

Rooo July 20, 2011 - 3:48 PM

“NOW, you ARE competition. Women treat you MUCH differently.”

And *that* is a whole rant in and of itself, I think.

Hope May 20, 2013 - 3:18 PM


Tracie G., The Brown Skin Lady December 1, 2010 - 12:35 PM

”I willingly release all that is not love and light in my life.”

I absolutely LOVE this mantra. Thanks for sharing it Kimberly! :o)

Marion@affectionforfitness June 28, 2011 - 7:14 AM

”I willingly release all that is not love and light in my life.”

I love that mantra too.

🙂 Marion

deibrown November 5, 2013 - 11:37 AM

THIS 1000 times. I never ever ever could identify with bigger people whop talked about getting picked on or harassed by strangers. So I thought that those were extreme cases and that bigger people were maybe more invisible but otherwise treated about the same. Then I lost 100+ lbs. I so understand the rappers talking about how they did not change but everyone around them changed. I just had no idea. Not even just people in your life that you know, but also women amke lil comments. People seem so friendly, opening doors, randomly speaking. IT IS WEIRD. And when I dare voice it, suggest that maybe bigger people are treated differently, everyone poo poos me: “o you are just more confident” “people are responding to the new you” and so on.

But, no, change the external and people change in how they perceive, treat, estimate you. And that can mess with your mind.

Missb1203 November 30, 2010 - 4:13 PM

My younger sister recently lost about 70 lbs over a year. She did it the good old fashioned way with exercise and changing her eating habits. Went from a size 14 to a 4. Anyway, she came home from school for Thanksgiving and i noticed she kept making a face of discomfort whenever someone would hug her or comment on her appearance. I finally asked her what was wrong and she commented that alot of times now, people who formerly knew her want to touch her, or treat her differently now that she has lost this substantial amount of weight. Girls who never spoke to her before are suddenly adding her on facebook or wanting to hang out when she comes to visit.Or guys she went to school with all of sudden having this renewed interest in her. i never thought about it till she said it. it must be hard to lose weight and then to try to connect the emerging new you. You’re still yourself but youre also different. As i continue to struggle to wrap my mind around this weight loss journey as well as my journey to being healthy, its something i want to be mindful of. and it also makes me want to face my fears head on.

Tina (laidbackchick) November 30, 2010 - 4:45 PM

Interesting, although I have spent the majority of my life being slim and it wasn’t until my late twenties that I really stock piled the weight on, weight loss has been weird to me as well. Was in my sisters mirror (have no full length mirrors at home) this weekend and was simply amazed at my transformation, I just kept starting like Tina you’re back. I couldn’t stop looking because I am still the same Tina but now I am looking like the Tina I was prior to the last 7 or so years of being overweight and its strange. I was 244 last year and now I am atleast 60 lbs less, however I was a 14/16 which really isn’t that big especially in our community however it was unhealthy and now to see a size 8/10 slimmer healthier me sometimes it feels really weird. People see me run in the neighborhood and strangers that I never noticed stop and comment, men do, people at church and while it is humbling it is also a bit scary because I am more accountable to staying healthy which is great but also intimidating. That’s where I am at

Denise @How mama Got Her Swag back November 30, 2010 - 5:11 PM

Wow, now this is deep. It’s amazing how much we take on the perceptions of others, even unknowingly. You’re not a different person (completely) having had this transformation, yet people are treating you like you are. It makes me recall hearing Gwyneth Paltrow and Tyra Banks talk about their experiences wearing fat suits and how differently they were treated by everyone. Wow, I think I have to meditate ont his one for a bit…

Mia November 30, 2010 - 8:13 PM

We (as overweight women) do not truly think about the emotional and psychological effects of significant weight loss. We just want to be smaller/healthier. This really made me think and actually a little fearful of what is to come. But, now I have this in mind and hopefully I can hold on to this new consciousness as I continue on my journey.

"Mira Luma" December 1, 2010 - 12:26 AM

Erika, another great and highly relevant blog post!

I’ve gone through the same thing as Alana, you and others in this weight loss journey. I’ve lost a lot of weight, became visible, gained it back and became invisible. Lost weight again, wash, rinse, repeat. It’s very disorienting and hard to maintain that balance and inner peace that comes with accepting myself as I am and who I’ve always been no matter what my size when society constantly sends me the signal that if I’m too fat, I will be ignored, so they (society) check back in with me when I’m a size 6 or 8 instead of a size 30. UGH. This blog also reminded me of the time that I jointed Weight Watchers and lost 83 pounds and how people treated me, especially at my former place of employment. Almost every day, someone had something positive to say. Men held doors open for me, female co-workers kept complimenting me and asking me what I was doing. However, once that weight started to creep back up, *poof* *pow* – I became The Invisible Woman. How dare they! I’m still the same person I was at a size 14 that I am now at a 30/32, yet, I do not get regarded or treated with the same respect at different sizes, and it’s sad.

Now, not much has changed since I’ve now lost 40 pounds, but I know things the tide will soon start turning at 75 pounds lost, 100, 150, and so on. I am bracing for the impact and in the meantime and between time, also learning to just stay true to who I’ve always been, and keep my own personal goals within sight.

Freda December 1, 2010 - 12:40 AM

Beautifully written…I can relate and luv where I’m headed 😉

finomenal1 December 1, 2010 - 12:43 AM

I love your site…so well-written and so many interesting articles! This one touched me particularly because I haven’t been overweight all my life – I gained most of my weight in the last few years. My identity issues come from remembering who I USED to be and what I USED to look like and having a hard time accepting the vast difference. But then again, I didn’t really have the greatest self-esteem when I was thinner. I was worried about being too skinny and not “thick” enough as a black woman. Ugh! It’s all so stupid! The way we tear ourselves down to look a certain way is just so damned sad. I know its corny but we have to be willing to love ourselves no matter what we look like. I think that’s the only way we truly know who we are.

Lynn Franklin December 1, 2010 - 11:09 AM

I can truely relate to this story. I will not even take pictures because I look at my face and wonder is that really me. Then I get scared and think no don’t take any pictures because maybe this me won’t last. Don’t get to use to it that way if you fall off the wagon then nobody will care and it won’t hurt so bad. I have lost 85lbs and am still in between at 235lbs so I am still the big girl in the gym. I understand how people look at you when you walk in the door, here comes the big girl. This must be a new years resolution, she won’t be here through February and stuff like that. You can read it on their faces. I even get the what are you doing in aerobics faces and also hurry up and get off that machine so I can get it because you won’t last much longer. Since I have been doing this for 2 years I have come to understand and read every notion some people have of me. It really amazes me when I come in aerobics because I am the largest one ever to come there on a regular basis and I can out workout them all. Then all the little skinnies come piling around patting me on the back like I am some sort of overweight celebrity saying you are doing so good, oh I see your progress and keep up the good work, and oh you have so much stamina. Yeah all that is wonderful but I still do hide behind the fact that I am still the big girl in the gym, almost like it. Nobody talks to me there so I have nobody to disappoint but myself. It is a weird thing because then I look in the mirror and see this girl I hadn’t seen in a very long time looking back at me. The one that is not as hard and confident as the one that had the 320 lb suit on. Sometimes I look for her in the mirror still and sometimes even hope to see her because she was more sure, more cocky, more confident in that skin but this new me is very shakey traveling this uncertain road.

Maggie B December 1, 2010 - 2:12 PM


Your comment really struck me. I always been a big girl – size 14 as long as I can remember. Big, sassy and confident. I rocked the freshest clothes, my hair was always did and I talked the part. Recently I have loss 20+ lbs – more so in inches. Still a work in progress but people are really starting to notice. Now I am so intimidated and more self conscious then I ever was before which is weird to me. I also look in the mirror and ask where is the old Maggie?

Weight loss/weight gain is a trip!

Tracie G., The Brown Skin Lady December 1, 2010 - 12:20 PM

So, I can’t quire relate to this phenomenon personally yet, except to say that I fear it as part of my coming weight loss transition. Knowing what I’ve experienced on even smaller things (like, when my hair used to “get longer” from extensions), I expect to receive an overswell of attention from folk who don’t give me the time of day now. I know it’s a good reason why I hesitate going too far in my progress, and probably why I’ve gone back and forth so often on this journey. Simultaneously, I don’t subtract myself from humanity–I don’t want to lose my sense of groundedness in the excitement of getting slimmer either, as I know I can be as vain as anyone else, as vain as I am self-minimizing. “How do you reconcile THAT part?”, is my question…I know the answer will come as I go through it; still daunting though.

"Mira Luma" December 1, 2010 - 1:04 PM

Tracie G., don’t even get me started on how people treat you according to your hairstyle! It’s rather sad. 🙁

Tina December 2, 2010 - 2:22 PM

This article made me smile. Not because I think it is funny but because I can definitely relate. Although I have 80+ more pounds (+ because it depends on who you ask – me or the personal trainer) to go before I reach my ideal weight, I already am experiencing the effects of the weight loss identity issue. Between my focus of “thinking of myself as a thinner woman” and still dealing with the transitioning woman, I find myself afraid to move forward with the weight loss at times because I feel as if I am losing who I am in the process. I’ve always been the big, chubby girl who makes everyone laugh by not fitting properly in places but yet still makes jokes about it. And I’ve always been the one to befriend everyone and get down on myself when others did not want to befriend me because of my size. I’m the one who never thought myself to be pretty although others told me I was. So I, too, can related to Alana and you because we are in this scary area of thinking that we may not be accepted by others or that we can’t do or be good at doing a certain thing or in my case, afraid that I’ve changed too much of me that I can’t realize myself when I look in the mirror. While I think it is pretty inevitable for all those who lose weight to go through this phase, no matter whether you lose it slow or fast, we must remember that this too shall pass and that before we learned to recognize ourselves in the manner we may have come to know ourselves, we had to experiment and learn what makes us happy. Weight loss is like giving us a second childhood to do that in that it allows us to totally reinvent ourselves. For example, because of my weight loss, I have reinvented the way I approach food. It has allowed me to view food so differently that I can’t wait to cook meals. And this is from a woman who used to have nearly every restaurant that wasn’t fast food on speed dial on her phone. Now, my phone has no restaurants in it whatsoever and it has nothing to do with my location (Sicily, Italy). I don’t want them there. I also don’t want processed food anymore. I have reinvented what I eat and I owe it all to my weight loss.

I say all this to say, a way to heal is to reinvent the wheel. Before you became who you are, you experimented to see if it fits you – if you enjoyed it, if you can see yourself doing it with that much enjoyment for a long time and if it encompasses and meets all the elements of satisfaction for you. It is the exact same time now. Like a child, there may be fear and trepidation there, but don’t worry. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, wiser and helpful to others who are traveling the same path.

Renee December 2, 2010 - 6:49 PM

Ladies thanks so much for your post and thanks to Erika for doing this site. I am at my lowest today as I just weighed myself and I am the biggest I’ve ever been . Please just pray for me . Thanks.

"Mira Luma" December 3, 2010 - 1:00 AM

@Renee: It’ll be okay. I hit the highest weight of my entire life last year, so I know how you feel. (((((((HUGS))))))))

Natasha December 11, 2010 - 3:35 PM

I started out near the 350 mark and it was a sad day when I realized the world sucked. It was also a sad day when I almost let this impact what I wanted to do. Working out has nothing to do with the insecure people at the gym who might be judging me or might be just as sleepy in the morning as I am and just looking cock-eyed too because it is early. I am most interested in how my knee feels, how I play basketball with my children, how I feel in my clothes. Yes, I was sexy and I will NEVER let anyone take that from me but this is sexy too. I am about 25% into my goal and it shakes people up. See, I have always been smart, brilliant, charismatic, professional, educated and compassionate. Weight, for many people was the “thing” they had over me when they were trying to figure out how they could “beat” me, but again, this is about THEM and not me. I have dated throughout the entire process and I am just going to keep doing me. Sometimes men like me and sometimes they don’t, it is not always weight driven. Some men LOVE plus sized women some men LOVE all women, but again, that is about THEM and not me. I keep myself “me focused”. No one can tell me where I need to be or what I need to be doing. I can ask for help if I need it but ultimately I have to make the decision about what I want to do in eating, exercise, etc. and like everything else in life, it is trial and error, sometimes it is awesome, other times it doesn’t work. I am learning more about myself with each workout and I keep my vibrations really high, that is all I can do and I go with what works, my heart, my internal guidance system.

Sheretha Edwards April 18, 2011 - 8:07 PM

Thank You Natasha. I feel the same way that you do. I too am trying to lose weight but I am not doing it for anybody else but myself. I have little milestones that I want to accomplish like fit into a roller coaster seat without being embarrased. Wear a one piece swimsuit when I take my kids on vacation next year. Have my knees stop hurting when I walk. Our journeys’ should always be about what we want and not what others may think that we want. Thank you Natasha and Erika

asada December 15, 2010 - 5:51 PM

I’ve been there….

It helps when I know what to expect.
And When I know there will be low and high points.
It’s just part of the game.
I’m working on learning to smile and be a better actor.
You never know sometimes, although I dread the days when I become noticably slimmer…I really do.

Chantal December 16, 2010 - 2:10 PM

Hi. I’m relatively new to your blog – I get the updates ib my email and I read them quite diligently when work permits. I skipped over this one though, and saved it for later, just now getting a chance to read it. I’ve ben big all my life as far as I could remember, I used to make the excude of being big-boned, so my losing weight wouldn’t much make a difference, but I’m 28, 5’9″ and 246 lbs.. I’d LOVE to get down to 180/190 because I’m asthmatic and I want kids soon (even tho I’m single.) But as much as I tell myself I can lose weight, and start trying to, I always find an excuse to pause, and rarely start back up.. and this being the most important.. if I’ve been like this the majority of my life, any change I make is going to affect me – as in among friends, coworkers and just out there in general. My closest friends since I’ve known since diaper days tell me that no matter what I look like outside, as long as I don’t change who I am on the inside, that’s what counts. But something has to give. If I’m me at this size, when (if, how I’m still fighting on the start) I get to my preferred size how can I still be me? How can I maintain this identity I’ve built up over the years? How can I make sure, the loud, silly, sometimes crass person that I’ve become used to being does not disappear?

Crystal January 11, 2011 - 4:39 PM

I am grateful that I stumbled upon this site, and this post in particular. I believe there are no coincidences in life and though this post was published in November, 2010, it spoke to me today.

I am on a weight loss journey and have currently lost 80lbs; I too am going through a crisis of sort. When I tried to explain to one of my friends, one who has never been morbidly obese, that some days I look in the mirror and still feel fat or “plus-sized,” she told me something must be wrong with me if I couldn’t see the drastic changes that had happened to my body. The fact is, I am not blind, I see the changes, yet I couldn’t explain to her the dual identities I am dealing with. The old “Crystal” still exists and she is learning to embrace a new “Crystal.” Is there room, however, for both?

Like many who have posted here, I am dealing with being treated differently, with the many old friends and family who see me now and say, “wow, you look good.” Additionally, some days I shun the attention because I know, most times, its based on looks. Before I can even open my mouth and demonstrate that I am actually a good person, somebody is staring me up and down, telling me how great I look. I am working on this because the new people who see the new me don’t know the transition I have been through…

Anyway, thank you for giving voice to a very real issue we face. I still have about 50 lbs to lose and am excited that I stumbled upon this site.

Peace and blessings to you.


Debbie Estelle January 19, 2011 - 4:50 PM

“What this is teaching me, really, is to be open to changing. Be open to seeing what I grow into. Be less stubborn about clinging to who I used to be, and be more excited about the possibilities that come from what I will be tomorrow. ”

Girl, if you ain’t (intended) preachin’ here! LOL! I am not yet at your level… FAR from it… But when I started this journey about 4 years ago and actually LOST a BUNCH of weight… I too struggled… Prior to that, I had surgery so had a period where I was so close to my goal weight it wasn’t funny… and having people (especially men) who had previously rejected me (or who didn’t give me a second look) drop jaws when I walked into a room was tough and overwhelming. On the one had I felt like “ha! who is laughing now!” but it made me feel really uncomfortable and retreat. (I wonder in part if this is why it was so easy and comforting to start gaining the weight back again).

Even my co-workers would make comments like “wow… is that you? You look like a different person”. I didn’t know wether I should be happy or cry! LOL!

With weight (and especially for black women and weight) there are so many emotions tied into it.

We just see the weight loss stories on TV… All the smiles… and titles of “How She Did It”… But no one talks about the changes you go through as you go from being ‘invisible’ to ‘hi Miss can I speak with you’… LOL! But seriously.

* For those of us who already didn’t have high self esteem this prevents a further challenge. (Especially when people tell you that once you loose all the self esteem issues will go away).

* For those of us who already DID have high self esteem… you still start to re-evaluate everything.

Sometimes our lives are our ‘lives’ because there are blocks stopping us from being whom and where we want to be… Once the block is removed it’s like ‘ohhh $#@!”… What do you do now?

Thanks for addressing this! I think that someone needs to write a book about it!

This go around, I’ll have a therapist on hand! LOL! 🙂 Just to make sure I can sort all of that out… while refraining from the soda and chocolate cookies! LOL! 🙂

MsKimmi January 21, 2011 - 1:20 AM

wow, I am new to the website and I swear it’s so NICE hear from real sisters all over the world. I have hgh blood presure, and for the first time really in my life I want/need to be healthy. I don’t have low self esteem I wish I did I think I would have been lost the weight. I have always knew I was the cute, funny, and hella sexy, girl. I am from Oakland Ca, and the family there always made me feel special and beautiful. Now living in Seattle Wa, it’s a little different lol. Anyways back to my point I am well over 350, could you tell if your a black women, yes but everyone else i’m just overweight see if your 50+that’s it for most people. I started doing little things i.e not eating after 8:30 and exercising it”s only 15 min now but I promise it will be higher, I have not told anyone at my job about my journey for the new healthy me, I feel like this is ME raw and all, and co-workers are just that. I have wonder what the reaction willl be once i am 100lb lighter. I hope it’s positive because of all the health issues that will go away but on the real. If YOU don’t accept you, be at 300lb or 141, people will treat you crap, now if your thinner they may smile while doing but it’s still going to be crap. Anyway I talk a lot so forgive me, I really hope to hear from any/all of you. I am all about sista from a different mother, lol helping, learing, encouraging one another.


p.s I am never giving up sweets cakes or pies or cookies, so if you know any low fat idea, please send them to me. lol

Erika January 21, 2011 - 9:55 AM

Nah.. we don’t believe in “low-fat” around here, mama. You’re gon’ have to suck that up. LOL

Ms Kimmi January 24, 2011 - 8:38 PM

Dang, Erika

you could at least offer something anything, dang, me and my sweets still need to be there, for each other. lol but serious.

I actually have been better even I am surprised I have not been to bad except on friday I went to Jack and the Crack and had the potoes/cheese with beacon bits, and a chicken sandwich. smh but it was good not great. So I figured I am going to make my own. Most important I am human, and I didn’t feel bad, or mad at myself. I felt like I need to make more little snacks with me, the fiber bars with the dark Dark chocolate with almonds was so dam good. So I will just do better the next time. I really have not ate any processed food in two weeks and I really feel good, and positive about my new healthy life.

Liz January 23, 2011 - 10:50 AM


I am so glad that I have found your website. Seven months ago I was 195 as a 5’3 young lady. I also had issues with high cholesterol and some symptoms of diabetes but thankfully I am not diabetic. Now, I have reached my goal at 144 and I love it. However, it is so hard because of friends make comments like I’m starving myself or eating like bird. I am not because I have been using sparkpeople.com and it has been helping me with my weight loss.

Although friends and family (I come from a soul food eating family), may look at my weight loss as starvation, I have realized in changing for God and my health, there is a possibility of losing some people in my life. Let’s be honest, people hate changes.

Erika, be encouraged and keep up the good work

Rachael Nobles-Glispie January 23, 2011 - 12:10 PM

I can certainly relate, having lost well over 150lbs and slowly gaining part of it back. I also lost my identity and didn’t know how to manage the added attention, both positive & negative. As of now I sit somewhere in between; I care, but I don’t..I’ve accomplished alot, and I’ll be damned if I let anybody diminish that..

GiGi January 23, 2011 - 9:19 PM

I stumbled onto this site by accident but that just goes to show you that God is working with me to keep me going. I was once almost 400 lbs. I will say almost because after I got to 389 I just did not get on the scale anymore afraid it would “error” out since it only went to 400. Needless to say that I hid my unhappiness by being the “funny one” so that no one would feel sorry for me. But people could tell. I wore the same five shirts every week – just rotated the day I wore them. I never went around my family except for holidays because I did not want to hear any comments about my size or helpful suggestions regarding losing weight. I know as well as everyone else that YOU have to be the one that makes the decision to begin that first step in order to stick with it. Making changes just for someone else never leads (at least for me) to lasting change.
My journey to a better me started in November 2009 and to date I have lost 98+ lbs (depending on what my highest weight actually was when I started). People perception of you does change. I also get more doors held for me and smiles launched at me when normally I would be ignored. I know part of this is because I feel better about ME. I am happier and I know that is what people are picking up on. But like a few of the ladies that submitted comments, I also am getting to the point where the more fat I lose the smaller the barrier between myself and others. It makes you feel as if the expectations that people have for you are somehow a lot greater than they were when you were larger. So when you no longer have the fat as the excuse, how do you reconcile the things in your life that go wrong that you used to blame the fat on??? I am still working on that…

Rebecca Willis January 27, 2011 - 12:40 PM

WOW! This was note was powerful and hit me to my core. You have given me some food for thought and I wanted to say THANK YOU! I havent read ALL of the comments but the 1st one “Erin” really spoke to what I am seeing in my small corner of the world. I am new to your blog and I am loving the honesty, information and enjoyment of it all.

Keep up the GREAT work! You are touching folks out here in INTERNET LAND! 🙂

Miss No Name February 16, 2011 - 2:10 PM

Wow. I teared up reading this. You sound the way I feel.

Amy April 18, 2011 - 2:44 PM

Friday night I went shopping for clothes at one of my favorite plus size clothing stores. It was always my go to store and I had a bunch of giftcards. Now I have lost almost 50 pounds and am hoping to lose another almost 50. I grabbed a bunch of clothes and went into the fitting room. After trying on a few things I caught a glimpse of myself. I was having problems finding clothes that fit me right and standing there in my underwear it just hit me that this is probably going to be one of if not my last time shopping there. I just broke down and started crying right there in the fitting room. I felt so stupid for doing it, but I had been shopping there for years and always knew pretty much how things would fit. Now I am finding myself going to stores that don’t specialize in plus size clothes and it is definitely taking some getting used to. I feel like the fat girl who doesn’t belong because it is so hard for me to see the change. I get a lot more attention and people tell me that I look good and mention the change, but I don’t feel like I am magically a different person. Looking in the mirror I just see how much more I have to do to get to where I want. The thing is I don’t know where I want to be. I have a number in mind but it’s a number. I think I am hoping that at some point it will all just click in my head and I will feel this is where I should be weight wise and I just need to work in maintaining it and a healthy lifestyle. Thank you so much for this blog!

Indulgence1908 April 18, 2011 - 2:50 PM

First, let me say, I stumbled on your page via Facebook, and now I read it every day. I think that for many years people have thought of the struggle with weight being a “white girl” thing, but I think there are issues even for black girls. Thank you for being that voice.
Second, I completely relate to this post, I am struggling with this now, I have lost alot of weight, and I don’t like the attention. People want to know, what I did to loose the weight, (i rather not say), or over compliment, which makes me feels, did I look a raggedy mess before. In some ways I feel more self conscious then before, before I could blend in the background, and now I feel like I am standing out. It should be positive but it makes me feel funny.
I will say, that one thing that was helpful was counseling, which I find to a taboo topic among black folks. Once you realize why you were over eating, then you can eat healthier. I have eaten an entire cake trying to ease the pain I was feeling, but after the last slice, I felt just as empty as I did before. I realize that I have to deal with my issue, and not use food. (I read your blog on emotional eating it was on point)

Zee April 18, 2011 - 5:26 PM

You are truly beautiful and inspiring, Erica. A great read, as always!

Sherry May 28, 2011 - 10:49 AM

I am so overwhelmed by this post and the many comments. You see, as of today I am 5’6 and 256 lbs. I’m so depressed about my life and my weight that I barely find the strength to get out of bed. It’s not just about the weight any more: it’s that my life has been put on pause and my weight is just a symptom of all the pain and anger I feel towards myself but mostly towards others.
Reading this post made me realize why I haven’t lost the weight – I don’t want to be seen as an @$$hole. I don’t want to turn into someone I hate ( or more like the people who rejected me and hated me). I don’t want to hurt others but I’m afraid all of the anger I feel will come out and be unleashed on the world. My biggest fear is going from a fat, angry person to a skinny, angry person. I know I will be treated differently if I were to lose the weight and knowing the type of person I am- that would REALLY piss me off.

I know this is not the right attitude to have but it’s real. People have been so mean to me whether it’s because of my weight or my personality ( I’m actually a pretty, loving, nice person despite all of I’ve said here) and I’ve internalized all the negative comments. I know I have to let it go or all the anger will be the end of me. I am afraid of the unknown, all of the what ifs run in my head. “What if I lost the weight?” “What if I become someone I don’t like?” Most of all I have to forgive others and ultimately myself for things that happened in the past so I don’t continue this vicious cycle of gaining weight.

Thank you Erika for this post and for all of you who wrote comments; I have a lot to think about.

Leslie June 25, 2011 - 6:39 PM

I know exactly what everyone is talking about. I now weigh 218.8 pounds and I am on a journey to wellness. I have battle with weight for so long, somtimes I have won and when I did the attention bothered me, other times I have loss the battle, wanted to give up felt disappointed im myself. This time around I am taking it slowly and enjoying every milestone along the way. I have to celebrate that I am not a quitter. I am a fighter. I know it wont be easy but it will be possible, each time I give myself the best of me I have already won for that day. My journey is a day by day experience and I plan to enjoy the ride all the way. It is so refreshing to read what other people say and it sounds so much like my own experiences. I know I have to learn to not worry about what others say or do but what am I saying and doing for me?

Allyson June 26, 2011 - 12:54 PM

Awesome topic. Just so you know Erica, you are a friend in my head. lol… This topic is deep and I’m sure you will have a part 2. I have always spoken my mind no matter what size I was/am. When I call it as I see it now, my friends will say that I “changed” or some foolishness like that. I used to defend myself and tell them that I didn’t change, I just changed the way I ate. Then one day it hit me..heck yeah I’ve changed. Shucks my breathing has changed, my sleeping has changed, my poop has changed, my doctor visits has changed. A lot of good and positive changes. I’ve learned to embrace them. 75lbs down and more to go, has to cause things to change. My biggest issue right now is staying humble because I know I am a burger away from going back there and trying to celebrate my successes without becoming conceited. I want everybody to be on my love train like the O’Jays.

J June 27, 2011 - 11:09 PM

I am in awe of your ability to consistently identify and write engagingly about aspects of weight (loss) that, for all the thousands of get-skinny articles and books in the world, NO ONE ever seems to mention! This is one that I can relate to at the moment. I lost about 15kgs (33lbs) over the last year. The change isn’t that drastic, but now i can walk further without an asthma attack, stand longer without needing a seat, and run… at all. Part of this change has been living overseas for a year in a country where eating habits are far healthier in general. In the mirror i can see that i’m thinner, but in reality weight was never my biggest issue with my appearance – i have terrible skin and uneven features, which no amount of healthy eating and exercise will change. Recently I posted a new Facebook profile picture in which I look… Well, pretty good. For once I’m not pulling a goofy face or have a shot where I’m deliberately not the focus of the picture. Plus, it’s black as white, and that always classes it up. Before posting it I hesitated and even asked a friend if putting it up would make me seem narcissistic or stuck up or as if I was trying to show off… And once I did post the response was kind of overwhelming. I kept getting a stream of comments and compliments, which should make me feel good but in reality are just kind of awkward and make me a bit angry that these people must have thought I was a complete troll until I lost a few… And also it has now made me extremely anxious that when I go back home people are going to expect me to be all prettified (it is a flattering shot) and be disappointed when I rock up looking pretty much the same only a bit lighter… Who knew having fewer chins would be just as fraught with issues, if not more?!!

Deanna June 30, 2011 - 11:25 AM

omg I can relate to this so much. I am too always referred as the happy-go-lucky fat girl. And about the whole judgemental thing too….

Safron July 28, 2011 - 10:11 AM

Hi Erika

I really love your blog. presently I am 208 pounds and I have always been a curvy girl. I live in Jamaica and here there is a slightly different perception on body image. I am definitely not short on male attention if you know what I mean. However my BMI is in the overweight range and I have started to do something about it. When I tell my friends that I want to loose about 40lbs they look at me like I am crazy saying “you are just fine, you are well proportioned. whats wrong with you?” Nevertheless I am pressing on. I dont want to be thin just healthier. So far I have started doing the season of Namaste Yoga from fittv which I absolutely love. Also, for cardio I will be doing biggest loser 30 start up. Hopefully all goes well…..

Kim August 30, 2011 - 10:28 PM

This has really hit home for me. I have been struggling with my weight for the past ten years. But, lately I have been experiencing pain. My breathing is different, I have no energy, and it is hard to stay on task. I have been reading all articles on this site and it feels good to see someone who understands me and has lost the weight and maintaining it. I have subscribed to this blog and will continue to read it for inspiration. So…no more excuses.

Nina S. November 11, 2011 - 3:39 PM

I can relate to a lot of the comments here. I have been a healthy weight, but currently I am overweight. More of my life has been spent at a healthy weight, so it is very difficult adjusting. All I can say is that after beginning to lose weight again I learned to appreciate what God has given me. I look in the mirror and say “Thank you God for my strong legs and arms. Thank you for my curvy hips and breasts. But, most of all thank you for my life.”

Mary November 13, 2011 - 4:53 PM

Dear Erika, how eloquently put. You simplify the complexity that is our journey beautifully. Thank you. And thank you for creating a wonderful space for us all to grow and support each other. You have a new follower of your blog!

sheilaw17 January 9, 2012 - 2:11 PM

Love the site. This was a very good read. It’s not often discussed how losing the weight will effect other aspects of your life.

J. Wilson January 24, 2012 - 1:18 PM

I know I’m responding to this particular blog two and a half months after you wrote it but this post and the responses to it sum up an important part of my weight loss journey. The fears expressed by so many explain why I’ve lost anywhere from 25-40lbs, plateaued then gradually gained back the weight repeatedly. I was afraid of losing more weight because I wondered whether I could really accomplish that goal and I was uncomfortable with the attention I was receiving. Weight is definitely my buffer from the world and it is scary when that buffer begins to disappear. However, because this journey is about health, health above all else, I’m willing to take the day by day steps that are necessary to being healthy. The only way I am going to succeed this time around is by being aware of my thought processes.
Another thing I became aware of this year was that I think I’m supposed to be able to handle everything by myself. Of course, that’s impossible so I become anxious which leads to overeating which leads to depression and then the cycle repeats itself. It’s amazing how a mind out of whack can affect your entire life.
Anyway, I’m definitely learning many useful things from your blog and also from the people who respond. Keep up the good work Erika.

Annette May 4, 2012 - 9:31 PM

This blog brought up so many issues. I also looked at myself this morning and wonder who am I. I am changing, yet I was watching Iyanla Vanzant and realize I have to change my story. No longer that fat girl who they pretend to whisper about.

I was the only one of my sisters with a weight problem growing up. I seem to be the sensitive one who held on to the anger, and wasn’t allowed to cry or express emotional, when my mother jumped on me about my weight. I was suppose to take it when she just abused me because I embarrassed her to her friends or just cause she was having a bad day.

I didn’t realize how much of a deal it was with their friends until I lost weight on my own. Seems my parents were bragging about my weight loss. Anyway a few “friends” of there’s visited and it seemed I wasn’t as slim in their eye’s. Just annoyed me that the guys felt it was their right to rate me..and my parents put up with that crap.

I hope Alana takes the time and give herself space to work out the emotional issues that she has stuffed all this time. While I go through this a lot of anger is coming up, some days I cry and some days I am so angry.

I am going through and creating a whole new story for my life.. I am.(fill in the blank).. and dropping what doesn’t work for me anymore and realizing there are a lot of people going through the same issues. That is how I found this site. I will take time and be supportive and give myself permission to express the hurt and disappointment I didn’t get a chance to .

Sheila Thomas May 25, 2012 - 12:53 PM

I too had the surgery and lost 98 lbs. Half of myself. The first year was a challenge because I could not eat away my pain. I got through that stage and worked extra hard to exercise and socialize. Blissfully unaware of the challenges that were just beneath the surface. My triggers, MEN! Choosing to have the surgery was an attempt on my part to do all necessary to be my best self and have a greater chance of meeting a wonderful man to share my life with. I have two sexual assaults in my background and became blissfully unaware of the true nature of some men.

It appeared to me that everywhere I went, men were looking at me and trying to find a way to approach me. I was hit on by men everywhere I went. Grocery store, taking a walk, driving down the street, at the mall, at church, at the hair salon, on my porch, riding public transit, poetry readings, church socials, weddings, funerals, while on a date with someone else, at the movies, etc.

Men in the neighborhood would hang out around my porch or on the side of my apartment to see me when I left the house. My elderly neighbor’s sons would visit with thier family more often so they could run into me. The same men would smoke cigarettes on the side of my apartment and use their cell phones on the side of my apartment. If they are in a crowd when I walk by, the entire group stops what they are doing and all of them turn to look at me. The most agressive one would say , YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!.

At church the youth pastors would call me up to be prayed for and to lay hands on me. I didnt think much of it at first, but started feeling funny when it happened every week by the same person. Several women’s husbands would give me the LOOK while at church during service and they would try to hug me after service. It got so bad that my pastor’s husband would make comments to me about how beautiful he thought I was and that my body looked like a work of art. He says this while I am at my pastors home waiting for her to bring me something and her husband started this conversation after I said good morning to him.

My new found beauty was a source of insecurity for the women I met and a source of jealousy for others. My allies were becoming far few and between. If I didnt entertain an agressive mans advances, I was verbally assaulted. I missed a date due to a 10 min. time mix up and the guy called me and left a treatening message on my voice mail.

Friends of the family, you know the men in your life that are not relatives but that is how you see them; even these guys were trying to like me. Weird. I have a gift of design and I designed a denim suit for a relative’s father. When he came by to try on the garment, he started taking his clothes off in my living room. That sounds innocent except he was showing far more than I ever wanted to know. It happened so fast and I was so shocked, I froze. Needless to say, that was the final out fit he would commission me to do.

No one could have ever prepared me for the sexual dinamics that would take place whenever a man or even a woman is attracted to you.

I left my church of 8 years and visited around to various churches. It was no better. More of the same from married men mostly. I am still looking for a church home.

The most outrageous thing situation with male attention is when I took my niece to Micky D’s and we sat down to eat. All of a sudden she noticed several men walking around several tables like it was a parade going on. I told her to just ignore them. Then she said, Auntie, I dont like the new you because these crazy men keep on trying to talk to you. After she said that, an older man came up to our table and asked if he could have a word with me. I said what about, do I know you? He said I dont want to talk in front of your child. I said what is it sir! Then he said I am a 57 year old married Long Shoreman. I make plenty of money and I would like to know if you would be my misstress. WTF! I couldnt believe what I was hearing. The look on my face told him everything, he says, I didnt want to say it in front of your child. I said go away. 5 min later a 26 year male said hi to me and then asked me if he could me my N____ on the side? WTF! A simple salad with my niece turned into me letting down the advances of 5 different men one after the other.

When a neighbor’s boyfriend called her from jail and told her to give him my address for a prisoner to write me was the last straw. I dont have anything more than a neighborly relationship with these people. We dont socialize with one another, we dont run in the same circle of people, we are just neighbors. I recieve a letter from an inmate, telling me how much he loves me and has been watching me for years. Then in the letter he mentions the neighbor’s boyfriend. Then I got mad. I confronted the girlfriend and asked her why did she do this. She said he made me. How someone can make you do something from over the phone is beyond me. I didnt leave my home for 3 to 4 days after that.

I started wearing baggy pants and sweats so I would not be noticed. This was all too much. There is no support group that could have prepared me for all of this. I have since gained the 98 lbs back and have been in therapy for the some of these changes. I am now dealing with not having an identity that I am strong about and a direction that I am confident in going. I dont know if others have had the same experiences or not but this may help someone. I have learned a big lesson in all of this. When I was fat, I was ignored, invisible, threated as though I was not worth much. I loose weight and looked like a model, then my worth went up so much that other people and women felt intimidated by my presence. You have to get your self worth from the inside out. It is a work in progress daily.


Annette May 25, 2012 - 9:04 PM

I understand you a Mariana Williamson quote comes to mind that we are scared of our magnificence of how truly wonder we really are.

I remember family friends my fathers single friends cuing up to try to see if I would be interested. It was gross. Also a few family friend my own age acting like I was on an auction block and fighting over who would have me. Like I was on sale which was my Aunt’s quote. It was ridiculous.

I wonder if this was what I didn’t want to deal with and hid behind. Having to navigate through some of the rude and nasty comments from men who feel they have to right to say or treat you any way they want. I now stand up for myself and am very clear of what I am looking for. I agree you have to do the work from inside out cause once the change happens you need tools to deal with situations that come up. From the church member who try to get with you and offer a cruise vacation with his wife right there watching knowing. I don’t know how she puts up with things like that.

Makes you aware of a lot more around you. Having to learn how to deal with guys who are constantly on the prowl, and weed out the possible ones from the tired and trifling ones. It is almost like you enter a new dimension.

Erika Nicole Kendall May 27, 2012 - 10:51 AM

“And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Another reader sent me this quote in an e-mail, and I’ve had it taped to my monitor ever since.

Kia K July 25, 2012 - 5:23 PM

The new attention, coming into focus of others post-weight loss is why for the past 6-7 years I DELIBERATELY stayed overweight. I had other issues going on, but mainly I LIKED being invisible, it was safer that way– especially when dealing with men and not getting into fights with women.

But about a month ago I had a breakthrough. I realised that I was victimising myself. I realised that if I was attacked at my current fitness level, could I defend myself? The answer was no. I couldn’t walk upstairs without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack, so how could I do little else?

That’s when I decided that to hell with the FEAR of (unwanted) attention from men/women: I wanted to be in a position of strength and power. I wanted to defeat my self-esteem issues, my lack of will power, and instead create a new me based on my own terms. That includes doing the things I want to do (losing weight to play sports and other things) and looking good because I want to and I know I can. And if anyone tries to mess with me, well, I don’t have a problem putting them in their place. I’m not going to let the world scare me into being “invisible” anymore, because my HEALTH is worth SO much more than that.

Once I conquered that emotional trap, I was finally able to began dropping inches and now I’m currently on the journey of sculpting my body and my mind into the person that I KNEW I always was, but too afraid to be. Now I’m not afraid or even angry. I just don’t care what others think.

This isn’t about being thin or cute, it’s about being STRONG and HEALTHY.

Emilie June 30, 2013 - 11:09 AM

I feel the same, so much so that it is actually scary for me to lose because I don’t know what is to come. My highest weight was in 2011 when I weighed 240, now I am going back and forth between 183-186 this whole year. I have been working out more, but the emotional binges have increased due to stress and the fact that I am scared of who I will need to be once I crossed over that line… I bought a pair of 12 lbs and I was so happy that I was able to fit into them, but I followed that up with 2 weeks of binge eating and only 2 days of working. I don’t think that I am doing it consciously but after watching the video and reading the comments, I think I am sabotaging myself. It took me a long time to get to the mental and emotional state that I am at, and I think I am scared of losing more weight and being skinny and getting attention and having people look at me Yet all I want to do is lose weight. It’s kind of crazy really

Annette July 1, 2013 - 2:13 AM

Totally understand you. Yet I can’t binge eat anymore to stuff my emotions. So all the anger and rage is coming up. I am feeling all types of emotions that I have stuffed.

Didn’t want to feel the sadness or cry about the situation, cause I was shamed as a child about being a cry baby.

Just feel your emotions your human it’s alright. Have your tried writing it down to get it out of your system. Give yourself a break you will figure it out when you get there little by little.

Martina February 18, 2014 - 6:40 PM

So its not all in my head! I am right there with you Emilie and Annette. I told my girlfriend that when you lose weight you need a shrink to help you with the changes mentally. I dropped 53 lbs and thought everybody had lost their minds. My girlfriend said my face had changed. duh yeah it did.I am the same person though! I think. The world is so superficial, men who wouldnt have given me a second look are talking to me. Hell I am scared to even start a conversation. Fat girl or skinny girl talks? I am back up in weight 190 got a grip and on my way back down 186lb. Need to get down to 170 and stay. It is hard as hell when you are fighting a mental not physical problem…its the fat girl mindset vs the skinny girl I see in the mirror…the skinny girl is going to win, the fat girl just doesnt know it yet.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 19, 2014 - 12:14 AM

“its the fat girl mindset vs the skinny girl I see in the mirror…the skinny girl is going to win, the fat girl just doesnt know it yet”


WOOOOOO *drops a $20 in the collection plate*

Alicia March 19, 2014 - 8:17 PM

Thank you for addressing this topic…

I am two months into what could be eighteen straight months to hit a weight goal that leaves me healthy and looking good in my clothes. I have gained and lost weight many times and started a lifestyle change each time. Time and again crises eroded my willpower. It was accompanied by this overwhelming fear of losing myself and back to my comfort foods I went. I have always been the girl who generally likes everyone and is liked by everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I have tendencies and I love my personality, but I am physically uncomfortable with getting attention for what I look like. The personal trainer I work with on this journey has me losing inches far more quickly than weight and I’m happy with increasing my fitness and getting to a bikini body by the time I go to on my dream vacation Christmas 2015. However, I am scared that outside of what I call my “fat suit”, I will be more vulnerable to what others perceive me to be. The suit protected me from having to care about attractiveness.

I searched for others dealing with these same issues and I am glad I came across your blog. It’s wonderful to read your posts and comments from others in the battle.

V/R, Alicia

jesse smith April 12, 2014 - 12:32 AM

You are the truth!

Darlene September 24, 2015 - 8:22 PM

After reading your post and all the wonderful, insightful comments, I feel compelled to speak on my experiences.

I lost my sister when we were both 16 years old (Irish Twins, anyone?) and the grief and pain of that led me to a severe skin condition that left me bedridden for the better part of 5 years. I was in a relationship that was essentially destructive, and those combined elements led to my going from about 285 to 400+ lbs by the time I was 20. I never weighed or looked at myself much during that time, but that would be my estimation based on the past pictures I have seen of myself. I have since recovered from my illness, graduated college and am now working on my 2nd degree. The greatest part is that I have lost about 100 lbs: 77 lbs from my highest recorded weight of 385, but another 30 lbs. to account from that estimation. All done the old fashioned way with eating right and working out (hard!).

The changes in treatment are dramatic, even though I am still 308 lbs and working to break out of the 300s. Many people who I discuss my health with always guess me to be about 250 (I wish!), but I just say that as an indication of the physical changes I have made. I get people holding doors and greeting me even when I am not trying to enter the building I happen to be in front of, and even if I have headphones on and am not trying to converse with anyone. I get strangers coming up to me telling me how beautiful I am, even sometimes shunning my younger (and skinny) sister to do so. Women compliment my outfit, my chocolate skin, and my weight loss (if they knew me before). I have always been a bubbly person and only lost my confidence when I was ill, and so I kind of…love the extra attention? Maybe it is because I have yet to be approached in a disrespectful way, but I feel proud that my hard work had some kind of impact on my life outside of health and felt like my weight was holding me back less and less.

I have found that I am currently working on breaking a plateau and this post has really made me wonder if getting to my goal weight will make me change my mind about the attention that I am not getting from strangers. Being cute vs. being sexy elicits two totally different responses. What sucks is knowing that, at 400 lbs., people only stopped denying my existence long enough to make nasty comments about my size, and now as I get smaller and find that attention coming from all angles, I find it really hard not to want to be indignant about how little I was worth to society 100 lbs. ago. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I was starting to take it as the truth.

I know the idea of what personality was attached to our size (which would dissipate as we lost weight), but we only enhance our inner selves and magnify our light when we are healthy, and even with the social unfairness I have to believe we can hold on that that.

Just my thoughts – I know you wrote this a long time ago but you have my gratitude. Thank you!

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