Home It's All Mental Handling Unsolicited Advice and “Big Girl Guilt”

Handling Unsolicited Advice and “Big Girl Guilt”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

In the comments section of yesterday’s post, I got this:

So my friends take me out for sushi to celebrate (’cause we do go out to eat!). I’m enjoying an eel roll and seaweed salad when the friend of a good friend begins to go off about taking the fat girl out to eat, and that I should go on a water fast for 2 weeks, then a colonic, then vegetarian diet. I told her she know didn’t a thing about diabetes and uncontrolled low sugar levels. She told me that she knew that eating too much brought it on, therefore not eating would take care of it. So I said the only thing I could think of:

“I may be fat today, but I’m loosing weight and getting healthier every day. A year from now, I’ll be smaller, more gorgeous, and won’t even remember you. But you’ll still be mean-spirited and ignant. Sucks to be you.”

Then her friend had to step in before the heifer hit me but that’s another story.

…and this:

2 years ago, I didn’t have health insurance. I got sick and had to go down the the county hospital in the ‘ghetto’ where I can only assume they see a lot of these ‘fat black women’ by the way they treated me. In this area, apparently no insurance + obese = obviously uneducated. I had to deal with a nurse who incorrectly corrected my English and the billing department who was surprised I could spell California. But that wasn’t the worst part. The doctor glanced at my chest x-ray, said it was clear and goes ‘Lets talk about your weight’. She lectured me for 30 minutes about control and how I was ‘delusional’ to think I was healthy at my weight. How I should eat less and work out more. At no point did she ask about my eating habits or my work out habits. When I tried to tell her, she looked me up and down. She then sent me home and told me to take some Motrin.

A week later, I was rushed back to emergency…a fever of 103, 12lbs lighter, wheezing, dehydrated and a irregular heart beat. Saw another doctor who looked at the SAME EXACT x-rays I took the week before and said I clearly had pneumonia.

Goes to show that everyone, including medical professionals have trouble distinguishing between ‘looking healthy’ and ‘being healthy’.

 

Judge not, well, unless you are a judge.

I’m going to come back to both of these.

With this blog, comes “great” responsibility. I take a lot of shots because I don’t think like the people these two commenters spoke of above. Because I’m not doing crash diets and colonics and wagging my finger in people’s faces making them feel ashamed of who they are because of what they look like, I’m considered a panderer. A coddler.

Remember, though – the people who are calling me these things… are people who think that just because they didn’t look fat like I did, they are healthy. These are people who think it’s OK to go knee deep in a bag of cheetos every day as long as they didn’t look fat like me. These are people who truly believe that outward appearance is the primary indicator of better health.

Anyone who browses this site on the regular would know… this ain’t that type of party, here. Not only do I find their “solutions” to weight problems ludicrous, I find them so ludicrous that I couldn’t possibly care less about what they think of me.

My personal studies and beliefs about the evolution of the human body, the environment and the history of food production has led me on my own path. I don’t use this site to push my approach to food. I do my best to provide enough information to help anyone who’s reading figure out how to find their own path. Why? Because creating your own approach to food and fitness is the only way to not only feel comfortable in your decisions, but confident in them. The effort you put forth to create your approach almost outright ensures your ability to feel confident enough to defend your decisions if need be.

And trust me… that time will come.

Nowadays, I’m approached even more and more often by people who aren’t quite my friends, yet aren’t quite acquaintances. Just people who are familiar, and want to talk. Okay, let’s talk.

“You ever tried that lemonade diet? You need to do that. It’ll help you lose that last little bit of weight fast. My girl lost 20lbs on that joint!”

“You’re going vegan?” “Not quite.” “You’re leaving behind meat, right? That’s vegan. You don’t even know what it’s called and you’re doing it? That’s stupid. You need meat.”

You need to stop being so selfish and go find you a man now with your new body.”

“You need to stop losing weight.. you’re getting too skinny!”

“You need to stop eating so much fiber… that stuff is gross.”

Don’t eat eggs for breakfast… just have french toast.”

Um, if this is the kind of dialogue I can expect in our “talk,” I’ll pass. How is it that all these “people who aren’t quite my friends, yet aren’t quite acquaintances” know what it is that I need? Y’all don’t know me!

Trust me when I say this: people who don’t know you from Annie… they don’t really care if you’re ok. These people just prefer to listen to themselves talk. They like how authoritative they sound. It’s like lording over someone to let them know that you’ve got the goods they want. “I got what you want, and you have to listen to me to get it.” People like feeling wanted and needed, and will go out of their way to create the kind of situation that allows them to feel that way.

Child, bye.

Look, all advice is not good advice… regardless of where it comes from. A doctor with a preconceived notion about a patient they may never see again (no really, read that), or a broad you’ve never seen before telling you a colonic is why you’re 60lbs overweight, or someone incorrectly telling you that limiting meat intake is “going vegan” and how silly it is…. sometimes, you just have to take it with a grain of salt when it comes. Feel comfortable enough to squash the convo when it does come… just expect this moment to come, though.

Obesity is an interesting problem because it’s a visible flaw. If you’re a sociopath, a liar, or an axe murderer… we can’t always identify that problem visually. But ohhh lordy, I can see that something must be wrong with you because you’re fat. Let me make this clear: being overweight is not an open invitation for people to force their ignorant and idiotic “advice” on you, and it certainly is not a reason for you to feel compelled to explain why you are overweight to anyone you don’t care about and doesn’t care about you. Your weight is not a call-to-arms for people who are not overweight to use you to make themselves feel better by pummeling you with horrid advice, further snitching on themselves and the unhealthy measures they take to remain skinny.

I refer to it as “big girl guilt” – that feeling inside that says maybe I should listen to this seemingly healthy person to see if they have the answers that I don’t. I mean, of course I don’t have any answers. I’m still fat. Um, naw. This doesn’t work like that.

That kind of “big girl guilt” implies that we don’t have a reason to stand up for ourselves because we “obviously don’t have ‘the answers.'” It also lends into that notion that says “only people who are cute by society’s standards have the right to have any pride or self-esteem orr self respect.” Well, considering how almost 70% of society is overweight and apparently clinging to standards of beauty that don’t represent them in the slightest… why would I cling to any notion that society brings me? I’m cool on that.

Once I knew I was on my way with losing weight, there were three people who knew for sure what I was doing – one of my sorority sisters, my male best friend and my Mom. That was it. Both my sorority sister and best friend were helping to guide me down separate sides of the road – one helping me to understand food, the other helping me to understand exercise – and my Mom was there to remind me of why I needed to keep my eyes on the prize: I needed to be around for my family. (See how the people who know and love you know what you “need?”)

If a person can’t bother to get to know you, what you do each day and what your life circumstances are, then trust me – they’re not qualified to give you advice on your weight or your health, no matter how many letters of the alphabet are at the end of their name. If a person can’t even bother to ask you what your workouts look like, or even ask if you do, in fact, work out? They shouldn’t be advising you on your fitness, and you shouldn’t be letting them. Don’t be afraid to take charge and let ’em know.

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38 comments

Trina June 15, 2010 - 10:45 AM

That article about doctors and preconceived ideas on obese patients…Yeah, because before the county hospital incident, I also had to deal with it at the clinic…UGH! another place where they assume you’re uneducated. I swear, people take medical insurance for granted. I digress. At the clinic three different times, I had to deal with them making assumptions about me without asking questions. One even went on and on about how I needed to learn to control myself. Even went into a personal story about pizza night at her house and how she had to limit herself to 2 slices even when she wanted 3. I sat there and took it because I knew that no matter what I said, she wouldn’t believe me. She already had her mind made up.

As for going out to eat…Pretty much all of my friends are on the skinny side. I don’t like to go out to eat because I’m a picky eater. I like to know what’s going into my food and there are too many components when I’m in a restaurant. So I usually order french fries and water. I never said that’s healthy for me, but I go out to eat like twice a month. So if I’m going to be bad, it might as well be those 2 times. But then I have to deal with my friends who say, “You know you’re hungrier than that.” Or then talking about how I don’t need to lose weight…”You’re not fat!” Um, I have a mirror, I am FAT. That doesn’t bother me as long as I’m healthy. And then there is the friend who tells me what I should be eating, what I should be cutting out and how I should be working out. Um, did I ask you? Why do people always feel like it’s ok to comment on what I eat? If I was a size 5, would they still feel urge to comment on my eating and workout habits?

And then I have to deal with the SAME waiter who took our order putting all of the food in front of me when they know I only ordered fries. And this happens every time. I told my friends to start paying attention. They order bacon cheese burgers, fries, shakes, a starter. I ordered fries and water. The waiter puts EVERYTHING in front of me and put the fries in the center of the table.

Once we went out, I ordered a salad, my friend ordered the crispy strips. The SAME waiter who took the order comes back, puts the soda and the chicken in front of me and the salad and water in front of my friend.

*le sigh*

Erika June 15, 2010 - 7:12 PM

You know, I can’t even begin with the sizeism and preconceived notions going on, here. I’m absolutely mortified.

I’m seriously speechless. I just hate that you had to endure all that. SMH

NSantiago June 23, 2013 - 10:34 PM

I was in a joint peds-ob/gyn departmenta meeting recently. The OB dept chair made the comment about having a nutrition consultation for all the moms with elevated BMIs.

I commented that, as a vegetarian since 1988 and vegan since 2012, and as someone who has an elevated BMI, I observe many low BMI people eating garbage, so that nutrition consult should be ordered for ALL new moms. It burns me up when people assume that “chubby” means “poor lifestyle choices”.

BAnjeeB June 15, 2010 - 11:04 AM

Another wonderful post. IMO, shaming people is never the way to go. Truth can be spoken with kindness and tact. And like you’ve stated, everyone who gives “advice” surely is not qualified to do so.

Erika June 15, 2010 - 9:46 PM

“Truth can be spoken with kindness and tact.”

YES! And people who use “keeping it real” as a rule of thumb are only making excuses for their inability to communicate like adults. Period. The fact that people hide behind “I’m not sugar coating” as a means of excusing their inability to understand the difference between sugar coating and using tact… ridiculous.

PhluffyPrincess June 15, 2010 - 3:26 PM

This has to be my absolute favorite post I’ve read since I started following your blog. I’m an M.D. in training (got the M now I need the D, lol) and I truly learned something through reading this. Not only that but being on a weight loss journey myself, I receive TONS of unsolicited advice. I have emailed this post (and I’m not a big blog sharer) to several friends and family members. To which sorority do you belong?

Again, I really enjoyed this post as it helped me both personally and professionally.

Erika June 15, 2010 - 10:59 PM

Not only am I happy for and proud of you, but I’m happy to know that a little bit of information here might positively influence how you take on being trusted with the care of others. I think you have an equally interesting dichotomy going on because you’re literally on both sides of the spectrum at the same time… surely that affects your perception even more, right?

As for your question, I’m just one of those girls in pink and green. 🙂

Serenity April 27, 2011 - 3:55 PM

Peace to my Soror!

Rosi June 15, 2010 - 4:31 PM

youre right but because a perceived flaw is outward ppl dont have a right to dissect you however they do and will continue to because that is what society has become- outwardly based. and because the world is now in fix the fat ppl mode everyone is scrambling to tell each about themselves even if said person’s life needs their own amount of help (in other areas)

Erika June 15, 2010 - 11:00 PM

True, but you have to admit it’s a little more than laughable – we’re so outwardly based, as long as it’s not “US” being judged. So when you say “outwardly,” that’s LITERALLY “outside of us… not including us.. not us at all.” Sigh.

Fidelia June 15, 2010 - 5:03 PM

Thi post is really empowering. Thank you for writing it.
I had one experience at the doctors clinc that put me off so much that I went and switched doctors. I came in because I had the flu (for the first time ever: so I thought I was dyyying) and the doctor presumes to lecture me about my weight in the most condescending manner.

If I were to go around telling ugly people how to fix their faces I’d be wrong right? Lol

Erika June 16, 2010 - 10:35 AM

That’s my thing – I mean, I get it. It’s a doctor’s responsibility to make you aware of your health concerns, and no one around here is going to deny that there are potential health risks that come with being overweight. But a little bedside manner goes a long darn way. Jeez.

And why are we always picking on ugly people? LMAO

Curvy Jones June 15, 2010 - 6:47 PM

Love today’s post! We so need to realize that just because a person is thin doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. And they don’t need to be butting their nose in where it doesn’t belong.

Erika June 16, 2010 - 10:38 AM

I feel like none of us should be sticking our noses where it doesn’t belong – just like we shouldn’t feel compelled to tell overweight people how to handle their weight, we need to stop trying to tell people how they are “too skinny” at the same time. I mean, that’s just being real. Unsolicited is unsolicited… and no matter who it’s aimed at, it’s sooo unacceptable. LOL

I just think a little respect would go a very long way on both ends!

Sherifa June 15, 2010 - 7:37 PM

I wrote this long drawn out comment about how I hate advice and don’t like to give it but it got erased..womp..womp…so I’ll just say this great piece… more people need to not only keep some things to themselves but also think about the damage they could be causing another person…good intentions pave the road to hell…#imjustsayin…

Erika June 16, 2010 - 11:07 AM

“think about the damage they could be causing”

Yes!!! My girl! I guess that sometimes, our need to feel so self-important overrides our ability to be compassionate. Sigh.

naturalnubian13 June 17, 2010 - 9:17 AM

First off wonderful post. I love this website. It is extremely informative, and touches on issues that need to be addressed.
I usually don’t comment, but some recent events in my life have lead me to seek the advice of others.

Since the beginning of the year I have been really serious about my health and weightloss. I ran a 5k for the first time, work out 5-7 days a week, and have been really dedicated to consisently eating healthy. In the process I have loss 25 lbs, however I have about 40lbs to go until I reach my weightloss goals.

I recently moved in with a bunch of girls, and we all went to undergrad together. We all get along, but the others girls have been really good friends for a while. When I first moved in, everyone agreed to do Weight Watchers and start working out together. No one ever works out but me and they pretty much eat whatever, whenever. I am bigger than everyone else, but I clearly lead a more healthy lifestyle.
Recently, I have heard the same thing from a couple of the girls. That Im crazy because I exercise too much, and that I’m addicted to a certain exercise program because i do it too much (which presently is only 4x a week). And also, basically that I need to eat less healthy because I’m not getting any enjoyment and I need to enjoy life. I feel like on a daily basis I have to defend what I’m doing and justify how important my health is.

Now admittedly, I recently have realized that my weightloss journey has become depressing and that I need to focus more on being healthy and less on the numbers on the scale. But what should I do? And are they right, am I getting obsessive? Anyone….please weigh in (no pun intended:))

Erika June 17, 2010 - 10:59 AM

I’m going to hold onto this for Q&A Wednesday next week, but if the visitors want to offer up answers in these comments, then I’m all for it.

My answer, however, would probably be a little more controversial and too long for the comments section. 🙂

Terri Williams June 17, 2010 - 4:31 PM

That post was awesome. I have been trying to eat “cleaner” since I stumbled on your site, yet because of the scarcasm,and unsolicited advice that I have previouly been given, no one knows. it is hard making such a huge lifestyle change and not being able to share if out of fear. That is why I love coming to your site because not only do you inspre me, it feels good to have a place to go where everyone supports what your trying to do. I think that start with you. Kudos on a excellent site and please keep up the good work, you never know whos life you are blessing!!

Erika June 17, 2010 - 4:33 PM

🙂

Kimmoy September 7, 2010 - 8:24 PM

Wow! These comments are just astonishing even though I too have been told not to lose anymore weight when I was about 40lbs less than where I am today and occassionally get back-handed comments from family members. On the other hand, none of my doctors have ever expressed to me concern about my weight which is pretty ironic. I’ve started my weightloss journey once again with a totally different mindset and this time I’ll be better prepared for the hateration that comes along with it. Oy!

Sabrina October 28, 2010 - 2:54 PM

Do you know what I find interesting? The assumption that because someone is big they are automatically unhealthy. Me? I weigh 231 lbs…and I am healthy according to my last physical (Nov 2009). I walk daily and ride a bicycle…a real one, not an exercise bike 4x a week. I also do middle eastern dance…and since I am Eastern Orthodox I do eat a semi-vegetarian diet because of the various fasts. I’ve not missed one day of work due to sickness in the last 15 years. Yet, because I am f-a-t of course someone thinks I’m a walking talking “disease.” I know girls who are much thinner than me…they wear anything from a size 0 to a size 4, and appear “fit and trim” but yet they seem to catch every bug there is out there! They pass out at work because they don’t eat properly. They glare at me if I DARE to eat something like a hot fudge sundae and tell me “you don’t need that” but yet they pick at their food and constantly go on and on about how they can’t eat something because they have some sort of gluten or allergy issue. They must be great fun on dates, I figure. Sure, it would be nice to get down to where I was in the early 80s, but chances are that’s not going to happen, so at nearly age 50, am I gonna let some young skinny gal make me feel guilty? Of course not…because some of them may find their feet in my shoes someday and their words will come back to haunt them, I figure.

Sonya December 3, 2010 - 5:50 PM

Erika..i believe that is your name, well honey chile…i’m loving your words, i’m loving this whole thing you got going for you. I’m a month into my new way of life, and happened to come across your blog off of a trainer that lives in my area, i just met him off of facebook and he had a clip on your blog. All i can say is ditto to every praise you have gotten. I have become a fan of your fb page and all. I can’t get enough of reading your words. I too was your weight and you and I share alot of the same views. Everything your saying is so true. This blog has become my 2nd favorite page next to Black Women Do Workout. I love it. I too was always set back because of the scale and would give up my fight and result back to emotional eating pigging out. Not anymore…nope, well look i gotta go back to reading and get on a train, but you will hear from me again…..Thank you so much for making it know that anyone can do it if they put their mind to it!

Sonya

Ms. Yo April 22, 2011 - 6:15 PM

Oh the stories I could tell as a “fluffier” gal!! I have been in situations where my mom’s old friends (well, one particular friend) which we hadn’t seen in years walked in my mom’s door and YELLED “Dang girl stop eating!!!” I was so shocked I couldn’t even compose myself to comment, and that’s not even the worse of my stories.

I used to work out in Troy, MI and it was a long bus trip to and from so I used to take my bible daily and read it on the bus, WELL, one day I am about to get off of the bus at my stop and this guy just starts laying into me about how dare me read the bible when I am a glutton and that God didn’t love me because I was fat, bla, bla, bla…Again, I was so shocked and mortified I couldn’t even formulate an adequate resposne…I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HIM! Never seen him before in my life!!!

The doctors, oh the doctors are a breed of their own. I took my son to the doctor one day and we were doing the family history and I told her all the women on my mother’s side of the family has diabetes, including my mom. She asked if I had it I said no, she corrected me and said “you don’t have it yet” I said “Nooo, I don’t have it and won’t have it” She insisted that I would have it or already had it.

And if one mo’ doctor tell me that I have an ache in my my finger because of my weight…I will scream and yall will hear me…I promise! LOL

Side Note: I have been this size for a while and I do not have diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure or anything…I am very healthy and doctors look at me like I have a foot in the middle of my face, because they can’t or won’t believe it!

And don’t get me started on my mother (God rest her soul) she was something different, but I digress because it would take many, many pages to explain!

Thanks so much for fighting the good fight for us and making this page!!

Tremilla October 24, 2011 - 1:38 PM

Oh WOW! It’s amazing what we have to go through. I’m so happy that I have high self-esteem and self-confidence because some of the ignorant things people have said…..SMH. Now I haven’t had to go through anything as horrible as the other girls because I don’t play that. Whether you think you’re helping me or not I do not allow anyone to disrespect me. Keep your unwarranted opinions to yourself! On your weight-loss journey you realize that you will encounter these individuals, there’s no way around it. You just have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to deal with them accordingly.

Pixi Lou April 2, 2012 - 10:14 AM

YES!!! AMEN!!! I TOTALLY AGREE!!

i remember when i was on my own weight loss journey & my boyfriend at the time thought he had “ALL” the answers. he swore up down that if i worked out to the point of exhaustion that i would loose weight after about a month of him pummeling me with his beliefs, i decided to do more research & learn for myself what works for me; my body, my mind, and my sense of well being. After about a year i lost 50 Lbs ON MY OWN & at this point i’ve gained all the “weight” back but i’m still the size i was when i was my skinniest.

all to say that when my friends ask me how i did it, i honestly can tell them that i changed my eating lifestyle, and i exercised. at first i was the girl who listened to everyone else’s idea of what i should do & even now i still get “advice” but once you find your own path to get the body image that YOU want for yourself & realize that a size 6 isn’t for everyone & a size 12 is perfect for you. the weight loss gets a lot easier, the work outs become a lot more fun, and your confidence goes through the roof because you know what you’re capable of & you’re happy with yourself.

ATR April 2, 2012 - 10:41 AM

I didn’t tell a lot of people when I went on Weight Watchers (did the same thing when I started growing my relaxer out). It’s funny how the reactions were pretty much the same in both cases when they did find out. I got so many comments, opinions, and unsolicited advice…the compliments didn’t come until later. The best stuff came from people that have never lost a lb in their life from eating well and exercise (or no nothing about natural hair), LOL.

I’ve had people tell me that I’m going to blow away, I’m going to be too skinny, and they like me where I am (I still have a little bit to lose). I’ve had someone question whether or not I’m doing something drastic to lose weight, as if instead healthy eating and exercise couldn’t be it. I had a coworker, who is now trying to lose weight herself, ask if I was hungry and wanted a sandwich. And folks stay in your plate! Sometimes they say something but most of the time they just watch you. Maybe I should just tell them “yes I’ve lost 59 lbs and I’m eating this piece of cake, now what!”

I had to learn who I can and can’t talk about weight with and it was/is the same way natural hair. You start stepping outside of the box or just the box that they like you in and people don’t know how to handle it.

Chloe August 5, 2014 - 10:25 AM

“You start stepping outside of the box or just the box that they like you in and people don’t know how to handle it.” THIS. This right here.

The women in my life– sisters, mother, good friends, coworkers– can never seem to stop analyzing their food. They are obsessed. As far as I can tell, they eat the same range of food I do, good and bad, but it never passes their lips without a comment about how awful it is, how “bad” they are for eating it. Every meal, every snack comes with a sermon (for the kale or salmon) or an apology (for the fries or ice cream), and always to no one in particular. I don’t know if they do it when I’m not there, but as the biggest girl in the room, it’s hard not to assume that it’s all said for my benefit.

I am working hard at eating better and moving more, but part of me wants to keep it a secret, pretend I’m not doing it. Because everyone who weighs less than me becomes an expert advisor when the topic comes up.

LaiLai April 16, 2012 - 10:53 PM

I constantly argue with people about how people are prejudice against big women, and most act like I’m hallucinating.

I gained 125lbs in the past 6 years, and one day I looked in the mirror and realized that I had become my worst nightmare. Over the years I attempted to cover up my plus size by being “the chunky girl fashionista”. However, I would still cringe when people would say things to me like “you’re so pretty FOR A BIG GIRL” or “you dress so nice FOR A BIG GIRL” oh yeah and the worse ” you have so much confidence FOR A BIG GIRL”.

I had quite a few things happen to me that stood out….I once had a dude walk up to me and tell that me that I am too pretty not to be my ideal weight….you would think I would learn then right….as bad as I felt, nope I didn’t….another time I guy aggressively grabbed my hand in a club and tried to dance with me (I don’t like to dance) when I snatched my hand back his reply was “your ass need to be on the dance floor all night cause you look like you’re about to have a heart attack”…um yeah my night was pretty much ruined….and the last event happened recently…I was at a friends birthday (house) party and after having quite a few drinks I decided to feed the alcohol in an attempt to bring down the buzz prior to driving when my homegirl leaned in my ear and said “although you look good for a big girl, you don’t need to get any bigger, its after 3am and you’re eating mac n’ cheese, are you crazy”….I was so hurt and embarrassed, needless to say I trashed my plate….Enough is enough already!

Tasha April 17, 2012 - 1:57 PM

Thank you for this post (and this blog). I remember a few years ago when I was sick and having trouble breathing. My regular doctor was unable to see me so I had a walk in with a Nurse practioner. While I am sitting there breathing heavily, she looks at my weight on the paper the medical assistant handed her and said that I need to try and do something about the weight because it is causing me shortness of breath. She then said, and I am quoting verbatim, “You have to lose the weight. Don’t you want to wear shorts on hot days like today?” I wish I was making this up. She gave me an inhaler and sent me on my way. Days later I felt worse and made an appointment with my doctor. Guess what: it wasn’t the weight that caused my shortness of breath, I was diagnosed with severe bronchitis.

I am thankful for my personal doctor. She keeps it 100% real with me. She always tell me that I need to lose the weight but she does not attribute every ache, pain and cough to my weight. In fact she told me that she refers to me as healthy sitting on a cliff. Meaning that all my BP, cholesterol, A1C numbers are within normal range but I should not get complacent and not try to lose the weight because at any given moment, it could change. I know that I am not healthy at this weight but I think all medical professionals should examine symptoms thoroughly before assuming that your illness is due to your weight.

W. Nicole June 4, 2012 - 11:36 AM

That’s why I’m so happy to have found the doctor I found. If i move further away from the office, I will still travel to see her. We had a great conversation about weight and healthy size and weightloss. She listened to what I had to say, offered great suggestions, and never shamed me or made me seem like less. She actually boosted me! It really sucks to have so many assumptions made about you. People will say anything out of their mouths.

Tanisha June 19, 2012 - 6:58 PM

Erika – thank you for your blog and for this post in particular. I’m SMH for everyone of us whose had to deal with ignorant advice. As Erika said in her blog, being obese is a condition that everyone can see – if only all the stupid people out there were forced to wear a big S around their neck or on their forehead – at least then we’d know not to listen to a word they say! : ) My old doctor deserved a big S – my old doctor (who was a soror at that) advised me to think about gastric-bypass surgery. At the time, I was about 100 lbs over my recommended weight for my height, but I was completely healthy. No issues with cholesterol, no high blood sugar or pressure, etc. Healthy except obese. This woman did not suggest I increase my workouts, or seek a nutrionalist – her FIRST advice was to consider surgery. I am no longer seeing that doctor… Here’s a better one – my waiter at an indian restaurant last week deserved a big S on his forehead. This fool actually had the nerve to say to me – while ordering – “that’s enough, that’s enough food for now. If you want some more later, you can order then.” I was actually finished ordering for my husband and I, but to have him tell me to stop… I just about blew up with rage. When will it end!!???!!!

DSweetone June 19, 2012 - 8:05 PM

I know you have probably heard this a million times but you are always on the money! I really enjoy reading this blog. You are a good writer. I really agree with what you are saying and this is applicable to life in general. With regards to doctors who just blow you off and tell you things without taking an actual history, how extremely arrogant , dangerous and irresponsible! Medical personnel who are not objective, professional, sensitive, compassionate and sensible really PISS ME OFF! This is one of the most intimate relationships one will ever have with someone other than their mate and to be so off-putting with a patient is so upsetting. I can’t tell you what experiences like this have done to me. Anyway, continue to write great posts and share your knowledge! I really appreciate you!

Kenyetta Hughes June 24, 2012 - 4:28 PM

I needed to read this today. I document my weight loss journey with my trainer, Nia on facebook, so Ive been getting a lot of questions and information from people. But what I’m surprised with is the amount of seemingly healthy, super athletic looking people trying to push me to take their weight loss supplements and meal replacements. And I did kind of second guess myself, one person is claiming one of her clients went from a size 22 to a size 4 in 90 days. But then I was like, even if that did happen, I don’t want to lose that fast, I want my skin to be able to shrink up. I want to be healthy. I want to eat real food without preservatives. That includes not taking pills.

Kay Tee August 27, 2012 - 11:35 AM

When I decided to start losing weight – I didn’t tell ANYONE…not even my doctor. I just started eating healthier and working out – alone. I really didn’t get a lot of comments, because I was still wearing my baggy clothes…even to the gym – I wore oversized shirts and sweats.

My doctor was STUNNED at my check-up, when my weight had dropped 36 pounds … she checked the scale 3x!!ROFLMAO …. and thankfully, encouraged me to keep going…and seriously asked questions as to what I was eating and gave me vitamin supplements that I could purchase from the health food store.

When my back went out (sciatic nerve) my doctor was the one to send me to physical therapy and with instructions to keep me on my healthy path and show me how to get my core stronger.

Maybe it’s my demeanor, but I don’t get a lot of negative advice or responses … at least not from women. I’ve only had MEN tell me that I was “losing too much” … “not to get too skinny” … yeah …okay … no way I am getting too skinny going from a size 26 to size 18!!LOL

I don’t really speak about my weight loss – maybe because I don’t want to hear anything negative anyone has to say – so I don’t really encourage any conversation about it.

Maybe it’s systematic of seeing others, like the ladies above, who have had to put up with that nonsense. Love the topic – Erika you are always on point.

futuredocforlife January 31, 2013 - 9:48 AM

Hi there – this was a great post. I have two perspectives on this, both as a woman who is considered fat – I weight 235, but I literally chase some of my much smaller friends up and down hills near my house and catch them every time. I run, I do bikram, and I do pilates. I’m still working on my eating, but I’ve turned it around successfully in the last two years coinciding with the end of an extremely stressful job. I’m healthy (according to my physicals). But, I have experience what one lady here spoke of, of getting all the food from the waiter in front of me. I am also a medical student with one of my concentrations being public policy. It is clear we need a systematic change and overhaul of the healthcare system in this country – and while I won’t get into the larger points, the fact that a person can be dangerously misdiagnosed (like the woman who found she had pneumonia) simply due to physical appearance is both scary and a cause for outrage. This post motivates me further in my future path – we need REAL change in this society.

Jubilance June 23, 2014 - 11:38 AM

Wow! I’m absolutely flabbergasted at some of the comments that you ladies have shared. I’m floored that anyone would think these things would be ok to say to anyone, much less a friend or family member. I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time, but for the most part I’ve had supportive people in my life who have shared only kind things & haven’t felt the need to be my exercise/food police. I hope that continues as I try yet again to get down to a smaller size & weight.

Megan June 24, 2014 - 11:37 AM

Oddly enough, I’ve been experiencing a more “positive” side to the assumptions that people make. I had weight loss surgery and went from 410 pounds to now 190. I started running last fall and did my first half marathon. What I experience is that people see me as one of the bigger runners and believe I’m just starting on my fitness journey. They expect to see me huffing and puffing instead of resolutely passing them. So they cheer me on and stop me after races to tell me how strong I am. They’re very kind, but it’s also a little condescending because they are clearly surprised that someone who looks like me can do what I’m doing.

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