Overweight friend at lunch yesterday: "If you were fat, you'd know what it was like"

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Feb 20, 2012 10:06 PM GMT
    So I'm at lunch yesterday, chatting with a friend about some of the events of late when an acquaintance I know came up to the table and asked me how I was doing. We talked about events of the year so far and the guy talked about his efforts in the gym. He is overweight.. not obese, but could stand to lose 50 pounds. I encouraged him and offered a couple of ideas.

    Suddenly he said, "You just don't know what it's like, if you were fat, you'd know. He then rambled about attention gym guys receive and he supposidly gets only disapproving stares.

    I asked him... who cares what others think, you are there to improve yourself.
    Make sure to chart your progress and get input when you need it.

    He almost acted resentful. "That's what I'd expect from you", he said and marched off. My friend at the table and I just looked at each other. I'm still not sure what was up with that...... glad he's taking the initiative, but kind of at a loss as why he was so negative. I think he could make good progress.

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    Feb 20, 2012 10:11 PM GMT
    Perhaps he thinks it came easy to you, and it is an uphill struggle for him?

    curious,

    -Doug
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:11 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidSo I'm at lunch yesterday, chatting with a friend about some of the events of late when an acquaintance I know came up to the table and asked me how I was doing. We talked about events of the year so far and the guy talked about his efforts in the gym. He is overweight.. not obese, but could stand to lose 50 pounds. I encouraged him and offered a couple of ideas.

    Suddenly he said, "You just don't know what it's like, if you were fat, you'd know. He then rambled about attention gym guys receive and he supposidly gets only disapproving stares.

    I asked him... who cares what others think, you are there to improve yourself.
    Make sure to chart your progress and get input when you need it.

    He almost acted resentful. "That's what I'd expect from you", he said and marched off. My friend at the table and I just looked at each other. I'm still not sure what was up with that...... glad he's taking the initiative, but kind of at a loss as why he was so negative. I think he could make good progress.

    He needs encouragement from someone you know that's been there and done it.. Might change his outlook!
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:15 PM GMT
    Why are you talking to undesirables? For shame!
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Feb 20, 2012 10:16 PM GMT
    I agree with Doug.Either that or because you do work out and are lean and toned you "dont know " what its like to be over weight with the accusing/disapproving stares and trying to lose the weight and by the sounds of it in face of low self esteem and perhaps depression...
  • bigtits

    Posts: 113

    Feb 20, 2012 10:18 PM GMT
    Firebrand saidWhy are you talking to undesirables? For shame!


    oh . was he talking to you?
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:18 PM GMT
    Probably frustrated at his slow progress. I think most people experience this when they first start working out. Some get over it, and others just give up. Next time your friend throws the old "You just don't know what it's like" excuse, let him know that you didn't magically get in shape overnight.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:21 PM GMT
    Some people want a quick fix. They would rather go pay some doctor to suck all that fat out instead of working out and building up an endurance. I think your friend might fall into the "wanting a quick fix" category. icon_neutral.gif
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:25 PM GMT
    Sounds like he's so fresh he doesn't know what cheering on sounds like in gym culture. Also, perhaps like getting a golf critique from one's dad, the pointers are well intentioned, but at his stage of development, he just needs to put in the hours of practice and feel comfortable "showing up". He says, "try this" and your next swing is aiming for his head!
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:27 PM GMT
    I've been that guy. So, if I may, I can tell you what I believe this was. It wasn't about you....

    I resented the fit gym people most of my life,too. Like someone above said, I thought it just came easy for you guys. So anything you say is taken as patronizing - even if it's not meant that way.

    Think of it like this, a fat guy talking about the gym is sort of like a woman asking if her ass looks fat in this pair of jeans... It's a no win situation. Best you can do is say "Good luck with that..." and change the subject.

    And on that note, let me just send my apologies out there to all the fit people that I resented for all those years...
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:28 PM GMT
    tell him to go for lipo. Quick and easy then hit the gym hard.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:31 PM GMT
    I think perhaps he was offended by the words 'improve yourself'. Which would imply that his current physical state is less than unsatisfactory.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:31 PM GMT
    He simply isn't ready, I think. He has to tackle his demons and take control.

    When he *IS* ready, point him to other's that have made such big progress. People like Onaquest, and yourname2000. Hell, even me... though less extreme, I once topped the scales at just under 300 pounds, but have since shed a lot of the excess, even though I still have a ways to go yet to get to my ideal.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:33 PM GMT
    Sadly, I think this is why the fitness industry is so profitable. People want the easy way out. That's why we have so many diet pills on the market and various gimmicky exercise machines for sale on late night infomercials. I mean, who wouldn't want 6-pack abs from just laying on a recliner right? icon_lol.gif

    41MI3DesuRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:35 PM GMT
    I can empathize with the guy; I used to be obese. When I started to exercise to lose weight, I always made sure to do it in private or when no one was looking. That usually meant getting up before the break of dawn to go running when no one was around to watch the fat guy suffer.

    I think there's an extra mental barrier that fat/obese people have to overcome that people who have never been fat will never understand. It's one thing to have the mental fortitude to stick out a rigorous exercise regimen. But the act of exercising, in and of itself, can be a very humiliating experience for a fat person. There's this enormous wave of self-consciousness and shame that washes over you. Just think about how it would feel to be the fat kid in your high school PE class, and that's what walking into a gym or going out for a run feels like for this guy.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Feb 20, 2012 10:37 PM GMT
    It was an odd conversation. I remember he looked at my salad and made some remark which I didn't really quite hear. He might have just been frustrated, we generally get along. He's like 28, cute .. and if he lost the weight, could really be a knockout.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:38 PM GMT
    I've been there, too - and I know how he feels. When you can't see the summit, the road seems eternal. When you go to the gym and fight for every ounce of weight loss, it's easy to get overwhelmed with frustration. And frustration makes you sometimes lash out for no reason, even at people that try to help you.

    When overweight or less fit friends now give me the same crap, I just smile and tell them to cut it out: after all, in a year they could be having the same conversation with someone else, the roles reversed. I think there is something about the visualization of themselves, fit, and about the definite time frame that makes them hopeful.

    N.B.: I was THE fat kid in high school. I know how it feels.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:39 PM GMT
    intensity69 saidHe simply isn't ready, I think. He has to tackle his demons and take control.

    When he *IS* ready, point him to other's that have made such big progress. People like Onaquest, and yourname2000. Hell, even me... though less extreme, I once topped the scales at just under 300 pounds, but have since shed a lot of the excess, even though I still have a ways to go yet to get to my ideal.


    Ohhhh. Thanks.....icon_biggrin.gif

    Let me also tell you that I struggled with the same thing he mentioned, too. I thought everyone was giving me the "What are you doing here?" stare. It may be true on some level. I still believe the mirrors in the gym are fun-house mirrors rigged to make me look fat and everyone else look more fit... But it gets better. I just left the gym and I was vainly noticing my arms and how they look. One of my students was there working out and he made some polite comments about my progress before I left. It made me feel good. The more you progress, the less self-conscious you become and the less it bothers you. The biggest battle isn't the physical working out - it's in the mind.

    Be supportive if you can, but he needs to wrap his head around what his goals are. - And realize that it really isn't about you, but his own insecurities. It's just easy to project that on someone you secretly envy.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:46 PM GMT
    Sometimes friends just want you to nod and agree with them and shout the occasional hmm hmm

  • jboy84

    Posts: 556

    Feb 20, 2012 10:53 PM GMT
    Weight can be a battle for anyone..

    To say "just stop eating" is, (in some cases) no different to saying to an anorexic person "just start eating".
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
    I remember when I first got into the gym I felt very self-conscious. And who knows? Maybe he looked at your salad and felt guilty about the apple pie he just scarfed after a sugar crash.

    The poster who commented about some people who are not in the shape they would like to be thinking it comes "easy" for those who are more fit also makes a really good point.

    Sorry to hear you got dumped on like that - hopefully he'll figure out a way to throw an olive branch your way very soon.
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    Feb 20, 2012 10:56 PM GMT
    Just to add evidence to my assertion about my former weight problem, I've posted a picture of me in my fat phase. Will take a while for it to be reviewed, I assume...
  • jboy84

    Posts: 556

    Feb 20, 2012 10:59 PM GMT
    JinRDU saidI remember when I first got into the gym I felt very self-conscious. And who knows? Maybe he looked at your salad and felt guilty about the apple pie he just scarfed after a sugar crash.

    The poster who commented about some people who are not in the shape they would like to be thinking it comes "easy" for those who are more fit also makes a really good point.

    Sorry to hear you got dumped on like that - hopefully he'll figure out a way to throw an olive branch your way very soon.


    This. +1.

    I have to say, it's very easy for the OP (who classes himself as muscular) to say "who cares what people think", since he is not the position that his friend is in. I'm unsure if the OP has ever been in a position of being overweight.. but if we were to assume (for the sake of argument) that he was, then he obviously cared enough what people think to change his body to the "muscular" state it is now.
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    Feb 20, 2012 11:03 PM GMT
    intensity69 saidHe simply isn't ready, I think. He has to tackle his demons and take control.


    ^^This is what it comes down to. It has NOTHING to do with wanting an easy quick-fix solution or not wanting to put in the effort. This guy just has an extra mental hurdle of insecurity that comes with making the change from fat to fit.
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Feb 20, 2012 11:13 PM GMT
    How did he come across when he talked about his efforts at the gym? Was he relatively happy and content with his progress prior to your ideas (totally different issues from gym guys getting attention) ?