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Yes, I Have Lost Weight. Please Shut Up About It.

Stop fawning over something so unimportant.


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elizabeth grey

3 years ago | 5 min read

Yes. I’ve lost weight. I know I’ve lost weight. My pants are loose. Again.

Yes. I am in public. You haven’t seen me in a while. You, too, notice I have lost weight.

No. Don’t do it.

Do shut up about it.

Do not make a party. Do not approach me with smiles on your faces like sorority sisters letting the fat girl know that she’s finally redeemed herself and is welcome to the club. Do not invite me to swim in the pool of your approval.

Keep your fit-girl clubs and recitations of the challenges of losing weight and getting enough exercise. I do not need them. For that matter, I don’t need you either. I want to talk to women who are thinking about things other than their weight. Namaste.

Oh. Of course. Of course I cannot escape the inevitable question. You want to know how I lost weight? Sure.

I quit dieting and eat what I want, when I want.

I know. It’s a terrifying thought. But I’ve had enough of dieting for this lifetime and it doesn’t work for me. So I stopped.

You don’t understand? You want to know what I ate for breakfast? I ate home-made cherry cobbler. It was really good and exactly what I wanted. It was a little early so I did skip the ice cream. I may have cobbler after dinner, with the ice cream, if I want.

That’s how I’ve lost weight. I stopped THINKING ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT.

If thinking about losing weight and planning how to do it and buying the right food and joining clubs and buying apps and walking so many steps a day helped me lose weight, I would weigh nothing. I would have disappeared long ago. Not just thin; I’d be a ghost. Thinking about losing weight never helps me.

There is a whole vast, nay; unlimited range of other thoughts and aspirations and people to which I can now give my time. It’s crazy how much real estate losing weight took up in my brain.

Losing weight has been evicted. Meal plans have gotten the boot. Anxiety about what to eat and not eat has left the building. It’s fabulous.

Don’t let the back door hit you on the way out, misery.

Sadly, though, I cannot evict you people from telling me how wonderful I am now that I’ve lost weight. It screws everything up.

As you fawn over me, I am plotting what to eat next to gain back the weight so I don’t have to listen to you anymore.

When people make a big deal about my weight loss, and people is a euphemism, because it’s usually other white women, I become enraged all over again.

I have been dealing with this insanity since I was a child. There is absolutely no accomplishment I can achieve greater than losing weight. No one would care if I won a Pulitzer or found the perfect vaccination for COVID-19. They’d just ask about my diet.

It makes me so angry.

This is what I finally realize: Participating in the diet drama hobbles us. It is demeaning that we continue to play a part in this plot to keep us miserable, small, ashamed, and quiet.

It’s the shame that keeps us dieting. It’s the shame that keeps us overeating. There is no way out of this vicious circle if I insist on being in it.

When women are obsessed with their weight, there is no time to change our own circumstances, much less the world. Both desperately need our attention.

We can’t change things if our primary focus is on carbs. Perhaps that’s intentional, because I’ve got news for you:

Women’s self-hatred is big business.

A conspiracy doesn’t have to be organized to work. I doubt leaders of church, state, and big business meet in secret and discuss ways to keep women down. They don’t have to. You know why?

WE ARE TOO WORRIED ABOUT OUR WEIGHT TO DO MUCH ELSE.

For over forty years, my biggest concern was what I weighed. I may have pretended it was other things, but if I am honest, it was my number one priority.

Here’s the killer, the knife in my own heart: I participate in my own oppression. Yes, I do. I’ve done it my entire life.

This world has women by their figurative balls. Everything is organized against our participation in matters outside the home.

The church blames Eve. Society blames the mother. Big business says you don’t have it in you. Higher education prefers you read books by men. The deck is stacked.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t noticed, white supremacists are actively working to take over the nation. The Pacific Northwest is roasting and Europe is flooding. Politics has become full of people who don’t have time to govern because they are perpetually campaigning. We are so far post-truth that for the past three days, new cases of COVID-19 are up over 100% due to misinformation online.

Women: the world needs our brain power.

And if you are talking about my weight, you are participating in my oppression and your own. We aren’t helping each other or the world.

Oh boy, here we go with I was only trying to be nice.

I don’t need you to be nice to me about how I look. I am the person who has to live with myself. I have to live with how I look, but more importantly, I have to live with what I do.

This is what I say now to people who were very overweight and now are at a healthy weight:

I hope you feel as good as you look.

That’s it. Nothing else. I say this because I mean it. When I was thin, too often I was miserable and lost.

I was my most obsessed about weight when I was at my lowest weight. My day centered around not gaining another ounce. I once collapsed from exhaustion from working, working out, and staying below 125 pounds on my 5’10” frame.

I was also absolutely bewildered by life not being perfect now that I was finally at the magic number on the scale. That’s always the promise, isn’t it? If we could just lose weight, everything would be right.

This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, and I let it run my life. I am too smart for this, and you are too.

If, like me, you are at a high weight that makes you physically uncomfortable, all I can tell you is this:

I let it go. I quit trying. The excess weight is probably coming off because my cortisol levels are down from worrying about it. I am happy to be lighter, and how is this for irony? It has nothing to do with trying.

It has to do with living. It has to do with focusing on what interests me, instead of dieting.

It takes a lot of practice for me to do this. My brain is not used to the change. When I start to worry about weight, I have to make a conscious shift to do something else.

I’d greatly appreciate it if you could help me out. Let’s not keep perpetuating the myth that our size is our greatest attribute. We have better things to do.

And I have a cobbler to take out of the oven.

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