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Confession: I Let Comments about My Weight and Appearance Affect My Self-Esteem

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In our recent dailySpark survey, most of you said that you love our "Confession" series. While all of our bloggers are SparkPeople employees, we're also members, which means that like all of you, we have our own battles with weight, healthy living and self-esteem. After a year on the dailySpark, I'm comfortable enough to start sharing my own "confessions." I've been writing them for awhile, but I haven't published any. This is the first in what I hope will be many!

Two weeks ago, I posted a new profile picture on Facebook.

In it, I'm dressed to go out to dinner with friends, in a loose-fitting purple printed tank top, slim-fitting gunmetal pants and heels. My hair, which was cooperating splendidly, is extra curly and bouncy. I'm wearing makeup, and I'm happy.

I had gone to Spinning and yoga that day, so I felt particularly fit.

Arms akimbo, chin up and smile on. My yoga-toned arms are looking good--more defined than usual.

A couple of days after posting the photo online, I got these two comments from friends:

You are looking skinny!
I second her comment - rockin' body!

I got really excited and actually broke into a smile when I read them. I felt extra comfortable in my skin all night long. But then I started thinking.
Why did hearing that word--skinny--have an effect on my self-esteem? Though nothing about me had changed, I suddenly felt thinner, more attractive and more confident.

And it brought back memories of my youth, when my height, pale skin and long dark hair were fodder for mean-spirited, insecure teenage boys.
For something intangible, self-esteem is among the most delicate and easily fractured parts of the human body.

I grew up in small town where tanned skin, jeans and country music were de rigueur. I had a penchant for skirts (still do) and spent much of my time voraciously writing in my journal and reading about times and places more interesting than mine.

In high school, there isn't much room for diversity. Cliques aren't like Venn diagrams; you can only choose one. I was a "smart girl," which meant that though I had plenty of friends, I wasn't a "popular girl." And because I'd rather study than flirt with boys during class, I wasn't a "pretty girl," either.
I was OK with my stature, because I knew I'd make my way in the world and be a strong and capable woman.

The thing is, I never thought I was unattractive. And I wasn't. But other people--especially boys--at my high school made it their place to tell me I was.

The day before school pictures my freshman year of school, a football player barked in my face and laughed.

I came home and cried into my pillow; my photo in the yearbook shows the remnants of puffy eyes.

A straight-A student, I earned praise for my grades, accomplishments and packed extracurricular schedule. I got a full ride to journalism school at Ohio University and later won the internship of my dreams (Dow Jones Newspaper Fund editing program). But during those awkward adolescent years, what I longed to hear that I was pretty--and that I was skinny.

Instead I felt awkward and large, due to my height.

The great thing about life is that you can be whoever you want to be. You can surround yourselves with people who love and support you, and with time and experience, you can learn to forget about the rest. Who you were in high school, in your 20s, or at any other point in your life, does not define your entire life. No singular adjective can sum up your entire being.
That's not to say that I always felt confident with my body and myself.

When I started to gain weight in my early 20s, I brushed it aside. Then 40 pounds later, I felt awful, and no good hair day would remedy that.

It has taken me a couple of years to settle back into my body and regain my confidence. I still don't wear bikinis--I carry more weight in my belly and hips than anywhere else--and I often forget that I wear a size medium again and not an extra large.

Still, I've had some victories in this battle with my self-esteem.

My senior year of college my friends and I were invited to a party at the home of one of the popular guys over winter break from university. That football player who barked in my face was there. My stomach knotted up.
Later that night, I was playing pool--a game for which I have zero talent. As I was leaning over to take a shot, he said out loud, "Girl, when did you get hot?"

I looked over my shoulder and replied, "I was always this hot. You were just too dumb to notice."

Then I turned back around and took my shot… and made it!

It was like a scene from a movie--and that victory tasted oh so sweet.

Fast-forward to those recent compliments.

My weight has been a struggle for so long--I gained weight off and on until 2005--that I had resigned myself to be classified as a "bigger girl."

But guess what? I'm not. I'm tall (5' 10"), but I'm a good size. Like Coach Nicole, I have cellulite (and pale skin accentuates it!) and I won't wear a bikini (again, the pale skin and discomfort with being so exposed).

I can do real push-ups. I can do plenty of yoga poses that I couldn't attempt a year ago, including urdhva padmasana and tittibasana. I earned my yoga teacher certification. I can run a mile (or three) without stopping. And I rise to any fitness challenge presented to me.

Call me skinny, call me fat. Call me pretty, call me ugly. It doesn't matter. I'm still me. And that's a lesson I sometimes need to remind myself.
At the end of the day, I love myself. And that's what matters.

Do you let adjectives about your appearance dictate how you feel about yourself? What is the best compliment you've ever received? On the flip side, is there a rude remark that someone has made to you that's stuck with you?

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PCHAMPLIN 4/6/2020
Feelings of low self-esteem can take many forms and affect many areas of your life. When you're embarrassed about your weight or your body, you'll want to hide them under your clothes and not go out much. Surprisingly, not only are girls afraid of their bodies, but so are boys. In fact, people of all sizes and sizes are at risk of having confidence in their bodies, even if they are not overweight. You can do a number of things to deal with low self-esteem, start accepting and loving your current body.
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Only recently, I figured this out too. For years I had let others define who I was, not now at the age of 60. I am working on my self esteem and getting stronger every day. At the age of 13 a tragedy in our family occured. I was rejected by my family. I might add, I did not cause the tragedy, but I was accused of being the persons daughter and life was hard for the next several years. I made peace with my family for the rejection, forgave them whole heartedly... I turned it all over to God. After getting married, it took me 40 years to realize I had a controlling husband who would cut me down on everything about myself... just recently, I told him, accept me for who I am and love me unconditionally. I am a person with feelings, a heart that has been broken many times over by husband and family. I now will live for me and gain self confidence each and every day. I will go back to who I was so many years ago, fun loving, caring, helping others, loving who I am, and loving others unconditionally. I will NOT let others define who I am any longer. Loved this blog post. Report
Sadly, we usually remember the unkind remarks far longer than the encouraging or flattering ones. Report
Thank you! Report
there's a lesson we all need to learn...it's up to us to define our self image.

Never that easy though, is it?

Personally I hate it when I'm referred to as "big guy" even though I know it's meant in friendly terms...it still stabs. Report
(((HUGS))) to everyone out there who shared their story with the rest of us! It made me sad to read it all but at the same time I'm very thankful for everyone being so open and honest about it! You're absolutely right, we shouldn't let other people's comments influence our own feelings about ourselves!.. I too have my share of memories from my childhood [middle school] and being teased as a chubby kid complete with pokes in the belly and nicknames (now looking back I know I was nowhere near overweight! I just didn't have the stick thin body many of my girl class mates still had at the time..) and I will never forget that time! [To this day I hate being touched on my belly, no matter how lovingly it is from my husband or children!..] I developed anorexia/bulimia in my teenage years [certainly due to many factors and not only the teasing years before!] and have had the thoughts of 'revenge' to all those who teased me back then many times! In the end, I realize I only did the damage to myself and to this day am trying to fix it by *not* letting it get to me what others think of me.. But I'll admit, it's hard! I've 'conquered' my ED for the past ~10 years, though that tiny voice and doubt "Am I fat?" will probably never go completely away!..
My biggest motivation are my children, especially my daughter, who'll be in middle school next year and for whom I want to be a good role model and teach her to appreciate herself, no matter what others say! (My own mother was a heavy smoker, overweight, eating the wrong way, 'comforting' me with sweets when I came home crying about someone having teased me!..) Working out daily while having fun with it, eating healthy (I'm vegan) but also enjoying treats every once in a while makes me a very happy person who has learned to be thankful for the healthy & fit body I have! =) Report
I know I'm late to the discussion here, but I wanted to air something that has bothered me for over 10 years now, and it's a comment someone made about my weight. I was friends with a boy in high school, and we were really tight. Not dating, although he had a long-term crush on me (which actually lasted for years) and I was flirty with him because I kind of liked him a bit but mainly because I was 14 and didn't have many opportunities to flirt (not being cool or especially pretty or as skinny as the other girls). So we went to a theme park for a day of roller coasters and fun, and out of nowhere, the kid asks me what I weigh. Well, I panic, because I was a chubby little kid and I continued to think I was fat even though in hindsight, I realize I lost all the baby fat in middle school....and I knew my weight was about 142. Other girls in high school weighed between 105 and 115 usually (maaaybe 120), and I didn't. I wish I'd known at the time that I was totally within my healthy weight range for my height (5'4" and built more broadly than other girls - hips, shoulders, and more muscle). But I panicked, and said that I weighed 132. Also a healthy weight for someone my size. However, this kid felt the need to tell me in what I think he thought was an encouraging way, "You could lose 15 pounds, easy." As if I needed to lose weight, and as if anyone could lose 15 pounds easily. That hurt tremendously, and it's comments like that which made me think to myself "I'm already fat, I might as well eat 15 Oreos in one sitting." The thing is, I wasn't fat as a teenager. I got plenty of exercise because I was a dancer. I just wasn't as skinny as other girls, particularly the other dancers I spent so much time with...and that messed with my mind and I went down the wrong path to deal with it. Years later, I'm having to reverse what I did and I'm kicking myself for not realizing how fit and pretty I looked then. I knew that at least some people thought I was attractive, because I had a few unappealing classmates hit on me at band camp, and I once heard a guy whistle and say "Wow" as he drove past me once and then circled the parking lot to drive by me again. But for some reason, those memories never mattered to me as much as the memories of people criticizing me, or pretend-asking me out just so they could immediately laugh at me, or the photos of me in dance costumes looking healthy but just not skinny like the other girls... Nonetheless, my slender husband loves how I look and has never once commented on my weight even though I put a lot of it on while we were dating. He happily married me at 238 pounds, which was close to my highest weight. There are people out there who don't even care about someone's weight, only how much fun they are to be with or how good-hearted they are. Fortunately, I lucked into meeting and marrying one such person, and I hope everyone else here is able to find people like this in their lives. It's hard to ignore/forget the negative comments, but I try. Failing that, at least I know that I'm doing something to fix my problem. Those people may not be able to fix their horrible attitudes. Report
Oh God, this is me!
In high school I weighed about 130 on my 5/7 frame, wore glasses until contacts at 15 and had three blonde sisters (I am pale and dark-haired). As #5 out of 6 kids, I was always someone's sister and had already been pegged as the "smart one."

Guys were my best friends, but not my boyfriends. I struggled then and through college (where finally noone knew any of my siblings) to define who I was. I struggled with my weight and my mother's comments of "You are really getting fat!" - continuous comments from high school on that I can now attribute to her own weight issues.

I was called a "fat lard" and asked if I took on my roommate's seconds (she was tall and strikingly beautiful). I was considered "fun," but not dating material.

It took a while after college, but I learned I enjoyed exericse and I lost the weight for noone but me. My father and mother actually told me I was getting too thin (I weighed about 140 - more than in high school. I learned to take things in perspective.

Then the weight started creeping up again after I married (to a wonderful guy who loves me for me and thinks I'm beautiful and the very best my family or any family could offer). Now, 11 years and a baby later, I am struggling again with all those negative memories and feeling so very fat and ugly.

But I'm making progress again - one small step at a time - and learning to love myself for me - the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Thanks for this confession... Report
Why this one brought tears to my eyes, I don't know (PMS maybe?!?!), I do know that I will be sharing it with my daughter; it will be very encouraging for her. Thank you for sharing! Report
Wow I really enjoyed this topic I do let peoples comments affect me, but I'm learning to ignore what people say I have a family that loves me just the way I am and are 100% behind my decision to change my life. Report
wow... this is touching... i too let myself be ruled by what other think and say of me... Report
Great blog. For years, I have always had a weight issue. In high school I was thin, but overhearing your mother say "Yep, she really is that big" does a number on your self esteem. I have always been the heaviest of my friends and it's always harder for me to lose weight. I still let the comments affect me. To the point that it's hard to accept the good ones. My husband still thinks I'm beautiful and sexy and he's seen me at 145 all the way through two pregnancies and 235lbs (my heaviest ever). Thanks for posting this. I think it was just what I needed to hear this morning! Report
Those mean comments certainly affect my self-esteem, but in my case it's all self-talk. I've never had anyone ridicule me because of my appearance...probably because I have a sedentary occupation, and many of my co-workers are worse off than me. My weight problems didn't start until my 30s. Still, the mean things I say to myself have certainly hurt my esteem. Report
My father and ex step mother decided that I was "fat" being a size 7 and in 7th grade. They tried to pay me to lose weight. This was so devastating for me. I cried and cried. There's nothing like your dad telling you you're fat, and on top of it, trying to pay you to lose weight! I wasn't even overweight, I was in the normal BMI range.

This stuck with me though, and became a reason for an eating disorder (anorexia) in my late 20s (now 31).

It's amazing that other people's opinions can mean that much. Surprisingly, I do wear whatever I want in public. I figure that if people look and don't like what they see, then it's their own fault they looked.

After getting over the anorexia, I went in the other direction. While I was anorexic, people actually praised me for being so thin! I was underweight and wore a 0. Now I'm on the border of overweight and normal, and I get criticized for being "fat".

I'm not really very confident about myself sometimes, but I'm going to be healthy and normal, that's my resolution to myself. Report
When I was in high school I had the worst self esteem known to man, which I look back on now and want to smack myself. I was 5'6 and maybe weighed 115 pounds. I still remember one of my friends wrapping his hands around my waist and touching his fingertips together. Yet I still was never noticed, thought I was incredibly fat, and received many a toungue in cheek comment about my weight.
Then I went to college, gained 10 pounds of muscle/breasts/hips and came back home for a pool party. At least 5 guys went "whoa, college has done you some good!"
I'm at 160 now, and while I still get twinges, for the most part I feel sexy. I am a woman and show it with every step I take. I'll take my chest, my butt, and my "birthing hips" as my friends like to joke any day! Report
I completely agree with this article! Ever since I was young, even in elementary school, I was made fun of. I can even remember the kid who picked on me, calling me fat. When my mom decided to move us to Kentucky it was a blessing to get away from the bullies. Kentucky was when I finally got back some self-esteem over what I had lost in Illinois. My first day, these kids came up to me and asked me to be their best friend. It is amazing how good and bad things stick with you no matter what.

When we moved back to Illinois it was back to bad comments about my weight in High School. It wasn't until I learned who to associate with and who to call friends that I no longer had to deal with comments about my weight.

But while I didn't have to deal with the comments, the loss of self-confidence stuck with me and still does. To this day every time someone laughs behind me I feel like they are laughing at me...at the way I am dressed....at my size...they way I did my hair. Even if I am feeling good about the way I look, I still feel like they are laughing at me. I am now 23 and have never had an actual boyfriend because of these issues. It is time I stopped listening to the BS and started listening to what I think is true. Report
Oh I forgot to add, I actually CAN'T think of great compliment I've received, but I can't tell you how many strangers have come up to me and asked me "how far along I am" or "ooh you've been busy" or "is it a girl or boy". Let me clarify. I've never, ever been pregnant. A comment like that, not only ruins my day, but my week as well. I guess it wouldn't mean so much if only one person has said it, but I really don't have enough toes and fingers to count em all. Like my father and his father (too bad it couldn't have stayed with the men), I carry the majority of my weight on my stomach and I DO look pregnant. Report
Yes, comments affect my self-esteem. I simply don't know how to "turn it off" and ignore it. All my life I've been called fat, ugly, etc etc. In school, I was mentally bullied. Never physically, but I was one of the "smart" ones, and a band geek, and so I never really fit in. Most of my friends were other outcasts as well. The crazy part is that while my school definitely had its cliques, it was also kind of venn-diagramish (to use your word). For instance, Our band captain, was also our Football team captain. But that was highschool, where alienating wasnt so bad. Elementary and Middle school was the worst.

Anyway, I find myself today, still very shy and affected from my school years. I KNOW why I'm defensive and why getting a compliment means so much to me. It's because I never got any before. But at the same time, an insult or even disagreeing with me, still goes a long way to ruining my day. I'm working on it, but I haven't yet figured out how to not let it affect me. Report
I think your so right , comments about Our bodies, can either be positive and make us feel good or negative and make us feel selfconcious ,, Report
I have always let comments bother me. When I was first married, on came the "happy fat". My husband said to me one day "once you hit 150 pounds I'm history". That cut pretty deep. I was 145 pounds when I married and in my senior year of high school I was 135 pounds. I gained 50 pounds with both pregnancies. Needless to say 150 pounds came, then 160 and so on. I divorced (for a number of reasons). Eleven years later I occasionally think about what he said that day, but I have learned to love and accept myself. I want a man who loves me for who I am, and doesn't judge me if I have a few extra pounds...it's the real me, and I'm a pretty fine piece of arm candy (just a bigger piece, lol). Great blog! Thank you for not making us feel alone in this :) Report
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I still feel the sting of things that people have said to me about my weight years ago and now don't want to see old friends or do some things because I am afraid of what people will say to me and about me. I have saved your blog so that I can reread it for encouragement. Report
Oh, this is so well-written Stepfanie. I have always been overweight with a large frame, brainy, and not pretty. Not so easy when you have sisters who were NYC models! But I always had quite a bit of self-confidence because my mother taught me I could do anything a skinny person could except get into a size 8 dress. (And I know women who think they are fat in that size.) Maybe kids weren't so rude when I was growing up so many years ago and we all were friends in our smaller classes. Report
This has always been a problem for me. But I have also been overweight for over 40 years. I have been laughed at, "mooed" at, called a cow, pig, thunder thighs, jelly belly, and tons of fun and I laugh it off but it really hurts. Would you make fun like that of a cripple? So what gives people the idea it's OK to do it to someone with a weight problem? BECAUSE WE LET THEM!!!!!!!!!
Erin Report
Good Blog Stepfanie! How many of us here can relate to your feelings of insecurity about your body due to what other immature people have told you. I too have been fairly tall (5'9") and teased about it all through elementary school and middle school. By the time I reached high school it didn't matter how I looked because the mental damage was done! I could feel it all over again reading your blog! It took ,me too many years to not let it bother me any more! Thanks for the wonderful story! Report
What's ironic is compliments make me uncomfortable. When I wear make up, do my hair extra nice, and put on a skirt people will tell me you look great you should do it more often. Well I hate being the center of attention which partly comes from all the teasing I went through as a kid. I was actually skinny through high school. However, I started developing and was wearing a bra by age 9. Before my sister who was two years older. I remember at 9 one of my mom's friends commenting on how sexy I looked in my bikini. I became self conscious of my body ever since. The weight issue has just made me even more self conscious. I keep telling my husband when I lose weight I will still want a reduction. I don't think I'm going to lose any in my chest, so I will never see my toes standing up. Haven't since 7th grade. So self esteem isn't just related to weight but it was definately body related ironic huh? Report
unfortunatly I have allowed this to affect me when someone has made comments. It is a struggle because rude comments are always hurful even if you are the beauty queen. The best we can do is be happy with who we are at all times. Self improvement is a lifetime endever across the board. Report
This is so true. My name is Shamberly - I get compliments on it all the time - how unique/pretty. Personally I've always hated it. Why? Because growing up, my name, along with the fact that I wasn't "skinny" earned me the nickname "Shammoo" (as in the whale). It killed me every time I heard that.

I was always taller by at least 6 inches than every kid in my class until around 8th grade or so. I was picked on for being fat, big, four-eyes (yes, on top of it all, I was stuck with those horrible coke-bottle glasses), etc... By the time I was 12, I hated myself, the way I looked, everything about me. There were so many days that I wished I could just disappear, and even when nobody made any comments about me, I felt like everyone was staring at the big ugly thing that just walked in the room.

By the time I was 13, I'd become a full fledged anorexic. I dropped about 40 pounds in less than 2 months, and suddenly, I was "popular". Some people even came up to introduce themselves to the "new girl at school". I finally started to feel like I was worth something - a small something, but it was better than nothing.

The problem: I had no energy, I was unhealthy, began passing out regularly, and that self-worth was short-lived... I was miserable. It took me about 10 years before I smartened up enought o realize that none of the people who I was so concerned with pleasing/what they thought of me mattered. They weren't my real friends - they weren't friends at all.

I made myself sick - really sick - trying to make myself fit into their idea of beauty. And it was all a joke. Before, I was fat and ugly, then I was ok for a little bit of time, but got picked on/talked about for just doing it to "be like them", but then I was too skinny and pale, and sick looking. No matter what, I couldn't win. No matter what, they always had something negative to say.

So WHY did "THEY" matter so much?! Why do we spend so much energy worrying about what "THEY" think?!

Right now, I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life. And while I'm not proud of or pleased with my weight, and I want to get healthier and lose a good chunk of it, I REFUSE to let other people's negative opinions rule me. I am strong. I am WORTH a lot! I am beautiful. Whether I weigh 120 lbs or 220 or what... I am still ME.

If "THEY" are too shallow, insecure, mean-spirited, self-absorbed, etc... to open their eyes/hearts/minds up enough to get to know ME as a person/friend, then it's their loss.

I have friends - good friends, and I have a wonderful husband, and two beautiful kids, and a great family - all who make up my support system, and regardless of my weight, they all love me for me. And even if they didn't, my opinion of myself and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is all I need to know that I am worth more than my weight in gold. Report
Thank you for this article. It is sad how we allow things in our past to direct our future. I am learning how to leave the past in the past and live for today! Report
Yes I do let people's negative comments effect the way that I feel about myself. I hate going out in public because i feel as though i am getting laughed at because of my weight. But the best thing anyone has ever said to me is that no matter how i feel about myself i am a terrific person. Report
I was the fat girl in high school. Going into my senior year I lost about 45lbs. I remember going to graduation and all the boys looking at me in my red strapless dress. Still a nice memory! I gained all that weight back plus about another 115lbs through the next 15yrs. I lost 160lbs, got in shape, and loved all of the positive attention. I struggle to keep my weight down and now I am probably a more harsh critic of myself than anybody else could be. I think I am because I so do not want to go back to being the fat ugly girl and seeing the nasty looks and hearing the rude comments. I will also admit that I like the positive attention that I get, the clothing I can wear, and how much more comfortable I am in my own skin. Report
"What is the best compliment you've ever received?"

Back in the late 90's I was in great shape (14.8% body fat, worked out 8 times a week). I had just gotten a very contemporary short/medium hair cut from a new stylist. A few days later, I was taking a step class with a substitute instructor who had been teaching for the previous few weeks. She noticed the hair cut and in the middle of class, out of nowhere, she looks at me and says "Nice hair cut! It makes you look like Ricky Martin". She said it very genuinely, not patronizingly at all, just matter of fact.

Even as a dude who still gets nervous/angry eye twitches when one of Ricky's songs come on, I understood the magnitude of the compliment. The only thing that kept my face from turning the brightest possible shade of red was that I couldn't fathom the comparison (I have self esteem issues when it come to my appearance as well). I just gave her a completely dumbfounded stare, to which she responded by adding "Yeah, I'm talking to you".

She was a total sweetheart. Report
this was very thought-provoking. I care too much what other people think so much so that my daughter challenged me to go to my high school reunion (20th) though I weighed alot more than high school. (And I was heavy then). I wish I had a happy story to share, but I felt horrible the whole time. If you knew me, you would know that I have a good job, I help people and am a hard worker. I think sometimes I overdo, putting all my effort into work because I have to prove I'm worth something.
I remember my dad telling me I would have trouble finding a job, because people hire on appearance. I remember my ex husband telling me I was so ugly no man could ever want me. It hurts. I'm trying to let go of the past, because it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks. If only it didn't. Report
I never even tried to be the pretty, flirty girl in school. In grade school and Jr. High I was called fat and ugly enough times to not bother trying. I focused on being the smart, nerdy kid, the good friend, the teacher's pet, the guy's girl, but I always believed I was at least average in terms of attractiveness. Mostly I couldn't figure out what was wrong with other people that they didn't think I was pretty.

Probably the most hurtful insult I can recall had nothing to do with me, directly. In college I lived with five boys, two of whom were incredibly sexist and superficial, and that probably did more damage than anything else to my self-esteem. One day this beautiful woman came by the house -- tall, blond, thin -- and chatted with the guys. After she left one of them commented that the other should hook up with her. He said, ''She'd be hot if she lost some weight.'' It was so depressing because I was at the peak of my weight gain at that time and I think I could work for a lifetime on getting thin and not ever be her size.

And some stupid immature comments on the internet, in which someone said I looked old and butt-ugly, stuck with me for longer than I care to admit.

My husband consistently delivers the best compliments I've ever received. I have always been self-conscious of my stomach, because that's where I carry most of my fat. The first time I showed it to him I was so afraid he would be disgusted, but he loved it and still loves it. He always sees me as beautiful. Lately I strive to see myself more and more through his eyes.
I have always found it easier to believe negative comments (and thoughts) than positive ones. I am getting better but still have to work on it. Report
I was married to husband #2. After awhile, He started to call me "fat". That really hurt. I decided that I was happy in my own skin and if he didn't like it---TOO BAD!! I decide in January 2009 to lose weight because I want'd to do it for me. I have lost 45 lbs and I look better than I did 20 years ago when I married #2. Because #2 was not a nice person in other ways, that is why he is my EX and I have his smoking cool Vette. I look good in and out of the car. I no longer let people's negative comments hurt my self esteem. Report
When I was 17 I was pretty tall, and wore a size 13-16, my weight was up and down. I had depression and bad eating habits. And it didn't help that my friends thought my mom was a total MILF... So I wanted a tattoo, and my mom said she would pay for it as long as i lost weight. There have always been issues with my mom, and sister with weight. I think that my mom was trying to encourage me, but all the little things she would say added up and pushed me towards food. she said she would buy me lots of clothes, take me to cabo, all kinds of things... if I lost the weight. when I had my daughter i was 5 ft 9 in and weighed 212 pounds. I showed her my belly (ladies, you know what I am talkin about. floppy, and wrinkly, looked like a sea sponge) and she said she would be depressed if hers looked like that. but I had a beautiful newborn daughter!! THEN her and my grandma offered to pay for a tummy tuck if I lost weight. So, that of course, totally pushed me farther to 219 pounds, b/c I let it. And I know that she was trying to help. And I will probably take them up on the tummy tuck offer (lol) but it took something inside of ME to want to lose the weight. I don't want to be super skinny. But the main thing is I don't ever want my daughter to think she is fat, ugly, or stupid. I just want her to be healthy and comfortable, more so than I was during my adolescent yrs.... shes already beautiful and smart, and I will always emphasize all of those things. So (sorry for the novel) I am so far down to 195, and have a ways to go, but I am already more comfy in my body. I still feel like a yeti sometimes b/c i am so tall, but I figure that helps considering I don't look like I weigh as much as I do
Oh, and a favorite from my grandma... "Mija, do you want some more refried beans, another taco, oh heres some rice. Have another soda..." (then after I was done stuffing myself) "Mija, such a pretty face and hair. A beautiful comlexion and legs... its just too bad about that spare tire you have..." WHAT THE HECK?!?!?! lol mexican grandmas are the best.... Report
I can let other people's opinions affect me entirely more than they should!! Especially when people make comments about what I'm eating.

Just yesterday I was eating my snack and had a guest drop by. I ate the first half of my snack and then began preparing the second half which I like to do fresh and they said "didn't you JUST eat something?" That one comment in the middle of the afternoon affected the whole rest of my evening. I didn't eat more than I should, although I was SOOO tempted to just eat everything in sight. I plan out my foods and it was exactly what I usually do. But it made me feel like such a pig.

Today I intend to work anew on NOT letting other people get to me! Report
I used to let people make me feel so ugly. All though school I was "the big girl," the one everyone teased. I was the one people would notice walking from a mile away and whisper to each other "look at that." It didn't feel good and people were never shy to let me know about it. In highschool these 3 boys that were total jerks, started calling me "swamp thang," which made no sense because even though I was big, I was never ugly.. and I know that. But still, them calling me that made me feel like the ugliest thing in the world.

Today, when people compliment me I have a hard time believing them. I hear what they say, but I just brush it off.. or laugh and say something like "yeah right." People sometimes get mad at me for that, but that's just something I've learned to do. I don't believe anyone when they tell me I'm pretty or look nice that day.

People just don't understand how much they can damage a person with the mean/rude things they say. I've gotten better about accepting what people tell me in a good way, and thinking they're lying, but I always have it in the back of my mind that they're just being nice. Report
This is a great post! I always laugh at myself on the inside when I say "I don't care what other people think" when I know darn well that I do. Why is it that other people's opinion tend to dictate how we feel about ourselves? When I was in school I was the skinny popular who did often make rude comments about girls that were not as skinny as me. I guess this is payback :) I only hope to raise my children to use kind words and to always be aware of others feelings. Report
Thank you for sharing. I know there are a lot of comments to this article and this one will probably get lost in the crowd, but I am probably going to be a minority on this. While it is true that when I was a "healthy and comfortable weight", by father called me bubble butt. I hated it. I was right in the normal range of weight for my size and wore about a size 10 which was very comfortable for me. I also got wolf whistles and "hey baby" comments when I was dressed up. I do not wear any type of attention drawing clothes, like real tight pants, shirts, low cut shirts, high cut skirts and high heels. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. I now weigh about 80 pounds more than I did back then. I have already lost around 35 pounds before signing up for this community. On the multiple diets or times when I have lost weight by just eating more healthy, I have always stalled out after a short period of time. I actually have not wanted to get slimmer where I would get the wolf whistles or those "hey baby" comments. I hate being leered at and am afraid of getting any attention by catching the wrong person's eye. I understand that it is a big ego boost for some women, but I would rather not be noticed one way or the other. I enjoy the comments from people I know at work and family, etc., but not from strangers. While I am heavy, I still want to lose the weight and be healthy, but I think I get scared of that part of being healthy. I am also not one that can turn around and comment to the person either. I would rather just crawl into a hole to get away from them. I will still work toward loosing the weight, but this always stays in the back of my mind and I think it may sabotage most of my weight loss attempts. Sometimes I think I need to take self-defense classes before I can get my weight down, so that also becomes an obstacle to finishing and getting to my comfortable weight because I can never stay with them. I’m sure this is just me and I can catch the same eye being short and round like I am currently, or when I get to a healthier weight. Report
Boy, can I relate to a great deal of your story!! I too am tall, and used to be athletic, was smart, knew the popular people but wasn't one of them. I used to feel so self conscious in high school, I was 5'10", one of the tallest girls in my highschool. I always felt like I "stuck out", but not in a good way. At dances and other events it seemed like my friends were always the ones getting asked to dance. I really did not date anyone that went to my highschool. One of my classmates even told my that I would have made a good football player. What 16 year old girl wouln't want tot hear that!? I really wasn't that big either, like I said I was athletic and weighed about 155 lbs. Too bad I thought I was fat then. I will never forget when my high school principal stopped me in the hallway to tell me that his wife thought I was the prettiest girl at my senior prom. I have always had self confidence issues, and struggle with them daily. I can only hope my daughter who is 10 years old and has an athletic build does not suffer the way I do. I try to encourage her to stay fit, and hope I am not projecting the wrong message. I don't want her to have to deal with weighing 100 lbs more than she did in high school. Report
I can relate to this on SO many levels. This was a great read. I'm so glad that you shared this. Isn't it amazing how many of 'us' there are? And absolutely - the adjectives dictate all of it for me. Even the good ones I struggle with. If someone tells me that I'm looking good (referencing my weight loss), I immediately think how bad I must have looked before. I more or less only hear the bad - no matter what the intent is. I was only told the bad or mean things by my peer group as a kid, and that is what stuck. It is like trying to teach a child that the sky really IS blue, when the peer group has told that same child that the sky is GREEN for years. I know that the sky is blue, but my inner voice says, "but it is more green". My parents said I was pretty, but the more influential group said otherwise. My parents "had" to say that I was pretty - I am their child. As an adult, all of the adjectives are positive. Men look at me NOW - the boys would not back then. Even in my 20's, I was not considered by men to be "pretty". Maybe age is agreeing with me. But, I still doubt when people try to pay a compliment. I've struggled with accepting one gracefully my entire life. Report
Masaru Emoto conducted a very interesting study on water - plain ol' water. He took 4 water samples.
Water sample One was spoken to lovingly several times each day. It was told that it was beautiful, and lovely, and worthy, and intelligent, and could do great things.
Water sample Two was spoken to hatefully several times each day. It was told that nothing it did was right. It was terrible, ugly, stupid, and unworthy.
Water sample Three was left completely alone, except that it was placed in a glass labeled with a Japanese symbol conveying something positive. (I don't speak Japanese, so I don't know what the symbol was.) Nothing else was done to the water.
Water sample Four was left completely alone, except that it was placed in a glass with a label conveying a negative Japanese symbol.

Under a microscope, fascinating things began to happen to the water. Samples one and three began to form beautiful crystals, branching out fully, and completing full, snowflake-like patterns.

Samples two and four created chaotic, unattractive, disorganized, and incomplete patterns, and the molecules moved slowly.

Isn't it interesting that our bodies are almost entirely formed of water? Say what you will, but the findings in that experiment changed how I spoke to my husband this morning and what my internal dialogue has been today.

It may also determine some of the clothes I choose in the future.
In my younger years, compliments or teasing about my looks just baffled me! How I could be responsible for physical attributes I was merely born with.

Now that I have to work to maintain these attributes, I FEEL MUCH DIFFERENTLY! It feels great to be complimented on my efforts to attain, maintain and improve my body and my health.

I'm pretty good with criticisms. I examine the criticism for truths that I would like to deal with, and discard the rest. Others have not walked in my shoes, and there are some really rude people out there who need to experience "eating" what they dish out.

Thankfully, MOST folks mature into adults with kindness, understanding, and humility.

On the other hand, I am overly sensitive to feedback about my intellectual or emotional self. My dad used to call me stupid. I know now that he loved me and had no idea how wounding that one word was to me. His parents had raised him that way, so it must be OK.

I think it's amazing the hurtful behaviors that are passed down through families. I hope as a race, we humans can evolve past that. Report
All through school I was the "too skinny girl". During that point I was 5'6" and about 95 pounds. I had strangers coming up to me on the street and asking me if I was anorexic, and how much I weighed. The problem was, it was all metabolism, I ate everything! I literally could not keep weight on. My friends would always laugh because in our group of friends I ate the most, but I found it truly offensive to be asked such personal and insensitive questions almost on a daily basis. 10 years and 40 lbs later, I finally have boobs and a butt, (which I love!) and going out in public isn't such an issue for me. I still get teased for my ability to "put it away", the metabolism's calmed down enough that no one asks me "if I'm eating" anymore. Report
When I was in junior high (not a time known for loads of self esteem) my mom walked into the kitchen, pinched my middle and said, "You're getting a little chunky, aren't you?" I was crushed. And I wasn't chunky. I was athletic, fit and very, very active. But the moment those words left her lips, I let them define my life. I have thought of myself as "a little chunky" ever since. Not fat. Not obese. Just a little chunky. It's amazing how one sentence can stick with us for years (20, in my case). Thanks for the reminder that no matter what words people use to describe us, it doesn't change who we are. We are who we are, no matter what other people think or say. Report
In elementary school, my friend had a nickname for all the kids. Mine was "fatty patty". Can you imagine that from an adult! Wonder why I never stood up straight! Thanks for the blog Report
When I was in High School I was a little overweight and my hair was frizzy. Nobody asked me out on a date so I never got to the prom. Fast forward 10 years and I had lost about 20 pounds and had a daughter and lost that weight too. I was out with Bill Medley, of the Righteous Brothers and he was singing directly to me in his car. He was doing a show with Gabe Kaplan and his buddy. Earlier we were all sitting at a table in a nightclub and I got Gabe to laugh which I thought was fantastic because he is a funny man anyhow. I felt like the queen of the night. Report
Thanks for sharing such a personal blog. I was always the "skinny" girl and there was no picnic on that side of the fence either. In fact, I was "too skinny" for most African American men and frequently was picked on and harassed. I think beauty changes based on cultural standards as well. Report
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