Among things I had never expected to ever hear or experience are the things I hear my friends say. Here are some examples:
- You look so good!
- You are so small!
- You walk fast!
- Slow down, we can’t keep up with you! (OMG! I never expected to hear those words.)
- You are amazing!
I just talked to a friend of mine on the phone. She was in the car with her in-laws driving back to DC and she told me she just finished telling them how she cannot keep up with me anymore when we walk. This is really a surprise to me. I know I am walking better, farther, faster than I used to. But I am short. I am 5’1″ and I have a 28-inch inseam. Short, short legs. I have taller friends who have to seriously slow down their walking so that I can keep up with them otherwise, I would have to run to do so. So to hear that I have friends who have trouble keeping up with my walking, I find that to be shocking.
Another unintended consequence is the idea that I have friends, co-workers, and other people in my life who did not know me as a fat girl. Their reaction to the idea that I used to weigh 300 pounds is funny to me. I changed jobs in February. My boss knew that I had lost weight as I discussed it in my interview. At that time, I had lost about 90 pounds. I have lost 31 pounds since then. So, I’m even smaller. But I have other co-workers and colleagues who have only known me during that 31-pound weight loss window. Some of them have noticed that I’ve lost weight since then and others have not. Or at least, if they have, they haven’t said anything.
I recently shared my blog with my boss and she saw pictures of what I looked like when I weighed over 300 pounds. I had told her that I’ve lost 121 pounds, but she still could not really fathom what that looked like. Her reaction to seeing that picture was stunning. “Oh my God, Colleen! I can’t believe you ever looked like that!” Yeah, me either.
At a recent writer’s group meeting I had an interesting experience as well. The meeting was in my neighborhood. I walked to the meeting, stopped at Caribou to get some iced tea, and then walked over to the library where the meeting was being held. After the meeting, we went to a local restaurant for dinner where I noticed that I no longer had my debit card.
I hurried back over to the coffee shop to see if anyone there found it. I went back to the restaurant and one of my friends suggested that I go back over to the library, which was about to close. I raced over there just in time and bingo! Someone had found my debit card, which I had dropped in the courtyard, and turned it in. I then went back over to the restaurant, where everyone cheered for my success.
Then my friend turned to me and said, “Aren’t you glad you are healthy enough now and your weight is not such an impediment that you are able to run over there so quickly?” Or something like that. She was clearly celebrating the change in my health since my weight loss.
There was a new member of the group who was unfamiliar with my personal story. He looked absolutely horrified that she would say something that he thought was so clearly offensive. I noticed his look and turned to him and said, “I had gastric by-pass surgery. I used to weigh 300 pounds and had a lot of health problems and great difficulty walking. I also write a blog where I openly discuss these problems on a regular basis. She’s actually cheering on my success in how I’ve changed my life.”
The look on his face changed to relief and understanding as he comprehended the context of her comment and then changed again to shock, which said he couldn’t believe that I actually used to weigh nearly 300 pounds. “Wow!” Was pretty much all he said.
I never expected that I would have to explain to people, “Yeah, I used to be really, really fat.” Nor did I ever expect that I would be able to outpace my friends with my walking. I think this is a great position to be in.
Here are some new pics of me that I took today. Now I’m off to the gym.