I’m making YOU feel bad?

“You need to stop losing weight, you’re going to shrink down into nothing.”  I  pause and look up, one hand picking out stringy broccoli from a big box, like a kid caught with his hand in the candy jar.  “You’re making me feel bad!”  (Translation:  Who do you think you are?)   I am at the farmers market, I have pms, haven’t had coffee yet, it’s 7:15 on a Saturday morning.  I scowl and return to my broccoli.  The vendor’s co-worker says to her “it’s not her responsibility to make you feel good about yourself”.  “Yeah, I know, but she’s making me feel bad!”  She then turns back to me.  “Let me guess, you obviously eat lots of fruits and veggies, exercise all the time, never eat carbs”.  I’ve been buying her broccoli, cucumbers, kale, carrots, random other stuff for about 15 years.   She doesn’t really sound like she’s joking, but I don’t let myself get snappy and reactionary when I have pms-temper.  “Of course I eat carbs.”

I pay for my broccoli, while she keeps talking.   I say something lame about how I used to eat just too much for me, especially junky stuff (like the croissants another vendor sells there, that I no longer eat, but I know she does).   This woman has diverticulitis, high blood pressure.  She wants to know how much I exercise (translation:  I’m searching for a reason why none of this would work for me).  Yes, it’s true, I’m headed to the gym after I finish shopping.

I don’t think it’s necessary to exercise as much as I do to lose weight, though it likely helps, and certainly gives me more wiggle room.  I exercised when I was much heavier, though not as intensely, as often, or as consistently.   I’ve always done errands and moved around by bike or walking, occasional bus.  I rarely drive anywhere within 6 miles.  The gym (~5 or 6 hours week across 3-4 days)  is less consistent.  I come from hyperactive stock, my parents/sister exercise more than an hour every day, always have.   The ones that aren’t joggers, swimmers, or ?? either live in NYC and walk miles daily  (and are still not thin), or are fat and diabetic.  It’s my genes, we don’t stay healthy while inactive, we’re restless and prone to depression.

What should I have said to this woman?  Should I say something to her next week?  Ignore the whole thing?  Buy someone else’s broccoli?   I’m still a bit irritated, but don’t think she’ll bring up the issue again.   Now that a few days have passed, it seems that she must have been joking with me, and I was just too humorless at that hour to appreciate it.  I think it’s still kind of rude.  It’s not like I got this as a birthday present, I’ve worked at it a long time, and it’s been effort.  Everybody wants something that requires no discipline, sacrifice, or hard work, and will allow them to still eat as much or anything as they want, with no exercise.  Sorry, I couldn’t figure that one out, when you do, I’d like to hear it.  I’ll still be exercising, regardless.

NYE - skateboarding with umbrella, cigarette

NYE - Random guy skateboarding with umbrella, cigarette

Trying to wind surfboard

Random guy trying to wind skateboard


10 Responses to “I’m making YOU feel bad?”

  1. January 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Tell her to write a blog on the Internet so she can give her stupid opinions to a wider audience 🙂

    Keep up the good work, Julie, “the higher the fewer.” lol!

  2. January 5, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    this is how they treat a regular customer? nice. not only are they clearly miserable with their own bodies, but they’re also talent-free vendors.

    you’re the customer, not them. it’s interesting that you felt YOU needed to defend yourself. i think it’s that they’re feeling so badly about themselves because they’re not eating such a healthy diet and exercising. they wanted you to show them how to be you.

    perhaps it was meant in a complimentary way? DID the first gal make her comment in a friendly, jokey way or was she snide?

    for me, my goal would be to make some peace without apologizing for myself (unless you believe it is appropriate to apologize for something.) can you find an olive branch at the farmers market?

    what is your goal? how would you like to handle it?

    i have a bit of a hard time visualizing the scenario because there is NO where i want to be at 7;30 am on a aaturday (or any day). if i had pms and was not properly caffeinated, i would say truly heinous things to anyone unfortunate enough to come into any radius of me. and the gym?

    good for you julie for taking such fine care of your body, and in a way that works for you. i admire you a lot

  3. January 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Wow, the nerve. I don’t know what I would have said in your shoes. What a crappy thing to say to someone!

    I found your blog from your comment on Diane’s blog…the title of this post caught my eye and I look forward to following your blog more.


  4. January 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I’ve had experiences with people who just say some stupid sh*t about my weight loss. I usually just ignore it because no matter how hard you try to explain to them how you lost the weight, they will just say something completely idiotic to rustle your feathers.

  5. January 6, 2010 at 1:12 am

    I don’t think she meant anything bad in what she said. In fact, my guess is that it was her humorous way of saying that she’d noticed your continuous weight loss. She probably asked about how much you exercised for the reasons you believed she did, but that’s just a sad reflection on her life. Maybe she actually can’t exercise enough to lose weight. I wouldn’t take it so personally and I’d just laugh it off and say something like, “yes, my goal is to be the envy of everyone I buy vegetables from.”

    Neighbors who never speak to me have made comments on my weight loss. I think they mean it kindly and as a way of acknowledging my achievement. They may not say it as well as they could (and it may seem rude in phrasing), but I take the spirit of what they say as a positive one. I really don’t think most people mean any harm, and that people who used to be more overweight are prone to interpreting remarks about their body negatively due to life-long conditioning.

  6. January 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    When someone throws a backhanded compliment, I still say thanks and smile. So much easier than dealing with that person’s issues. I have enough of my own.

  7. January 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Sounds like that woman was suffering from a serious case of foot-in-mouth disease!
    Maybe your reaction taught her something.

  8. January 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I agree, that’s just rude and uncalled for. You’ve worked really hard, don’t let her get you down! Hugs.

  9. January 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Honestly it sounds like she feels bad about herself, and she’s probably really triggered any time she sees someone who’s reaching goals she doesn’t think she could reach.
    BODA weight loss

  10. January 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Wow. That was . . . quite an encounter. I have two thoughts. First, if that was her clumsy attempt at humor, I’d just laugh it off, say thanks, maybe crack some joke about how I only lost weight to make others feel bad. But if she was serious, even a little bit, I think I would have given her an awkward, slightly embarrassed smile and answered, “I’m not really comfortable discussing my body. I hope you understand.” I used that one a LOT when I was very first trying to normalize my relationship with food, and it worked beautifully. The phrase “discussing my body” as opposed to “discussing my weight loss” made people just a LITTLE uncomfortable, but didn’t make me seem aggressive or angry. And they stopped talking to me about it. I’m not sure I’d have used it on someone who was actively, genuinely seeking information, but on people who were looking to make themselves feel better at my expense? You bet.

    Then again, these days I’d probably be snottier about it. I have more nerve now than I did then, though. 😉

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