Mean Things People Say

I hope you’ve never experienced this, but some of the worst comments I ever got with regards to my weight came from people I knew fairly well. Here are my “favorite” memories.

  • “Diane, you have such a pretty face.”
  • “It’s such a shame what has happened to you.”
  • “We’ve never had overweight people in the family before.”
  • “I wonder why you are so fat”
  • “You don’t seem to eat that much”
  • “What size pants are those?”
  • “Are you going to have surgery for your weight problem?”
  • “I wonder if a counselor would help you get your weight under control?”

These comments weren’t made behind my back, but rather to my face. Each time the mean comments were spoken I felt like I had been slapped across the face. Maybe it was being raised in the South, or perhaps it was just my natural inclination to avoid conflict, but I felt unable to stand up for myself, or come back with a snappy comment. Later I would imagine all the things I could have said to put them in their place, such as: “Oh yes, you have a pretty face too.” Or, in response to “We’ve never had overweight people in the family before,” I could have retorted with, “Yes, well I’m adopted so how would you know?”

I never could manage to say anything to these comments other than mumble a few meaningless phrases. Later, as I was pouring my frustration into a huge bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream,  I’d ponder what they said, and try and examine their motives for being so mean and hateful. The fact that these comments came from people I knew made it much worse. These people were friends, and in some cases, family. What was it about my weight that made them feel they had the right to be so critical? I never knew for sure.

Now, twelve years later, I still think about those mean comments sometimes. I wonder if I portrayed an attitude that made people feel they had the right to criticize me. I did feel defeated, and my self esteem was low. Looking back, I wish I had possessed more self confidence.

If you’ve ever experienced this, how do you handle snide comments that are made by friends and family? Do you run to food for comfort, or do you resolve to “show them.” I wish I had had more of the “show them” mentality rather than the run to food mentality. I hope this has never happened to you, but if it has, then use it as an opportunity to “show them” and at the same time prove to yourself that you are worth the effort it takes to lose weight and get healthy.  Diane

33 thoughts on “Mean Things People Say

  1. Beatrice says:

    I’ve never had people say those kinds of things to my face, but I can still tell that people are thinking about me in a mean way by how they look at me. You are very honest.

  2. Kathy says:

    One of the worst things was when my Mother said, “Kath, if you wouldn’t eat cookies like you’ll never see them again then your behind wouldn’t be so large.” I showed her because I gained more weight after that. Now I’m trying hard to get healthy again.

    • Diane says:

      @ Beatrice – Sometimes the looks are as bad as the comments. I always hated the disappointment I saw on my friend’s faces.

      @ Kathy – That’s terrible! I always hope that they don’t really mean to say such terrible things. Good for you on getting healthy for yourself!

  3. South Beach Steve says:

    Diane, I think we all hear comments like this. To me, it is a combination of a few things. First, it is our bad self-image that invites the comments. Second, It is people who need some real people-skill training. Third, it is people who probably don’t mean to be hurtful, but really want to help. Nonetheless, it doesn’t help, that is for sure.

  4. Pam says:

    Oh yes…the pretty face one a lot.

    Every time I saw my paternal grandparents as a teenager, I heard two questions. One was whether or not I had a boyfriend, the other was when was I going on a diet. When my response was to not eat much while we were there (not to mention my grandma was not the best cook in the world) I always heard “I don’t know how you are so big if that is all you eat!”

    As as adult, I ignored them, although they still bruise my ego and flushed my self esteem down the toilet.

    I will be glad when I no longer have to look at a curious comment and wonder if it was a backhanded remark about my weight.

    • Diane says:

      Pam – I hate that for you! I did the same thing by not eating too much in front of other people. I’ll be glad too when you can just take a comment as a comment, and nothing more!

  5. Jody - Fit at 51 says:

    I was at my heaviest when I was younger so kids in school can be very mean & that is where I got most of mine… it certainly leaves its mark, mentally! My whole family was heavy so nothing was really said in family situations. The hard stuff was in school…..

    But as you said at the end.. NOW, if a boss or a person makes me angry about something, I always tell myself, don’t let that person make you go eat crap & I know that I will not even taste it cause I am so mad or angry or hurt. I tell myself I am better than that person & they are not going to ruin my hard work! If I want to eat a treat, I will eat it on my own terms!

  6. Leah says:

    I can’t imagine saying things like that to anyone. Very sad.

    Thankfully, I have few memories of anyone making comments about my weight to my face. I battled the fear of rejection enough without hearing lots of comments like that. God continues to work in my life in that area and He’s brought me a long way.

    • Diane says:

      Leah – Thank you for your honesty. I too had a fear of rejection, probably from my being adopted. God can heal a lot of hurts.

  7. Linda says:

    Last night my dad asked me if I was pregnant. I am 43 with a 21 year old and 17 year old. Of course, I burst into tears. In my mind I am moving and have the energy to get there -but I don’t. I want to run! I want to bike! But I don’t. Why can’t I get moving!?!

    • Diane says:

      Linda – That’s terrible! I’m so sorry. It’s hard sometimes to get going, but maybe you can just pick one thing at a time to work on. It can be overwhelming to try to “fix” everything at once. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Felicia says:

    Yup heard all these and more. Worse though I think was when I finally hit a weight so high that they would just say nothing to me at all. There was the finger pointing. The scoffs, the OMG’s! yup been there, heard that…

    One of the things I noticed after losing all my weight was one day I was walking through Walmart and noticed that 90% of the people that were morbidly obese had all the same looks on their face. Anger, misery, DON’T LOOK AT ME DON’T TALK TO ME, looks.. I thought to myself at that moment that I have to wonder if people treated me the way they did because I most likely had the same look on MY face back then. Maybe lol just maybe I brought on the comments I most didnt want to hear in some way.

    Of course people treat me differently now I whole heartedly believe because I am thinner but I also believe its because I walk into the stores now with a smile on my face and a helloooo in my voice…

    Do I think we as super morbidly obese people can change the treatment by simply changing the look on our face? No there will always be “those people who have to be mean” but you have to wonder if we didn’t exude misery maybe we wouldn’t have attracted so much “advice”.


    • Diane says:

      Felicia – I don’t know about being able to change treatment for obese people just by changing the looks on our faces, but I do know that if I had had more confidence in myself when I was obese, I would have been able to handle those situations more appropriately.

      You had some really good points. I looked at your weight loss journey – very poignant, and well written!

  9. Jack Sh*t says:

    My experience is that people don’t talk about it when I’m gaining weight. They’ll compliment and comment when the weight’s coming off, but they’ll let me gain in stony silence. I almost wish they would say something mean, just to shock me into getting my act together.

    • Diane says:

      Jack – People are funny aren’t they? People would always ask me how the diet was going, knowing full well I had already quit, and gained back whatever I had lost.

      Well, you are getting your act together now! Impressive progress on your part, I must say.

  10. Hanlie says:

    I had a friend who would tell me, in front of a whole lot of people, to pull in my stomach. Needless to say, he’s not my friend anymore. I don’t need that kind of treatment from my friends!

    It’s harder to avoid the family, who may ask “Should you be eating that” or “Why are you going for a second helping? You’ll never get thin!”. And I’m not referring to my childhood now – these happened recently! My response to this is to rather eat at home and visit family outside of meal times!

    • Diane says:

      Hanlie – That’s terrible about your former friend. The family thing is hard. You hope they have your best interest at heart, but then can’t believe they don’t “get” how hard it is to get healthy.

      Thanks for the comment.

  11. Sandi says:

    This past week I was waiting at a deli for my order and a little girl behind me (in a cart with her mom pushing her) said, “mommy, look at the fat lady.” I know I am overweight but I almost burst into tears. Here was a 5 y/o commenting on my weight. This encounter devastated me. I walked through the store hoping noone would “see” me. It’s true I guess but it hurts so much. But it just makes me sadder and more unhappy. It doesn’t motivate me. That’s depressing.

    • Diane says:

      Sandi – How awful for you. That happened t me so many times I couldn’t even count them. To be honest with you, the comments didn’t motivate me either, they did just the opposite. Thanks for coming by!

  12. Janilou says:

    I don’t think people realise how hurtful words and comments like this can be. I’ve suffered through my fair share of them over the years. I think the worst one ever was when my mother was crying one day, and said, “Why can’t I have pretty daughters like my friends do?” 🙁


    • Diane says:

      Janilou – You are right, and I can’t believe what you overheard your mother say. How terrible for you. I looked at your website – very inspirational stories. You write very well!

  13. Cyndi says:

    My aunt is my primary critiquer in my family. She once told me to my face that my boyfriend of (currently) 9 years would like me better if I lost weight. She had met him a grand total of zero times when she stated this. Since my boyfriend and I have been together, my weight has fluctuated from 175 to 243. I’m currently 211 and losing. Never once has he treated me any differently. I wish I’d had some snappy comeback to my aunt’s remark, but I take comfort in knowing she’s absolutely full of sh*t 🙂

  14. Nancy B. Kennedy says:

    When I was in my 20s, I was in my best friend’s wedding. This was a Princeton wedding, mind you, at the University Chapel with a reception at the country club. So… the stakes were high. During the rehearsal, my friend turned to me and said, “Remember to stand with your feet together for the picture taking. Heavy women tend to stand with their legs apart.” It’s 25 years later and you bet I remember that comment to the last word.
    .-= Nancy B. Kennedy´s last blog ..Christina Chapan: In it for life =-.

  15. Stephanie says:

    I can feel the pain, embarassment, and humiliation you must have experience when people said those things to you. Just this June, my kids and I traveled half-way across country to see my family. My grandmother watched me pick up my 15 month-old son and then him naturally spread his legs to allow for my hip. To this she said, “Wow, that’s an awfully big stretch for him.” She immediately apologized when we heard what she was saying, but I’ve gotten it ever since I started gaining weight.
    I missed out on so much in high school because of similar comments you received. I don’t recall ever getting them from my classmates, but I felt badly about myself, so I thought they were all at least THINKING them.

  16. Nancy B. Kennedy says:

    Stephanie… there’s something about getting older. My mother and my husband’s mother say the most shocking things now! (Recently, we drove into the parking lot of the library as an African-American family was getting into their car. My mother said, “I guess we’re not the right color to go to this library.” I was stunned!) It’s hard to let the comments go. They almost take my breath away. I hope I can retain some inner controls as I age!
    .-= Nancy B. Kennedy´s last blog ..Politics, religion and the Atkins diet =-.

  17. Marissa says:

    I am so sorry all those things happened to you guys. My heart goes out to all of you and your courage. I am 13 and I weigh 110! Although I don’t neccesarily look fat and people don’t call me fat I still feel big. I dont even know why. I have to wear junior pants and roll the up because kids pants don’t fit me. I hate shopping for pants because I just feel plain old big. Does anyone know if I truly am fat? And please tell me the truth!

  18. Nancy B. Kennedy says:

    Marissa, You are 13 and at the start of your life. I want you to enjoy it! I don’t know what you look like or how tall you are, but 110 doesn’t sound like all that much (my 10-year-old is about 80 pounds). See what your doctor says… or ask your gym or health teacher for an evaluation. Isn’t 13 about the age when you wear junior sizes anyway? I hate shopping for pants, too. But it may just be your body shape, not your weight, that troubles you. I’ll always have thunder thighs, even at size 10.

    Jenny, come on over to my website. I’m telling the stories of 30 people who lost weight and how they did it. I want people to know that it can be done, and that many people have succeeded. Find something that looks doable to you, then start in. You’re 26 and have a lot of life ahead! Do you know what I would give to have lost my weight in my 20s?!?

    (Sorry, Diane. I don’t mean to hijack your soap box. These two replies just spoke to my heart.)

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