Celebrate Those Positive Embarrassing Moments

Recognizing People After Large Weight Loss

I’ve shared a lot of bad embarrassing moments with you over the five+ years I’ve been blogging, and believe me, I have plenty more stories where they came from. But, today, I thought I’d share an embarrassing moment that turned out to be a good one. Well, at least for me.

My morbidly obese years were spent in Florida. That’s where I grew up, went to college, and married John. We had a history there. Because of that history, we had a large circle of friends and acquaintances.  I rarely entered a store where I didn’t run into someone I knew. However, as I gained more and more weight, it stopped being nice to run into people I hadn’t seen in a while and began to feel uncomfortable. There were times that people I had known for years but had not seen for a long time did not recognize me. That was pretty embarrassing for both of us, as you can well imagine.

I imagined that they would tell friends how big I had become and ask their friends if they knew what had happened to me to make me gain over 150 pounds since my wedding day. I don’t know if they actually talked about me to other people, but I imagine it probably happened on more than one occasion.

As I started my final weight loss effort that would eventually see me losing half my body weight, it took at least 50 pounds before people began to tentatively ask me if I had lost a few pounds. I tried to stay calm and not look too excited when friends and acquaintances finally noticed that I had lost weight. I’d casually say, “Yes, I’ve lost some weight,” but in my mind I was yelling at them, “More than some. I’ve lost 50 pounds. Ten bags of flour, 200 sticks of butter!” But I just smiled serenely and we finished our conversation before going our separate ways.

As the weight came off, more and more friends started talking about my weight loss with me. I tended to downplay the whole issue and change the subject as it made me uncomfortable to have so much attention focused on my appearance, clothes, and weight! During the 14 months that it took me to lose 158 pounds, I ran into a lot of people and so most people that I knew also knew I had lost a substantial amount of weight. Eventually it became rare to run into someone who did not know know I had changed my life.

However, there was one situation when I was grocery shopping, and did run into someone who did not know I had lost weight but sure did know me. It was my husband’s cousin, whom we did not see very often.

As I rolled my grocery cart past her, she looked at me as though she kinda recognized me but wasn’t entirely certain. I said a cheery “Hi!” She looked at me a bit confused. I quickly and smoothly reintroduced myself to her and she apologized all over herself for not realizing who I was. She said, “I heard you had lost weight but had no idea how much!” I reassured her that this wasn’t the first time this had happened and not to think twice about it. She and I visited for a bit, went our own separate ways, and I was struck with the irony of the situation.

You see, when I gained 150 pounds, the exact same situation happened – only in reverse. People I had known since before I was married no longer recognized me. Then, when I lost 150 pounds, it happened again. Only that time, it was a happy moment rather than an embarrassing moment.

I offer this story as an encouragement to you. Change is very possible, and it’s not always embarrassing.

Have you had any experiences that were embarrassing at one time but changed to a positive experience as you changed your life? Diane

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Jeroen van Oostrom

5 thoughts on “Celebrate Those Positive Embarrassing Moments

  1. Mandy Cat says:

    People don’t have to lose 158 pounds to be unrecognizable. My husband and I ran into a former co-worker while out walking. “Sue” had probably lost only 30 or so pounds but she looked completely different: tanned, toned and energetic. My husband knew who she was and didn’t introduce us to each other as they chatted because he assumed I also knew. After we went on I asked who that was. “THAT WAS SUE?” I sent her an email later that day, congratulating her on how super she looked, without stressing how much more super than before. It turned out that since we had last seen her she had begun walking five+ miles a day. No wonder she looked so different!!

    • Pam says:

      I’m so glad you sent her an e-maill. You can’t imagine what it means when people tell me I look great, or even completely different (which is sort of a back-handed compliment) after my 170-lb. loss. I always make it a point to mention it, if I notice someone has lost weight, knowing how much it meant to me.

  2. Cat B says:

    Thanks, Diane- I’m still in the not recognizing myself so big phase, unfortunately, and occasionally having others I’ve not seen in a long time have the same struggle. I hope to turn that confusion around the other way!

  3. Pam says:

    I had lost over 100 pounds (from my high of 328 lbs.) before anyone noticed it. I fit into a pair of size 24 jeans I found at the Lane Bryant Outlet store. It had been 30 years since I wore jeans and when those 24’s zipped up I felt HOT. I wore then to work the next day and sure enough someone noticed. I went on to lose another 70 pounds and got down to a size 10. Today, it’s more like a 14, but I’m working on getting back into those size 10’s. As far as people recognizing me today from my high of 328, a few of those that I hadn’t seen in a long time, told me they didn’t know me. I consider that a compliment of the highest degree.

  4. Natalie says:

    Well this is age-related rather than weight, but at my father’s funeral last month there were a lot of people I hadn’t seen for 20 years. The older generation was fine, but amongst my cousins and I, you can change a lot between the ages of 20 and 40. There was a lot of lack of recognition all round. That could be kind of awkward because no-one really wants to know they look so different to when they were 20…

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