Created on: November 13, 2009 Last Updated: November 19, 2009
It is never easy being the only overweight or obese person in a group of friends or strangers. We are constantly told that society is getting fatter, and yet when you look around all you see is tall, slim, beautiful people. You look down at yourself, however, and you see a fat, frumpy, unsexy individual. You can't help but compare yourself to the people you meet, and if you are convinced that they are attractive because they are so slim, you spend your time wishing that you were too. When you lose weight, therefore, you no longer have to contend with feeling like the odd-one-out, as you have a sense of belonging. You don't stand out because of your size, which can certainly boost your confidence in social situations.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that people are prepared to pass judgement on you from your appearance. They don't even have to talk to you to start formulating their own opinions, and if you're overweight or obese, these opinions are hardly likely to be positive. In Western society, possessing a slender figure is seen as most desirable, as it represents self-control and restraint, whereas carrying too much weight seems to indicate greed and slothfulness. Consequently, being thin is perceived to be good and being fat, bad. These negative attitudes towards obesity manage to permeate people's subconscious, so that whether they mean to or not, people automatically seem to assume the worst of fat individuals.
If you're a fat person on the receiving end of other people's preconceived notions it is not a very nice place to be in, but you grow accustomed to it, since you are fed the same diet of women's magazines and television shows that tell you thin is the best way to be. You can therefore feel pressured into losing weight, as you don't want other people to think that you're lazy and spend all your spare time stuffing your face with calorific treats. Losing weight proves to other people that you are able to exercise self-restraint and that you are in control of your eating habits, rather than food having control over you.
This makes you feel good about yourself, and certainly helps when you are in social situations, since you are no longer the token fat person. You are able to fit into the same clothes as all your friends, and going shopping is no longer as embarrassing for you. You no longer feel left out and feel that you are accepted because your size is no longer a problem.
It is a shame that people have to lose weight in order to feel that they are accepted by their peers, but unfortunately it seems that in a world obsessed with skinniness this is very much the case.
Learn more about this author, Michelle Wilkinson.
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