Acceptance

Everyone wants to be accepted. Everyone wants to be accepted by their friends, family, schoolmates, co-workers and society in general. Being accepted is a tough thing to do because of the number of elements that you are constantly judged by: weight, looks, personality, hair color, skin color, what you wear…the list is endless. No one should ever be rejected based on any of these, especially based on weight. Being accepted by family usually isn’t an issue when you’re overweight, although I’ve read stories of people being rejected by their families due to their weight, which is very sad to me. However, being accepted by friends, co-workers and society in general is tough when you are overweight. People look at you and treat you differently when you are overweight. There are looks, stares, comments, eye rolling and avoidance when they see an overweight person approaching.

When I talk to people about weight loss, I always like to ask why do they want to lose weight. The answer I get varies by age group, but is almost universal within an age group. People who are 30 years old and older, almost always respond that they want to lose weight to be healthy, live longer for their family and improve the quality of life. About 90% of the time, people under 30 respond by saying that they want to look good at the pool and to fit in.*

We all want to fit in, but it makes me a bit sad that people feel like they have to lose weight to fit in. It makes me sad and a little ashamed that I live in a society where people are judge on how much they weigh instead of who they are. Me being overweight does not define me. Not being able to fit into a booth at a restaurant does not define me. Conversely, when someone does not accept someone else because that person is overweight, that defines them as having shallow/poor character. I’m happy not to be accepted by a person like that. Would like to stay as far away from that person as possible. There is a paradox that happens, which is a laughable situation. There are people that I work with or am in the same social circle with that never game me the time of day when I was overweight are now more than willing to offer their support and kind words in regards to my weight loss. I cordially accept their compliments but they really don’t mean much to me. Why couldn’t they have offered support and encouragement when I was overweight? They barely spoke two words to me then, why do I care what they have to say now?

I used to strive for acceptance. I spent quite a bit of time, energy and emotion on trying to be accepted. Magically that changed when I starting to lose weight for, what I consider, the right reasons. I wasn’t trying to lose weight to look good at the pool or to be accepted by people. I started losing weight to get healthy and to live a full life with my wife and son. They were there for me when I was overweight, they accepted me unconditionally.  I spent too much time trying to be accepted by people that didn’t care about me, when I have a large group of people that care for me and have already accepted me. I lose weight for me and I lose weight for them. I don’t lose weight for others.

Feels good to put that in writing and get it off my chest. If you’ve been there for me regardless of my weight, I love you and appreciate you.

*Not a scientific study or poll. Just me chatting with people and making an observation.

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