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I posted a thread a few days ago about grocery shopping but things other than food are on my mind. I had a response to a couple in the store that surprised me and made me feel bad about myself for a moment.

I saw a couple shopping. She was in a motorized cart while he was pushing a regular grocery cart. Both were sweating profusely. The woman looked like she might be close to 400lbs and the man was much larger. (Keep in mind I used to weigh almost 450lbs myself.) He was the one I reacted to. I passed him in the aisle, he was struggling to walk. He was clearly in pain and he smelled bad. The smell took over that whole section of the store. I noted people recoiling and walking in the opposite direction when they got close enough to smell - which wasn't very close. Most showed no outward reaction but a few were muttering. One shopper called him an "Obeast".

I found myself agreeing with the people who were acting a little rude. I mean, their carts were FULL of every high fat, high calorie, high carb, deep fried or frosted thing you can think of. I started to recoil and thought to take another route through the store before I realized this was hypocritical and just ugly of me.

I don't think I ever let myself smell bad but other than that, I WAS one of them for a long time and it wasn't very long ago. I understand this addiction. I understand having given up on yourself. I understand being taken over by something you need help taking yourself back from.

I believe this is what happens to pain that can't be processed in some people (it's too big maybe, or it doesn't stop). Addiction always looks to me like pain filling the place where love was meant to go. It hurts, can't be tolerated and whatever we're using hurts less or becomes so necessary that we're just lost and can't find our way out. (Not everyone who needs WLS is going to relate to this but I hope many will.)

Coming from where I started and also having a degree that should sensitize me to human behavior, prejudices, etc. didn't help. Most people in my life describe me as the consummate mommy. I don't treat people in ways that make them feel bad about themselves, ever. With my history, with my education, my usual treatment of everyone I cross paths with; my first reaction was still disgust and judgment. It didn't last and I most certainly didn't act on it but I'm still a little upset with myself - not even sure why. Maybe they scared me. I know I can return to that path any time I start letting myself think the wrong thoughts or lose sight of how powerfully I was held in the grip of an addiction that called the shots in my life for many years.

I feel bad because my reasoned response was understanding, compassion, well-wishing, kind thoughts. My initial reaction was the same ugliness as everyone else around them.

I suppose I'm starting this thread because I hope we can just talk about it. I'm curious how other people who've had struggles with weight feel and react to such things.

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For me my first reaction is sadness. I feel bad for the individual(s). I also wonder if people are in my grocery cart judging me. I actually have always shopped healthy especially since having children as I don't want them to suffer with weight issues. I always wonder at what point a person decides enough is enough.

Edit to add: I could always be bigger, so I try not to past judgement.

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I found myself full of hatred for people I saw who were struggling with obesity. It made me feel awful for many of the same reasons the OP noted. It was my therapist who said that i was likely taking my own self hatred for my former fat self and transferring onto those who reminded me of when I too was obese.

I think she was right, and I've gotten better about it. I also know that I often felt that i was being judged for everything I put in my cart, in my mouth, etc. These days I am all too aware that if I'm eating ice cream out on the street, no one will look twice. I used to feel that all eyes were on me if I'd do that as an obese person. It's why I ate in secret at home behind closed doors.

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Interesting post. I have experienced this as well, and I think @@gowalking's mention was accurate. I think it's directed at myself!

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I found myself full of hatred for people I saw who were struggling with obesity. It made me feel awful for many of the same reasons the OP noted. It was my therapist who said that i was likely taking my own self hatred for my former fat self and transferring onto those who reminded me of when I too was obese.

I think she was right, and I've gotten better about it. I also know that I often felt that i was being judged for everything I put in my cart, in my mouth, etc. These days I am all too aware that if I'm eating ice cream out on the street, no one will look twice. I used to feel that all eyes were on me if I'd do that as an obese person. It's why I ate in secret at home behind closed doors.

This is so true! No one judges what a thin or even average weight person buys in the grocery store or what they eat. I was chatting with a woman in the store the other day as we were reading labels on an item. We were bemoaning the number of calories and sugar grams and looking at the serving size when she says to me "not that YOU have to worry about that". Hit me like a ton of bricks! Say what???

Yea it's exactly why I used to eat in secret. And when I'd make a drive through visit I'd order two DIET sodas (ha ha) so the cashier would think I was taking home the food to share!

I find myself wanting to share the "good news" of WLS and proselytize, but that's being judgmental too.

It's an interesting eye opening change of perspective!

I found myself full of hatred for people I saw who were struggling with obesity. It made me feel awful for many of the same reasons the OP noted. It was my therapist who said that i was likely taking my own self hatred for my former fat self and transferring onto those who reminded me of when I too was obese.

I think she was right, and I've gotten better about it. I also know that I often felt that i was being judged for everything I put in my cart, in my mouth, etc. These days I am all too aware that if I'm eating ice cream out on the street, no one will look twice. I used to feel that all eyes were on me if I'd do that as an obese person. It's why I ate in secret at home behind closed doors.

This is so true! No one judges what a thin or even average weight person buys in the grocery store or what they eat. I was chatting with a woman in the store the other day as we were reading labels on an item. We were bemoaning the number of calories and sugar grams and looking at the serving size when she says to me "not that YOU have to worry about that". Hit me like a ton of bricks! Say what???

Yea it's exactly why I used to eat in secret. And when I'd make a drive through visit I'd order two DIET sodas (ha ha) so the cashier would think I was taking home the food to share!

I find myself wanting to share the "good news" of WLS and proselytize, but that's being judgmental too.

It's an interesting eye opening change of perspective!

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I'm glad you posted this. I've seen some mean posts and I've thought to myself, "I hope I never lose my sympathy and compassion" for those who struggle because I'm still one of them (1 month post op!).

Of course the initial reaction is recoil (you're human!) but to have enough self awareness to then be empathetic says a lot.❤️ They're struggling and I'm sure they see people and their reaction and feel badly. Breaks my heart.

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I have not had surgery yet. I know we all know the feeling of being judged. I have been super careful about what goes in my cart these past few months. I was in Wal-Mart yesterday and talking to my friend who is also my new gym buddy about the frozen veggies and rice.

We were discussing sodium counts and how we want to be able to add our own seasonings. As I was telling her at my grocery store, they have no salt added canned veggies and that most things I do for shakes, I use fresh and into the Ninja.

I then hear someone say, "OMG, thank you!" She goes onto how she came into the aisle for ice cream and our convo made her change her mind. She was then seeking frozen yogurt and I explained to her how she could do this herself and save some money.

I didn't feel like I should have been thanked. But I was glad to be a helpful hand for someone not even noticing I was. With that said, we are being judged constantly whether good or bad. And it's completely normal to have an initial reaction but some times it truly is because of us seeing ourselves and our struggles in that person.

Edited by justme29

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This was a great post. Sadly most of society is naturally and initially judgemental :(

I still assume that whenever I go out to eat, or go shopping at the grocery store, or eat in front of others that I think that they are thinking "she shouldn't be buying that or eating that" I feel guilty.

I have also ate in private for fear of what others may say or think!

Why do I care about what others say or think? Because those things can be hurtful, although yes... I shouldn't be buying that or eating that. I am hoping over time, my self confidence will improve. I will always empathize naturally because I am a nurse and genuinely care about others.

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@

It's been an interesting evolution of thought for me. I started out feeling camaraderie with those who carry 200 or more extra pounds. Over time, as I figured out what worked for me, I sort of felt a little smug and self-righteous. A lot of time in therapy has helped me work out a lot of that negativity and false ego. Now I want to see everyone who struggles as human beings in need of compassion and empathy. I worry about the "Forgetter" starting to malfunction and making me forget the wrong things. I've been trying to teach it to forget things like other people's flaws, what I wanted to complain about, gossip... I worry instead it might make me forget what's waiting for me if I ever act on the desire to hide my feelings in food. I can see that happening when I lose the recognition that a human being should be treated like a human being, period.

Edited by Folly

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@@Folly, I just want to say you seem like an incredibly compassionate person and you shouldn't feel bad about yourself.

I completely agree with the transfer explanation. I have also found it hard in my life not to judge people who were overweight, despite being one of them myself. I suppose as long as you can't accept yourself for some reason, you will struggle the same way with other people who share that thing with you. I've always had a problem with men who liked me, because I couldn't understand why would they find me attractive. Surprisingly, the fact they liked me usually made me think less of them - as if something was wrong with them. I suppose It's a similar mechanism.

Now, this may not apply to your situation, since we are all different.

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When you undergo a major life change, it has an ability to sharpen your focus. When my wife became pregnant, whenever we went shopping we would see every pregnant woman in the store. When she had our first child, we would notice every newborn. When I had my RNY operation and lost weight, we would notice every overweight person we came across. And there are a vast quantity of overweight people today. This never became obvious until after the surgery.

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I am finding this thread very interesting and thought provoking. Thank you for starting it Folly and thank you to all that are adding your insights.

I think sadness would have been my first reaction to that couple. Firstly sad for the man who is probably finding bathing a difficult chore at this point. Then sad that they are losing their lives and their health to what is in that cart.

I only had my surgery 7 weeks ago and am at the begining of my new life and weight loss. I am so very grateful that even as a self pay that I was able to have this chance at new life. So many overweight people will never have that option.

Wondering what my mental response to severely overweight people will be in time.

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@@Mountaingal

As you go through this process please share these things with others. If your experience is similar to others I have talked to, it will be a shifting thing.

(congrats on making progress :-) )

Edited by Folly

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@@Folly - Don't feel bad for noticing. The reality is that we are bombarded with information. We get more info in the Sunday newspaper than our ancestors got in a year 150 years ago, and don't even think about what the internet had done to the information explosion. So we ignore most things until we become aware of them. For instance, I bought a Lexus. Now I see them everywhere. Was there a sudden buying binge of Lexus's? NO. I just started noticing them. Same with people who are in the same boat that you were in. I'm glad you are not judgmental, and your attitude is one of compassion, but the fact you were aware of it just means your RAS is working well:

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The video was an awesome explanation of the process that takes us to "All or Nothing" thinking. Very, very good info. Thank you for sharing it OKCPirate. :-)

Edited by Folly

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