Perception vs. Reality

22 Nov
What they see...

What they see…

One of my favorite movies from the ’90s is “Clueless.” There’s a scene where Cher is trying to calm Tai down after she spies the object of her affection dancing with another girl.

Tai:  Do you think she’s pretty?
Cher: No, she’s a full-on Monet.
Tai: What’s a Monet?
Cher: It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.

While going from one weight class to another isn’t exactly like this, there are similarities. People see you the way they want to. You can offer different perspectives, but the onus is on the observer to take that into account.

I don’t live near much of my family. The family that does live nearby, I only see every few months. (New York keeps people busy.) I also work out a lot. Like…a lot. When I began my journey toward a smaller me, I knew the outcome would surprise some people. My five-two frame held more than 170 pounds for most of my adult life. You don’t really notice the change yourself for a while. But when someone who hasn’t seen you in months tells you you’ve lost so much weight, you start to reassess your appearance.

Then comes the time when you’re literally inches from your goal weight and again see people you haven’t seen in forever. That was a bit difficult for me. I knew I’d lost a lot of weight and was nearing my goal. I knew that I wore a smaller dress size and that my face was thinner. But it was another thing to have people tell me that I need to start eating.

What they remember...

What they remember…

One family member actually asked me if I was starving myself. That hurt the most. I pride myself on having been able to do this the healthy way. I work out about four to five hours a week. I eat several small meals a day. But I don’t deny myself a good craving if the mood hits me. I love cookies and cake. My favorite snack is Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. (Seriously…I do not share these things. They’re amazing.)

It’s a slap in the face (though unintended) for people to perceive me as doing something harmful to myself because the image they have in their heads is one that doesn’t exist anymore. I’ve lost a lot of weight and managed to keep most of it off for going on five years now. That’s the reality.

Always remember that, because friends and family will always view you as the rotund person you were, no mater how many pounds you drop. I’m still coming to grips with that. I haven’t lost a great deal of weight recently—three to five pounds here and there. But after not seeing someone for a year, people seem to remember the big girl from six years ago, not her smaller version from last summer.

There are a couple ways to remedy this. Visit your friends and family more often. Keep your Facebook and Instagram pages updated on your progress so there won’t be so much sticker shock when they see you in person. Or just do what I do, and remind them that you haven’t lost that much weight since the last time they saw you.

It’s somewhat like a child growing up. You remember your nieces and nephews as babies and toddlers. Then one day you’re home for Thanksgiving and they’re asking for the keys to your car. There’s an adjustment period—for both you and your loved ones—to come to terms with the new person standing there. Just try not to bite their heads off for making off-putting comments in the guise of compliments.

5 Responses to “Perception vs. Reality”

  1. WP November 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    I totally hear where you’re coming from. Friends and family will have their misguided comments about your look–“You’re too skinny” or “You need to start eating”–But stay true to yourself and your goal. You know what’s best for you. What you are comes from how you project and think of yourself.

  2. SB November 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    I’m so proud of my girl, Cicely! Keep it up, and remember we all need haters as motivators! 🙂


  1. Competitive Nature | I'm Skinny, Now What? - October 27, 2014

    […] to be held accountable to something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish. But others notice the change before you do. When friends and family would comment on my progress, I began to see it myself. I […]

  2. My Food, My Choice | I'm Skinny, Now What? - July 31, 2014

    […] all goes back to the concept of perception versus reality. The memory of how you used to be doesn’t quite jibe with what your friends and family see […]

  3. Small Steps, Big Mountains | I'm Skinny, Now What? - February 12, 2014

    […] written before on this blog about perception vs. reality in terms of how others see you. One of the obstacles you’re going to have to overcome on your […]

Now What?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: