That Heavy-Set Woman


The email began with, “That heavy-set woman at the counter…….”

Those words were adjunct to a customer complaint that was forwarded to me just before Christmas and one would think that I would be most upset that someone had complained about me, but no……I couldn’t get past the words, “heavy-set”.

He could have used “older woman” and I would not have been as hurt. The fact that he used the term “heavy-set” to describe me was crushing.

I put down my handful of homemade poppycock and cried (no…not really…there was no poppycock in my hand at that time, but I did cry).

The truth is that I am heavy-set and for the first time in my life I am looking in the mirror and seeing a fat girl…..a really fat girl.

I have been seeing the numbers on the scale raise consistently year after year, but it wasn’t until very recently that I actually saw a fat person in the mirror; that I could not dip and twist my head so that my double chin disappeared.

That is what people see when they look at me.

A fat, middle-aged woman.

For the first time in my life I am too embarrassed to go to the gym because I hate the way I look and I don’t want others to look at me with pity (or horror).

I know I am fat and I know how I look, but honestly, there is so much more to me than my weight. Can’t you see?

Being “heavy-set” doesn’t mean that I am not smart or funny or capable. It also doesn’t mean that I am suddenly stupid and do not know that I have changed since you last saw me.

That surprised look on your face that flickers past before you say, “Oh….I almost didn’t recognize you” is hurtful because I know I have changed.

And I am trying to do something about it….

When I was 14 I lost an incredible amount of weight, to the point where I could best be described as anorexic. That same thing happened in my 30’s when I allowed my weight loss to get out of control and my husband begged me to begin eating properly again.

The twisted part of my brain longs for that mindset to manifest itself once more….isn’t that crazy? Wishing for an eating disorder to magically come along?

Being overweight is an eating disorder too… that can be as devastating.

Am I fat enough to be diagnosed with an eating disorder?

I go to bed at night knowing that the slate is wiped clean, the clock has reset and all it takes is one day after another of clean eating to get me on my way. I don’t want to do it with pills or potions, I want to lose weight the same way that I gained it – through eating and exercise.

It takes time and you won’t see the results immediately. In fact, you won’t see the results of my hard work until about a month or two passes. In the meantime I see every side eye and double take and it it so demotivating for me. You don’t know that I just had two wonderful days IN A ROW that I refrained from eating sugar and I LOVE SUGAR. You don’t know that I walked for 20 minutes this morning and seemed to finally be hitting my stride.

You don’t know. Remember that.

6 thoughts on “That Heavy-Set Woman

  • Feeling the same way about myself these days Judy. And while I’m working on it, I need to remind myself often, that weight is the least of the things that define me or you. Doesn’t stop it from stinging sometimes though 😦


  • Every time I see you I don’t notice anything but beautiful smile and the way you remember my grandchildren . I think that we as women have turned against ourselves! Be kind to that image in the mirror .


    • Thank you Linda, I really appreciate that. It can be difficult combining aging with a changing shape and then when you have a comment like that it automatically takes me to a place of extreme insecurity. I will try to remember your words and be a little kinder to my image. 🙂



  • Wow..I am very surprised that u feel this way about yourself. Take it from me.. I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life. times I feel FAT, however never to the point where I feel embarrassed. I OWN this body. It is truly mine. I know who I am and the values that are important to me like kindness.. Generosity..empathy … Are within me no matter what size I am. I CAN SEE YOU. That beautiful smile and contagious laugh. Your kind green eyes and compassion for others. So please stop believing we see you any other way. You need to see yourself and move past the weight. ❤️


    • Thanks Pamela – I think that I received the comment during a time where I was feeling extremely vulnerable and self conscious. I am not saying that I feel differently today, because I still do feel that way: self conscious, awkward, embarrassed, judged…..etc. Like you, I value kindness, generosity and empathy, but sometimes I feel like no one can see that because they are too preoccupied with how we look. It has been a weird month for me….



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