‘You Looked Much Better When You Were Obese’… Really?

Jodi Davis

| 4 min read

The author before her 162-pound weight loss.
Every year during the Arts, Beats and Eats festival I meet hundreds of wonderful folks who visit the Blue Care Network booth where I am located. I’m pleased that people feel comfortable enough to ask me several questions about losing weight after they view the before/after photo of myself that I display within the booth. I love to answer all questions and try to help motivate everyone I come in contact with to begin living a healthier lifestyle. I often receive comments, none of which raise an eyebrow; but this past Saturday I fielded one that raised them both!
After talking with a middle-aged man and his wife about my “secret to weight loss success” and walking, the man pointed down at my before photo and told me, “You looked much better when you were obese.”
It was the first time ever that I received that comment, and I must admit that it left me speechless. Okay, maybe not for long, because that’s almost an impossibility for ol’ Jodi, but I still didn’t give an instant reply like I normally would. It was very surprising and totally unexpected.
My first response was, “Excuse me?” He tapped my photo and repeated himself: “You looked much better… before.”

Aversion to Change?

So there I stood, wondering why in the world he would say that. I immediately went over the conversation we had just had.
His wife was overweight and she thought that they both needed to make some changes. She was very focused on every answer I gave about living a healthy lifestyle, especially when I began to focus on the amount of daily walking that I do. I noticed that her husband always had his arm around her, and he often interrupted our conversation as if he felt that he was very satisfied with the size that she was.
It was as though he was letting her know that he thought obesity was more attractive, that he didn’t want his wife to change in the way that I did. He wanted her to feel beautiful and that she should be pleased and content with her current physical size.
The author after losing weight.
I can only assume, anyways. I don’t know for sure because he never made any references like these… but in my mind it just had to be something like that. Why else would he make the comment that he did other than to help his wife feel better about her obesity?
In my before photo I am 300 pounds, morbidly obese with a big fake smile on my face. Okay, yes, obviously I’m much younger in the photo, but the man didn’t say that my wrinkles weren’t apparent, only that I looked much better when I was obese.

Appearances Can Deceive

After quickly thinking about what he had just said, I reminded him of one thing: “Sir, my body wasn’t healthier when I was morbidly obese… and that, to me, is the most important factor.”
He didn’t respond. That is the time when I gently explained why I made the lifestyle change that I did. It wasn’t only because I wanted to look better, but my main goal was to live a long and healthy life, and being morbidly obese would surely not help my chances of doing that.
His wife just looked at me and smiled, she didn’t say a word. He didn’t disagree with me, but he did walk away before his wife did.
Before she left, the woman thanked me again and took a leaflet that would allow her to stay in contact with me if she ever needed extra motivation. I thanked her, too, and told her that I knew she could make the healthy lifestyle changes she we had talked about. She laughed and said they’d be walking the rest of the day!
Her husband took her hand after she caught up with him, and I feel that he may have had to listen to a few words from his lovely wife regarding his unique comment about my appearance.
No matter — she’s ready to become healthier, and that is the most important issue to me. They’re a very attractive-looking couple now, yes. But after she convinces him to walk daily with her, they’ll soon be a healthier couple, too!

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