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Walk and Talk

Anyone taking bets on how many trail walks it would take before someone made a comment to me – the answer is four. Collect your winnings at the window. Fortunately, the comment was positive, or at least meant to be positive if somewhat patronizing by implication.

I was about 3/4 of the way done with my walk, crossing at the one crosswalk on the route, when a guy jogged past me and said, “It’s kind of a hot day for it, but you’re doing good.” Or something vaguely like that. I didn’t have my stenographer’s pad with me and I don’t know shorthand anyway.

Positive: Someone was commending me for the effort I put forth in exercising and seemed impressed/inspired by it.

Negative: Why is that so inspiring? Dude was not commending everyone he ran past on the path. Just because I’m fat does not mean I need to be treated like a special needs child. Hell, even special needs children probably don’t need to be treated like special needs children.

Just Weird: It really wasn’t that hot. Maybe 78 degrees and the path is mostly shaded. I hope the man never moves to Texas because he’d probably melt into a puddle by mid-July.

Conclusion: Either way, I decided to take it as a compliment and was grateful he wasn’t saying something like “Move over, fatty!”

Tangent: Do you ever wonder if you’ve made a guest appearance on someone’s blog and never known about it? The running man here has no idea he just got 5 seconds of fame on my blog and probably never will. It’s like wondering if I’ve ever been one of those headless fat people they show on TV news stories about obesity.

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big momma • June 26, 2006 at 11:50 am

I got one of those over the weekend … they didn’t make the cut to my blog though :) Have a great day and keep up the awesome work!


Kate P. • June 26, 2006 at 12:21 pm

Sorry this is a bit off topic. I don’t know if you had a blog on this before, but I was wondering. Did you come to a point where you weren’t losing weight but you were losing inches? I’ve been dieting and exercising for the past three months and my weight has gone down a couple of pounds, nothing significant, but I have managed to lose inches. My tops went down two sizes and my bottom went down one size. Can you please shed some light on what the heck is going on?

By the way…keep up the great work!


BeagleBeagleChai • June 26, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Hey I once got a “you’re too fat for that bike”.:) I just took it as a complement.

But seriously, I think maybe he was hitting on you. It sounded to me like he was at least trying to be nice and perhaps friendly. I think you forget that you’re approaching a weight (and let’s not forget, a shape) where many men are more likely to hit on you than to patronize you.


PastaQueen • June 26, 2006 at 12:29 pm

Kate – If you’re exercising, you’re probably gaining muscles which is denser and more compact than fat. When you lose fat but at the same time are gaining muscle, your weight will stabilize or possibly even go up while you are still getting smaller. Which is why the scale is not God and it’s good to celebrate non-scale victories like measurement changes, so good for you!

BeagleBeagleChai – I had not even considered he might be hitting on me, but I suppose it is a possibility. I think my weight has made me invisible to the opposite sex for so long that I will not be able to recognize a pick-up attempt even if someone lifts me right off the ground :)


kalyn • June 26, 2006 at 12:32 pm

I see someone already said what I was going to say, but I agree, I think it was an attempt at flirting. Believe me, men probably don’t go out of their way to encourage women to exercise, it just wouldn’t occur to them. If a man says something like that to you in that kind of setting, my bet is that it was flirting. And no surprise, I think you’re looking great.


Eh... not so much • June 26, 2006 at 1:22 pm

On a different tangent, how DO they get all that film of obese people walking around? Do they just send an intern out with instructions to point a camera at a street corner and “don’t be too obvious” about it? Because the bodies don’t have heads, is it OK to show that film without them signing a release?

The things I ponder during my lunch break…



Marla • June 26, 2006 at 4:30 pm

An alternate (but not incompatible) theory is that he was once fat himself, and likes to encourage anyone he sees making an effort, because he remembers how much such encouragement would have meant to him.

…AND he was hitting on you. I mean, duh.


Rita • June 26, 2006 at 5:49 pm

I’ve had this happen to me. The comment may have nothing to do with your size but rather that he noticed you were new and have started some consistency. I am quite large and walk extremely slowly. I had runners whipping by me. After several days of consistently showing up, they started to smile (going the opposite direction). After two weeks, they started to say “good morning.” And, maybe he was flirting.


julia • June 26, 2006 at 5:51 pm

As a fellow runner, I only “talk” to people on trails or in my path that look nice and I think they might acknowledge me too. In any case I do try and say at least “hi” to anyone that crosses my path or that I pass.

Having said this, get over this “I’m fat” mental place you’re at. He probably wasn’t even thinking or looking at you like that. Probably just trying to be nice – to another person he thought looked nice.


kathryn • June 26, 2006 at 6:04 pm

I hate it when people are condescending. When I used to sport at school, the teacher would take me aside and tell me how great it was that I made an effort. It would shit me so much, I’d wag for the rest of the year.

Was he cute?


Mary • June 26, 2006 at 6:13 pm

I would just take it as a compliment. That you were out excercising. Not that you were overweight or anything else negative. I think he was just trying to be nice and probably said something to a lot of people along the way. I would just take the positive and not read into anything else. Maybe he thought you were cute and was trying to make conversation. =)


Mark • June 26, 2006 at 6:35 pm

Of course I wasn’t there, but I go with Mary. Don’t read too much into it. He was just being friendly, or maybe making a pass at you.


PastaQueen • June 26, 2006 at 8:33 pm

So if he was hitting on me, does that make it a hit and run? :) Sadly, I wouldn’t be able to pick this guy out of a line-up. I think he was in his 30’s, moderately attractive, but he whizzed by so fast I barely got a look.

julia – Actually, lately I feel like I look pretty bitchin’, so no worries about an “I’m fat” mental place. But if we’re being honest, I am in the top 10% of fattest people using that trail. So it’s not impossible that other people still think I’m huge even though I think I look great.


Julia • June 27, 2006 at 1:08 am

Okay, but then getting to your post from a few days ago, people that are out exercising are usually not at all thinking or looking at you – even though you’re the biggest out there. Honestly, when I’m out running all I’m thinking about is ME: what I need to make for dinner, my kids, my day, me, me, me! Sounds self centered, but its’ the truth. I’m positive that if I saw you out walking or running all I would think would be “good for her for getting out and exercising”.


K • June 27, 2006 at 4:36 am

78 degrees is hot in my book.

I never know how to react to the (very rare) things people say to me at the gym, either. I suppose there must be people who recognise me as a regular – after all, I recognise other regulars – but I always assume I’m invisible.


Ms X • June 27, 2006 at 6:57 am

LOL! I DO worry about being one of those headless fat people on the news. Every time I see a shot like that, I examine the bodies closely, in case it’s me. Once again you’ve got me rolling in laughter here. :-)


Debbi • June 27, 2006 at 8:12 am

I wrote recently about talking to someone on the fitness trail near my daughter’s home. I wanted to be encouraging, I’d seen him the previous two days I was there, and I wasn’t flirting. I suppose it could have been construed that way, but I really was just making conversation.

As for the headless fat people, I think they post the photog interns near all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants, of which there are plenty here in West Virginia!


randomfatgirl • June 27, 2006 at 9:09 am

I totally agree with the flirting theory…he might have been scoping you out the other 3 times and finally got up the nerve to say something. And what does nervous person small talk usually center around? The weather of course, and a compliment or two. :) Congrats on your flirt! :)


Erica • June 27, 2006 at 9:31 am

I agree with the “maybe he used to be fat” theory. I am getting close to my goal weight, so it might be hard for people who don’t know me to tell that I’ve spent most of my life fat. When I see an overweight person at the gym, I always want to say something encouraging – I just want to cheer them on! But I stop myself, exactly because I don’t want to sound condescending, and it just seems too weird to stand there and explain that I went through what they’re going through.


Michelle • June 27, 2006 at 10:38 am

I think maybe he was being friendly and maybe in his shy way he was trying to meet you. I woulnd’t be surprised if you see him again and he says something else. Look at the positive. (o;


Mary Garden • June 28, 2006 at 1:49 am

People do think they’re being kind, and don’t realize how patronizing they are being, but the fact of the matter is that they ARE often being patronizing. I ride up a really steep and long hill in my neighborhood that is frequently by a lot of those skinny cyclists in tight spandex and, even though I’ve been doing the route every couple of days for about 3 years (often when it’s too nasty out for many of these people to put in an appearance), I often get cooed at encouragingly and asked if I am going all the way to the top (“GOOD for you!”).

I’ve gotten a couple of comments like these that are cool tho – – – the 80-ish Dutch guy hiking down the hill who shouted “you’re almost there!” as I approached the top, for example. He rocked! Maybe I’m prejudiced against the beautiful people, but there really does seem to be a difference between this kind of comment and the other one.

Then again, maybe he was just flirting w/you! In which case, pardon my rant. :)


PS – found your blog through Big Fat Deal and am so looking forward to reading the archives! Your observations are very entertaining. Congratulations on your continuing success.


CapitalClare • June 28, 2006 at 5:19 am

Re Tangent: I too have been anxious that I’d be one of the headless fat people. Over on metafilter, a guy has discovered he is.


Richard • June 28, 2006 at 9:39 am

I often have the same issue – I’m about 80 lbs down from my peak, not as much as some had to lose but still pretty significant – and I always feel happy/impressed/compradeship when I see someone else with some excess to lose doing something constructive about it. I’d like to be encouraging but, as a couple of people have mentioned, what can you say that doesn’t come off as condescending?

For that matter, is it only condescending because its coming from a “thin” person? Would encouragement from someone else of similar, ah, heft be welcomed? And if so, is that sizeist? Hmm…


Shannon • June 28, 2006 at 9:44 am

I am a runner, and I have had moments of doing this too. I don’t know what the peoples bodysizes were….it had nothing to do with why i was trying to be encouraging. I tried to say encouraging things to two types of people:

1) those who looked nice. it takes your mind of things…even just for a minute…to say something to someone else out there…to acknowledge that someone else feels like you do. im not terribly outgoing by nature, but i did always try to say something nice to people who looked like nice people.

2. people who look exhausted, distressed, likely to give up, or people who i had seen running before and had slowed to a walk. i know what its like to feel all of those things. i would always run by and say “Good job” or “You are doing great!” to those people. and i appreciated it when people said to me.

i dont know if those people were heavy or thin or men or women. it didnt matter. when i am exercising for fun (non-competition), i only look at peoples faces.

im glad you took it as a compliment. i have no doubt that that is how it was intended!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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