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  1. The Down-Side to Weight Loss | Talo§phere

    [...] I wasn’t the only one thinking about the down-sides of weight loss recently.  I discovered this post over on the feministe blog, also posted today, that is definitely worth [...]

  2. The Last Selina
    The Last Selina December 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm |

    But how many women in this time and place, this culture where smooth, unwrinkled skin is valued almost as much as thin bodies, would really choose the weight loss if they knew what they were choosing?

    What a stupid question. Women might not choose to trade one cultural standard of beauty for another if they knew that’s what they were doing? Really, that’s the important question here? How about raising the question of how to change the societal importance of women to fit into unattainable standards of beauty, regardless of what those standards are?

    1. Karak
      Karak December 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm |

      You seem new. That’s her point, dipstick, that’s it a trap with no way to win.

  3. ldouglas
    ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

    This was a really great article, but if you’re going to post nude images, a disclaimer/NSFW tag in the headline would be much appreciated (I know it’s something you’ve done before).

    1. ldouglas
      ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

      Thanks.

  4. david
    david December 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm |

    seems a bit rubbish to me as someone said above your flicking from one conventional form of beauty to another. People knowing about this is all well and good but its unlikely weight loss companies and the like will ever be the ones to change that as they are selling their product. the focus should be on exercising regularly and eating healthily.

    1. kittehserf
      kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm |

      Way to miss the point. The weight loss companies aren’t telling people (men and women, but women are judged more harshly) that they will be covered with sagging skin when they lose a lot of weight. Women aren’t “flicking from one conventional form of beauty for another” – just the opposite: they’re going from being fat, which is conventionally abhorred, to having sagging, wrinkled skin, which is also conventionally abhorred. They’re in a lose-lose situation as far as conventional beauty goes.

      Fat is not always about diet or exercise, and neither of those is the point of this article.

    2. FoxyRN
      FoxyRN December 9, 2013 at 11:46 am |

      The best motivation for weight loss should be health, but this usually takes a backseat to current cultural concepts of idealized “beauty”.
      Long term fitness is not about numbers on a scale or even shape or sagging skin.

    3. Carolyn
      Carolyn December 10, 2013 at 8:20 am |

      I totally agree that the emphasis needs to be on exercise & health eating. There’s a difference in the mentality of ‘dieting’ and eating a healthy diet daily. When I am eating the wrong things or not eating enough, I find I gain weight. When I am eating appropriately for my needs, I maintain a healthy weight. (That said, there are some medical conditions that wreck havic with maintaining a healthy weight.).

      Many of the current ‘one size fits all’ weight loss approaches work for some people, but not for everyone. Some of the most recent theories about weight loss are indicating that different methods work for different body types or blood types. So a big part of successful weight loss, at least in my mind, is finding what works for you. When I found what worked for me, I was able to lose 60 pounds without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without counting calories. Before that, I would lose 10 or 15 pounds and gain it back when I stopped counting every calory that went into my mouth.

      It is never helpful to be judgmental about a person wether it’s because of weight on whatever. The current societal attitude towards overweight people does not contribute to creating an environment that is conducive to successful weight loss, but rather to wanting to give up even if one sincerely wants to lose the weight. So many people are either critical or condescending.

  5. The Hidden Truths of Major Weight Loss - Femini...

    [...] The Hidden Truths of Major Weight Loss Feministe (blog) This is a guest post by Laurie and Debbie. Debbie Notkin is a body image activist, a feminist science fiction advocate, and a publishing professional.  [...]

  6. Carolyn
    Carolyn December 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm |

    Well, this may be true for some women but it wasn’t my experience. At age 37 I lost 35 lbs. in 7 weeks and then 30 more over the next 3 months & looked great in a bathing suit.

    I did it with the help of a naturopathic doctor. I also did daily floor exercises & stretching, walked 3-5 miles a day (started with 1 mile & increased the distance a little each day), swam laps 3 days a week, & did deep water toning exercises. It was not easy, but the results were definitely worth it. However, I had been thin all of my life before putting on the weight during a stressful divorce, so I don’t know if that made a difference or not. Also, I lost 60 lbs., not 160 lbs. I would be interested in knowing what she did to lose the weight…did she include an approved exercise program?

    I do appreciate Julia’s fortitude in how she is speaking out & how her efforts are helpful to women dealing with this issue.

    1. Andie
      Andie December 6, 2013 at 5:50 pm |

      That’s pretty awesome for you that you had time to do all that. Must be great to have the kind of privilege that affords that much free time and the help of a naturopath.

      1. Tori
        Tori December 7, 2013 at 1:24 am |

        I love you. That is all.

        1. Andie
          Andie December 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

          :)

      2. Katiss
        Katiss December 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm |

        Andie, thank you for this reply. My jaw was almost on the floor seeing the post you replied to.

      3. LadyCat
        LadyCat December 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm |

        @ Andie: Oh, now, there’s no need for sarcasm. I don’t think Carolyn was intending to be boastful; she was sharing the methods she used to lose weight, and expressed curiosity regarding Julia’s methods. And good for her and anyone else who’s lost weight! :)

        1. Andie
          Andie December 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm |

          Except it was kind of irrelevant, because as she says herself, she lost 60, not 160. So, it does come across as kind of boastful.

        2. Carolyn
          Carolyn December 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm |

          I’m not intending to be boastful at all. I’m just saying different people will have different experiences & outcomes. As I said, in my case, losing my job & being on unemployment was what allowed me the luxury of having the time to do it while my children were in school. So, I was thrilled to be able to turn a somewhat difficult time into a positive one. However, my intent was not to cause any hurt feelings & I think people can share thoughts & experiences without taking things in a negative way. I am still proud of what I achieved, but I am sorry if my comments offended anyone in any way.

    2. Becca
      Becca December 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm |

      The more weight you need to lose, the possibility of having layers of skin that don’t go correspond with the weight loss. I have a friend who did bi-pass surgery and she lost a lot of weight quickly by sticking to her diet and exercising…YAY! but as she tells me she has a lot of sagging skin.
      I think that if they are going to offer bi-pass surgery to patients they should also offer the “opportunity” for cosmetic surgery if they want it! kind a 2-fer deal. That way if they do lose a whole bunch of weight and then need the help with cosmetic detail (i.e…getting rid of some of the sagging skin) then it is something they can pay on while they are doing their dieting (only if they so choose to do so)

  7. Athenia
    Athenia December 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm |

    Yep, Weight Watchers is definitely not featuring photos like in this in their Jennifer Hudson ads.

  8. Miriam
    Miriam December 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

    I followed the link to read Symonds article, and I don’t think it’s accurate at all to describe it as a pro-wight loss article! Quite frankly, I think it does a much better job than the guest post of exploring the cons to losing large amounts of weight and what types of myths about weight/happiness/life. It’s a let’s talk about discourses about weight and bodies and happiness article.

    I also read this is article as placing an anti-weight loss message on Kozerski’s work that I think does Kozerski a disservice by overwriting her own voice. I’ve followed Kozerski’s work a bit from earlier articles I’ve seen, and she’s not promoting any particular message with her series (particularly not an anti-weight loss one; she is very much trying to maintain hers). Her work is more exploratory. Maybe she will eventually come to an anti-weight loss stance but right now, it’s all very open as she lives life and uses her art to sort through her experience.

    1. Denise Winters
      Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm |

      I mostly agree with this and have seen in the past where she talks about how despite the lose skin, she is still glad to have lost the weight because it was caused by her becoming healthier.

    2. anna_k
      anna_k December 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

      On the first point, I think I agree in part. I read the Symonds article when it first came out and also found it pretty nuanced, rather than trying very hard to push a pro-weight loss line. However, that’s just my reading of it, of course, and the guest post authors may well be basing the pro-weight loss reading on bits of the article that I didn’t read in that way. And, in a world chock-full of pro-weight loss articles using similar sorts of terms and narratives, I think that’s probably fair enough.

      On the second point, though, I definitely agree that Kozerski’s work puts a much more complex and ambiguous (rather than straight pro or anti) spin on weight loss than this post. As long as the authors are using Kozerski’s work as an example of what they want to talk about (hidden truths about weight loss), rather than seeking to overwrite Kozerski’s own take on the experience, it doesn’t bother me too much. But I agree that, while the former is mainly what’s happening in this guest post, there are shades of the latter as well, and that makes me uncomfortable too.

  9. Tom
    Tom December 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

    Seems a more constructive takeaway might be “best not to let yourself get morbidly obese in the first place.”

    1. Denise Winters
      Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm |

      Could you please expand on this a little, as far as why you got this message as the most constructive takeaway from either the OP or the linked article/story? It currently comes across as fat-shamey/body-policing to me, specifically in regards to use of the word constructive.

    2. EG
      EG December 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm |

      You see a morbidly obese woman in that first photo?

      And I’ll take “completely unhelpful advice” for 400, Alex.

      1. Miriam
        Miriam December 7, 2013 at 12:32 am |

        She is, or at least, she probably is. Per Kozerski’s bio, she was over 300 pounds and classified as morbidly obese when she decided to lose weight. The top photo is #3 in her Changing Room series, which means it’s still very early on when she was starting to lose weight. You can compare it to the one of her in her wedding dress, and I doubt she’d lost enough weight by that point to have changed BMI categories.

      2. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan December 10, 2013 at 2:26 am |

        “Morbidly obese” is a BMI category, not a value judgment. Christ.

        1. EG
          EG December 10, 2013 at 8:56 am |

          Obviously those two things are completely mutually exclusive.

          Christ.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm |

          “Morbidly obese” is a BMI category, not a value judgment. Christ.

          errr…isn’t BMI a value? Or am I getting too hung up on words again?

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

          Once everyone learns to science, the world will be a better place, EG. Let the change start with you!

        4. tigtog
          tigtog December 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm | *

          [Moderator note to Bagelsan and EG (alphabetical order): discussion between the two of you is becoming highly personalised and unacceptably hostile. To facilitate you both taking a break from engaging with each other, you are both being placed into the premoderation filter for the next week.]

        5. Ally S
          Ally S December 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

          “Morbidly obese” is a BMI category, not a value judgment. Christ.

          It’s not just a BMI category, though. That term is also frequently used to shame fat people. I’ve heard it being used that way towards my own family members.

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm |

      Yes! Of course! All the people out there frantically doing their best, 24/7, to become morbidly obese, have only to hear this great wisdom of Tom! How could the media, the government and the health industry have ignored Tom – Tom, whose insight and prescience awe us all!

      Tell us more truths, Tom. I am your adoring attendant.

      1. kittehserf
        kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm |

        But but but I’ve been trying for years to be morbidly obese! You mean I have to stop? What about all the black velvet gowns and bat earrings and silver skulls and miniature coffins I’ve collected?

        … Whaddaya mean, that’s not what “morbidly obese” is?

        1. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm |

          These comments make me glad I didn’t immediately call for attention from a moderator, which I was originally going to do. I really wanted to find out if maybe I was letting what I saw as several buzzwords often used by “health” concern-trolling/body-shaming enthusiasts, cloud my perception of the comment.

        2. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

          Plus, playing whack-a-troll can be fun. ;)

    4. Donna L
      Donna L December 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm |

      I always sense an unseemly glee in people who love to tack the word “morbidly” in front of obese.

      1. Jackie
        Jackie December 13, 2013 at 1:48 am |

        Yup, and with grossly too. They’re all hopped up with excitement, like the schoolyard bully with a fresh taunt.

    5. Ally S
      Ally S December 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm |

      When you care more about telling fat people what to do than respecting them regardless of their body fat percentage, you should reconsider whether it’s right to assume that you’re on some moral high ground.

    6. Tori
      Tori December 7, 2013 at 1:32 am |

      Because, clearly, no one has EVER been obese from childhood, not in the entire history of humans.

    7. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie December 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

      Dang, I wish I had thought of that!! But, we fat folks are just naturally STOOOOPID!!

    8. Léna
      Léna December 9, 2013 at 5:27 am |

      It is a very useful comment, we are all very glad in your interest in fat people bodies and lifes.

      Do you know what activity has a 95% chance to result in weight gain ? Diets.

    9. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl December 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

      Or pregnant, Tom, you forgot pregnant. Especially pregnant with multiples. Since that pretty much equals becoming de facto morbidly obese in a rather shortly condensed time frame.

      Or, you know, you could just blow it out your ear. What with your ignorant, concern trolling claptrap.

  10. kittehserf
    kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

    Julia Kozerski, thank you for those photos, and Laurie and Debbie for this article. I’ve never (like many, I guess) seen how loose people’s skin gets after such weight loss. I knew it happened, but seeing it was jaw-dropping. Not in an “eww ugly” way, either, just shock.

  11. BroadBlogs
    BroadBlogs December 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm |

    Wow. This is really interesting. To the extent that it’s healthier to not have the excess weight I would still certainly choose to weigh less than more. But the article and pictures are certainly eye-opening. So sad that weight is such a big deal that people think that if they lose it their lives will become perfect.

    1. kittehserf
      kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 11:57 pm |

      It’s interesting, isn’t it – and everyone’s going to have a different cut-off point, I guess (duh). I’m a bit overweight and have the droopy belly that goes with fatty liver disease, but it doesn’t make such a difference to me that I’d be prepared to have skin so very loose; I think I’d be massively unhappy about my body, then, which I am certainly not now. About the only time I’m not pleased with my reflection is when it’s in a changing-room mirror; it’s like they’re designed to make you look worse, self-defeating though that would be for the shops! Mostly I see myself in the perspective of just looking down my front. Big bum? Well, I can’t see it, my other half likes it and it’s nobody else’s concern. Belly droop isn’t visible from above and I can see my SHOES, and that’s what matters to me. ;)

  12. SlipperyWombat
    SlipperyWombat December 7, 2013 at 12:58 am |

    I was a personal trainer for several years a lifetime ago and I have to say that the loose skin issue doesn’t impact everyone who experiences dramatic weight loss. It depends on age, genetics, and magnitude of the weight loss. I have seen some impressive transformations and it really isn’t uncommon for competitive bodybuilders to maintain offseason bodyweights of 50lbs or more over their competition weights without problems.

    Loose skin aside I do agree that most people will be disappointed with the results of just about anything they do to their bodies if they assume the end result will resemble what they see in fashion or fitness magazines. Often those models have a genetic propensity to look like that and also rely on pharmaceuticals or extremely unhealthy – and in the long term unsustainable – eating habits to maintain their physiques. This is when the image itself hasn’t been altered such that the body displayed is literally physically unattainable.

    Unrealistic beauty standards are the core issue.

    1. Brennan
      Brennan December 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm |

      Loose skin aside I do agree that most people will be disappointed with the results of just about anything they do to their bodies if they assume the end result will resemble what they see in fashion or fitness magazines. Often those models have a genetic propensity to look like that and also rely on pharmaceuticals or extremely unhealthy – and in the long term unsustainable – eating habits to maintain their physique.

      Also, if we’re talking fashion models, they are frequently about fifteen years old, which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax.

    2. karak
      karak December 9, 2013 at 11:11 pm |

      I think part of the danger is what I call Christmas Depression.

      You get all excited and have all these hopes and dreams for This One Event to Change Your Life, and then it happens and it can’t live up to your expectations, even the ones you didn’t realize that you had, and you feel this sense of betrayal and grief.

      We say losing weight will fix everything. It doesn’t, and that mindset is toxic and sets people up to fail.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan December 10, 2013 at 2:24 am |

        So a shorter post would have been “Having Unrealistic Expectations Can Be Disappointing” and we could have skipped all the ridiculous “saggy = disfigured” talk? :p

        1. EG
          EG December 10, 2013 at 8:55 am |

          You write as though our entire culture doesn’t set people up to have such expectations of weight loss. This isn’t a personal failing; it’s a cultural one.

  13. Wordwizard
    Wordwizard December 7, 2013 at 1:54 am |

    If you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, not more, your skin has time to adjust without sagging or stretch marks. Cocoa butter also will help your skin to adjust. That’s something people losing weight should know beforehand, so they don’t have to deal with the results the column talks about.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog December 7, 2013 at 7:05 am | *

      Wordwizard, AIUI stretch marks come from rapid weight gain that outpaces the skin’s elastic capacity, and are nothing to do with weight loss strategies. That’s why the most common scenarios for stretch marks are during pregnancy or during pubescent growth spurts. How one’s weight gain happened (i.e. rapid or slow) may well be an important factor in how much skin sag one has following a subsequent weight loss (because stretch-marked tissue doesn’t shrink in the same way that non-stretch-marked skin does), but there’s not much cocoa butter can do after the fact if your body has already generated stretch marks.

    2. Denise Winters
      Denise Winters December 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

      That’s not true. For a lot of people, if not most, a slow rate of weight loss isn’t going to prevent saggy skin, it just isn’t, especially around the stomach where you aren’t going to be able to pile on a lot of muscle. That idea is a total myth and one that needs to be destroyed. Also, Kozerski lost weight at about 2.5-3 lbs a week on average, which starting out at 338 is slow and steady weight loss, so the OP and the source material actually undermine your point. Age, genetics, length of time the body has held the weight all play parts. There are some people whose end result will not be as drastic, even if they lose weight faster.

    3. Sandy
      Sandy December 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

      I lost 2 lbs a week with the help of the hospital nutritionist, 40 pounds in total before my Mother’s death put an end to the dieting and exercise. The saggy skin on my stomach and butt were disappointing but the hanging turkey wattle that my double chin turned into was embarrassing to say the least. There is just more stretched skin than there is stuff left inside the stretched skin.

      I totally agree – do it for the health benefits – not the looks, but there is some vanity in all of us :-)

  14. The Hidden Truths of Major Weight Loss | Women:...

    [...] Content Note: Some images in this post may be considered NSFW This is a guest post by Laurie and Debbie. Debbie Notkin is a body image activist, a feminist science fiction advocate, and a publishing professional.  [...]

  15. MilRoger
    MilRoger December 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

    Something that the article, the haters, and the supporters have missed: losing weight isn’t just about body image. It’s also about living a longer and healthier life. So in response to the question,

    “But how many women… would really choose the weight loss if they knew what they were choosing?”

    The question should be all of them. For their loved ones, friends, and most of all for themselves.

    1. Andie
      Andie December 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm |

      losing weight isn’t just about body image. It’s also about living a longer and healthier life.

      Fat does not equal unhealthy.
      Fat does not equal unhealthy.
      Fat does not equal unhealthy.

      Thin does not equal healthy. (X3)

      You can’t assume that lower body weight always means better health.
      Fat loss may be a byproduct of improved eating habits, coinciding with improved health brought on by better habits, but fat loss in and of itself does not guarantee improved health, considering the various ways people might lose weight, many of which are far from healthy.

      1. MilRoger
        MilRoger December 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm |

        Being overweight is not unhealthy? I can agree with you that thin is not always healthy, but real obesity increases health problems and shortens your life. The woman in this article went about losing weight in a healthy way (diet and exercise), and even though she might not have the body she wants, she has definitely improved her health and should be celebrated for making this tough choice.

        Spreading the idea that obesity is a natural part of life with no negative repercussions is as dangerous, ill-advised, and misinformed as denying global warming.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2013 at 2:22 am |

          Yeah, all else being equal, weighing 150 lbs is definitely healthier than weighing 350. Your joints, among other body systems, do much better with a lower weight. And frankly it’s just tough to get around –completing your basic self-care– when carrying 200lbs more than you need. None of that is “body shaming” it’s gravity.

    2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

      “But how many women… would really choose the weight loss if they knew what they were choosing?”

      The question should be all of them. For their loved ones, friends, and most of all for themselves.

      1. Not everyone wants to live a long life here. Some of us shudder at the prospect.

      2. Not everyone wants a lifetime of doing exercises and watching every damn mouthful and feeling hungry or fixated on food.

      3. Overweight doesn’t necessarily mean obese, or unhealthy, but catch any diet pushers or doctors acknowledging that.

      4. Not everyone has loved ones who are likely to outlive them, and living out of obligation to others sounds awfully like the thinking that keeps people with terminal illnesses existing in pain or limbo because other people say they must.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve December 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

        Kitteh, I agree with you 100% even though none of your 4 categories apply to me.

        I’m currently trying to watch what I eat based on a visit to the doctor which flagged up some numbers I (and my doctor) didn’t like. After a month of improved diet, my numbers had also improved…however my weight/BMI was not among the numbers measured. My blood pressure, which had been slightly elevated, was back to normal and my Cholesterol dropped by 10 points. As it happens, 3 months later, I’ve hardly lost any weight (maybe a pound or two- I do feel my face looks thinner but the scale reads the same-ish) and still have the improved blood pressure/cholesterol. Meanwhile, I could go on a drugs binge and lose 10 lbs in a week- so I’ll not rely on the scale as an indicator of my health. So not everyone who ‘watches what they eat’ is obsessed with weight.

      2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm |

        I’m in a similar situation, FS (saw your note about your preferred nym). I’ve got non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, so I try to up the vegetables and cut down on sugary or fatty stuff – not easy with the food available where I live. I too lost a couple of kilos over months, but they came back anyway, so meh.

        I wasn’t thinking of taking general care of what one eats with “watching every mouthful” but of the measuring and not allowing oneself to eat more than X amount, or not allowing oneself to eat anything just for pleasure, or eat the “wrong” food – y’know, turning eating into a policing thing instead of a necessity that can also be enjoyable.

      3. Andie
        Andie December 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm |

        2. Not everyone wants a lifetime of doing exercises and watching every damn mouthful and feeling hungry or fixated on food.

        So much this. I gave up weight watchers after losing 60 lbs because even though I saw improvements in my physical health, the counting of points/calories/whathaveyou was doing a number on my emotional health.

        1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm |

          ::nods:: I can so imagine that, Andie. I got fed up (no pun intended) and heartily pissed off with every blood test that essentially said “Now you need to give up this or that” – hello, I have neither the time nor the skills to cook tons of vegetables from scratch, nor is there food available that doesn’t have some salt or whatever in it. If I keel over at sixty from a heart attack, FINE. I’m not making eating a chore in the meantime.

        2. XtinaS
          XtinaS December 10, 2013 at 2:25 am |

          (CN: ED)

          Legit, I cannot go on any sort of… not diet, but food-monitoring regimen, I suppose, because the calorie-counting is super-duper awful for me. My first thought is “oh, that seems so high!”, and then quicker’n light, I’m back to barely eating in search of a “useful” number.

      4. karak
        karak December 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm |

        I’m not overweight, but I went on a diet with some friends. Our intent was to monitor our food intake to cut down on the junk food we ate and increase the amount of real food. We used a computer program that monitored what we ate.

        What actually happened was that I ate just as much junk food–my job was at a pizza place for 10 hour shifts–and then after eating at work not eating anything else for the rest of the day. I started losing weight, and I’d get these nice little notes from my program telling me how much I’d weigh if I kept this up for X amount of time, and I started playing with my allotted calories per day to speed up the process, and I was fixated on eating in a way I have never been before in my life. I never spent each and every day hungry before.

        I finally just quit the program–told my friends I couldn’t take being hungry all the time and this wasn’t for me. They admitted that they, too, were finding themselves eating in bizarre, self-abusive ways and hungry and not getting healthier.

        I don’t blame people that choose to opt out from that circle of Hell.

  16. The part of weight loss, no one speaks about | Chrissie Gets Fit

    [...] one wants to speak about. Finally, someone was brave enough to share their story. On Dec. 6, 2013, Feministe did just that. They shared a powerful story of a woman that went from 332 pounds to 180 pounds. [...]

  17. The Hidden Truths of Major Weight Loss – Body Impolitic - Laurie Toby Edison: Photographer

    [...] (crossposted on Feministe) [...]

  18. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan December 10, 2013 at 2:19 am |

    They absolutely don’t want people to know that choosing to lose large amounts of weight is choosing, in effect, voluntary disfigurement.

    FFS. No one’s taken issue with calling saggy skin “disfigurement” yet? Who are the body-shaming ones again? Pro-tip: gravity is a thing to which we will all succumb some day if we’re lucky enough to live for a while. Or are old people also horribly “disfigured”?

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 10, 2013 at 2:46 am |

      Yeah, I found that pretty bothersome, too, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Didn’t seem worth bringing up when I agree with the greater points, but thanks for pointing it out.

    2. Willemina
      Willemina December 10, 2013 at 3:25 am |

      I think the ass-covering edited to add tag places the body shaming back in the realm of society at large, while not really doing that at all. Juxtaposing “disfigurement” with Kozerski’s work in concert with the rhetorical question at the end stinks of scare tactics to drain the nuance out of both Symond’s article and Kozerski’s collection.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve December 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |

        I think the ass-covering…

        Pun intended?

    3. Jennifer
      Jennifer December 11, 2013 at 10:00 am |

      I totally agree. I object to the classification of loose skin as disfigurement and find it very body-shaming. It seems like the authors are framing this as just a weight-loss of choice issue–i.e., that this only happens when people try to lose weight, thinking that they will look better as a result. A lot of people will have this kind of experience with a pregnancy, even if they are not trying to lose weight afterward. It seemed odd to me that they neglected the pregnancy issue.

    4. Reader
      Reader December 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

      There’s normal aging, which is not caused primarily by gravity, but by changes in hormonal levels, and there are the effects of putting extraordinary stress on the body by being morbidly obese. Loose skin is not normal and it is not attractive, although it is unfortunate that people, having put so much work into losing weight, have to deal with it.

      People should know the true cost of becoming unhealthily overweight. It may affect their behavior. For years, “Fat Acceptance” proponents have been claiming that one can be obese and healthy. The evidence is otherwise.

    5. Cliff Pervocracy
      Cliff Pervocracy December 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm |

      That bothered me too. There are a lot of things to say about the pressure to lose weight, and “don’t do it, ladies, it’ll make you unsexy!” seems like one of the least helpful.

      Body acceptance should be BODY acceptance, of all the different ways bodies can look, not just “it’s okay to be fat.”

    6. trees
      trees December 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

      Some people would indeed call their own weight lost related saggy skin “disfigurement”, and if they would rather have taut skin, they might choose to maintain a higher weight.

  19. Samquilla
    Samquilla December 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm |

    I appreciate lolagirl bringing up pregnancy. I see a lot of similarities between the discussion of the artist’s post weight loss body and women’s post pregnancy concerns. There is at once shaming and the idea that you should be able to look like X celebrity who lost all the weight in only 3 weeks, but also even when you do lose the weight your body is not exactly the same. A lot of women put on substantial weight surrounding pregnancy and the issues it creates in our culture are complex and challenging.

  20. Chelsea Daugherty
    Chelsea Daugherty December 23, 2013 at 11:53 am |

    when I started my weight loss journey I weighed 315 pounds. my biggest fear has always been knowing I will have loose skin. being this large and losing that much weight is not going to be easy physically or mentally. I want to be beautiful for my husband on the inside and the out. I know I will need surgery. before I ever started this weight loss journey I knew I would need surgery. being this large for my whole life has its consequences. making the change wanting to be healthy is supposed to make up for the years of bad eating, in reality you’re going to end up regretting it more. thank you for putting this post out there. I don’t feel so alone in my journey. getting fit and staying healthy is very important. it just doesn’t seem fair that with all that work you still have to suffer.

  21. Reader
    Reader December 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

    If you gain an unhealthy amount of weight there are consequences when you lose it. I’ve never been overweight myself, but do belong to a weight loss forum to monitor my weight. When overweight women ask if they’ll require skin reduction surgery, I’ve said they may, based on knowing formerly morbidly obese people, as well as having watched weight loss shows on TV.

    They don’t want to hear it, just as when I’ve said that diet and working out won’t turn everyone into a supermodel. Being healthy and feeling and looking better aren’t sufficient.

    We live in a culture in which individuals live in denial to an extraordinary degree. The Diet/Fitness Establishment exploits it, but does not create it.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable December 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

      Ahh yes. I now remember that nutritionists are accredited by weight loss forums and lack of experience. Your contributions and fear mongering are greatly appreciated.

      1. Angel H.
        Angel H. December 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm |

        B-b-but…Zie has a degree in Medicalology from an unaccredited online school! Surely, the fine educators at I. Troll U wouldn’t lie!???

        1. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm |

          Hahahahaha @ I. Troll U. Love this so much.

    2. Angel H.
      Angel H. December 26, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

      “How dare they don’t take my lack of experience seriously!”

      But seriously, we need a giraffe here.

      [thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm |

      They don’t want to hear it, just as when I’ve said that diet and working out won’t turn everyone into a supermodel.

      OMG. I always thought eating two leaves of kale a day and running marathons before breakfast would turn me into Heidi Klum!!!! Thank you thank you thank you for giving me the Truth(TM)!

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve December 26, 2013 at 9:15 pm |

        I always thought eating two leaves of kale a day and running marathons before breakfast would turn me into Heidi Klum!!!!

        Actualy, it worked for me!

        Oh Damn It, I just gave away my real identity! Now I’m going to have to pick a new pseudonym.

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