How Society Treats Fat People

October 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Erica House in Health | Life - (46 Comments)

Last week I received a comment on my birthday post asking if I noticed people treating me differently when I was overweight. I was shocked when I realized I hadn’t written on this topic already given how much I think about it!

When I was at my heaviest my BMI was 30.5 – morbidly obese. I grew up fairly thin, gained weight in middle school, lost it in high school and put it on again when I turned 21 (you can read my weight saga here.) During the time I was at my heaviest I was also finishing up my Bachelors in Psychology so I feel that I had a unique perspective in really paying attention to how other’s viewed or treated me. I’ll confess – when I was thin in high school I had confidence out the wazoo. I didn’t think I was perfect, but I liked how I looked and my body confidence was obvious to most people as I carried myself in a way that exuded happiness. Gaining weight as quickly as I did, 50 pounds in about 2 years, made me hyper aware of myself and the way people responded to me.

In my psychology class I lecture on a chapter on Health and I share with them my experience with losing weight. Inevitably one of my students asks how I stay motivated to keep the weight off and my answer is simple – I remember vividly how miserable I was and never want to feel that way again. The best way I can describe being overweight to someone who hasn’t been in that position is that you feel like you are wearing a fat suit, and are suddenly invisible to the world. I always felt like the ‘real’ Erica was inside of me, and that I woke up one day and all this excess fat hanging around my stomach or spilling out onto the chair when I sat down wasn’t really there. It was like some bizarre nightmare. I knew I was getting bigger but I was also in this weird denial about it. My pant sizes kept going up but it didn’t really register.


I noticed that people stopped opening doors for me, cashiers didn’t seem as likely to engage in random conversation, and I absolutely stopped seeing guys look my way. Thankfully, I was never on the receiving end of overt criticism (although I will still remember the one time a guy called me fat after I rejected his advances at a bar) but it was like all attention – good or bad, just disappeared.


What I realize now is that my body language at the time was dictating to others how to treat me. I felt like I wanted to be invisible, so that’s the energy I put out to others. I witness this often with other women when I’m out walking around. I see them uncomfortably pulling their shits down or their pants up, using their purses to hide their stomachs, or projecting other ‘tells’ that they are unhappy with their looks and don’t want to be looked at. A few months ago I came across this series of photo by an overweight woman who wanted to show how other’s looked at her out in public. Yes, some people are looking at her oddly. Perhaps it’s because she’s standing extremely awkwardly in the middle of busy areas, not smiling or looking like she wants to be engaged with.

In general I think we are treated the way we expect to be treated. I value and respect myself now as an intelligent, hard-working, healthy, cat-lover and that’s typically how people perceive me. I’m not saying this to insinuate that people who are overweight deserve the treatment they receive (whatever treatment that may be) but that I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to hold my head up high, and others will love me as much as I love myself.

Do you feel like you act differently when you are insecure about something?

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice – what would it be?


21 Miles + Lamest Weekend Ever

October 21st, 2013 | Posted by Erica House in Health | Life - (21 Comments)

This really may be my most pitiful weekend update to date.

The highlight of it was killing my long run Saturday (I should be arrested for how badly I beat this run.) I’ve been struggling so much with shin splints, achilles issues and extreme fatigue that I was totally unsure how my longest training run would go. I felt okay at the 5 and 10 mile water stops and at the last one (mile 13) I walked through it to get ahead of the group a bit. There were two big hills coming up on our route, which murder my calves, so I wanted a head start in case I had to walk a bit. Well – I owned the hills and ended up finishing the run a few minutes ahead of the group. I was in the zone!

2013-10-19 10.31.52I went home and was riding on the best adrenaline high of my life. I made some oatmeal, took a shower, then didn’t move from the couch the rest of the day. I watched about 10 episodes of X-Files. I tried to nap, failed, and wanted to go out to grab some post long-run munchies but couldn’t get the energy. Magically, around 2 p.m. this package was dropped off at my door. It’s a miracle!2013-10-19 14.59.37It was a surprise klout perk. See that bag of chocolate bark in the center? I ate it all. In one day. #yolo

Sunday I got up early as I had a ton of errands to run and work to do. By noon I had gone to Target and Publix, did laundry, cleaned my house and completed all my food prep:

2013-10-20 11.59.39As you can see in my photo I went a bit over my normal weekly grocery budget but I felt like having sushi for dinner and justified it as my missing long run treat from Saturday. The rest of the afternoon I spent working an assignment for AFAR and I had just enough time left over to write this, soak in a warm salt bath, and stretch. I woke up so sore Sunday I couldn’t even stand up straight. Even while shopping I was hobbling around a bit. My glutes/hamstrings are on fire and my achilles started popping again. The popping has gone away with some stretching and I’m hoping I’ll wake up refreshed enough to do my run tomorrow. It’s supposed to be 8 miles – Yeah, … Imma go ahead and just plan for 5-6.

What did you do this weekend?
Have you decided on a Halloween Costume yet? I always say I will dress up, but never do!

Week in Workouts

October 18th, 2013 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness | Health | Life - (10 Comments)

First of all – thank you so much for the birthday wishes and donations to my Humane Society fund! I’ll get more into my birthday festivities after a peek at this weeks lackluster workouts.

Workout Wrap Up

ocOct 18With all the health drama I’ve been having I’ve started to break away from the marathon training plan. I followed it precisely for the first 12 weeks but I cut back the mileage a bit this week and took an extra rest day when I accidentally forgot to set my alarm and ended up sleeping in 2 hours!

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I’m also dealing with extreme shin splints. As in, I can’t even flex my foot to lift my foot off the ground enough to walk a few minutes into my run. I’ve found that if I can get to the 2 mile mark the pain goes away but it’s pretty excruciating until then! The extra day of rest seemed to help but it was still acting up on my run Thursday. From here on out my mental motto is: just let me get to the starting line! I took a walk on one of my rest days and forgot how much I enjoyed them. You just see the coolest stuff when your more focused on enjoying the moment then completing your miles.

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I also came across a group of geese that I talked shit to. They were being all loud so I bossed up and told them I was going to rip their throats out. They literally turned and started running toward me and I ran away like a wimp. Next time geese, next time.

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Thursday was my big 3-0. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. You know what it felt like? Thursday. Totally normal, average day. I’m okay with that if the alternative is having a mini-meltdown like some people seem to have. I ran, worked, and went out to eat with my parents. I got to pick the place and I couldn’t resist going to one of my favorite Pensacola spots: Mellow Mushroom!

2013-10-17 17.21.52Followed up with dessert at TCBY.

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After dinner we swung by Running Wild so I could pick up my present from my parents. A shiny new pair of Mizuno’s. Surreal to know/hopeI’ll be crossing the finish line of my first marathon wearing these. Unfortunately they were out of my size but next week I’ll be breaking them in!

Earlier in the week I received the cutest package from one of my readers/friends Jenny (who blogs over at The Wellness Journey!) Salem flipped over these little crinkle fish!

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Speaking of Salem – I got the cutest picture of him as he was laying on my chest one night this week. This is how he sleeps with me every night.

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Banana pudding got me at work again. I can’t lie – I went back for seconds. I swear marathon training has turned me into an eating machine. It’s not even fun anymore! I used to think of fun treats to have on my long run days and now I’m just so tired the thought of a jar full of White Chocolate Peanut Butter doesn’t appeal to me as much. What a sad day indeed.

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Finally, I received October’s Bestowed box. Seriously – the best box ever. All the products are non-GMO certified and really, really delicious. That nature’s path granola was gone in 2 days (I had it for dinner on Wednesday.) The unreal pb cups were melted when they arrived but 5 minutes in the fridge brought them  back to life and a minute later they were in my belly. It’s so rare for me to find a subscription service like this that doesn’t disappoint. Every single item in this box is something I will buy again and only 1 had I tried before (the seed and fruit packs from Enjoy Life are incredible add-inn’s for salads and oatmeal!) If you want to try Bestowed you can get your first box half off using code: HELLOTEN094

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So, I had a pretty amazing week. I know I’m only 1 day into it but 30 feels spectacular. The only way to go from here is up.