Fat + New City = Insecurity

I spent this past weekend looking at houses and apartments in the city I’m moving to for graduate school. I’m already getting nervous about leaving the place I am right now. You get comfortable and content in a place with people who care about you, and being uprooted to somewhere new makes all your insecurities rise to the surface. This is part of my so-called “process.” I tend to get anxious before big life changes and start to get nervous that I’m not ready, or not good enough to do well in my new life.

Part of this, of course, is a drop in self-confidence and renewed obsession with my appearance. I always worry that people are going to judge me when they meet me because I’m fat. And I’m terrified that this will happen when I move.

Luckily I’ve secured good, accepting roommates for the fall (I met them this weekend), and already have a few friends in the area, but it’s still tough. It’s one of those times of insecurity that makes me question my resolve. I start to think about losing lots of weight and becoming thin and therefore “beautiful.” I start to want to change myself because I think it will matter to all these new people I’m going to meet.

This, in turn, makes me angry at myself for thinking I need to change who I am for someone else, and continues the loop of frustration. I think I’m secure in my body, but then I start to think negative thoughts and buy back into the same traps and pitfalls I’d had before.

This is one of those times, I think, when I need to be reminded of people out there who don’t care about my size but care about who I am. This is one of those times when I have to remember who I am and what I believe in. This is a time when I need your advice. How do I avoid falling back into my insecurities? What has worked for you in your life? What wisdom can you give me to persist, oh Fatosphere of Wisdom?


7 thoughts on “Fat + New City = Insecurity

  1. I have been in this same vicious cycle lately, so if misery does love company, here I am. My life change doesn’t involve moving, but it’s still a big change.

    What works for me is talking to my husband about how much better my life would be if I just lost a little weight, then that gets me talking about all the failed diets in the past and the horrible results of all of those diets. Somehow that helps.

    When I’m feeling more logical, I’ll read why dieting doesn’t work on junk food science.

    Good luck!

  2. I also have the same issue! It is like a fight in my head between the “real me” and the “internalized shame” version of me. Ugh! What has been working recently is re-reading body positive books, blogs, and other assorted support and encouragement. I have also been taking lots of baths, which magically make me feel less crazy. Hang in there!

  3. In situations like this (which I completely identify and empathize with), I try to remind myself that even in the worst case scenario that I am judged, that I don’t want or need to be friends with people who would be so superficial. Sounds naive, but it works. If people judge me and my feelings get hurt, then I think, “well, at least the scoundrels have identified themselves!” Seriously, if someone is that mean and shallow, could you really expect to have fun with them, have a good conversation about black holes or Dostoyevsky (or whatever appeals to you), to feel secure? Nope!

  4. I think one of the big things to remember (which I still struggle with!) is that: having negative thoughts in and of itself isn’t something you should feel guilty about! I’ve found that this creates all sorts of negative energy looping! (Something that goes “I feel bad about myself. I shouldn’t feel bad about myself! I feel guilty that I feel bad. Damn, now I feel WORSE!” It makes that whole cycle tough to break out of)

    On the positive reinforcement end I’d look at taking a hobby you have and finding a place to do it in your new city. If you dance, find a studio nearby if possible. Or a book group. Or a circle of knitters/crocheters. Or walkers. Or music lovers who visit free summer concerts. Something that will give you an “in” into the city 🙂

    Also? You are TOTALLY wonderful enough to do amazing in your new life!!! 😀

  5. First off, I feel you. Believe it or not, my anorexia is what makes me feel like an outcast and sometimes I feel like there’s so little I can do to make myself feel normal around other people. While I can’t say I know what it’s like from the fat end of the perspective, I do know what it’s like to not be accepting of yourself and your appearance.

    There’s this thing I like to do – me and my therapist call it ‘Positivity Projection.’ Basically what I do is go around saying as many good things as possible to anyone I come into contact with. Just spew encouragement all over the place, ya know? If you’ve tried this before, take it up a notch. Seeing people glow because of something nice you’ve said to them is so amazing, you’ll start to lose sight of what you don’t like about yourself.

    I know it’s common to say “Remind yourself about all the good things about YOU.” But this exercise puts a twist on that mindset. By looking around at everyone else and seeing the good things in those people, you WILL start to feel even better about yourself. Make others feel good to make You feel good. That is what I have found to be the key to contentment.

    I’ll sign off now before I start sounding too pretentious. Hope the advice helps. Good luck,
    Becca (:

  6. When I was younger it was much harder to ignore the line that being thinner would make everything easier; that I could be, if not wildly accepted, at least more easily ignored and thus not a target for derision. I felt that panic because there was a voice inside me that said, hey, you’re missing it, here you are young and everyone else is a certain size and so acceptable and if you were that size, you could have a much easier go of things…..
    …one of the gifts of turning 40 was the fact that another stronger voice started to call bullshit on this. We can’t fix struggle, loneliness, and insecurity with the size of our bodies. If we could, thin people would be the happiest little shits on the planet and you know that simply isn’t true.

    Be you, be beautiful, and be willing to believe that there is a decently sized contingent of folks who want to know you because of YOU. There will always be ‘those others’, but everyone has ‘others’ to contend with in life who devalue them for one reason or another. You have as much power to dismiss them as they have to dismiss you. Don’t give them any more than their share.

  7. I agree with what’s being said here. What I could add is to tell you to make sure you SMILE. Let yourself shine through your smile… and you have a nice one.

    I’ve spent a lifetime shunning all the compliments people gave me about having a nice personality. I know it to be true, but I always sabotaged myself and let my insecurities rule me and I could never be myself.

    Now at 48 yrs, I don’t care what people think about my body. My husband loves me the way I am physically, and that’s enough for me…. finally. I am now more calm, level headed and don’t mind going into situations that require people to see my body. I laugh, and this is the most liberated I’ve felt in a lifetime.

    Recently, I attended a reunion with kids from the block I grew up on. Men and women came together to share their lives and joke around. I was not nervous, although I DID go with my sister (after all she grew up there, too!) Anyway had the best time.

    Good luck. When you are wondering about meeting new people, just project your true self. We attract what we project. People are like wolves. They can sense fear… lol… just a little humor there that happens to be true.

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