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The Great Hide-Out is Over

Posted by Ellen Dayan on

About 8 years ago, I began gaining lots of weight fast. This was a side effect of a medication I thought I couldn't live without, and I kept thinking, "This will stop soon. It will level off any minute." 70 pounds later, I was still gaining. My doctor failed to inform me that although weight gain on that medication was rare, if you were "just one of those people" you'd gain an average of 60 pounds.


I was never really able to lose much of the weight even though I tried limiting my calorie intake. I lost 20 pounds once but gained it back again. As a busy professional woman and Mom, I had little time for an exercise routine. I joined a gym and made it there early mornings for a few months but lost no weight. I got discouraged and stopped going. It seemed like the weight was there to stay and I was...terribly embarrassed. I had never been "heavy" in my life.


I avoided going to some of my favorite places (the beach) and doing things (dancing) that I previously enjoyed. I stopped buying nice clothes and jewelry. I was never a big make-up person, but I stopped doing that, too. I kept thinking, "When I lose weight I will go back to the beach in a bikini and I'll buy some sexy clothes." Unfortunately, the weight didn't budge and I found myself retreating from so many things that I became lonely and isolated.


The world went on without me.


I had an old friend, my first love actually, who was developing a very serious health problem while I was hiding out. I was so embarrassed about my weight that I avoided visiting him. He was very ill and weak, and he stopped writing. I had no idea what was happening, but I didn't search him out. I didn't want him to see me fat. So, while I was worried about his possible disapproval of my weight, he died.


The moral of that story, for me, is that hiding out because of weight shame is a tragedy. It kept me from connecting with people and activities that made life seem worth living. What I lost while I was standing in the shadows can never be recovered. But now that the Great Hide-Out is over, I am determined not to let shame shape my lifestyle ever again.


I am going to wear a bathing suit and I am going to the beach. I am going to have spa days and wear nice clothes. I am going to go out there and shine like the little star I really am. And while I work to improve my health in every way, I am no longer convinced that I need to be skinny to achieve that. What I want in life now is balance. A balanced dinner plate. A balanced day. Balanced relationships. Fun, meaning & purpose, faith, empowerment, rest, and good health. This is a better goal list than "lose 80 pounds." I'm sure of it.


I hope that you, too, will come out of hiding if that's where you are today. Speaking from experience, it's so much better out here in the light. Really.

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  • What a beautiful story Ellen. Weight shaming is such a timely subject. To speak to your story, I fear that I may have once known your first love and for that I am so very, very sorry. You are right, no one should live in the shadows because of their weight. Peace and love – Kim

    Kim McCullough-Gabel on
  • Beautiful writing, Ellen, with an important message. You ARE a shining star!

    Bobbe Taber on

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