Relationships & the Truth About the Aftermath of Losing Significant Weight
The Media and Movies Love to Portray “Weight Loss” As the Penultimate Holy Grail. It Isn’t By a Long Shot
Brittany Runs a Marathon is the current “feel good” movie up for consumption.
It is the same old tired premise, with a few nouveau cultural references added in for 2019.
Weight loss makes ALL dreams come true!
… seems the real message, cloaked under the Afterschool Special “serious, self-esteem” message rammed down the audience’s throats.
“A person is special, strong, and capable at any weight when they take control of their life”
Sure. As if that is how society views anyone who self actualizes.
Fit? Couch potato?
We are largely viewed through the lens which society has deemed is ours, and that is the focus under which our abilities (or lack of) are scrutinized.
The main character, besides Weight Loss, is Brittany.
She tries to “score” an Adderall prescription at the beginning of this.
Of course she does.
That is what everyone does, according to what those running the media in this country wants you to believe.
She is shocked to be thwarted by the doctor’s savvy intellect in sniffing out her ruse.
(I couldn’t help but wonder how much it cost a certain group to get that Adderall ding inserted into the script. They discussed this strategy not too long ago at a conference during a talk on methamphetamines).
Instead, her physician pronounces she needs to lose weight. Brittany is floored! What, me?!
The rest goes exactly as a Hollywood version would go, culminating in the title event, a marathon.
The New York City marathon.
Critics have gushed, mostly. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a “90% Fresh” score, for heaven’s sake.
The audience score was 86% fresh, viewers are also enamored with the film.
Not too surprising. People have a limitless capacity for hope, deep down behind their snark filter. We want to believe this could happen.
Nonetheless, Brittany Runs a Marathon is not even close.
This movie, like so many preceding, reflects a skewed, unrealistic “truth” of what it generally is like for any obese person when they seriously decide to lose weight.
A “real life” Brittany would have had a boyfriend when she embarked upon this weight loss journey.
Someone as pretty as she? Puhleeze.
Contrary to the media, obese people have steady romantic relationships.
In fact, due to the deep wells of sympathy and empathy many who struggle with obesity possess, they are prime targets for narcissists and other predators; because they have low self esteem, they have a difficult time asserting themselves and escaping bad relationships once they are entangled.
Hollywood rarely does overweight or obese characters right; they rarely do women right… and combine the two?
It’s asking for a miracle.
Also her character had to “fall in love” with someone for the predictable scripted storyline.
Brittany damn well would have known she “needed” to lose weight. This is a particularly ludicrous premise. As shameful as it is (and it is!), 99% of women, period, would not say a word in protest if their physician told them they needed to lose weight. They would become embarrassed and agree. That is the unfortunate reality of our lives due to social conditioning.
All women. Not just obese or overweight women. All.
This is an uncomfortable truth none of us would want to own up to. It is soul-killing to be told by the doctor “you need to lose weight”.
It’s particularly difficult to swallow this scene in light of a movie proclaiming to be some kind of positivity message around weight, yet they don’t even have this basic knowledge down.
It shows these people don’t care what it is like for any woman to go to a doctor’s appointment and face ignorant BMI stupidity or the face of a physician telling you to lose weight.
The filmmakers expect us to swallow this in a dramedy?
Furthermore, the percentage of obese women who begin their journey of weight loss by running is microscopic. Infinitesimal.
R U N N I N G ? !
Not just running…
…running in public, in a densely populated city.
I suppose obese people such as this exist, I just have yet to ever speak to a single one. Especially a woman.
To wrap up the most glaring flaws, The New York City Marathon, to my knowledge, is not some kind of elitist event only undertaken by athletes. People from all walks of life and every fitness level are participants. Why it is elevated in this movie to be An Event for Only Serious Elite Thin People, I don’t know.
This flick is nothing more than a symptom of what the general consensus is across our culture.
“Lose weight, feel great!”
It isn’t as easy as losing 55, 75, 100 pounds; suddenly, everything in life crystallizes into Monte Carlo beachside perfection, a montage of LA exclusive parties that you ARE invited to.
It doesn’t work that way.
You do not cross a finish line, break a tape, receive a trophy, walk triumphantly off into the fiery sunset.
Instead, what happens is rarely spoken of in the media or film.
When someone has lived as a heavily overweight or obese/morbidly obese person all their lives and emerges from that lived experience a thinner, healthier looking person? Holding your head up?
It usually is not a bed of roses.
It is not cheering crowds with ticker tape, no Oprah with wide smiles and free makeovers.
Friends abandon you. Relationships or marriages are on suddenly on the brink of failure, division, divorce.
Your phone is silent. You are hella lonely. There is the temptation to drink, heavily.
The “FFP” (formerly fat person) is not only discarded as a friend, but blamed for the loss of the friendship.
He/she is accused of being now “different”. A million slights are piled on. More arrogant. More selfish. More snobby. More narcissistic.
In reality, some of the people who have always been in your life do not want to get to know a newer, more confident version of you. They may be deeply envious or plain jealous, realize it’s petty, and project it all onto you, their new, thin friend.
In some circles, the FFPs have always been the virtual group punching bag, the group butt of every joke, the group whipping post, the group go-to for unloading all the nastiness.
Here they went and made themselves out of reach of our sarcastic bombs!
It is only natural, only human, for you to change inside when your exterior drastically changes, especially if you have never been thin.
How do we view those who abandon friends who were in accidents that changed their external appearance? Do we encourage anyone to pile on and attack the person whose appearance changed? Do we think it’s odd if someone, burned in a fire, struggles to come to terms with their new physical appearance? Do we roll our eyes, minimize their feelings and gaslight them? Do we abandon those friends? Is it socially acceptable?
We have all seen extremely negative comments regarding the “friends” who abandon others in this type of situation.
To a person, those commenting swear they would never do that to their buddies.
Why is it okay to smear those who were obese and lost significant weight? The lefthanded compliments, the shade thrown their way… Is it because they effected a positive change upon their appearance?
They only did what society (and many times friends & family) pressured them to do their
How damning an indictment is it upon our very society, our personal character, individual values, our own abilities to “always have your back” supposing we are only able to be truly present, one hundred percent there — no questions asked — when a person is harmed or has an adverse event happen to cause catastrophic damage to their outer shell?
We are bitter, simply unavailable to those friends who are suffering mightily… but, wow they sure look great. They don’t need me anymore, you think.
If this formerly obese person is a spouse? Even worse. He/she is interested in new things, maybe have new friends (doubtful)… are they cheating? Even without any evidence, you will be convinced it’s happening. They will never receive the benefit of any doubts.
If you don’t face your feelings and talk through them together, your self-esteem will plummet. Every time your partner reports new happiness, a new discovery, your bitterness will mount.
And eventually, overwhelm.
This is the most ignored issue regarding the weaponization of weight loss in our society.
Incredibly, a person who does what they have been pressured to do for years still loses.
At least in the short term, which is a critical period.
The time when you really need a lot of support and love, everyone close to you bails.
A formerly obese person is learning how to live in society in a new skin. This is a difficult transition for many people. Only people who have always been very obese and have lost significant weight can understand this change.
It wreaks havoc on their psyche. They have to relearn self-confidence, how to view themselves again, so many things most people do not even regard as “things”.
To do this alone, without the people around they have always had as a support system, is difficult. Sure, many of the people from their lives may have been negative and not the best support anyway.
That isn’t the point.
Being completely abandoned by all of them for losing weight is.
It only reinforces in many that nothing they do is right. To include this awesome feat of actually losing the weight!
Which, ironically, many of those very people had harped on them for years to do.
This is why many people who lose drastic amounts of weight either regain the weight (because they simply are not strong enough to be abandoned outside the support of everyone they knew) or they strike out with a whole new life — new friends, new everything. Even new careers. They, in turn, bravely abandon the negative behind and embark on a new life.
A world where they are not approached every day by someone saying, “My gosh, how much weight did you lose! I can’t believe it!” Followed by a long narrative of why that particular person hasn’t lost weight and needs to, implying that somehow it was an easy fix they just haven’t gotten around to yet.
God forbid anyone actually acknowledges their hard work and determination.
Until medical research, who have long puzzled over obesity and why it seems “so resistant” to different approaches, no matter how extreme (from virtually shocking people in their pleasure centers in the brain, to duodenal switch of their gastric anatomy) acknowledge and focus on the highly important relevance of external relationship factors, we will not see huge strides made in “weight loss” campaigns or “wins” in the treatment of obesity.
I would venture to say this critical area is as important as the weight loss itself.
Family and friend true support during and after a significant weight loss are extremely critical factors in whether most people lose weight.
Most importantly, if a person is able to keep the weight off successfully, for good.
The loving malice of sabotage is real.
Those who have reported success in losing major weight and keeping it off invariably report they had:
- Strong determination, COMBINED with
- Strong family/friend support.
•either they sought it out after a rocky beginning (as described above; they were extremely dedicated and determined no matter what, and endured a lot of emotional pain)
•they had very pointedly and honestly, upfront discussed with their family and friends what they needed and expected. Adjustments made along the journey.
I have not met a formerly obese person who did not report to me the loss of at least one friendship in the aftermath of their weight loss. Usually, it is a close, long-lasting friendship, not a casual one.
Surprising until you reflect honestly on it a bit.
People have their assigned roles in your life, how you relate to them and view them in relation to you. It speaks volumes about your true character when a significant change happens to a friend, positive or negative, and your ability to “handle” it. You may find things about yourself that are not very flattering.
How good of a friend are you?
The best friend is honestly happy for the good things that come your way.
If a friend is not able to celebrate the good things that happen in your life, they are not a true friend — doesn’t matter if you have been friends since kindergarten.
As it goes for those who have battled obesity, when the medical world stops pointing all fingers at the obese patient and looking at the entire dynamic surrounding them, we may finally see real strides being made in the so-called “battle” against obesity.
In many cases, it isn’t “just the patient”. They do have the drive. They don’t have any support. It may be a painful awakening for many, but it is a necessary step, vital for the patient.
The medical establishment needs to realize, study, educate and mobilize the role of the support system and friendships in ensuring lasting success.
Check these articles out, also written by Heather Wargo: