Kathy Sebright

Writer. Speaker. Believer. Runner. Truth Enthusiast.

“She put on a lot of weight”

348 Comments

I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of years on the fourth of July. It was hot and humid here. My sweaty hair was stuck to my face. My brave little boy was in my big yellow double running stroller, the strap tied a bit too tightly around my arm digging in. My oldest son was running behind me with my husband. I was surrounded by an amazing group of people out there representing the church we attend, showing love for our community by passing out a few thousand popsicles in the parade. My face was flushed red from the heat and the exertion of running to keep up while pushing a nearly 100 pound load and simultaneously handing out popsicles with one hand while the other steered the stroller. I handed this person a popsicle, smiled, and offered a short, but enthusiastic, “Hey there!” As I turned away from them to continue, I heard ever so faintly “she put on a lot of weight.” I felt my face flame up with embarrassment. My pulse quickened like it would for an impending physical attack. I was stunned for about half a second before I realized there was no time to dwell on this. I had to keep moving and stay with my group even though I wanted to know so badly if there was going to be more to this conversation about me. FB_IMG_1436225638817

I sat with it for 2 days. I didn’t say a word to anyone about it, not even my husband, because I was embarrassed. Because I felt ashamed. Because most of all they were right. I mean yes, they were right. But in those short few seconds they saw me, they didn’t really see me. They chose to see just one thing. My weight. Not me. They only saw my weight.

I wanted to go back and tell them. All the things they didn’t see, that is. All the things they couldn’t even begin to understand. All the things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. All the things I have overcome to be here today, standing in front of them happily offering them a popsicle. All the times I almost didn’t make it. All the ways I have struggled and failed and got back up again anyhow, refusing to let that be the way it ended. So yes. Yes. I have gained weight. And it would be so easy to make excuses and justifications. This is what insomnia can do to you. This is what it looks like when you watch your heart and soul – your child suffer from unimaginable pain. This is what long term, chronic stress and worry looks like. This is what someone that has been on the edge one too many times looks like. But it wouldn’t be the whole truth. The whole truth is I have done this to myself. That’s the whole and embarrassing and painful truth. I have struggled and I have done the very best I have been able to over the years and this is where I have found myself. I have tried and tried and tried. I really have. And when all else has failed, when I have prayed and ran, and wrote and read, when I have cried and screamed and still felt the world spinning out of control in front of me, I have turned to food for comfort. And just because I have put on this weight does not make me any less of a person. It does not mean I am not worthy, not interesting, or not important.

I wanted to go back and tell them more. Like how I just ran 100 miles two weeks ago, for the third time. And while some would attempt to diminish these accomplishments because I was not “fast”, I stand proud knowing the truth of the matter. It takes a level of endurance and grit I never knew I had to run for a day and a half straight. It takes a hardened will, a determination to go forth despite the burning pain, the deep ache that settles in all of your bones, the beaten down body, and the discouraged mind. It takes dedication and passion. It’s all about heart. It’s a feat of strength, not just physically but mentally. And just because I have put on this weight does not mean I am weak, out of shape, or unhealthy.

I wanted to tell them all of this and more. I wanted to make them see how much more I am than someone who has put on weight. But the more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it seemed. Why does it matter? Why do I care what these people think of me? Why do I look at myself in the mirror more critically after a mindless comment someone made by the side of the road? Why do we let people do this to us? Who is anyone to judge you or me that way? Why do we dismiss a compliment so easily but let an insult stick to our ribs?

So I came to a realization and that is I need to be a better friend, to myself. The next time I look at myself in the mirror before I leave, I will not throw in a biting comment about how I look. The next time I am discouraged that I cannot zip up my favorite pair of jeans, I will not berate myself. The next time I hear a less than flattering comment about myself,  I will not let it take root in me. I will not give it the satisfaction. I will dismiss it the way it should be. I will love myself more. I will look at myself the way a friend would. If I would not say it a friend, I will not say it to myself. As we all should. I will cut myself some slack and acknowledge that I really have done the best that I could. I will believe my own words. I will know that I have not failed anyone and that I am not a failure myself.

I will honestly and truly treat myself like a friend would. That’s what I want for you too. I want you to see yourself for how amazing you are. I want you to see that it does not matter if you are a few pounds heavier than you want to be. It does not make you any less beautiful. What makes you beautiful is you. Who you are. Not some arbitrary number. Not the way your critics may see you, but the way the ones that love you see you. What an amazing thing that would be FB_IMG_1430562952849– to finally see ourselves the way our loved ones do. The way we should be seen. That is the hope. That is the goal.

348 thoughts on ““She put on a lot of weight”

  1. It’s not what is on the outside the inside is what matters.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. This is exactly what I needed and now I will look at myself in a loving honest way. Thank you thank you thank you…

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  3. Yes, a tear-jerk article with typical knee-jerk responses. Still, America has a horrible obesity crisis. Most Americans have never been abroad. I have. Every time I come back home I am SHOCKED at how fat Americans are. It is embarrassing. When I go to my local Wal-Mart and look… Christ Almighty. Everyone is overweight. Seeking to make it mainstream and acceptable IS NOT the answer. And would the author please elaborate on the “ran 100 miles a week ago,” and that it took “a day and half.” I really don’t see a chubby person running 100 miles in 1.5 days. Heck, I’m thin and in decent shape and that sounds like a tall order for me, even though I hike and canoe and ride my mountain bike frequently. Americans need to put down the ice cream (popsicles) and stop gorging on fatty foods. I’m not joking. When I’m in Europe and see a group of fat people – they’re ALWAYS Americans. Always. Making fat “cool” and acceptable is a bad bad idea. Eat less, smaller portions, no more candy, no more sodas, no more fast food. No more cake and pudding and pies and eclairs and donuts and all that other stuff I see posted ad nauseam on Facebook and all other social networks. Obesity is unhealthy. Period. I’m 50 and have excellent blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels, healthy pulse both at rest and exertion. Why? I’m thin. I eat thin. I exercise thin. Whenever I see some fat setting in – I go on the offensive. I’ve been this way most of my life. Yes, for a period I had my “fat” pants and shirts, but I overcame that period and am now back to good health. Thank god nobody encouraged me to get fatter. They compliment me on my healthy body, and that feels good. It also feels good to be healthy and know that my heart and organs are healthy and without the strain of obesity.

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    • There’s a lot of judgement in your comment but I will gladly elaborate on the “ran 100 miles in a day and a half.” I ran 100 miles in 27 hours and 30 something minutes. It was my third 100 mile race. I train for nearly 6 months before a race: long, hard, and extensively. “A chubby person” as you’ve deeemed me, absolutely can do so.

      I’m glad that you eat thin, think thin, and are healthy. I also am extremely healthy. But I won’t hate myself because of the extra 25 pounds I’m carrying.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a BOSS! I want to be you when I grow up! Love and good thoughts to you and your family, and don’t let trolls like Gene occupy real estate in your thoughts.

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    • Is it even possible for people like you to just be supportive and encouraging without lacing your words with judgment? People like you are part of the problem: making those with weight issues feel bad for having them at all. You don’t know her, you don’t know what her day looks like. You don’t know what she eats. You don’t know what she does.

      Nobody cares about your high-and-mighty health and fitness lecture. Take it somewhere else. Congratulations on your fantastic health; stop rubbing it in peoples’ faces and try being helpful instead of rude.

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    • Gene, I am not shocked by your rude, insensitive comments. You are speaking as a typical, rude American. You are the type of American that I am embarassed by, egocentric, self absorbed, judgemental and uneducated. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself about fat disorders so that maybe you can learn to keep your arrogant thin lipped mouth shut! Curelipedema.org

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    • First off congratulations on your health and fitness. Clearly you are someone who doesn’t have a metabolic disorder probably has never had to struggle, I mean actually struggle, to loose weight. Obviously none of the medications you’re on (if you’re on any) have caused you to gain weight, either. You may be one of those people with a high metabolism, unfortunately this is not true for everyone. However just because you have been fortunate in health and metabolism, please don’t judge people whose experience is different than yours. I’m guessing you don’t know the original poster — I don’t either — so I really can’t say. Maybe she eats chips on the couch all day, maybe that was the cause of her weight gain. Or maybe she went through some stressors, medications, health changes… maybe that was the reason for the weight gain. I don’t know, and you don’t either. Unless you live someone else’s life it’s hard to say. From your post you have judged everyone who is heavy as it being their choice. Weight loss is not as simple as “eating thin”, “exercising thin”, for some. Additionally some thin people are unhealthy, some heavy people are healthy. You mention that you’re 50 – aren’t we a bit old to be judging people by looks? I could make a bunch of assumptions about you because of your older age – but that wouldn’t be fair of me since I don’t know you, personally. In the end, is heavy, overweight, or yes, even fat – is that the worst thing a person can be? I would like to think that qualities such as mean, judgmental, cruel, criminal, violent , I would like to think that those are worse things. I do hope you never have to experience a change of health and maybe your once pristine body gains weight and then you have to deal with people like yourself. And, as long as we’re on the topic, while I’m happy that you’ve had the good fortune to travel – I am sorry that America is such a source of humiliation for you. Maybe you would be happier some other country where the people meet your personal standards of beauty a little better.

      Oh! there is a difference in ice cream and popsicles. I understand a person , such as fitness fanatic like yourself, might not know the difference but yes, the original poster didn’t say she was passing out ice cream.

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    • you suck. I can’t ‘thin’k of any other way to say it.

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    • Well aren’t you just a ray of sunshine!! So you are skinny. Yea!!!! Happy for you , but take your soapbox somewhere else. People who are struggling don’t need your crap!!

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    • That’s great for you but not everybody is the same. Nature, nurture, genetics, life style and a host of other factors determine our size. It’s not as easy for some as it is you apparently. Being overweight isn’t healthy but some people and their holier-than-thou, self righteous attitude isn’t either. YOU have a great healthy non judgemental day!!

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    • I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
      I’ve been to Europe
      ………been to South America
      ………been to Africa
      ………been to Mexico
      FAT PEOPLE ARE THERE!
      THIN PEOPLE ARE THERE!
      Understand exactly what your trying to say, but dont hate on someone who atleast trying.
      I Agree with you that America is the most obese country. Half is due to this country makes it so easy for them. Not an excuse, everyone is an individual, and their health is the best investment.
      But also hope that you do know that…
      FAT, does not necessarily mean your unhealthy.
      And certainly being THIN don’t either.

      For anyone that does struggle with over eating.

      First go to the docters to find out what All your levels are.
      Many people over eat, due to they don’t feel satisfied cause they lack certain vitamin or minerals.

      Most people are obsessed with food.
      I teach my children that FOOD IS FUEL!
      How many people have a car how how many that request only premium gas, and they give it premium gas. You do this because it’s what the car requires to make it run the best. Well treat your body the same.
      Only put new the best!
      You will find the best for your body on the outskirts of your grocery store.
      Don’t even looked at those middle Isles.
      Try to stay away from too much dark meat and Dairy.

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    • I know you probably mean well, but your comments are very condescending. It’s great that you are in such good shape and yes, way too many Americans are overweight. Trust me, if you meant this comment to be helpful, you failed and yes, I am one of those obese people.

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    • You, obviously, are a very thin and perfect, well disciplined person. Some of us have been thin and fat and are reminded daily by those of you that are perfect that we are “less than” because we let people like you destroy us. You remind us of our shortcomings. You are a reminder that although we fall we have to get back up and sometimes even getting back up isn’t enough for you. Our body isn’t something made for others to critique. Our body isn’t something in which to judge us. Our body is a shell around a person that may have experienced hurt and pain at the hands of another. Our bodies may surround a life in which we were never taught the way to cope with life. Our body may surround many issues that “thin” people will never experience.
      I was obese and had weigh loss surgery. It was amazing. I felt great. I felt beautiful for the first time in my life. But guess what…. It wasn’t enough. The “healthy thin” people started talking to me where they once snubbed me. The “healthy thin” people told me I had gotten too thin. The “healthy thin” people told me I looked sick. Which is it healthy thin people? Fat or sick? People need to stop and realize until you walk in someone else’s shoes you have no idea what they are carrying with that extra weight. One has no idea what demons, pain, despair the “fatty” is trying to mask and hide with food.
      I congratulate the writer on the 100 miles!!! Good for you for getting out there and doing it. I’m sure there were plenty of the above naysayers out there to discourage you. Hang in there we were ALL created in His image. He loves us all whether thin or fat. Our worth has nothing to do with other people’s opinion of us. We must put on the armour and let the arrows be deflected from us.

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    • So glad you’ve “cracked the code”. Chill dude. Obesity is everywhere. And heart attacks happen to health nuts the same way they do chubby people. If she ran 100 miles , instead of judging, ask how was it. I could give two hoots about your biking, running etc. if her stamina outlasts yours then get over it. I am not thin, I am however healthier than most around me. BP, blood sugar, immune, cholesterol and mental are all well. Please don’t try to tell me that size determines health. In that case you’ve worked everything but your brain. I have stamina when running because I pace myself. I swim but there are way bigger people than me who can swim literal laps past me because they have great lung capacity and overall strength. Get a life.

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    • Don’t worry, Gene. You’re going to die just like everyone else and no one will give a crap about your thin eating., you sanctimonious blow hard. My life has been further enriched by Kathy’s story. I admire her perseverance. Your comment, on the other hand, makes me weary. Everyone has heard your rant in some form or fashion all too often. It has been the status quo for a while. Yet, somehow, it’s doing nothing for obesity. I’m fit and I’ve never been overweight. I’ve also never felt the need to berate anyone that is struggling with obesity. I know runners. I am one. When you complete YOUR 100 miler please do come back and let us know how fast your time was rather than speculation of what it might be based on self righteous back patting . Maybe you should have more cake, pudding, pie and an eclair. One can only hope it might make you a less judgy jerk toward total strangers.

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    • And that, is your story. You don’t know her entire story. And what does it matter? You don’t get to tell the rest of us that we are less than you because our scale goes higher. How does that effect you…besides the extreme courage and valor you exhibit to look at our fat bodies. You are chanting the same cliche fat shaming rhetoric that we have heard for decades. If that tactic worked, we would all be swimsuit models. While there are people who obviously do not eat or move in healthy ways, there are also those of us who struggle daily to manage our weight. We work hard, we try every diet, every exercise, every theory to shed the pounds and what works for someone else, might not work for us. You are not a motivation to us, ever. We look at your pompous words and think, “what an asshat” Is that the result you are looking for?

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    • Typical stereotypical comments from a skinny person who hasn’t a clue.

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    • I hope you take a moment to re-read this and know that she is talking about the people that get out there and are active but still have some body fat. To let them know, that as long as they are trying that they should hold thier heads up high, not worry what others are thinking and keep fighting the good fight. Her point is that no one knows your story but you and to not let them get you down on yourself. I agree that America has a serious issue but I don’t think that is the point of this article.

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  4. I know how you feel & felt. For years I was always talked about & laughed at for my weight, it just made me keep more to myself and be depressed. I’m physically unable to do all the things I used to & I’m not making excuses. My lifestyle is changed & I have no choice but to accept all that’s happened to me. Keep up the good work.

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  5. Pingback: You are a Smart, Intelligent woman, and you can do this | Teri Lucas Quilts

  6. First off. so happy for you. feeling fit is great. that being said. sounds like you have been lucky enough to be able to travel the world. too bad in your journeys , you have had time to watch and mentally count the fat americans. Sounds to me like you are lonely and bitter, it may be better if you lived in Europe with all the fit and beautiful people, our world will be a much better place!

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  7. Great article, Kathy Sebright! I love your last name! What a blessing I am sure you are! You’re in about the same boat I’m in at age 48. I can certsinly relate! I would not give “Gene” much credit since he posted HIS feelings and opinions that seem to not encourage or lift up anyone up. No good comes from sugar-coated insults, which if he took his own advice he would eliminate from his diet. Kathy, YOU continue to be a rainbow in someone’s day! #beanencouragernotajudger

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  8. I read most all the comments. I agree with the ones I did read. In my oppion what was unfortunate, it became a banter back and forth between Gene’s oppion and everyone who thought she was inappropriate. She has a right to her oppion, even if the majority of us do not agree. I don’t think that was the intention of the post. Or about “chubby people”. I felt is was about accepting one’s self. I hope that didn’t get lost along the way. We all go through difficult things in our lives. We haven’t walked in each other’s shoes. I feel that excepting where we are in our lives and working towards being happy in the moment, is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I read most all the comments. I agree with the ones I did read. In my oppion what was unfortunate, it became a banter back and forth between Gene’s oppion and everyone who thought he was inappropriate. He has a right to his oppion, even if the majority of us do not agree. I don’t think that was the intention of the post. Or about “chubby people”. I felt is was about accepting one’s self. I hope that didn’t get lost along the way. We all go through difficult things in our lives. We haven’t walked in each other’s shoes. I feel that excepting where we are in our lives and working towards being happy in the moment, is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. It hit me so hard and I had to share it with the many other mothers like you and me who have dealt with raising a child with chronic pain. My children and husband suffer from pancreatitis (think pancreatic cancer without the cancer). My youngest who is now 6 had his pancreas, gallbladder, spleen and a portion of his intestines removed because the chronic pain and inflammation was literally killing him! During the first three years of his life I gained nearly 80 lbs from repeated hospital stays lasting 1-2 weeks and eating/drinking whatever Starbucks or the hospital had available at 2 am. Many of the mothers in our support group have suffered this same trauma and the weight, it comes with our best friend (Coffee and Sugar) but never leaves. I am so sorry you had to hear something like this. Thin people (well, people in general really) don’t understand what happens in our minds and our bodies when we deal with something so damaging on a daily basis. I mean really, one double chocolate vanilla latte with whip doesn’t make us swell like a hot air balloon any more than one cheeseburger would give someone a heart attack. However, when you sit by your child’s bed for 11 days watching doctors poke and prod at all hours of the night and you get NO Sleep.. None, Nada because even with a morphine drip your child is in alternating levels of agonizing pain and hasn’t eaten anything by mouth in over 42 days… yeah… that 2-3 times a day double chocolate latte you are using to keep you awake enough to process what the doctors are saying sticks with you more than you would like. And… when and if the pain is all over evicting the FAT FRIENDS that came with your latte is harder than originally thought.

    Thank you again for sharing and God Bless.

    Sheila Williamson
    Foundation for Childhood Pancreatitis

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  11. Your Father in Heaven sees the real you, what you are what you can be out of all he loves you more than you could ever understand.

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  12. Pingback: Alex Jamieson It's not just Trump: How we talk with girls about their bodies - Alex Jamieson

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