Weight loss is an incredibly arduous endeavour, not only from a physical but also a psychological point of view. But once you do achieve your desired target after gruelling effort and tons of courage, the mental toll the journey takes on a human being is often left out of the narrative. Recently therapist and YouTuber Omar Bazza catalogued his personal account of how life changes after a dramatic weight loss, and the reality is quite grim.
Bazza lost a whopping 45 kilos in a steady span of eight months. Kudos to his hard work and dedication!
[ personal THREAD] At the end of September/early October, I went through a break up and received results of my blood work indicating I had prediabetes and high cholesterol. 45 kilos lost and 8 months later, I have noticed differences in how I was treated pre and post weight loss.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
I catalogued a lot of it purely out of psychological curiosity but I didn’t realize how massive people’s perception of me changed, simply because I lost weight. This is not a judgment or even bitterness towards it, but a phenomenon of physical appearance that is so deep rooted.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
Once he did shed the extra weight, he noticed a difference in perception towards him.
First of all, I am no longer invisible to strangers. Saying this as a 195cm and used to be 135 kilos, I was invisible to people. Interactions with strangers would be short/distant. There was an element of surprise if people knew the job I did as if my body didn’t fit with what it— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
I was taken less seriously in different presentations I made or activities I participated in. There was an assumption of laziness that was the opposite of what was happening. I actually worked too hard responding to the mental health crisis during the pandemic.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
That led to a lot of stress eating and having food as a reward system rather than nutrition. But it seemed hard to believe for most people that I was working hard. The main assumption was that I did the bare minimum, even coming from some of my colleagues.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
Using food as a coping mechanism to an overload of stress is a reality for many of us. We tend to associate the feeling of happiness with keeping ourselves satiated. When you're thin, you get away with it and can joke it off. When you're not, it comes off as 'unhealthy' or 'lazy.'
As I lost weight, somehow, people started seeing me as more competent and more hard working, which was not true at all, given that I had to reduce my workload to better care for myself. People started engaging in conversations more and wanting me to be around.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
There would be way more flirting and asking me out, which didn’t happen before. It does create a big dilemma in my mind, where there is that hesitation of whether it is because of me that I was asked out or the difference in how my body looked.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
People started helping me out more even when I didn’t need it. If I was seen struggling with a task or even really concentrated on something, people would be quick to help and be friendly. Another very important change I noticed was “touch”.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
Despite the pandemic, people are more likely to give taps on the shoulder, hugs, etc. which didn’t happen in the few years when I was medically obese. I knew through psych research that there are big differences in how we treat people we perceive as more “attractive”.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
But experiencing both worlds first hand in such a short amount of time has been eye opening and yet very unsettling at the same time. The good thing is that friends, clients and most of my colleagues never treated me differently and were encouraging either way.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
Bazza's experience also puts the spotlight on how fatphobic we are as a society. The stakes are different for different sizes. When a person loses weight and you celebrate their weight loss to the point they are now considered a completely different, rejuvenated individual, it is only human to link self worth to numbers on a scale. Once you've experienced the influx of admiration, it's a slippery slope into chasing a shallow ideal - that the thinner you become, the more people will appreciate you. And that is not okay.
It is the world at large and the small interactions at stores, coffee shops, pubs, etc. that truly shocked me the most. Adjusting to such different worlds can be difficult because there can create a lot of doubt about human interactions.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
In a big sense, I am deeply privileged. I didn’t have medical issues that could stop me from losing weight and going back to exercising. I was athletic most of my life, which meant a lot of muscle memory when I started exercising again.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
And as a man, I was still less judged on my appearance than women would be. Going through this experience has made me even more aware about how difficult it can be for those who can’t go through this easily whether because of socioeconomic or medical issues.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
I hope that our perceptions will change about this soon because throughout the history of humanity, there wasn’t a lot of judgment based on body type. It is quite recent in our history. Journaling about this journey and processing it has been a confusing endeavour.— Omar Bazza (@bazzapower) May 30, 2022
Couldn't have phrased it better myself, Mr Bazza! A hearty congratulations on your commendable efforts, and a big thank you for sharing your account so others can find comfort in your experience.