Out and About

Well apologies for the radio silence around here folks. I've been busy curled up in a ball in a dark corner, rocking back and forth and speaking in tongues. It's been an interesting week, to say the least.

Basically, Dietgirl has been OUTED to all and sundry. I admit that I am a doofus when it comes to all things mathematical, arithmetical and statistical, so perhaps that's why I'd convinced myself that even though the Sunday Mail sells millions of copies, none of the 80 or so people in my building would be among its readers. I mean, surely they'd go for something a wee bit more highbrow?

But noooo. I tiptoed into the office at 7.30AM on Monday morning and was ambushed by a colleague in the foyer.

"Hello!" I said.

"Well HELLOOOO!" she grinned, "And how are YOUUUU?"

Uh-oh.

"I opened the paper and I thought, that looks like SHAUNA. And it was! Oh my god! I got the shock of my life!"

"Oh!"

And so this went on all week. There were a lot of smiles and heads shaking in disbelief, there were jokes and funny looks and hush-hush conversations. Some people even bought the clipping in to pass round their department. It was weird, weird, weird.

But everyone has been lovely. Surprised, but lovely and supportive and kind! But I was still so embarrassed, because even after losing a chunk of weight I am still bigger than 90% of the people I work with. I wanted to get a t-shirt that says I'M NOT DONE YET. If anyone so much glanced at me I wondered if they were trying to picture me twice as wide. I've only lost about 10 kilos in the time I've worked there; they haven't seen any dramatic change. So to see my former GIANT BLOB BOD floating across their Sunday paper would have been a bit of a shock.

I was mildly irritated by one person who cornered me and said, "I heard about your article. It's amazing. But I just can't picture you being so… so… you know… big! I mean, 25 stone!" Her face wrinkled up with mild distaste as if she'd said, "I mean, two vaginas!" or "Sleeping with horses!".

Sometimes I think I should have been an alcoholic, it seems a more socially acceptable character kink. Obesity just isn't glamourous and it seems to make some people uncomfortable.

There was another terrifying moment when one of the guys on my team came up to me on Tuesday and said, "Soooo… I've got a big fat beer gut, eh?"

"What?"

"I read your site last night."

"Oh?"

"I was reading October 2004 and you were describing someone very familiar!"

Shit shit shit! I'd written about him! What had I said? Was it bad? Then I remembered I'd written about how he'd lost an absolute stack of weight and was showing everyone how loose his trousers had become. And I was flamingly jealous of his success as I couldn't bust an ounce at the time.

So it was okay! I'd written nice stuff about him! EXCEPT for that bit where I said he used to have a big fat gut and an assortment of chins! Holy crap. I can't tell you how surreal it was to hear your words back in your face from a real person, after secretly typing away for years and years thinking only the imaginary cyber peoples were reading. And can you imagine how he must have felt to discover someone was talking about his baggy trousers on the internet?

So the week was like every blogger's nightmare come true. At first I felt guilty, embarrassed, extremely silly… oh, you name it.

The Scottish Companion has been copping it too, since our wedding photo was screaming down half the page, stopped only by a small article on Marilyn Monroe's lesbian affair. He got a text from a friend on Monday morning, "Mate, when you get married people usually put a photo in the local rag, not the bloody Sunday Mail!"

Then all his work colleagues have been giving him shit, and a client even called to say, "Nice to see you've found yourself a little wife on the internet."

Arrrgh! The article really does imply that we met online. Not That There's Anything Wrong With That! I jumped down poor Beckie's throat when she commented how nice it is that so many people find lurve online these days. I am so sorry Beckie! I overreacted because the comment sent me into a panic, thinking all my colleagues would think that I was some sort of desperate Mail Order Bride putting my fat ass up for sale on the net. But of course, people hook up all the time online without being of the Mail Order persuasion. I've had some choice liaisons with internet folks in my time, thank you very much; so I'm all for it. Love is love whether you found it in the pub or on the 'puter.

I know some of you have been mortified on my behalf to be suddenly thrust into the spotlight, particularly when I have so ferociously (hysterically) guarded my anonymity for the past 4.5 years. I've been careful to keep my fat writing from my non-fat writing; to use pseudonyms and not write anything that could weed me out in a Google search. It seems ridiculous now that just a few months ago I finally worked up the nerve to tell my own bloody husband about the site. Now it's all out there baby, and I have lost the last place I could hide and let loose and truly be myself.

I spent a couple of days mourning that. Dietgirl has been an outlet and a refuge during this whole lard busting journey. I never stopped to think about how the article might change things, and now it felt strange and scary not have that private space.

Yet I was determined to look at this experience in a positive light. For one, it's nice publicity for Erin's book in the UK. And if anyone I know bothered to check out this site, they probably got bored real quick then got back to their lives.

Plus it's a real hoot to be able to say you were tabloid news.

Most of all I've learned that it's time to stop hiding.  Back when I was twice as big, I felt like half the person I wanted to be. I felt like I had to hide myself away from the world and make as little fuss as possible. Since I took up so much physical space, it was like I wanted to make my personality as small and muted as possible. So the virtual space was where I could stretch out and have fun.

I no longer need a secret place to be my real self. Because I am finally being my real self all the time now, out there in the big bad world. I am sick of leading this stupid virtual double-life, it has been bloody exhausting. This isn't to say I'm ditching this site, I'm just ditching the bullshit. I'm sick of worrying about what people think when they're probably not thinking anything at all.

So… let's just get on with it.

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37 thoughts on “Out and About

  1. You’re NOT done yet!! You’re not done with your weight loss (until you want to be!) or with this site or with inpiring thousands of people all over the world or even in the next cubicle. It took me a loooong time to learn not worry about what everyone thinks of my site and journal when a family member found it and passed it around. But I finally said, to hell with it, I’m doing this for me, not them, and I’ve been nothing but honest. So except for a few passworded entries where I talk about them (heh) it’s all out there and we have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about! Woo hoo!

  2. DG, you’ve hit on something vital here, the _shame_ that comes with being very overweight. I was talking with a friend about it the other day, how discussing your weight issues with someone is a very private, intimate matter, and there are some friends you’ll talk to about it and some you won’t. And we were laughing about this strange buried idea that if we don’t talk about our fat, NO ONE WILL NOTICE. It _is_ a double life some of us have lead at times: competent worker by day, but by night, a woman wholly at the mercy of the ice cream lurking in the freezer. So, I sympathize with your freakout…but like MR hope that you’ll still continue posting with the brilliant, hilarious, scorching honesty that makes your site so beloved and valuable.

  3. It’s funny how the Internet can make you feel so anonymous, yet so vulnerable at the same time. Reading your posts every week help me keep going with my weight loss journey, so I hope you’ll stay. Now there will just be a lot more people out there to love you!

  4. I am so glad you are continuing to write. I enjoy your blog immensely. I think you are very intelligent, and write in such an entertaining way.

  5. I think I would just about have a heart attack if you were to stop sharing your wit and humour with us followers. You have been such an inspiration to me and I need all I can get. I think you are a true legend and you deserve to have the spotlight on you for a bit. You will never stop being that honest person that shares it all and that is what I love about you. And thanks for the double vagina bit. Love it. LMAO

  6. You are such a brilliant writer, I can actually *feel* the things you describe as if they were happening to me! Especially the bit about your work colleague and his baggy pants and assortment of chins!

    Love your blog, and am also pleased that you will be sticking around, even though you’re so famous now!

  7. I love this site and I loved “Tales from the Scale”.

    I’ve told my family about my weightloss blog too. Now I’m a bit more selfconscious when I’m writing, but I’m also more honest with my family so it goes both ways, and overall has been good. I’m mostly concerned with continuing to lose weight anyway.

    Keep up the great work.
    ~hopeful

  8. Hi-

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your site! I found you after I started reading Tales from the Scales. I have to confess that I was so intrigued with your story that I went back and read every entry from the beginning! I just wanted to let you know how much I admire what you’ve done. I have also found some really useful links through your site (like Couch to 5K and World’s Healthiest Foods). So, I guess all I wanted to say is that I hope your being “outed” won’t make you stop writing. You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself and sometimes you make me laugh right out loud!

    And for me personally, I had stalled in my weight loss for about a year right about the place you are at (down from 275 lbs to 195). Reading your site really helped refocus me and I’m now at 184 and counting. So just look at all the good you’re doing in the world!!!!

  9. Hey, I was there cringeing with you.
    I know you’re not done yet but don’t get het up comparing yourself to the others at work. That way lies madness! Personally I think you look fab the way you are. But the big question is how you feel about yourself.

    I hope the woman at work with the unhealthy lunches isn’t checking out the site!

  10. Bravo! I can’t imagine what your week must have been like, but I’m glad you got through it swimmingly!

    Glad to hear you will still be around. I’m a new Dietgirl addict. Hey, it’s a healthy vice!

  11. Hey Shauny – you know, it would really and truly be an ENORMOUS loss if you were to stop journaling here. Only 11 comments so far, mine’s the 12th, but I’m sure you’ll see a LOT more to this effect. And many lurkers will think it but for some reason just keep lurking.

    Bottom line: we need you! we love you! we want you!

    I totally get that losing anonymity curtails the honesty, but I hope you can find some happy medium because to lose the honesty will be a very real cost, imho. It’s in large part your honesty that has made your journal so wonderful. that and your double-vagina sense of humor (not that there’s anything wrong with two vaginas, thankyouverymuch!).

    loves ya, DG!!! mwah!

  12. What I just discovered you yesterday, read through ALL the archives in one day (yes, I know, I need a life) and now you are debating not writing?! It can’t be.

    But seriously, what shines through is an impressive writing talent, and a lot of determination. I wish you every bit of luck with the rest of your journey, and I hope you’ll have more success with the writing – you really do have a compelling turn of phrase.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. first I thought oohh that is just what I dread about articles and stuff. How horrible but hten I continued to read and I thought hhmmm well sometimes you need to be forced to move on and maybe you deep inside knew what would happen and just needed some help.

    and as you say.
    Most people are nice and want you to be happy then there are a**ho**es and htey will always be that no matter what.

  14. “Most of all I’ve learned that it’s time to stop hiding.” This line almost made me cry as I seem to struggle with this all the time. You are one of the gutsiest people I’ve come across. Cheers to you and your emerging sense of self.

  15. You know I don’t show my face on my blog. And since I gained almost 100lbs after high school, I won’t even go into a store in my hometown for fear I’ll see someone who only knew me at a healthy weight. I’ve since moved out of state but I still hide when I go home, even though I now weigh the same as when I graduated high school. I can’t let go of those feelings of wanting to hide, even now.

    I just wanted to tell you those things so you’ll believe me when I say…I think you’re one of the bravest people I know. I understand how much courage it takes to do what you’re doing and I’m so glad that you aren’t hiding anymore. I hope that gives you even more reason to keep blogging along proudly and maybe even a kick in the pants to publish a book with your very own name on the cover.

    You’ve inspired me so much that I think I might even go in a store the next time I visit my hometown. As long as the authorities don’t recognize me, I should be fine. 😉

    I love you, DG!

  16. An alcoholic? Well, maybe more socially acceptable but just as tough to break. I am now reading Tales from the Scales and a lot the issues about weight to me relate to my drinking habits. I’m now considering kicking my drinking habit before I tackle me beer gut. Congratulations on your positive losses and gains you have made. Keep up the good work.

  17. Your double vagina/sleeping with horses comment made me laugh my ass off. Or, so I thought. But when I checked, it was still there. Regardless, had me a hearty laugh. Must be good for 5 calories and with the 5 for posting this comment, I’m down another 10 cals for the day. Thanks!

  18. Hey Shauna,
    As one who has been outed by their blog – I say its a friggin pain, but in the end it doesn’t mean that much. You know what old George Bernard Shaw said – the truth can’t hurt you.
    Besides, think of this as a pretaste of when the novel comes ok and you’ll be like JK Rowling observing life from behind the tinted windows of some limo somewhere.
    Be strong – and damn the bones of those who aren’t here to help you

  19. Aargh. I can totally relate to all the mixed feelings. You are quite right, blogging (and even more so commenting) doesn’t feel quite the same as, say, writing a diary and leaving it around for your workmates to read. Most people would think that was an odd thing to do… but blogging’s not so different. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. And you DEFINITELY do not need to hide your real self. We all like and admire you, yes? And we’ve seen all the photos etc.

    When I took the blogplunge I was simultaneously convinced that nobody would read it at all, and that everyone I knew would read it and point and laugh. Which was a little silly. I don’t know how I would cope with suddenly being “outed” like you, but since I only have 10 visitors a day, media stardom probably doesn’t beckon _quite_ yet. I still don’t want my near and dear to read it, though. I think your outlook is great, and I only wish I could be as sensible about the whole thing.

    (Talking of which, Mum, are you reading this comment? I know she’s discovered your site!)

  20. I am sure things will quiet down a bit…like we have to remind ourselves again and again, even though we think people are looking an judging….in the end they only are thinking about themselves…If anyone does give you hard time you know where we are;) we can kick some butts…and even if they have a problem with you, most likely they will have forgotten the URL or article in a few days time, and go on with their self absorbed lives.

    If anything I am sure you have inspired and given hope to more people…and that is a priceless gift you give to thousands!

    We are proud of you! And look at all these new people leaving comments! See you have already touched more peoples hearts!

    (If you stop dietgirl and or start a new blog somewhere in some secret place…please email me! I promise not to tell!;))

  21. You seem to have come out of your week stronger and more committed than ever. Good on you. And I know exactly what you mean by I’M NOT DONE YET. I’ve even resorted to saying ‘If you think I look good now, check back in another few months’. Dietgirl – you rock!

  22. Two vaginas isn’t normal? *blinks*

    You’ve cracked me the hell up again!

    As you know, I went about things, ass about face. Upside down. I outed myself. Planned my blog from day 1. Rang all newspapers, TV shows, ‘Slimming magazine’, radio stations and told them of my colosal task ahead. Losing Weight and raising money for Charity.

    Now, this was only scary when I sat back and thought “Shit, I wonder if my ex mother-in-law has been reading and secretly wishing I’d fail”. Etc Etc. Knowing someone could see inside my head was an after thought that I never considered. The writing became theraputic and a curse as I felt I couldn’t fully explain alot of things. I WAS being myself but wasn’t divulging as much as I wanted.

    I have to say, looking back, the upside greatly outweighed the down. After being in Slimming mag, I received emails from around Australia. After being on Sydney radio I made a wonder supportive friend who emails me the greatest advice of all my readers. After my monthly ‘front page’ updates in our 40,000 circulation newspaper, I grew strength from strangers comments in the street.

    My point is, strangers brought out the best in me, whilst people that supposedly ‘knew me’ were the ones that I ‘freaked’ out if they say inside my brain (blog). I understand your ‘shame/pain/fear/loss’ now that you are outed.

    If I were your workmate and I found out about your previous ‘tubby’ status – I’d be proud as hell, picking your brain and wanting to workout with you.

    I really sincerly think that you have no conception of your amazing-ness.

    Some days I fill with pride reading your latest posts. You rock!

  23. I never really hid my blogs, my name is at the bottom of everyone of them, but in the last year knowing my grandma, my brother and other family members read me, wigs me out a bit. I have to watch what I say (on my personal one) but for my weight loss one, I’ve let it all hang out, literally…as I went for a tummy tuck two weeks ago.

    I write for me, and if I happen to inspire others along the way, I am all the happier.

    You are one of my favourites, you make me laugh and cry and you have a way with words that hit home, even if sometimes I don’t understand your Scottish/Australia slang 🙂

    Keep on writing woman, we are done yet! Smiles and hugs to you.

  24. DG, I think you are incredibly brave. I know for a fact I could never “come out” like this. You are a hero to all women, not just overweight girls. It doesn’t sound like this is scaring you into stopping your writing altogether, which is good, as I would not want to come here and not be able to read your words. My fondest hope is that you make the adjustment and keep writing!!! When is that book of yours coming out?!

  25. Hi

    I was outed to. Unfortunately I was outed by a client. She was a former kid I worked with for 2 years who struggled with eating disorders(I’m a family therapist). I NEVER spoke about work in my journal but to have her come accross my personal info, well that was too much for me. I no longer can post in my old journal so I’m starting off a new one. It just bothers me to no end that she found it because I pride myself as having terrific boundairies and to have a client know personal info about me is devasting so I can totally relate.

    Kellie

  26. Hurray for you! I’ve wondered what I’d do if anyone I really knew found my site and I’m convinced it wouldn’t change how I feel but that’s probably not true. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame, hold your head high, and smile for all of the successful (lard) losers out there. 🙂

  27. Well said. Leading the double life sets us up for failure if we stop the one we are doing really well in. Having both clash and become one means that from now on it is real – not that any of your journey has not been real up to this point. Excellent post again.

  28. Well Miss Shauna (bugger! can’t call you that anymore) Mrs Shauna, I have always said that when your dietgirl blog and your other blog collided it would mean the beginning of the next phase in your transformation. But maybe this incident will be the thing that propells you forward. You need to become one person so that you can let go of your old personna and I feel that your ‘outing’ is forcing the issue. You are strong Shauna and you will deal with this. No probs! Think of it as your 15 minutes of fame and hey, if you find you like the spotlight then how about writing your own book. Come on, you know you want to. NJ

  29. Oh man, now EVERYONE knows how cool you are. And here I thought you were my own little private indulgence … 😉 God if you ever stopped being as brilliantly honest because of people KNOWING your brilliance, it would be a crying shame. Hold your head up high, darlin, you’ve got everything in the world to be proud of. (And we’re all so damn proud of you too, our ever-shrinking Superstar!!) xxx

  30. heya – i love your post and I love beck’s comment too. You are amazing and some people will definitely be jealous of just how far you have come but those worth there skids will support and love you just like we all do!

  31. Most of all I’ve learned that it’s time to stop hiding. Back when I was twice as big, I felt like half the person I wanted to be. I felt like I had to hide myself away from the world and make as little fuss as possible. Since I took up so much physical space, it was like I wanted to make my personality as small and muted as possible. So the virtual space was where I could stretch out and have fun.

    I think you are in my head. Really. You ARE in my head. I know this statement. I know it personally. I know hiding out in my house as much as I can so I don’t have to worry over the ‘judgmental looks,’ but then that is assuming anyone cares/looks, etc… and now that I am sure it is more my own personal insecurities than anyone else’s thoughts.

    Glad to find your blog – don’t stop blogging. 🙂

  32. I just found your blog. Congrats on all your health success and your famousness! =) Gotta be careful what you blog, it can really catch up with ya. Anyways, hope to read the rest of your posts and stay motivated.

  33. I just found your blog – somehow, I’m not a dieter, so I don’t know how I ended up here – and although I’m not on a weight-loss scheme, I LOVE reading simply because you write incredibly well! Shame you let go off your journalist-aspirations…
    But I have the impression that you think all your workmates and whoever are gonna think “eewww I can’t believe she used to be that fat” – that you are ashamed of the fact that you had to lose weight, instead of being proud of the fact that you managed to lose it. (You probably are both, but you know what I mean…)

    I can only speak from the point of view of one slim woman, myself, but I think most (intelligent, anyway) people would just admire you ENORMOUSLY. After all, a lot of people would like to lose 10-15 kilos – but they are NEVER able to, because they haven’t got the willpower. Or people try to quit smoking, but can’t, or start exercising, but can’t, or cut their credit card bills, but can’t…

    My point is – we all have weaknesses,we can all relate! And I think fewer people than you believe, would think “eeewww”.

    Most people would just bend over backwards in admiration and give you a huge pat on the back and say GOOD ON YA’ GIRL!!!

    So don’t be afraid to look them in the eyes. After all you’ve achieved something most people would NEVER be able to!!!!

    Sorry about the long comment… didn’t mean to hi-jack your blog.