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Women Who've Gained Weight Are Sharing How Family, Friends, And Random People Treated Them Once They Were No Longer Thin, And This Needs To Stop

"Gaining weight wouldn’t have had such a negative effect on me if the people in my life hadn’t acted as though my size was so offensive."

We asked the women of the BuzzFeed Community to share how people (and society) treated them after they gained weight. Here are their responses:

Warning: This post mentions eating disorders.

1. "I’ve gained over 100 pounds in recent years. I deal with anxiety and depression, and the medication that works also makes me gain weight. I went to college and have 10+ years of professional experience. I took time off to have my children, and have not been able to get a job in my field since. I have an impeccable resumé and have applied for and interviewed for countess positions. I ended up accepting an entry level position out of my field. I know that the people I interviewed with were not as qualified for the positions, but it’s a sad, hard reality: Fat people don’t get the job."


2. "A few years ago, I had a double organ transplant. Six months later, I went into rejection and was given a MASSIVE dose of steroids to save it. Within a month, I went from 50 kilograms to 110 kilograms. I also lost the ability to stand or walk without intense pain and fatigue. I get looks of pity from my relatives. They tell me that I don't 'look like myself.' I also get looks (and noises) of disgust from strangers, especially if I've been forced to walk and am trying desperately not to collapse screaming in pain."


A woman sitting on the ground in her bra and underwear
Delmaine Donson / Getty Images

3. "I was always super thin. Not because of my genetics, but because my mom wouldn't let me eat any food. I was hungry all the time and felt like shit. But everyone always told me I looked good. Then, I gained weight. Everyone started telling me that I was 'fat' and needed to lose weight, etc. It was the first time that I actually felt comfortable and liked how I looked. To this day, people tell me I need to lose weight, and no one is listens when I say that feel good the way I am. I wasn't thin because I was healthy; I was thin because I was starved."


4. "I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the beginning of COVID and was prescribed a medicine that completely wrecked my metabolism. That, combined with the lack of movement due to the pandemic, and not leaving the house, caused me to gain a lot of weight. Now, whenever I have any medical issue, the ONLY response medical professionals have is, 'You need to go on a restrictive diet and start high intensity workouts.' I'm not listened to about medical issues that could be or are due to other things. If I'm nervous there's something wrong, no one checks because they think it's due to 'obesity.'"


An overweight woman at the doctor
Tetra Images / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

5. "Whenever I lost weight, people always had a compliment for me, whether it was blatantly pointing out that I lost weight, or compliments about my clothes, hair, etc. The second I gained weight, all the positive comments ceased. Never anything outright negative, but the silence spoke volumes."


6. "When I first met and got together with my ex, I was at my thinnest and — let's face it — most unhealthy. As I started to feel happier and got more comfortable around him, I slowly started to put weight back on. Then the pandemic hit, and suddenly I was 10 kilograms heavier than when we first got together. He dumped me not long after. I don't know if my weight had anything to do with it, but it sure feels like I was a catch when I was tiny and thin, and easy to throw away when I wasn't."


View from behind of a woman looking her reflection in the mirror
Sally Anscombe / Getty Images

7. "I’ve gained about 50 pounds after having my son, and being very tall and underweight most of my life. I’ve never been told, 'You look good!' by more family in my life. I can tell they are trying to 'make me feel better.' I’ve heard 'fuller,' 'buxom,' and 'curvy,' but frankly I could do without any comments on my body at all. I've always fluctuated in weight, but as this is my heaviest, I'm just trying to learn how to love myself at a new size, and whether I ultimately lose weight or not, I just want neutrality when it comes to my bodily appearance."


8. "I use to be fairly thin. I went through several years of severe depression and gained over 100 pounds. The biggest thing I've noticed is that I don't have random men trying to talk to me in public anymore. They don't try to hit on me or 'strike up a conversation.' I can't say I'm mad about it. I'm not happy with the weight I put on, but I LOVE not being hit on."


A man shouting at a woman from his car
Ol'ga Vostruhina / Getty Images/EyeEm

9. "I’ve been plus size for most of my life up until high school. I went on a really limiting diet that was basically starvation, and lost a ton of weight from it. Suddenly, I was getting attention from boys, getting more compliments from my parents and relatives, and getting more/bigger roles in theater shows I did. Once the diet crashed and I put the weight back on, things went right back to how they were before. One guy even said to my face that I looked like 'a man in a wig.' The biggest takeaway from it all was that I never changed — my weight did. If that’s enough to get people to start or stop liking you, they aren’t worth the space they take up in your life."


10. "When I lost 50 pounds, everyone congratulated me. And when I gained weight (that same 50), no one said a word. What no one knew was that when I lost the weight and people were saying how awesome it was, I was actually relapsing from an eating disorder. It made me feel like people wanted me to be sick. When I gained weight, I didn’t want people to notice, but I was happier and healthier."


a young woman looking at reflection in mirror
Science Photo Library / Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

11. "I had my very own apartment when I was 18 years old. I didn't have a job, didn't eat, and threw a lot of parties. During this time, I met my boyfriend. I moved back in with my mom because the way I was living my life wasn't healthy at all. I finally gained some weight again because I was super underweight before. Now, my boyfriend tells me I have to join him when he goes to the gym."

"He wants me to look like I did when I basically starved myself. I asked him about this, and he said, 'I just prefer thin girls, but you can join me to the gym and get the same results again!'" 


12. "My weight has fluctuated throughout my life. I think at my lowest I was a size 14. I was treated way better when I was a size 14 as opposed to now at size 24. At the airport, people would smile, hold doors open, and have conversations on the plane. The last time I flew, people ignored me or rolled their eyes when I walked by. It's as if fat people aren’t allowed to fly, because our existence is an inconvenience to everyone else."


A woman walking into the airport
Adamkaz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13. "I had been thin until my early 30s and got plenty of attention. Once I gained weight, I was told multiple times by men that I was a pretty girl, but that they 'didn't date bigger women.' I would like to lose weight. However, I almost enjoy not being objectified the way I was when I was thin."


14. "Between about 2015 and 2018, I lost almost 200 pounds. I started getting complimented on my looks even when I hadn't put any effort in. Retail store clerks were MUCH more attentive and friendly. Random people at my gym would talk to me out of the blue and ask for tips; meanwhile, I was starving myself and over-exercising. I've since gained back 80 pounds because I'm eating like a normal human and not working out three times a day, and I haven't been told I look beautiful by anyone but my husband in over a year."


A woman measuring her waistline
Catherine Mcqueen / Getty Images

15. "After gaining a significant amount of weight, I lost the respect of so many people in my life. There was a palpable difference. Friends stopped inviting me to social outings, one even saying I would've felt awkward being the 'biggest' person there. The employees at a very popular cycling studio stopped talking to me when I took classes. My family would constantly offer 'solutions' to my weight gain, such as fad diets or offering to pay for a gym membership."

"It feels like people are constantly trying not to offend me, like when a skinny coworker complained about needing to lose five pounds, and said, 'No offense to you though, some people like the curvy look.' Gaining weight wouldn’t have had such a negative affect on me if the people in my life hadn’t acted as though my size was so offensive. I can’t emphasize enough how life-altering it’s been."


Do you have any similar stories to share? Tell us in the comments. And remember: No matter how well-intentioned, it's probably for the best to NOT comment on someone's body and appearance.

The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.