But You Have Such A Pretty Face…

by HEAB on December 9, 2009

Don’t ever tell an overweight person that. It’s one of the worst things you can say…along with, I’m telling you this because I’m worried about you OR I’m only saying this out of love

I had to shop for my jeans at Lane Bryant. I couldn’t run a mile in gym class to save my life. Trust me, I knew I was fat. Melanie recently emailed me asking me about my decision to lose weight. What exactly caused the shift in my dietary and exercise habits?

Well, it wasn’t the time my pediatrician tried to put me on a liquid diet at the age of 11. Please don’t tell an 11 year old that she must drink chocolate medical shakes for every meal. Yeah, that one went over really well in the elementary school cafeteria, let me tell ya. Nor was it the time my high-school biology teacher had me stay after school only to sit me down with two other teachers and confront me about my weight. I remember going home that night completely devastated. I was so embarrassed that I refused to go back to school for two days.

How do you help a person who needs to lose weight? You love them. You lead by example. You ask them to go on a walk. You never criticize the way they eat, but maybe you offer to cook a healthy dinner for the two of you to enjoy together. Never judge, and never force your life upon anyone. Others will see how a clean diet and healthy lifestyle has transformed your own life. Maybe they’ll just observe you from afar, or perhaps they will ask for your help when they are ready.

That’s the key. They have to be ready and willing to do this for THEMSELVES, no one else. Apparently, I was never truly ready to lose the excess weight I had carried around all my life until I reached my early 20’s. It was then that something just clicked. It was time to lose the weight for ME. I was tired of being the happy fat girl. I wanted to eat better. I wanted to go hiking with my friends. Heck, I just wanted to be able to cross my legs. I was ready. The weight came off, and I never looked back. I WON’T ever look back.

Some giveaways to mention before I go:

1) Who wants a Vita-Mix???? A rhetorical question, I know. Click here to enter my giveaway.

2) Today is your last day to enter Smoothie Girl Deb’s Nut Butter Giveaway in honor of HEAB’s Birthday. The flavors have been chosen: Raw Almond, Brazil Nut Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter, and Chocolate Hazelnut Spice. You know you want some. 🙂

3) The Pure2Raw Girls are giving away a variety pack of some of their amazing bakery goodies. Click here to check it out.

Well goodness, I can’t leave you guys without any photos, now can I? How about some Christmas ornaments sent to me by my very clever and hysterical reader Carolyn…


Yes, those are photos of a kabocha squash and an almond framed in ornaments. Genius! Love you Carolyn. 🙂


Lara (Thinspired) December 30, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Hi Heabie. Only just getting around to read this post..I keep marking it as unread because I just didn’t want to miss it. I am so glad I read it. I related to a lot of these feelings and completely agree with your views on weight loss being an incredibly personal journey.

Lisa December 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm

This was such a wonderful, wonderful post. Thank you so much for expressing so well what needs to be said about how to encourage (encourage being the key word) people to have a healthier lifestyle. It took me a long time to figure out that (most) people do want you to be happy when they say the things they say – they just don’t know how to express that. I also really needed a reminder of this right now – good timing! – as I see my brother caring less and less about his health, and it is tempting to get preachy with the lessons it took me a long time to learn about how to make your body feel good.

Thank you so much for your blog!

Miss Rachel December 12, 2009 at 9:20 am

Excellent excellent excellent post! I’m sorry for what you went through, but I thank you for sharing your experience. So true that people KNOW when they’re overweight. I remember two different experiences, once with friends and once with my father informing me that I had “a weight problem.” I think they were concerned, but they just didn’t *get it* and all their comments did was make me feel worse than I already did. I discovered the works of Geneen Roth when I was 21, and her perspective changed my life – forever. I still struggle, but I am so much happier, healthier and confident. Nobody can hurt me like that anymore. Thanks again.

ashtangamami December 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Thank you, Heather. I’m someone that really needed to hear your perspective and advice. I’ve got a very important family member who does not eat well or exercise, and is quite overweight. I want her to take better care of herself so that she can be healthy as she ages and not rely on drugs to lower her blood pressure and lighten her moods. I generally don’t say anything, but the times I have tried to offer suggestions or invite her to exercise with me have definitely not been appreciated. I admit–I do feel angry and judgmental, and frustrated that my so-called “positive example” only brings on ridicule instead inspiration. I do believe that each of us must analyze our own behavior instead of placing blame with others…and you’ve made me take a step back and remember that I should just be there for her when and if she asks for help, and otherwise just be supportive and offer love unconditionally. You made me realize that I’d want the same thing if the situation were reversed. Thank you, love you.

Amy December 10, 2009 at 9:03 am

I’ve got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Very touching and it really hit me where it counts HEAB. I’m struggling with staying on the healthy eating path at this very second. I know what I need and want to do I’m just struggling to execute.

Thanks for sharing this one – I’m going to go read it again.
♥ Amy

Veggiesmack December 10, 2009 at 8:21 am

Great post. As someone who often had “concerned people” try to force lifestyle changes on me as a kid, I can totally relate to this.

Heather December 10, 2009 at 7:09 am

I’d just like to thank everyone that shared their personal stories. It’s helped my perspective tremendously. I have to set a healthy example for my daughter…but we both have to ‘do it’ for ourselves.


skinny latte December 10, 2009 at 5:51 am

Not much I can add really, but what a fabulous post – being ready and willing to do it for yourself was a lesson I had to learn too. And like you, the weight came off and I’ve never looked back. I think everyone who has lost weight and kept it off has a similar story, that there was a just a moment when they realised what they had to do and there was no turning back – and it also made me realise why everything else I’d ever tried to do to lose weight had never worked, because my head and heart just weren’t in the right place.

Thank you for your inspiring and honest words Heather 🙂

Chris Hill December 10, 2009 at 2:48 am

What a journey! As others had already mention, thanks for sharing. I think what makes these kinds of stories interesting to read/hear about is… It doesn’t even have to be about weight issues…I see universal themes like being hurt…or perhaps feeling like you were different…then like I mentioned before learning to have a healthier love for yourself. You have overcome all that! 🙂

Chris 🙂

Katie December 9, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Great post! My family has very unhealthy eating habits, and when I go home, I try to do exactly what you said. I try to get them to go on walks, I eat my veggies, and I always go to the grocery with them. They are amazed at how little I buy in the inner aisles of the store. I also had a very candid talk with my mom about how my way of eating should not be taken as a reflection on hers, no judgements.

Denise December 9, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Thank you for this! I have heard this most of my life and it is very frustrating. I just wanted encouragement and love, but now I am loving myself and it feels so good! I have reached an age where I don’t care what others think. What I do and my decision to become a healthy person was more about me wanting to love myself and less about getting the “pretty body” to match the “pretty face”.

amyjogo December 9, 2009 at 10:38 pm

You nailed it with this post. It really resonates with me. Thanks for sharing – we read about your healthy lifestyle now and it’s hard to remember that you were once at an unhealthy weight.

THanks for being open and honest with us!

Lori December 9, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Best. Comment. Ever. Honestly. That hit home with me because I have also lost a lot of weight and was heavy since I was 5 yrs old. This was a great post, thank you so much for sharing.

Holly December 9, 2009 at 10:13 pm

heather…you always bring a smile to my face with your posts. this is honest, inspiring and beautiful.

Angela loves food December 9, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Thanks for sharing, and I agree with what you said tha “You love them. You lead by example”, That is how I decided to make changes within my life, diet wise and spiritual wise, when others inspire me by their example. So I try to do the same. Awesome post 🙂

brittac December 9, 2009 at 8:17 pm

great advice but horrible stories!

Jes December 9, 2009 at 7:38 pm

People can be so insensitive can’t they? Sorry you had to experience those things, but those along with all your happy experiences made you who you are today! Yeah for Heather! 🙂

Love those ornaments! Carolyn…what a creation! 🙂

The Pancake Girl December 9, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Once again, your honesty astounds and moves me… thank you for always being so open to share your story. You help so many people, time and again with your words. I hope you had a wonderful day, Heather!!


Kath December 9, 2009 at 7:20 pm

So so so true Heather!! The person must be ready or there’s no use in trying. And the comments do nothing but hurt. I had my share of those over the years too. Still remember Ben King calling me a “fat cow” in the 7th grade. If only he knew how much that hurt and that I still remember it 14 years later!

GeenyBeeny December 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm

It is amazing what people think is okay to say to someone about their weight. The former minister of my church is quite overweight. A few years back, during sharing time in the service, someone in the congregation thought it was a good idea to stand up and express in front of everyone how concerned he was for the minister’s health and how he needed to lose weight. Our minister, bless his heart, took it with aplomb but I was shrinking in my seat, thinking oh my god I can’t believe he is doing this! How humiliating!

You rock, HEAB – I love your blog.

pureblissnutrition December 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Wow. I love love love LOVE this blog and it is such a wake up call for me.

For me… being “healthy” or thin was always something I strived for. As a model, I wanted it badly. I was never a chubby kid but I had that babyish look to me… you know… sort of “soft”? Anyway, I finally stumbled across the proper way to be thin AND healthy when I got older and it made the world of difference in my life.

However, this entry was so important for me to read. My younger sister, 15, eats HORRIBLY and in the past two years it has really caught up to her. She is gorgeous, and by no means fat (at all) but it has always killed me to watch her pants get too small and to see her eat greasy, GREASY, pizza followed by chocolate pizza for dessert. The girl will sometimes eat chocolate for a meal. I guess it has been really difficult for me to watch, this little person, that I care so much for, poison her body with unfit foods. I do not mind her size!!! But, as a nutritionist, I see the foods that she eats to be the equivalent of smoking cigarettes or whatever…

All of your advice is RIGHT on the $$$ and thank you, thank you, for reminding me that patience and love is the best support. She will come into a healthy regimen on her own, and I can only lead by example.

You are wonderful and I am terribly sorry to hear the experiences that you encountered.

with <3,

Jess December 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Oh man, I never comment but I just had to on this one. I struggled for many years with my weight but in a different way. I was anorexic and felt absolutely tortured by my body and the skin that I lived in. Somehow though being underweight gave everyone (stranger or acquaintance) automatic permission to comment on my weight and every bite that I ate or turned down. Such comments only made me more aware of my body, more self conscious and more reclusive in an attempt to avoid such scrutiny and awkward moments. Of course I wanted to change and was miserable in my eating disorder but no amount of critical comments, reminding me that I was “too smart” for something so stupid, or attempts to have me sit down and eat a supervised meal did anything to create the internal motivation that I needed to make long lasting changes. It was only when I felt sad and distressed enough about the way in which the eating disorder dominated my life that I was able to address it whole heartedly. Now, at the age of 30, I have been at a healthy weight for about 4 years now. Like you, I am not perfect and still struggle at times with guilt over what I’ve eaten or the urge to count calories/eliminate “bad” foods from my diet. While that may be the case, my life is so much fuller and satisfying than it was when I was sick and I wouldn’t go back to that lifestyle or former body for anything in the world. Bottom line, there are so many other ways to express concern and care, to reach out, or to model healthy behavior in ways that don’t focus solely on weight or add to the humilitation and self-hatred that comes along with any weight disorder. I am so sorry you were the recipient of such poor attempts at “helping” you but I find it interesting that two people at seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum can have such similarly hurtful and shaming experiences. Glad to know you’ve come through it to be the amazing person you seem to be. I enjoy your blog so much.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Thanks for your comment Jess. 🙂

candice December 9, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Thank you for sharing this. Your experience and journey are both truly admirable—I know you’re a much stronger person right now, and your current state of health is just amazing in comparison. Thanks for the giveaway info :] Those Christmas ornaments are just too cute! Maybe I should try framing my food, too.

Ashley December 9, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Reading about the shakes, and your awful biology teacher made me cringe. Ouch. That’s the kind of stuff that causes people to take on therapy later in life. How awful!

Sallie December 9, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I love this post Heather. About a year and a half ago I came to a similar realization/revelation – and I totally agree that making the decision to change has to come from within yourself, no one else can force it upon you or “wake you up”. I have lost 95 lbs from my all-time high of 220 and have been maintaining for about 4 months, which doesn’t sound like much compared to you, and why I like reading your blog. It helps me be inspired and know that I can continue on this healthy path, like you have done! So thank you!

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Sallie, You won’t go back either. Just continue on your same path. 🙂

homecookedem December 9, 2009 at 5:49 pm

I have a similar story to your’s HEAB. I was a chubby teenager and lost my weight my senior college as well! Thank you for sharing your story and your honesty. I’m still smaller than I was before I lost that weight, but I had gotten down to a much smaller size than I am now. So I regained some, but feeling motivated (after the holidays – now is just the worst time to try and lose weight for me!) to lose it again and for the LAST time!

Bronwyn December 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Wow. I’m so glad to finally read someone say that.

That’s the best way I’ve heard it put. Really.

That sentence is one of the meanest that anyone could ever say to ANYONE. Thanks for spelling it out for people. 🙂

dawn December 9, 2009 at 5:33 pm

very well written. 🙂

Lisa December 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I truly can sympathize, Heather. How awful what your teachers did to you! I, too, was a fat child. I finally began to take my health more seriously later in my teens & was able to lose the weight & get fit. And it was the same things as you that inspired me to take charge. I went through similar humiliations as a child. I may have gotten over them, but haven’t forgotten them. It taught me that you don’t lecture an overweight person (or underweight) person & use “concern” as the impetus b/c that just makes them feel like crap. I learned that yes you do need to love them & show them they are wonderful no matter what. I have two awful stories to share. One was when a doctor saw a pic of me in my mom’s office & commented how fat I was & doomed to a lifetime of misery & loserdom if I didn’t lose the weight. Why did my mom tell me he said this? Well, that is the second awful thing. She tells me this b/c she too was always on my case about my weight. Not because she was worried about my health, but frankly because I embarrassed her. I was depressed as a kid because of this. To have your own mom treats you like this… there are no words. When I finally lost the weight, it was bittersweet because of how differently she treated me because *now* I was thin & therefore beautiful & worthwhile because of it. Getting straight As… no, not good enough. Being thin… there you go. Bah! Thankfully, my dad always was wonderfully supportive & encouraging. So, when I lost the weight & got healthy, it was for *me* & on my own terms.

Gelareh @ Orange Truffle December 9, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Unfortunately we live in a Tactless society. A couple years ago after my wedding I gained a little bit of weight… I guess because I wasn’t trying to look perfect in the white dress anymore… so at work I was asked if I am pregnant and when my due date was…. I lost the weight thinking that should stop people… nope it didn’t they asked if I have an eating disorder…

Emma December 9, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Hi Heather
It is so true that you have to want to do it for yourself. I struggled to be a healthy weight since childhood (even though I thought I ate healthy) and only in the past 8 months have made clean eating choices and cutting back on portion size. I decided enough was enough and was sick of being overweight! I’m with you, I won’t look back only forwards to how exciting life really is!
Thanks for sharing! 🙂 Em

Susan December 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I think every single person who has lost weight and kept it off had that moment where everything “clicked.” That’s why I sometimes struggle giving advice to people who want to lose weight. Because until you’ve had that “moment” even doing all the “right things” won’t work. You’ll just fall back into your old habits eventually…

I really like your advice to lead by example. There are a few people in my life I’d like to see get healthier. I’ve never pushed it on them, but they’ve told me how I’ve inspired them to be more active, or try new healthy recipes. And that’s all I can ask for! 😀

Pure2Raw Twins December 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Thank you Heather for sharing this post. I know so many people will benefit from it. You are such a strong, smart, and beautiful person, inside and out. I am honored to say we are friends…I am thankful everyday that I came across your blog. You are truly an inspiration for so many people and I thank you!!

Theorist December 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm


charlotte December 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Commenting on someone’s physical appearance at all is something I try and steer clear of. Even a compliment can be taken the wrong way much less a backhanded one like the “such a pretty face” comment. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that as a kid! It seems like you made it through with your faith in humanity still intact tho:)

Mish December 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Oh man do I totally feel you. I have lost over 100lbs and to be totally honest it’s never EVER come from someone else. Well, actually I lost 25lbs for a boyfriend who said ‘I have a problem with your weight’ and then I gained it all back after he left.

I was asked by someone recently, ‘What do you tell someone who has weight to lose?’ I looked at her and said, ‘I can tell you to exercise, cut back, eat different things, etc. However, if it’s not in your heart, you will never get to where you want to be’. I totally believe that.

I have been struggling for about a year now losing the weight that I gained back. However, over the past two weeks, I have decided that it’s time for me. I am here to transform my body and my life.

Thank you for writing this. Thank you for reminding us all that no matter what we do in life, lost weight/change jobs/start something, it’s about doing it for us and following what our heart song is.


claire chiancone December 9, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I was overweight growing up. Everybody( doctor, dad, brother, me, etc) new this… Except my Mom. It was hard to lose weight with all the junk food in the house. Why shouldn’t there be boxes of twinkies, bags of chips, sugery sodas, etc around. Nobody has a weight problem here.it so hard to deal with weight issues when there is a wall of denial. We need to be honest with ourselves and the ones we care about.
Great post, Heather!! cc

Emily December 9, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Cute ornaments!

Very nice post. You’re gorgeous! Thank you for being such an inspiration!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) December 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Not much I can add here in the 60s with my comment number….BUT great post, great words to live by. And I always live by the motto in life that if it’s up to be, it’s up to me. That can go for weight, jobs, family situations, you name it…each person is in control over her life, weight, body, and no one can do it for you. That is, gain/lose weight, gain a healthier attitude about life/food/exercise/etc in general, we’re all on our own path and must do it for ourselves and there’s no telling what sets off the Light Bulb moment for someone to make the changes; but it’s a blessing when it happens!

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Right on Averie. 🙂

~Jessica~ December 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I would love that Kabocha ornament myself! Almost as good as the real thing…come to think of it, I might start chewing the frame if I did have one.

The situations you were put in when you were younger are heartbreaking. It still amazes me how insensitive people are, as if anyone would choose to be overweight or not be accutely aware of it themselves. There seem to be two predominant attitudes: the patronizing one (‘but you have such a pretty face’) and the downright cruel one (telling an 11 year old to drink diet shakes it utterly inexcusable). You should be so proud for rising above the struggles of your youth and proving that you were stronger than every single one of the people who doubted you and humiliated you. I’ll bet you’re a lot slimmer and healthier than any of them are now!



Lauren December 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm

You’re amazing Heather! 🙂 Lots of Love xoxo

Misty December 9, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Your post is right on the money. Those are horrible things to say to anyone.

The reasons you list for starting your healthy journey are much the same as mine, though I only recently began.

tangerinesandmarmalade December 9, 2009 at 1:20 pm

What a great post. Your story is so touching. It’s true there are so many ways that people can think they are helping but they are, in fact, not. People need to be educated about this!

Marissa December 9, 2009 at 1:16 pm

You echo so much that I have been through as well. Shame NEVER works. I had an obese doctor tell me I needed to lose weight. Oddly enough he is still obese and had the lap band done about a year and a half ago, continues to eat poorly, and is still in poor health due to his weight.

I admit that right now I am dealing with things said to me by well meaning family members and not so well meaning others…in therapy. None of what was ever said to me helped me to get to the point where I could lose the weight for myself. Not that I didn’t want to, but I had to get to the right place mentally to do so. Unfortunately it did take 1 person to say something, and what he said was not exactly encouraging, but it also wasn’t as brutal as what others had said.

I have friends who are fat and I would love for them to lose the fat so they can be healthy, but I know there isn’t a thing I can say that will help them…unless they ask for my help. Then I can offer up yummy recipes, and supportive encouragement to show them that they CAN do what I have done precisely because there isn’t anything special about me that got me here. I just made the decision and did it one day at a time.

<3 Sisters in health!

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Love you Marissa. You’re so right. Nothing special about me either, but I did it, one day at a time. 🙂

Sarah December 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I’ve never commented before but your post could have described me a tee. It didn’t hit me when my childhood doctor told me I should “lay off the kool-aid” or the relentless teasing from my brothers. It was only after college when I realized my weight was making ME unhappy that I figured out I needed to be healthy and lose the weight for myself. What a great post 🙂

Light Delight with Tou Tou December 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for sharing that story….I always trying to persuade my Mom and Dad adopt a healthy life style, but as you said, I shouldn’t be judgmental. I should just show them how to make the life a bit healthier, and cook for them.

Hallie December 9, 2009 at 12:51 pm

This was so powerful. Two things came to mind when I read it. One was my doctor who told me I was at risk for an STD when I was about 14 because I was overweight and men might try to take advantage of my low self esteem. Umm ok. And also I fully agree that it’s really really hard to get someone to change thier habits, all you can do is lead by example. My mom says she’s jealous of me and she could never do what I did (lose weight and keep it off) and I try to tell her not to be jealous but be proud of me because it’s HARD work every day, and also that she 100% could do it too if she wanted too. It’s not magic, but it requires hard work and a real lifestyle change. But I don’t think anyone can talk anyone else out of a bad habit…smoking, tanning beds, unhealthy eating, you name it.

Thanks for writing this…I think sometimes it’s important for us to remember how far we’ve come in whatever journey we are on.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Hallie, I’m sorry – what an awful thing for your doctor to tell you.

Sounds like we both have had quite a journey. 🙂

apartmentnearchinatown December 9, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I really appreciate this very personal post. Along with many other people, I can relate.

Also…those ornaments are awesome!! 🙂

Sarah (from See Sarah Eat) December 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Love you Heather! I can so relate. I was overweight my entire life and nothing anyone ever said made it better, only worse. I got the pretty face comment (or nice smile) and when I was 10, I was told by a modeling school to get 30 minutes of biking in a day. What?

This really resonated with me though: “They have to be ready and willing to do this for THEMSELVES, no one else.”

So true. For me, it happened just before I turned 25. I won’t ever look back either!

eatmovelove December 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

What a great post Heather. For some reason, this resonates with me, albeit in a totally different situation. I’m trying to be myself and live my own life and explore, and yet someone keeps contacting me and harrassing me and telling me that I should do this or should do that…I’ve shut this person out of my life, but they refuse to let go. It is harassment and horrible. I’m almost afraid to ‘be’ myself because they’ll take it the wrong way or assume so much that isn’t true! The way one appears on paper isn’t true to real life always, nothing is perfect at all. We all have our problems and own lives and to compare and judge is cruel and awful. I wish this person would recognize what you so wisely did – that they have to live their own life and do things for themselves….I don’t understand why they keeping reading about me and interfering…it is extremely confusing and awful.

thebalancebroad December 9, 2009 at 11:46 am

I wish I could go back and give 11 year old HEAB a hug. 🙁

I think this rings true for so many “addictions” – I have people in my family who are addicted to food much like a drug, and it’s just hard for them to break that cycle. They try and try, but until they want it for themselves, it won’t change.

I was in line at the gas station and the cashier/another customer were discussing smoking. The cashier had quit, and when asked how, she replied, “I just wanted to. So I did.” How true is that, yet so simple? It can applied to just about every bad habit, ya know?

<3 you, HEAB!

missyrayn December 9, 2009 at 11:46 am

I used to hate when people would say that to me. I knew I was big but I didn’t need to be reminded of it constantly. That’s why I try to help people see the positives in who they are and only offer my advice if they ask.

Melissa December 9, 2009 at 11:41 am

Oh you made me cry Heather…my beautiful 7 yr old daughter just experienced her first hurtful remark regarding her appearance…her uncle said “Hope, you’re getting chubby” …the look on her so young so innocent face was excruciating …it was like “wait..there’s something wrong with me…with the way i look?” I dont even think that she had ever thought of “chubby” as a bad word but it came out as an insult…as something she shouldn’t be. Shes only 7 years old…I wanted to throw up and scream all at the same time…to see her precious innocence drain out of her way too young little face. Since that ridiculous comment Ive been doing major damage control with my sweet girl..but Im pissed that she had to feel that so young. 🙁
So thanks for sharing such important information..words hurt and scar…even “well-meaning” ones. I once heard something that has stuck with me …”Shame never creates change”.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

That quote is so true Melissa. Thanks for sharing, and I’m so sorry about the comment directed towards Hope. Giver her a big hug. That won’t erase her uncle’s remark, but she’ll know she is loved.

molly @thevegandorm December 9, 2009 at 11:37 am

THis is a great post (and I really appreciate your opening up).
I was never overweight, but when I was in eating disorder recovery, I definitely felt hurt by other people. (Obviously, my situation was different, but I had similar feelings.) Everyone did what they did out of a feeling that they were protecting me (or at least, mostly everyone).
My friends once literally dragged me up to a tray of brownies in the cafeteria (I was a junior in high school), trying to get me to eat one. Mortifying.
Or I would go out to dinner (freaking out beforehand, of course), order a meal, clear my plate, but still people would say things like, “Have a bite. No, really, have a bite. Come on, have a bite! Just take a bite!”
Thankfully, I had an amazing family and amazing friends, and a nutritionist who was responsible for food, so my family didn’t have to be.
Really, no one needs to be “involved” with the way another person looks or eats, except by being there for support or as an example.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Molly, Even though our stories are different, I know you totally get it. People think they are helping, but sometimes it only makes the situation worse. Happy to hear you have some amazing people in your life. Many don’t.

Carolyn December 9, 2009 at 11:34 am

And they wonder why we aren’t excited to go back to high school reunion…My former cheerleader step sister, who was in my school, in my grade still doesn’t get it…..!!! “oh gosh i can’t wait to reminice with everyone about how fat, uncomfident, and unpopular i was”

Thanks for sharing your stories.. 😉

I do find that although i was unhealthy and a mess then …i am one of the best naturally “preserved” and healthy now, when i run into the same sets of people… good living in later life will pay off…!!

Julie December 9, 2009 at 11:33 am

So true. You can’t force someone to want to lose weight. You can’t force someone to want to be healthy. They have to do it on their own.

Mama Pea December 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

Such a powerful post and so very true. I think your words apply to anyone dealing with addiction: be it food, drugs or alcohol or an eating disorder. I think it is a huge burden for a friend or family member to think that they can “save” someone, and their is a fine line between enabling someone to abuse themselves and attempting to be supportive and available for when he or she needs help. I’ve had my own battles in life and you are right: it starts with a choice. It’s too easy to pin a label like “fat,” “alcoholic” or “anorexic” on yourself and just decide that that’s who you are and that there’s no use in trying to change. That fact that you made this choice and then did what it took to make a change just speaks volumes about the strong person that you are.

Jenny December 9, 2009 at 11:24 am

Oh Heather, sweet sweet Heather. You are preaching to the choir! I cringe when I think of my 10 year old self bring Slim Fast shakes to school for lunch. It’s a sad sad tragedy. You will make such an amazing mother one day and be an incredible role model for your daughter!

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Thanks so much Jenny. I hope so. 🙂

Quix December 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

I grew up athletic, but after college I piled on the weight. I walked around for years at 250-ish lbs, and my mother nagged me constantly about losing weight. It only clicked when I made the decision to do it for myself and I haven’t looked back.

So you are very right. The only way to help someone lose weight is to lead by example, and be there for them if they ask for help. It has to click in your own head first…

Cherie December 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

I love Heather no matter what size you come in.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Thanks Cherie Pie. 🙂

Holly December 9, 2009 at 11:16 am

Heather, you are so right – it has to be for you! For me it was a lot of things, but I think most of it is just education. The year I had to take a “Life Skills” class in high school is when I got the ball rolling. While the nutrition discussion focused around the FDA Food Pyramid, it still brought awareness that I was eating total crap. I think a lot of people don’t fully realize the implications of what they eat. Unless they are willing to change their lifestyle and really make sacrifices and commitments (pulling a 180 is definitely not easy), they can’t be successful.

The hardest part for me now is when people see what I’ve done and think they can change in the blink of an eye. One girl here wanted me to “revolutionize” her. I gave her the tips and information I had taken a whole year to learn over my Year of Change. I explained that it was going to have to be a gradual process. She had a salad for one day (the first of her life), went to the gym for about 15 minutes, and the next day she promptly gave up. It was too hard.

So, no. You definitely can’t change people, and sometimes people won’t even accept help. Until they realize what exactly it is they want, though, the only thing you can do is live your life.

Thanks, as always, for your insight!

plamarie December 9, 2009 at 11:04 am

That makes me so upset that your teachers would have talked to you-that is not right. I grew up heavy and have akward stories to. I guess it is just hard for people who don’t have a weight problem to understand those who do. I think that having grown up that way has made me be more understanding and accepting of those with any difficulties in the life. blessing in disquise I guess.

Erin December 9, 2009 at 10:55 am

Oh Heaber, it’s like I could have written this post! Same story, different scenarios. Luckily, no one in my immediate family ever, ever made reference to it. They just led and lived their lives through healthy examples, especially my parents. While I was an overweight pre-teen, teen, and young adult (and still technically am overweight), I was NEVER made to feel like I wasn’t enough by their standards. I was the one who didn’t feel comfortable with myself and finally came to learn, and understand and LIKE myself enough to want to be better. After my junior year in college, everything was different and I too, have never looked back.

I joke with my sister now – “why didn’t anyone tell me I was so FAT?!” She summed it up perfectly. “Ummm, because we love you?? Who the ##%@ would say that??”

Once, last year during a yoga class, the instructor had us connect to something we were grateful for. Out of now where, this thought came to me that I was thankful for going through all of that. Thankful for being that weight and going through all of those issues because it allowed me to understand difficulties and then grow and change and understand what it means to love yourself. Wow, phew, I’m leaving before it gets too emotional up in here!? 🙂

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 11:08 am

Erin, Sounds like you have an awesome family, and yes, it was a long hard journey, but it did teach me to love myself. A very important lesson!

Amy December 9, 2009 at 10:54 am

Being healthy is the biggest priority. I love watching Dr. Oz’s show b/c you see how people are ready to make healthy choices once they see the health implications of their lifestyles. If only our culture could get more focused on health and not looks. (I’m not holding my breath, btw)

Love the ornaments – too funny! Yeah, I’m with Abby – I want one with a sweet potato on it!


Certifiably Fit December 9, 2009 at 10:52 am

Great post Heather! As a former obese person myself I totally agree with what you were saying in relation to how you can help someone who is struggling with weight issues. Like you it took me to get to the point I wanted to lose the weight for myself before it started to come off and I, like you, plan on never looking back.

loserforlife December 9, 2009 at 10:51 am

Thank you for sharing that story. People don’t understand how their words can hurt and it took me a long time to realize that I, also, was tired of being the “happy fat girl” and wanted to finally lose the weight for me.

Rose December 9, 2009 at 10:47 am

This is great advice – thanks for sharing.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 10:47 am

Emily, Although similar, kabocha squash is not the same as buttercup. Here is the most common nutritional info. listed for kabocha squash: http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/nutrition-calories/food/generic/kabocha-squash/. It is a vegetable, and you can eat it with whatever you want: more veggies, protein, fat, other carbs, or simply all by itself. 🙂

Kristie Lynn December 9, 2009 at 10:39 am

This is a beautiful story. You are so right… and I needed the reminder. I have been waiting for my Dad to be ready to lose the weight for years, but until he is ready all I can do is lead by example 🙂

Estela @ Weekly Bite December 9, 2009 at 10:33 am

I truly detest people who use that line. Ugh! So insensitive!

Thanks for sharing your story!

justrun December 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

That is really great advice. Thanks for sharing it. Hugs!

Emily December 9, 2009 at 10:10 am

Heather. Thanks for sharing.
And buttercup squash, what is the calories and nutritionals on that? per squash or a full cup? Is it vegetable, do other vegetables and greens need to be eaten with it? Have a fabulous day !

Melissa December 9, 2009 at 10:10 am

Heather, you’re awesome.

theemptynutjar December 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

Your blog is the perfect balance of personal, interesting and informative. I questioned in my blog today how to balance that and I think you helped answer that. Your words speak to many, not just those overweight. I want to say more, but I will leave it at that.

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) December 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

Gosh, I didn’t know about the school drama. So awful Heabs. That had to hurt. A lot. I’ve been there too- a steward on a cruise said to me (like he had every right)…”you’d be so pretty if you lost weight”. This, after coming back from the gym covered in sweat- it was the beginning of my love for exercise about a dozen years ago. It was painful. Think I cried over that one.

That’s the reason I don’t offer any suggestions re. health/fitness/weight loss unless someone asks for it.

You can NOT lose weight until you are ready deep down in your soul. That’s the bottom line. Thanks for sharing that Heabs.

Denise December 9, 2009 at 10:03 am

I can NOT believe teachers sat you down after class. I’m happy you found your place and did it for yourself.

Tina December 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

*shiver* that reminds me of all the mean things people ever said to me.
I hate it when people are like that, it’s like they don’t even understand how much it hurts. Half of the girls who were like that to me were only doing it to make themselves feel better, but I didnt’ understand that at the moment, so all I felt was enormous pain and regret.

I wish people would stop looking at weight and size. Weight is a consequence of a lifestyle. If people were just focussed on getting people healthy, happy and active – then the weight would just fall into place. But all this focuss on how skinny or fat people are leads to insecurities, bad dietary habits and in the worst cases; eating disorders…

Your a star for getting where you are 😉

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) December 9, 2009 at 9:58 am

You are so right that people have to WANT to lose the weight and be ready for it in every sense of the word. I’m a believer in that–it’ll only work of someone does it because they want it for themselves, rather than doing it because someone else wants them to. I’ve observed that both in other people and in myself. You have been through a far greater struggle than I ever have, but I recognize your sentiments in my own evolution to living a healthier life.

HEAB is a major success. 🙂

VeggieGirl December 9, 2009 at 9:55 am


Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

Love you VG. 🙂

Cali December 9, 2009 at 9:43 am

Heather, that was a really nice post. I have a mother with less than healthy habits, and I’ve learned that the best way to effect change in her diet is to be sensitive and let the motivation of my concern really shine through (that would be my love for her).

Thanks for such a candid post. It’s a nice change-up from the kobacha love – although I do enjoy your kobacha love posts, too. 🙂

Erica December 9, 2009 at 9:36 am

I find it especially ridiculous that doctors wouldn’t understand how to properly approach this topic better…..I mean really? A doctor put you on a liquid diet? That kind of makes me sick/makes me want to find a way to take away his/her license. You really are amazing Heather 🙂 Inspirational, beautiful (inside AND out), and so sweet!

DiningAndDishing December 9, 2009 at 9:35 am

This is a great persepective to read. It is often hard to know how certain comments can affect someone. Thanks for being so open and honest Heather!

– Beth @ http://www.DiningAndDishing.com

greenbean December 9, 2009 at 9:35 am

thanks for being so open and sharing.

fitforfree December 9, 2009 at 9:33 am

HEAB, I’m sorry that you had all those awful experiences — but it must make you appreciate your current lifestyle/level of health all the more!
Out of curiosity, were your eating habits SO different before you lost the weight? Were you a healthy eater who just ate more? Or did you eat an entirely different set of foods?

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 9, 2009 at 9:36 am

FitForFree, I ate healthy foods, but I ate a lot and had way too much sugar in my diet. I used to drink a ton of my excess calories as well – milk, juice, soda. Making water my beverage of choice made a world of difference for me.

Sarah R December 9, 2009 at 9:28 am

I can’t believe what you had to go through as a child… it’s just so sad how others treat people. It’s like they don’t see the person inside. Thank you for posting this you are such a great example for others!

Scott in Ohio December 9, 2009 at 9:26 am

HEAB’s, so sorry you had to go through all of that! Growing up is hard enough, isn’t it?

For all of it’s faults, The Biggest Loser show seems to do at least one thing well…it assists the contestants in finding out that they must lose the weight for themselves, not others. So true. I’m glad it clicked for you!

Thanks for being such a great example and putting yourself out there everyday!

Kristin December 9, 2009 at 9:25 am

Amen to that. It has to be your own choice… and it comes naturally.

Abby December 9, 2009 at 9:24 am

LOVE the ornaments.. lol! I want one with a big ol sweet potato in the middle.
Thanks for sharing your story.. you have certainly come a long way and look healthy and happy.

Katie December 9, 2009 at 9:24 am

It is hard to “help” someone because they have to be in the “right mindset” – I find lots of people ask for help then I feel like I am pushing too hard, which turns them off, so you are so right, lead my example and don’t push.

Zevia winners will be picked tomorrow – new music post tonight – http://katiechangesforkatie.blogspot.com/

Evan Thomas December 9, 2009 at 9:23 am

I’m so sorry to hear you had to go through that at school. Clearly it’s made you a strong independent person today but still that’s awful.
You’re so right; words are one thing but actions are another and there’s no reason to preach when you can demonstrate

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 9, 2009 at 9:21 am

Oh that line makes me crazy. I have been told that before, at a weight of 150-160. How ridiculous?? One of my clients was told by her DOCTER: ‘You’d be so gorgeous if you’d lose the weight.’

It makes me sick!

Chocolate-Covered Katie December 9, 2009 at 9:16 am

Oh so cute!! Kabocha hanging on a Christmas tree? Now I’ve seen it all 🙂

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