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Pot(s) Calling The Kettle Black

Four of my co-workers, one of them male, have no problem making comments about my weight. I wear a size 14-16, but from their comments you would think it took a crane to get me out of bed.

Today, as I was getting a step ladder to reach for a box, one co-worker commented that maybe she, being that she's lighter, should get on it instead. I made an obviously fake hearty laugh and brushed it off. I had a vicious comeback for her but I held my tongue. You see, she is thinner, but she often gets asked when is she due and people offer her their seat on the train when she boards.

Another, who is one of the slimmest in the office, also makes comments. What kills me is that she'll tell me stories of how she goes home and eats four peanut butter sandwiches WHILE she is heating up dinner. The third was instructed by her doctor to lose 20 lbs. and is borderline diabetic. She'll make comments about the small cup of soup I have as a snack while eating a granola bar with 25 grams of sugar. The male co-worker, jokingly bounces in his chair as I walk down the hall as if to say that I'm so heavy I cause tremors. This co-worker gained 20lbs in little over a month (NO LIE) by have 2-3 Whopper Juniors for Lunch and a large order of takeout from anywhere as soon as he gets home. He convinced himself that his weight gain was all muscle.

The only reason why these comments don't get to me often (sometimes they do) is because I know it is their way of feeling better about their own bodies which they hate. I have a pretty vicious tongue when pushed too far and I feel it coming on.

Does anyone here have people like that in their lives.

Tue. May 15, 9:46pm

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I can't not imagine what you have to go through everyday at work. You shouldn't have to put up with any demeaning comments. You may want to consider going to a supervisor concerning the comments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 9:49 PM

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WOW! I am so sorry that you have to endure that in the workplace. It is totally uncalled for and unneccessary! I agree with what the previous poster said in that you should speak with someone of authority -- unless they are also in on the "fun."

You are a very admirable person for not lashing out at them or letting them get to you. I would be reduced to tears!

Good luck, whatever you do and know that we got your back here!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 9:58 PM

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Their behavior qualifies as harrassment because it creates a hostile work environment for you.

Google for standard advice on harrassment in the workplace, which will no doubt include keeping a detailed written record of these incidents. Then approach Human Resources with it. If you want to get totally badass, you could consult an employment attorney to see if you have a case worth litigating.

It does not have to be sexual or racial to qualify as harrassment. I'm not sure what the popular term for it is though - weightism? looksism? I know it's an issue that is starting to attract scrutiny, so HR should be reasonably responsive to it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 10:02 PM

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Pot(s) Calling The Kettle Black

Thanks for the support. My company has no "HR" there is just our CEO. It's a very small company. I wouldn't trust him with any of my gripes. I complained about a separate issue before and he did nothing, I took care of it myself. It doesn't bother me to the point of reporting it to my boss because I know the truth. It sounds corny but I've learned to see the truth behind people's comments and it has given me a very thick skin. A few years ago, these comments would have made me cry too.

Their comments don't ruin my day, but it is hard holding back because I know what I have to say would knock them down hard. I'm not a push over, though. I've had all of them mad at me at one point or another because I don't always put up with their nonsense over this and other things. Even if I didn't face this at work, I get it from some of my family members and they have body issues also.

I guess I get my satisfaction knowing that even though I'm big, no one has ever asked if I'm pregnant and I quietly laugh at how uneducated they are about the foods they eat. One co-worker, who was attempting to lose weight, once had a sandwich of one slice of bologna between two slices of white bread and thought that was healthy How can I not laugh at such ignorance?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 10:28 PM

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Ya know what!

When you lose your weight, you will have every right to reverse the roles, but you sound like someone who will do the rigt thing and not say anything to them at all.
My hat is off to you for holding your toung. I'm a thin guy and always have been, but I'll be damned if I'll make comments like that to someone.
I'm sorry that you have to deal with this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 11:11 PM

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I have always felt that when people make such negative comments, that they are revealing their own personalities and flaws. They certainly are not professional. I admire your professionalism and feel you are a leader among wienies. You go girl!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 11:25 PM

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Sounds like the environment is pretty negative... and you are the lucky one they picked to abuse in order to make themselves feel superior.

You have to realize that if it wasn't you they picked - it would have been someone else. Look at the source it is coming from... A pretty immature group that get's their ego boosted by making fun of nice people.

Maybe you should try facing them when they make their snide remarks, and make them explain it... such as "what is that supposed to mean?". Once they have to explain themselves directly to you - I would guess they will not have the backbone to do it again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 11:48 PM

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You want to make them feel bad?

When they make their smart mouth comments, just start crying in front of them. If they have even a shread of a heart, they will never make a comment about you again!
By laughing them off, you are subconscientiously giving them the ok to do it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 11:56 PM

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You know... in thinking about your comments... I really can relate to this alot. I have always felt fat and unaccepted - no matter what my weight is... and in a way - I think sometimes people can pick up on that weakness and insecurity... and some will try to hurt you with it.

I think everyone (fat or skinny) hears negative, useless comments in their lives. Some people can just let it roll off their back... which is the healthiest way to see it. And others (like me!) believe everything they hear (especially the negative comments). The trick is to filter out what is useful and real. These comments that your co-workers are making are not useful - nor are they real... so what they have to say should go directly to the trash!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 11:59 PM

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OMFG!!! I can't imagine co-workers saying things like that. It's totally unprofessional and can actually be cause for harassment. I think it affects you more then you let on or you wouldn't be talking about it. I would start making snide remarks back. You need to start documenting all these things just to cover your ass. What sort of work place is this?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 1:31 AM

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Ok I'm going to take a slightly different approach to this. I agree your coworkers are at best unprofessional and rude and at worst (and likely so) harassing you. However I have worked in small businesses and understand you may very well not have anyone to complain to. What I would say is that if you can beat um join um.

No i dont mean make fun of yourself, but tell them one by one in indivudual conversations about your goal to lose weight and your support network on peer trainer. Ask them if they would like to join since it is a great way to get in shape and get support. Tell them about how you are changing your life and thought that they might want to as well. Chances are they will have a lot more respect for you when they realize you are looking to make a change and that you care enough about them to see if they want to do the same. And hey worse case senerio they are insulted cause you basically just told them to loose some weight and they back off.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 9:44 AM

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That's my first thought, just wow. After a minute thought I have a whole lot more. I agree with the people here that say this is harassment. I don't know your situation (and everybody's situation is different) but hopefully you're in a good enough place that you could go to someone, and I mean a lawyer, with this. That's what I hope I could do.

There is no way around the fact that what they're doing is just WRONG! If these people were making sexual remarks or racially biggoted comments they would be held accountable (I would hope) and truly this is no different.

This is not a case either of how big you are or how big they are. You could be much larger than you are now and it would not be any less wrong. They could weigh any amount and it would still not be any less or more wrong. This is workplace intimidation and even if you lose the weight and stay at this job it will move on to someone else or they will make comments about how fat you used to be.

This will continue until they are held accountable and it is so heartbreaking to me that anyone has to endure this. Good luck!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 11:21 AM

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to the OP

i think that the comments ARE getting to you, you're just holding it all in. you sound kinda bitter (understandably) and you've noted several personal details about your coworkers that shows how much attention you've been (quietly) paying to the situation. by expressing your anger about the comments and supporting the anger with facts about your coworkers' own dieting/overweight issues, it seems like you are only angered by WHO is making these comments and not that the comments are being made. if the same things were said to you by coworkers who were physically fit and who ate well, would you be bothered? would you think the comments were out of line or originated out of some sort of self-hatred on the part of the commentor? sometimes it's easier to thrash the messenger than to listen to the message.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 12:04 PM

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From the OP

You are RIGHT that its the people making the comments that upset me more than the comments themselves, hence the title. Throughout the years that I've been overweight, the people who make the nastiest comments are always the ones who should take their own "advice." There are truly fit (eat right + exercise) co-workers here and they do not comment on my weight. It's funny that you should ask that because I came to that realization this morning. I have never had comments like that from people who make attempts to eat right and exercise, never. There are times when I'm finished working out at the gym and someone who is in great shape or a personal trainer will come up to me and tell me they notice how hard I'm working.

I don't mind advice and I don't mind criticism when it's healthy and constructive.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 12:24 PM

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Thanks for the idea of letting them know about my goals and inviting them to join PEERtrainer, but I'm afraid it would be a lost cause. I've shared my goals with them before and all I hear is "yeah right". One told me she has given up trying to lose weight, Two have no access to a computer and are computer illiterate. They talk about it, but they never do anything. As for the guy, it's like talking to a wall. i've tried giving him advice and even helped him once with a shopping list, but he has yet to take the next step.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 12:30 PM

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i can totally relate! there's a guy in my office who is always talking about how he has to remind his kids to pick up this or that from the floor of the living room or to clean their plates when finished with them. when this guy leaves his dirty coffee cup around the office or doesn't pick up an envelope or paper clip that he's knocked off someone's desk, it makes me cringe. but when other poeple do the same things, i hardly notice!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 12:30 PM

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To the OP-

I can relate to working in a poisonous environment- a small office with no HR department and a boss who didn't care. You should make plans to get out as soon as you can- these jerks that you are working with will slowly but surely grind your self-esteem into the dirt. I spent a year in a really bad job and I didn't even realize how low my self esteem had gotten until they laid me off and I got another job- my wife comments that the difference is like night and day- I enloy going to work again, I respect my co-workers, they respect me, it's back to the way it's supposed to be.

You said that these statements they make don't get to you, but trust me, they add up and they can do some serious damage. Don't try and fix your office- you can't. Just get out and never look back.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 1:57 PM

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Get this...

First of all, no one has the right to talk to anyone like that...EVER! Those who do only do it to make themselves feel better. People like that usally lack a personality. Looks aren't everything and the should get over themselves. Insensitive is what these people are. I will leave it at that because i am not amused and it hurts me to hear that although i wasn't the one in that situation. get this. This past Valentine's Day, one of my co-workers, a thin woman (who acts more like a child) decides to make the stupidest comment i have ever heard in my life. So she was single this Valentine's Day and she randomly, while no one was talking to her says; "I wish i was fat, that way i would have a reason to be single." WHAT ?!?!?! I was livid. I was so insulted. I am slightly overweight and i hate when people make comments about body weight. So i turned to her and asked her: "So you're telling me that fat people don't deserve to be loved?" She then got all flustered but continued to defend her point by saying fat people are ugly. WHAT?!?!?! Never have i heard such an ignorant comment in my life. she had pushed my buttons and angered me to the extreme. I haven't spoken to her since, not a big loss though. Some people make so sense. Whatever...she has no booty. That is all. My rant is now over.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 2:26 PM

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somehow the practice of knocking someone's else to make yourself feel better about yourself really rubs me the wrong way, the OP and several others have commented about this behavior. but, the OP and several others have also done the same thing. they may not have said out loud the things they wrote here, but the practice of making insulting comments about another's appearance is not confined to the coworkers some have complained about. pointing out the poor food choices and overeating habits of others, or the lack of a booty, for example. it's hard to find compassion for the situation when those who feel victimized are reacting by throwing out insults or pointing out unflattering body features of the offenders.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 4:02 PM

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yeah, i would either entirely rise above the behaivour or stop complaining about someone else doing it. the fact that the op stated that it's only bothersome because of who is saying these things and not what is being said, per se, points out the discrimination heavy people encounter all the time. if a thin, healthy eater made the same remarks, the speaker gets heard, but if a heavy, unhealthy person says the exact same thing, not only are they speaking to deaf ears, they are being physically scrutinized because of their size and food choices. the message is the same, but it's lost because the speaker is fat. don't a lot of us know how awful this experience is without promoting it, even amongst ourselves?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 4:36 PM

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we can't expect others to treat us heavy people with the same respect that they treat thin people if we can't even do so ourselves. let's set an example and not talk about how offended we get when someone speaks disparagingly of fat people while following with a statement about how bad that person's diet is or the fact that they have no butt or whatever. when we criticize other people based on their looks, we are perpetuating the same problem we are trying to combat.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 4:44 PM

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you're a better person than i am because i wouldn't be able to hold my tongue! i can't imagine having to deal with that every day but you're going to have the last laugh, my friend. a few months down the road when you're slimming down and getting healthy they'll be dropping like flies! ok, maybe not, but you'll still look and, more importantly, feel better than they do. & that's REVENGE.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 4:46 PM

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From The OP

To the ones that commented that I'm no different because I made comments about what my co-workers eat and that I was angry about WHO the statements come from, Please re-read the things I have wrote and the title o this thread.

The comments made by my co-workers are wrong, PERIOD! If someone in good shape had said those same exact words to me it would still be WRONG! The title of my thread is "Pots Calling the Kettle Black." The fact that they don't practice healthy behaviors themselves does not give them the right to talk about my weight or eating habits in that matter. They are not offering advice, they are insulting me. And please be aware that I do not berate them or anyone about the way they eat or the way they look. The FACTS (not opinions) I presented about their behavior is to show that they are no better than me and to ask if you have people in your life who show this same type of hypocrisy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 5:19 PM

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Some suggestions...

I understand what you are saying about your co-workers. I am very lucky to not work in that environment, however, I have two recommendations to you:

1- Your co-workers are like an abusive husband/boyfriend. Even though they treat you horribly, you still remain at this job. Whether you love this job or not is irrelevant. The fact that no matter what they say you still remain at your job, says alot about how you feel about yourself. You remain there, because there is a part of you that thinks what they are saying is true.

But you have to know that IT IS NOT. You are much more worthy of respect than they are willing to offer you. You must be proactive in your life and move to someplace you feel is worthy of your abilities and strength.

2- These co-workers and family members are desperately trying to sabotage you. These people don't have the willpower or desire to do what you have committed to do, so they want to see you fail. If they can't be happy, neither can you. It may be conscious or unconscious, but it is still sabotage. You will be able to see this so clearly now, that it will alleviate so much of the tongue lashing you are holding in.

I hope this helps and I know you will be able to stay committed and show them that no matter what they say, you are going all the way to the finish line.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 5:44 PM

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Thank you "Some Suggestions". I have been looking for another job for a while but my job search didn't begin with their comments. It's a motivating factor but there are other reasons. However, you are absolutely right about the husband/boyfriend comparison. I have known people like my co-workers outside of work and the way I dealt with it was to kick them out of my life with no hesitation. Since I can't disown a family member, I distance myself and don't share anything good or bad about my weightloss goals, that way I won't hear any of their negative remarks. I've also distanced myself from those 4 co-workers. I eat by myself, I walk to the subway by myself and I have stopped sharing any personal information with them.

To not feel so lonely at work, I talk to my wonderful friends by e-mail or visit this site to communicate with people who share the same goals.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 7:35 PM

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the proverbial pot is black and the kettle is silver. when the pot looks at the kettle and sees its own black reflection, it thinks it is seeing the kettle and that the kettle is black. the pot does not realize that what it is seeing is actually its own reflection. the saying means that sometimes people look at others and only see relfections of themselves, without even knowing it. your coworkers would then be insulting you because they see things in you that they don't like about themselves. maybe you could start addressing some of their comments with this in mind? if your coworker bounces in his chair when you walk by, you might say, "you know, if you toned up some your body wouldn't jiggle so much." are you afraid that if you respond with some wit and humor that they will get angry and really go off about your weight? or make an insulting comment right to your face?

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 9:29 AM

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Speak up

Maybe you should say something to those people and put them in their place. Sounds like they need it. I have a very quick tongue and wouldn't be able to take any of that for very long - and you shouldn't have to (especially since you work with them everyday).

I know you say it doesn't get to you most days, but it bothered you enough to post about it.

Good luck.

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 11:29 AM

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you could ask them, "do you think about how your (actions/comments) make me feel?" that's not rude or confrontational, just inquisitive and simple.

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 11:43 AM

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Cultural Size Matters

I used to live and work in rural Alaska. I was the smallest one in the office at a size 12 in the winter and a size 6/8 in the summer. I was always told that I was too skinny at size 12!!!!!!!! Everyone is BIG there. Now that I live in Dallas where everyone is size 0 it is a bit unreal. All of this made me realize how important it is to be comfortable in One's Own Body. As long as it is healthy.

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 11:58 AM

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