When I was 25 I went on an extreme type diet and lost a lot over several months. At my lowest I weighed about 145, which for a 5'-11" woman looks pretty skinny. I managed to keep that off a bit but then slowly regained, up to about 230 pounds in my thirties, when I was working for the city of San Luis Obispo. I took up bicycling and became a vegetarian (not at the same time, but close) and lost 30 pounds in a couple of months. Then 20 more. And ten more. That was a really healthy way to get there, and I was rather happy in the 170-pound range.
Over several years I gained that back, and more. I reached close to 300 pounds. I started walking. Then paying attention to food - keeping track in dietpower - and I upped the exercise over time. I lost a lot of weight. I guess I was in my late forties or early fifties at this time. I kept to a regular exercise program and stayed on track with the food. I think I mantained that weight for the longest time and I felt good and was doing it right. Then I had an "arthritic flareup". A strange kind of condition that caused my left calf to develop an odd kind of stiffness and my knee to be in great pain. I found that exercise made it worse. I went to an arthritis doc, the one who defined it as a flareup (other arthritis sufferers use that term for another condition), and said there was no help for it except rest. Four months or so of rest. I suspected it would be very difficult for me to maintain my weight without exercise. I sure tried. But ultimately, over time, I started regaining and here I am again. My knees are far worse than they were several years ago so my exercise options are much more limited.
Here's the point of this post, though. Every time I lost weight other people would compliment my looks. Some would ask how much weight I lost or ask how I did it. I hated these questions and comments. I knew that 1) I had not found the magic answer to the question of maintaining the motivation and determination, and 2) I was the same person fat or thin. I hated the implication that as a fat person I was not as good as the thin one, yet more than anyone I knew how this attitude pervades this society (and my own feelings as well). And of course, when I was fat again there were no compliments. I just met someone in the market yesterday whom I had not seen in several years and I felt that the real conversation was beneath the surface: how did you get fat again?
Although I would like to be treated the same, fat or thin, and would like to be free of my own prejudice against my fat self, I am not. And as a result I don't enjoy seeing people who "knew me thin" when I am fat.
And thank you, dangerouslysane, for having a discussion with me (on another topic) that brought these feelings to the surface again.