How You Like Me Now? No really. How?

Women tend to go through what I call "The Invisibling". It starts around your late thirties, picks up speed through the forties and by the time your fifties roll around it's full strength. It's like we are wearing invisibility cloaks. God only knows what will happen in the next decade: do we become like vampires who can't even see our own reflections? Do we just become columns of vapor moving in and out of society like gaseous ghosts? Pretty soon only dogs and the very young will be able to see me. Lassie? What's wrong girl? Did Timmy fall down the well or is there a 50 year old woman nearby?

In a way, it's understandable. I mean, you know how it is, zoos will have a baby animal exhibit and people go nuts but if they had one featuring tired cows with dried up udders, would anyone go? (heck yeah I would because cows are amazing but that's just me)(really they are kind of like huge dogs)

Society tends to fawn over the young. The fresh. The collagen-rich. Middle aged and up women? Not so much.

And try being a fat woman. You might as well not exist at all. Cripes. A lot of clothing brands can't even be bothered to carry plus sizes in their actual stores, only online. Like, fine okay we will make clothes that might fit you gals but you do not get to try that shit on before you buy it. Hello, Old Navy. I'm talking to you!

So as I continue on with this fitness experience, I'm noticing a few things. And one of those things is that, for the first time in ages, other people are actually noticing me. Men, specifically.

A few glances now and then, some actual banter at the gym. Friendliness. Smiles. Eye contact.


I go to the gym almost every day. My summer hours at work are 6:30-2:30. It's so laid back, and so casual, that I am able to wear my workout clothes and just head to the YMCA when it's quitting time. Now I'm part of that little crowd of late-afternoon regulars. I lift weights for about thirty minutes, and then head to the track for an hour of what I have dubbed walkrunning. I blast my music and think and walk like it's my job. I don't stop until I hit at least 12k steps.

There's this guy who is often there at the same time. He's approximately my age (late 40's-early 50's) and kind of cute in that way middle aged men can be sometimes. It may just be that most everyone else who is there at that time is 70+ so there's that, but...

We've smiled and exchanged some pleasantries. This is the point in the post where I hit pause, and the record scratch sounds rings out loud and clear.

REMEMBER that I am awkward and have very cavewoman-like social skills. Chances are real good that Gym Dude is just a nice guy who sees a fellow exerciser and is being a normal kind human. In my head, though, any interaction is either an advance or an intrusion. There's really no in-between with me and that makes life puzzling and also kind of like a Rubik's cube. Everyone else can get all the colors together and there's Jenny in the corner pretending she has some great master plan technique but in reality I'm screaming internally and trying to not smash the gd cube against the floor.

So I respond to his smiles and chat with what is probably a threatened chimpanzee baring-of-the-teeth-smile/grimace and some kind of strained vocal activity. Why am I still single?

Of course this newfound and somewhat unsettling attention provokes a little righteous indignation with me.

I am the same person. Even though there's less of my physical being, I am the same freaking person I was a few months ago.

Or am I?

Discussing all of this with a friend made me look at it from a different perspective. I had mentioned the guy at the gym, and also a couple other instances where a man who didn't have any obligation to acknowledge me, did. And did so in a flattering kind of way.

"It makes me crazy, you know?" I said. "People are really shallow. Men especially. I am the same Jenny now that I was before I started this thing back in March."

My friend smiled and looked at me: "But are you really the same person? Think about it. Yeah there's like 50 pounds less of you but you've definitely changed in other ways. You wear different style clothes, you smile more, YOU are the one who is making eye contact now, where before you either just looked straight ahead or even worse, down at the floor. Maybe these dudes were looking at you but you just didn't notice."

I was all ready with my standard THEY JUST WANT YOUNGER AND SKINNIER LADIES rant when she continued:

"And yeah, maybe it is because your body is smaller. Aren't you the one who only likes tall guys, Jenny? Think of all the cool short men you've been literally overlooking for the past decade. Don't tell me if one of them suddenly became 6' 3" you wouldn't notice."

I looked for some ointment to put on the savage burn and reluctantly agreed.

This also came up when discussing the poor soul who was fixed up with me a few times earlier this year. I was so excited to go out on a date because I had lost 17 pounds and felt like a new person. Things didn't work out with us (it was mutual and not gross or unfriendly at all) but another friend said "Wow, I wonder what he'd think if he saw you now?" And I was all "BUT I AM ME STILL AND IF HE DIDN'T LIKE ME THEN WHY WOULD HE LIKE ME NOW" because there still is truth in that statement.

On our dates we had really good conversation, we had mutual likes and dislikes and I even told him how to roast asparagus. But we just didn't click and despite all of my positive self-talk of there's no shame in admitting someone doesn't turn your crank, it doesn't make them an asshole Jenny. not every guy is your ex, there was still doubt. Was it my weight?

Maybe it was. I don't know. He was in great shape and I still didn't get any butterflies but then again I am a woman and there's been science stuff that has shown us, over and over, that the guys are visual and we ladies are more about what's on the inside.

Or are we? This whole experience has led to some deep thinks for yours truly. And it has me questioning my own prejudices and desires.

It also has me wondering if I'm finally ready to start thinking about dating again. I mean, actually trying instead of creating lunatic scenarios in my head when someone tosses a benign how you doin' my way.

I will close this therapy session with a progress photo. It's with great reluctance that I do this, since I am very sensitive about what I let the world see.

When the Today show video came out, the one about how being a stay at home mom didn't prepare me for life post-divorce, something in me changed. I have only watched it once and that was when I decided to start working on getting healthier. It's a beautiful video with a great message but it was a jolt of reality regarding my body size. (here's the link if you want to see it. I suggest just turning the volume up and not looking at it)

Also helpful (LOL) was the guy who commented on the video "maybe if Jennifer didn't eat like a sea lion there would've been more money to feed her family".

Sea lion? Maybe. But like a kind person replied: "Sea lions are badass."

Here's where I'm at (well, the gym bathroom picture was taken a couple weeks ago, there have been a few new muscles since then I think). It's very important that I point out to you what you CANNOT see in these photos: how I felt/feel. My anxiety has lessened considerably. I sleep better. There is zero heartburn. My knees don't hurt. My back doesn't hurt. I can walk faster and longer and lift insane heavy weights. Our outer shells are just one aspect to us, and that's all you can see in pictures. Weight is a touchy subject and I don't want anyone to think this is a shaming thing.

It's me in both pics. Just remember that. Still me.


  1. I will have you know that I recently swam with sea lions because 1. Everyone else picked dolphins and I felt bad for them and 2. So incould tell YOU that they are badass. One was 25 and blind and she was amazing. Plus, they eat fish, which is Paleo or keto right?�� You look amazing J, and more importantly you sound amazing.

  2. Oh boy can I relate to the invisibility thing! But so many people, including me, “see” you for the beautiful person you are, inside and out. Still, it’s good to know that strangers are seeing it too. That gives me hope that maybe someday someone will see through my invisibility cloak as well.

  3. You go girl! I found going to the gym, while scary at first, was fantastic for my confidence.

  4. Your blog has been an inspiration to me for so long. You're beautiful in both pictures--inside and outwardly. I do think that it's incredible how hard you're working on getting healthier--you are encouraging me to want to do the same. I'm just having trouble taking the first step!

  5. Loved the Today Show video. Congratulations on so many fronts; you're growing inwardly and shrinking outwardly, lol. I would say you have it ALL. Enjoy. xo

  6. I too was left for the other woman but that's the silver lining for us. Anything is possible and anything can happen where the EX and his new wife have now been together for 5 years and there are no possibilities for them, they made their choice a long time ago. You are doing great and I too find making a effort to be healthy helps on so many levels. So smile, make eye contact, and be a little extra kind, anything is possible :)

  7. You are an inspiration to us all. I’m going on a solo trip to a little cottage in Maine and I’m going to cut out everything that’s not good for me. I’m going to walk like there’s no tomorrow and not think of my kids, my husband, my grandkids or my boss. Just me. I hope that doesn’t sound selfish.

  8. So, I've been through a similar transformation. Noted the return of the Male gaze as my weight dropped (all in I shed 80lbs of fat and then put some muscle on so I'm down net 60 lbs but still smaller than I was when I was down 80lbs...if that makes sense)

    Wrestled with the same...but I'm still me angst, been ashamed that i let myself weight nearly 230lbs, ever. Been angry that i wasn't valued (heard, appreciated, desired) at 227 the way I am at 167.

    But here's the thing i had to admit. I didn't hear, value or appreciate me at 227 the same way I do at 167.

    And I didn't hear, value or appreciate men who were 60+lbs overweight (or shorter than 6' the same way I heard, valued or appreciated more fit men who were 6'+

    Because, I knew they didn't value themselves. The same way I was literally broadcasting to the seeing world, that I didn't value myself.

    I didn't value myself enough to eat nutritious food, move and challenge my body, devote time to adequate skin and hair care, be out in the world doing interesting things like hiking, mud runs or even sky diving.

    Our overall fitness and nutrition levels tell the world just how much we care about ourselves. So no, I'm not the same person I was 60 or 80 lbs ago.

    I was a good person 60 or 80 pounds and 4 years ago. But I was a person who myself last. And I'm better than that these days.

    Good luck in your journey! And thank you for sharing

  9. Love this and really love the person who said sea lions are badass. The internet brings out the best and worst of people.

  10. You look FREAKING FABULOUS, girl!!! OWN.IT. Yes, you are still you, but you are the new, improved, re-energized YOU!!! While you're dropping the pounds, you're gaining confidence in yourself! YOU HAVE TO LOVE YOU.....ALL of you! Can you really say you loved "all of you" when you were 50 lbs. heavier? I know I'd sure love me much more if I could drop 50 lbs. I'm not happy with this extra weight, & I'd be much happier if I'd get off my butt like you & get moving! Thanks for the inspiration........KEEP IT UP!!

  11. To me you always looked amazing, like a windswept Jacqueline Bissett, but I love that you feel great - and I’m freaking gobsmacked that you jumped out of a plane (I saw that on Facebook!) and will assuredly five finger death punch all obstacles from here on in because skydiving is like smiling and waving at Charon (the ferryman of the underworld)and then swimming off to live your best life! Shazam!!!! Also, dudes never notice me- but I get all sweaty and weird anyway so that works for me right now;)

  12. You are an inspiration woman. And I love you!!

  13. I love everything about this blog post! You've learned so much through your own trials, now with more understanding and compassion. I'm impressed with your courage, Jenny. You look fabulous! Keep taking good loving care of yourself. xoxo

  14. Looking good! Pass some of that motivation my way please. I haven't exercised at all since and really feeling it, just kind find the motivation to do it :(

  15. I can so relate to this after having lost 60 pounds. One way that I have tried to look at it is that before I just wasn’t taking care of myself and that showed up as being overweight. If I couldn’t even look at myself why would anyone else? Today I take very good care of myself and I hope that’s what people are reacting to. I don’t think it’s as simple as the only thing that changed was your weight. Also, you look amazin!!!


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