I can see it in your eyes-do you see it in mine

eye-001I thought of this post while I was doing my long run a couple of weeks ago.  I think this every time I go running to my favorite park.  There are always a lot of people exercising on this park’s trail.  A lot of people who are just starting their journey go here to get their activity in because it is so beautiful. This is a very different post than normal but it is still on topic.  It is the conversation I have in my mind with the over weight person who I pass as we cross each others path and make eye contact.  So here it goes.

Hey, isn’t it great that us fat people are out here getting it done (I am looking jolly at this moment)Why won’t you look at me?  We are out here doing the same thing for the same reason.  We are both overweight and think we a fat.  Oh yeah, I am not fat anymore.  Maybe that’s why you don’t really want to make eye contact with me.  You try, but you turn away so fast.  I feel bad because you look embarrassed when you don’t need to.  I know how you feel though.  It is funny since you have no idea that I have lost 130 lbs and used to be even bigger than you are.  I wish I could make you understand.  I wish I could stop you and tell you not to be shy and ashamed, but to be proud.  I am proud of you.  You are out here.  I know it is hard and it might even be hurting right now, but you are moving.  Great job.   Soon, you will be like me.  You will be the one that people think have always been thin and for that reason they think that you think they are fat and gross.  But you won’t think like that right?  You will remember what I see in your eyes right at this very moment where we glimpse at each other.  I hope you can remember and have compassion when you reach your goal.  Right now, you have sadness in your eyes.  That heaviness that is present when you look at the vast amount of weight you are trying to lose.  I see that you are afraid of what I think and afraid that you are not doing enough.  I think you are doing fine.  Please don’t look at me with that look of, “Don’t look at me buddy.  You have never been fat.  You don’t understand.”  I do understand, can’t you see it in my eyes.

This is how it is so many times when I run by face to face with people on that trail.  I know the look in their eye because I had that look in my eye before too.  I only hope that they can see the compassion and understanding in mine.

I can see it in your eyes, but can you see it in mine?

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75 Responses to “I can see it in your eyes-do you see it in mine”

  1. January 27, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Thank you for this post I am one of the many people you were talking about in this post. I jog/walk in alot of 5k races & always when I cross the finish line there will be people cheering I just stay looking forward so not to look at them. Its not because I dont care Its because I am ashamed at how I look how big I am. I will be running in a adventure run this Sunday it is a 3 mile course with different challenges during the race I will try to make that eye contact.
    Thank you again for this post it really hits home with me.

    • 2 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 5:34 am

      I feel just like you. I love to get to the finish line of a marathon or ultra marathon, but I have it at the same time. Especially the big ones like the Portland Marathon where there is maybe like a thousand people cheering at the finsih. I am embarrassed and proud at the same time. I try not to make the eye contact. THanks for your contribution and I appreciate your honesty

  2. 3 rebeccalilianlin
    January 27, 2009 at 4:57 am

    I love this post Jason. I have been on both sides of this conversation myself too. Before I gained weight I was athletic but only because I was fat growing up. I never lost the fat girl feeling especially when I ran. Mostly because I still felt inadequate to all of the “real runners” on the trail. And now I am fat again and feel like I don’t belong in the gym or on the trail even more.

    • 4 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 5:37 am

      I sure understand how you feel. It is just something I have noticed while out there. A sense, a feeling in the air. The other person just doesn’t know that I used to be big and the air gets heavy kind of. It’s ok though, if I am not feeling to tired I always try and have a loving look for them. Thanks for your comment and visit.

  3. January 27, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Great Topic Jason!! I walk in a local park here in town for the past couple of years now and I have noticed the same thing. It’s really hard to make that eye contact with that “fit guy” or “fit gal” who is running by. Why? Because we are insecure and feel like we are not worthy! Sad huh?

    But what has helped me alot is I make it a point to say “Hello” when I first enounter someone and amazingly enough they ALWAYS respond with a “Hello” back!! I have made some wonderful walking friends from just that first “hello”… a woman who lost 85 pounds just by walking her 10,000 steps a day to… the 73 yo man who bikes 5 miles in the am and walks 4 miles in the pm and is on NO medicine at all. Both of these people are not the typical person I would have chosen as a friend but they both have enriched my life just by knowing them.

    My pay off has been losing 55 pounds!! So for now I will keep walking and if you do encounter me along the way…. you can be sure I will say “hello”. 🙂

    • 6 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 5:40 am

      A friendly gesture goes a lon way when we are out there with other people. In fact, sometimes the “real runners’ look miserable and just keep there head forward and Ipod blasted. Even if I have my Ipod on I say hello. I am probably yelling it 🙂 but I still say it.

  4. January 27, 2009 at 5:22 am

    BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, I am absolutely floored by this post. I can feel your compassion come right through the screen. Jason, you are so special! I just love reading your posts.

    • 8 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:37 am

      That you very much Lter. I appreciate your encouragement. I am blessed to know that you can feel the compassion because that is what I want this entire blog to feel like. I desire so bad that when people visit, it is like that kid who gets hurt by theirselves only to start crying when in the comforting presence of their mom. Thanks a lot

  5. January 27, 2009 at 5:43 am

    I mostly like to go out walking (and I’m trying out c25k!) after dark. I find that it fits my schedule better that way, but I am also relieved to find less people out and about, and I feel less on show. I am NOT pretty when exercising. Plus, I don’t have the money to buy cool workout gear, so I’m out in old, worn, baggy clothes and I cringe every time I pass by people. I don’t even look up never mind make eye contact. It never enters my head that they may have once been in my shoes! Thanks for the perspective. I always feel good after exercising, but I’m going to allow myself to feel good during too, and maybe even make eye contact once in a while.

    • 10 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:29 am

      No problem. I wore the baggy clothes while I ran forever. I still don’t have all the “popular” garb. That is ok though. Getting out there is what counts. Great job and keep up the good work

  6. January 27, 2009 at 5:55 am

    uumm yeah, I don’t look at anyone in the gym when I am working out. I hardly even look at my gtm rat buddies that go WITH me until I am done. And ummm that whole let’s go work out together idea? Nope I don’t do it. I will arrive at the same time and leave at the same time….but aside from that…no thanks! If someone does talk to me, I stop what I am doing.

    • 12 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:30 am

      Totally get that. Workout partners are great, but they are not for everyone. Thanks for you comment and contribution

  7. January 27, 2009 at 6:07 am

    What a beautiful post. Brought tears to my eyes!

    • 14 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:30 am

      Oh thank you so much. This post was a really important one to my heart. I really wanted to get this up. I had a written for a long time but I am glad it finally got out there.

  8. January 27, 2009 at 6:20 am

    What a cool post!

    I often get those looks at WW and comments from people. “you don’t need to be here” – well, the reason I don’t is because I’m living it now! I had to lose the weight to work for WW and now I’m at goal. It doesn’t change who I am or what I’ve been through. I understand what they’re feeling.

    • 16 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:31 am

      It is so true, you never know what the person may have been through. Thanks for your comment, it gives a great perspecitve

  9. January 27, 2009 at 6:27 am

    This made me cry. I’m sitting here in my office with tears in my eyes because I see this every day, every time I go out into the world.

    I used to be the fat chick that nobody would make eye contact with, and it was nice being invisible sometimes. It was comfortable for me mentally and emotionally. Don’t look at me, I won’t look at you. The times it hurt most, though, was when I would be standing in a checkout line and the cashier would be laughing and joking with the beautiful thin people, but I would barely get a “hellohowareyoutoday?” while he or she rang up my purchases. I could almost feel the relief as I walked away. Maybe it was my imagination.

    Then again, maybe not.

    Now that there is 150 pounds less of me, I get the laughing, joking conversation in the checkout line. I get the eye contact, the smiles, the friendliness from strangers. I also see how differently the morbidly obese are treated. It makes my heart weep. This is why I always try to make eye contact, smile, say hello whenever I see someone with that horrible sadness and lonliness in their eyes. It makes me want to hug them and say, “I understand. I know how you feel. I’ve been there and it hurts, but there is hope.” I see that same sadness and hopelessness in my pictures from two years ago, so I know.

    Thank you for this post. You said it better than I ever could.

    • 18 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:35 am

      Your comment made me cry. 🙂 Great contribution tessler. I just love how you put what you were thinking into writing. It makes a lot of sense to me. You know, not everyone out there is hard and mean. They see me and see that I am skinny. A lot of times I can tell that they think I am mean, but I want to do the same as you do. Hug em and tell them they are not invisible, they are worth it.

  10. January 27, 2009 at 6:38 am

    You have a good soul Jason! A good heart, full of compassion and grace. I imagine that one day you will most definitely get the “Well done my good and faithful servant” if for nothing else than your faithful encouragement to others as you continue to lay open your heart for all to see. Thanks so so so SO much!

  11. January 27, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Wonderful post Jason. Brought tears to my eyes just reading it. Why? Because I was and still sometimes am that person that when working out crosses path with that fit person and thinks “oh gosh what are they thinking, her hips are wide, her ass is big, she looks pregnant, or look how red her face is”. Do I really think they are thinking that? no…not the majority of people anyways. My husband said to me a while back that the person I’m ashamed of being seen by may very well have started out in the same place I am. Ever since then, I try to look at people I pass with a different view. I’ll look, I’ll smile, and I admire. Because even if they did or didn’t start out where I am…it still takes a lot of committment to do what they do!

    • 22 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:44 am

      What a great approach. Naturally skinny or not, it still takes work! I am with you on the red face. I always wondered if people noticed the red face. Thanks Kari. You comment is much appreciated

  12. January 27, 2009 at 8:14 am

    wow I totally relate to this. starting the ww journey made me look at everyone differently. If I run into someone else when I’m exercising, I think “they might have gained or lost 100 lbs. recently. I have no way of knowing by looking at them. it’s just awesome that they’re out here.”

  13. January 27, 2009 at 8:56 am

    What a wonderful post, truly compassionate and inspiring, as you always are. I think it underscores what I learned once which is to not compare our insides to others outsides.. something like that. We don’t know that the thin person we are jealous or resentful of was once fat – we just don’t know what’s going on with the other person.

    I was out yesterday walking/jogging in blistering cold and I smiled at someone and said “it’s freezing” or something else innocuous and they were really startled I said anything.

    Speaking of freezing, any tips for keeping hands and feet warm when outside in the blistering cold? (A blog post, perhaps? 🙂 )

  14. 27 Candice
    January 27, 2009 at 9:19 am


    • 28 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 9:26 am

      THank you so much for your encouragement. I was hoping that people would understand it. They sure have. 🙂

  15. 29 sarahlovesfood
    January 27, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Before blogging about my journey, and before joining Blog to Lose, I never even thought that a thin person could have once looked or felt like I do right now. This is, once again, a wonderful and inspiring post, Jason. Since my realization, I no longer worry about what I look like to others at the gym. Even if there is a good looking man next to me, I keep running with my head held high. What do I care what they think, anyway? My family and my friends surround and support me with good thought and encouraging words. If I ever saw you running (which I suppose could be possible), I would definitely say hello.

    • 30 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

      Thanks Sarah. I am so glad to hear this. Great job and I hope to see you running somtime out there. Maybe at the Marathon eh?

  16. January 27, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I have this all the time! One of my favourite running spots is where a lot of beginners go as well and I so want to stop and encourage them but don’t dare.

    • 32 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 9:40 am

      HA, that is why I hope they can see it in my eyes, because I don’t stop either. I want too, but don’t

  17. 33 CJ
    January 27, 2009 at 11:34 am

    You are a great guy and this was a great post and I hope you can speak to some of them, face to face, one day. You are doing here, actually! You truly are a motivator. Even if you aren’t having a great day, knowing that even though you’ve lost your weight, your struggle still continues makes you seem all the more human to me/us and makes us realize that losing all the weight doesn’t make our eating issues vanish. We ALL need to realize that and maybe this weight loss effort will become a little easier. I have resigned myself that I will always obsess over food, I am just choosing to obsess over eating healthy as opposed to unhealthy! Again, great post!

    • 34 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 11:38 am

      I have given up to the fact that I can do it alone and that one day I will not want to eat a lot. It is just a fact for me, I want to eat alot, alot. No big deal, I just have to learn how to deal with it. Thanks for your wonderful words of encouragement.

  18. 35 donna54
    January 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I dont know Jason that is a pretty evil looking eye,I dont think I would make eye contact with you either with a stare like that,ha.Just kidding you are the best.Never stop what you are doing,because you help so many.When we look in the mirror we see our refection and if we have Gods love in our heart then the reflection that we see is who God wants us to be.Because of his love for me I no longer look at myself and say Im disgusting or fat or whatever,I can now look and say yes I look beautiful no matter what I look like to others.Only because of Gods promise to all of us.Bless You.

  19. January 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Hope you don’t mind, I jsut placed a link to this post on Matt Mcnutt’s sight cuz the ladies there were talking about being self conscious in front of “fit” people in public gyms and what not! I didn’t think you would mind, given how much you like to encourage others. POsted it on teh blog called Weigh In Day!

    • 38 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:07 pm

      Hey there Kim. Good to hear from you. Hope you had a great day. It is no problem with the link. If someone can get encouraged or inspired or helped by anything this normal guy can say, I am blessed. Thanks for your help. I would enjoy loving on anyone who comes by.

  20. 39 bubblyme
    January 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I dont know you but through friends I read your post. WOW. How did you know my exact thought process? Oh ya, you were me once at this size. Thank you SO much for your post. I am half way to my goal but I still think this way. *sigh* Please tell me that you truly do not think this way as an in shape person? Because I’m terrified I’m still going to think this way once this 65 pounds is off. Thank you for understanding and not being insensitive even though you’ve now lost the weight.


    • 40 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm

      Bubbly, thanks a lot for stopping by. So nice to have you. I do still think like that. Not as bad as I used too, but the “fat mind” is a stubborn little guy. Although I talk about the struggles and such, it is different now than then. Before it wasn’t a struggle because I just gave in to food every and any time. Now I work to stay healthy like anyone large or small. Once you lose that 65, you will have more tools to work with that you picked up along the way but the same stuff comes at you. You know what I mean. Great job and keep up the good work. 🙂

  21. 41 ladlam
    January 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Normally I make an effort to read all the comments before I make my own, but there’s so many today I just can’t get through them all! So if someone else has already said this, sorry…
    Jason when you run past these people, give them a smile and a nod, or say hi or something! One of the best things about going out running is when I see fellow runners, and we have something in common and make an effort to acknowledge each other. It always puts a smile on my face, and encourages!
    Great post as always.

    • 42 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

      No worries ladlam, I ALWAYS say hi or give a nod. It is kind of like when motorcyclist pass each other, they always wave. I do acknowledge. There is just so much more to say sometimes, believe it or not, I am a man of few words in person. Pretty darn quite. Thanks for your comment and you are always welcome here ladlam

  22. January 27, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    You should put that on a t-shirt! Then you can wear it on your run and heck I’d buy it and wear it to the gym.

    • 44 run4change
      January 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm

      HAHA, that is great. Maybe I will make a shirt and then have a contest on the blog to give it to the winner. 🙂

  23. January 27, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I did have a great day Jason! Lost 3 lbs this week! Will be blogging about it soon, but probably not till THursday. Much to do tomorrow, including driving across teh state and back with my stuff!!

  24. 47 Angela
    January 28, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Beautifully written. You are one of a kind, Jason…truly compassionate and kind. This blog post really broke my heart and I cried where you wrote: “Don’t look at me buddy, you’ve never been fat, you don’t understand,” and then “I do understand, can’t you see it in my eyes?” It is rare for people to make eye contact these days. Keep looking people in the eye, the care will shine through to them eventually! You are a true gem.

  25. 49 Teresa
    January 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Wonderful post. I’m going to make an effort to look people in the eye and smile when I pass them on a run. I, too, frequently avoid eye contact because I’m afraid I’ll see the disgust in their eyes that I imagine/assume they are feeling when they see me. This post has made me stop and think that maybe what I see when I do look is just my own disgust and self-loathing projected on those around me. Its a hard habit to break when there have been so many years of self-deprecating humor and mean comments directed towards myself (by me) in an attempt beat others to the punch and let them know that I’m fully aware of my fat (when in all likelihood, the majority of them weren’t even the least bit concerned with my fat).

    Your story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    • 50 run4change
      January 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm

      Its a hard habit to break when there have been so many years of self-deprecating humor and mean comments directed towards myself (by me) in an attempt beat others to the punch and let them know that I’m fully aware of my fat (when in all likelihood, the majority of them weren’t even the least bit concerned with my fat).

      What you said right there really hit me. This is something I did and it is hard to break. I still do it sometimes. THank you so much for commenting. I would like to do a post about this

  26. 51 lissa10279
    January 29, 2009 at 11:36 am

    What a relatable post. I am sure they do see compassion in your eyes. I really dig this post.

    I’m going to turn it on the food angle — sometimes someone will look at me funny when I say, “Oh I don’t really need that” when we’re ordering — they didn’t know me before, didn’t know what I used to look like. They see me as I am now, and don’t know I need to watch my weight … forever. It’s hard …

    • 52 run4change
      January 29, 2009 at 11:38 am

      Eh ya, I can relate to that too. Thanks. Especially my family, even though they readily remember the big jason, still say, “why not? you can have that”. That is a hard one for me. I just want them to get it but they don’t. Most of my family does but not all. They are coming around though.

  27. January 29, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I wrote a blog today that links to this post…still such a good one…I come back and read this one everyday….jsut to remind me that my thoughts are not everybody’s else’s thoughts, but most especially they are not God’s thoughts towards me!

  28. February 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is such a great post. It made me get a little teary. I read it a couple of weeks ago, but I have only gotten a chance to comment now. It’s so easy to assume that the people we see as the “fit” ones might not have always been that way, and how easy it is to forget that even those who have always been fit might not *feel* that way, or might have other burdens we can’t see or imagine.

    Since the beginning of my journey seven months ago, I made it a point to wave or say hello to everyone I encounter while on my walks, runs, or bike rides. That has led to a lot of unexpected encouragement along the way. Now I just need to come out of my shell a bit at the gym…I’m kind of shy around the gym-goers still, and they’re just folks like me who want to get/stay healthy, really.

    • 56 run4change
      February 3, 2009 at 1:59 pm

      I also am much more shy in a gym. Not sure why exactly, but I am. In a way, the gym reminds me of the popular kids. Weird huh? Thanks for your encouragement and great job on greeting those around you as you walk

  29. 57 somedayistoday
    February 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    I will NEVER forget when I was out walking during my lunch hour. I was motivated that day sometime last year. I had 2 5lb weights in my hand. My boyfriend and I had just broken up after a 2 year relationshipa few days prior to this day. I was down, angry yet motivated to be out there trying. I work on a Navy Base where there are so many young Navy fit men and women out running. I try to never make eye contact out of pure embarrassment. Well, back to the day I will NEVER forget…I was not paying attention to those around me as I was walking with motivation when a really young hot fit man ran by me (he came up from behind). He slowed down and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Great job girl, keep it up”. I was FLOORED! It made me feel so good and taught me that not everyone see’s me as a gross fat girl.

    • 58 run4change
      February 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm

      Someday, that is a beautiful story and I truly appreciate that you posted it. Thank you so much. It was both emotional and encouraging to me. Have a wonderful night.

  30. 59 somedayistoday
    February 3, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I should add this to that story…I was so grateful that he made the effort to make the eye contact to give me the encouragement that I so desparately wanted and needed. It meant the world to me. So, those of you that are at your goal and/or health weight….I’m asking you to take the chance of smiling at the fat girl or guy….maybe even say something like that guy said to me. It can’t hurt….it will only help. You may not get a response but that’s not why you’re doing it, right? Don’t wait for a response…just say it or smile and move on with your walk or run! It WILL make a difference in that person’s day….maybe even deeper.

    • 60 run4change
      February 4, 2009 at 5:40 am

      Thanks a lot for this. The comment that you gave is very very real and true. Keep up your great encouragement

  31. February 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Sorry this is on the later side of the post, but it did hit home indeed for me. I’ve been chubby all my life and I think it has affected me to the point where if someone looks at me and smiles, I think they are saying a joke in their head about me. Why are they smiling if no one said anything funny? I am starting to shake this attitude.

    In terms of running, I had a great experience just this last weekend. The first runner I passed nodded his head to me, as if we were in both members in an underground society. Later in that same run, I passed a guy who shook his fist in a celebratory way when he passed me. It made me feel great. It also has encouraged me to make eye contact with other runners to pass on the nod that says “I am a runner. You are a runner. That makes us friends.” Today, I passed someone who gave me a quick glance but then looked away. It made me feel self conscious. Where’s the love at?!?! Shortly after, another person passed me and gave me a wave. My confidence was immediately boosted.

    Nod, smile, wave or shout out to other runners!

    • 62 run4change
      February 11, 2009 at 8:40 pm

      Hey dude what’s up. You got it right on. “Nod, smile, wave or shout out to other runners!” I totally agree. I like to give some eye contact and then go with a thumbs up.:) Great job on shaking the attitude and I totally understand where you are coming from. Keep hangin out here. I really enjoy your comments and contribution here. I am sure a lot of the readers will too.

  32. February 13, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I just discovered your blog last night and this is the post that absolutely hooked me. As someone who took up running in ’05 at 230 lbs (after not lacing up for 15 years), I too have been on both sides of this. I still hold a firm position in the “back of the pack” and am still out there when the leaders leave in their cars.

    When I was training daily and logging lots of long miles I’d often pass women that were out there gettin’ it done but wouldn’t look me in the eye. I’d think, “I LOVE YOU BIG GIRL! YOU ROCK!!!” and just project the heck out of that emotion. I am not particularly spiritual, but I hope so deeply that one ounce of that love bounced out to the nameless runners that I encounter.

    • 64 run4change
      February 13, 2009 at 10:05 am

      I had to laugh so hard about the leaders in the cars. In the smaller marathons I do where there is not a lot of traffic control, the leaders start driving by and waving when I am about the 15 mile mark. HAHAHA I am sure that they can feel the love. Thanks for your comment and for your visiting the blog. I hope you stick around for a while 🙂

  33. October 24, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I know you posted this months ago but I just stumbled across this post… and it touched my heart so much. I have had a strikingly similar journey to yours (minus the many marathons) and I have thought and often think the EXACT same thoughts you wrote in this post! I could have written this myself. Reading through your blog posts, we are so similar in so many ways. I lost 119 pounds in a year and fell in love with running… and I have also gained 10 (or 15) pounds lately and been nonstop struggling to lose them and stay on track. I just hope you know you are such a huge inspiration. I know people tell you that all the time, and it’s true! Not just for what you’ve accomplished but for who you are inside. You will find your way and figure it out!

    • 66 run4change
      October 25, 2009 at 7:36 am


      Your comment was very special to me and I sent you an email to personally say thank you for it. It was very nice to get this comment when I did. Thank you so much. I tried to contact you on your BTL page but since I am not a member anymore i could not. sorry about that.

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