There was another common concern mentioned in the comments of the first maintenance post: a fear of becoming judgemental of overweight/obese people once we reach our goal weights. I know I've personally worried about this, and it's something I think more people are afraid of than they wish to admit.
Before delving into small-judging-big biases, I think it's worth mentioning that there are also instances of big-judging-small - I know I was guilty of this myself as a bigger person. I've thought "skinny bitch" as many times as I've heard "fat bitch;" anyone smaller than me that I saw eating something I deemed unhealthy was "probably anorexic" - interesting, considering I was dealing with disordered eating habits of my own.
At my biggest, I swore that I'd always be compassionate towards people, no matter what size. I knew what it felt like to be stared at, to be whispered about, to have people choose to stand on the crowded bus rather than take the open seat next to me. I've never understood mean or unkind people - I'm very much a believer in letting negativity end with me. I'm not going to be treated poorly and then treat someone poorly right back, nor will I pay it forward to a third party. It ends with me, because I know it hurts, and I wouldn't want other people to feel that way, certainly not because of something I said or did.
That said, I'd be lying if I said I haven't already made mental judgements based on size. I wouldn't say that I haven't been compassionate - my thoughts may have been judgemental, but I don't project them. I don't sneer, I don't snicker, I don't make rude statements. But in my mind, I've harbored comments and thoughts, and I feel guilty for that.
The one thing I can say for sure is that the judgemental thoughts are different from what I assumed they'd be. I'm not thinking specifics about a person's appearance and whether or not I find it visually pleasing, and I don't make personality or character judgements based on size. I know weight doesn't make a person good or bad. But rather, I see my old self in them and make comparisons - my arms used to be even bigger than that ... my stomach used to stick out further than hers ... I used to be like that, too ... it doesn't have to be this way for her.
I think sometimes my judgements are based on jealousy. Doesn't she know how many calories are in that?! is more of an envious statement than anything, because I *can* reasonably estimate the calories and can't ignore them. If I wanted a dozen Reese's cups before, I ate them, and I thought nothing of it. Now, I don't visualize that binge as a pile of chocolate and peanut butter, I see an entire day's worth of calories - because even when I allow myself a reasonable portion of an off-plan food, I am first and foremost aware of what its nutritional benefits are. Even binges aren't the same, because I am completely conscious and aware of what the effect of the increased caloric intake will be. One thing I miss sometimes is the blissful ignorance of numbers that came with being super obese.
Usually, though, my judgements are based on concern. These are usually thoughts about family and friends. Obesity is a preventable and treatable disease, and making a few healthier choices here and there would add up to big results. I don't need everyone to start running 5k's, renounce all of the things I consider off-plan foods, and lose 150 pounds in a year - my plan works for me, but might not work for them. But I think about them sometimes, and I feel sad. I love feeling healthy and treating my body well, and I just want my loved ones to feel this good, too.
I'm especially guilty of judging my youngest sister. People have always thought we are twins because we resemble each other so closely, and because our personalities are very similar. When I started getting healthy, I was about 80 pounds heavier than her. We weighed the same at Christmas 2010, and at this point, I'm about 70 pounds lighter than her. I worry that sending her all the workout clothes I've outgrown will make her think I'm judging or trying to push my lifestyle on her. I'm not actively judging her - I know she wants to get healthy and will figure things out when the time is right for her - but at the same time, I'm very concerned. I know how hard it was to be a college kid and avoid experiences because of my size. I remember stepping on the scale every few weeks or so, seeing a gain, and always wondering where I'd be if I had stuck with making healthy choices after the last time I weighed myself.
As soon as I catch myself judging someone, I remember that every person's journey is his or her own, and I cannot possibly be aware of all the details. Being big doesn't necessarily mean being lazy or unmotivated. I think about myself at 250 pounds, walking down the street and feeling confident, and wondering if someone saw me and thought oh, if only she'd lose weight. Unless I had been carrying a sign announcing it, the person couldn't have known I'd already lost nearly 100 pounds at that point. And the same goes for big-judging-small - looking at the "after" pictures of maintenance bloggers, I would never guess these people could possibly understand how I felt when I had been so big if I met them on the street.
I wouldn't want someone to treat me poorly for being a lady, for being on the short side, for being American - and I wouldn't treat someone poorly for anything they couldn't control, either. Weight judgements are no different. We're all working towards living our healthiest lives possible, no matter what stage of the journey we're at - and there's no way of knowing at which point the people we observe are. So I guess that the best we can do is promise ourselves to always project compassion - to family, to friends, to strangers - no matter what.