I've been obese for the better part of my adult life. I could use the excuse that "it's glandular!" I do have hypothyroidism after all and am taking medication every day. It could be easy to say that was it in it's entirety, but the truth is I are horrible and I lacked motivation to exercise.
Now that I have the ability to contrast and compare, in my opinion people take you more seriously and will actually listen to what you have to say when you're at a healthy weight. What I mean by that is that when I was 200+ pounds and tell people I was a runner I would get a condescending vibe from them. It's possible that it could have been my confidence at the time, but it's just how I felt. Maybe it was a combination of how we both felt.
Close friends were and have been a huge factor for me. They know how pig headed I am and when I set my sights on something I go for it. Losing weight this year became mandatory after a little self realization and figuring out my son needs a daddy for as long as possible. Throughout my lifetime my own dad has been obese and don't have too many memories of us being active... aside from the odd hike through the forest to get to our family cabin at a young age. I want my son to have actual proof that his dad is super.
Super is how I feel now. I'm 5'11" and am currently 170 lbs. According to my biofeedback scale, I've got 16% body fat. It's a huge transformation from the fat guy back in February/March. Now when I tell people I'm a runner they will actually ask for my "expert opinion."
The thing about that is I know just as much about running now than I did several months ago. I've encountered ignorance for the better part of my life. I am an Ojibway First Nations person, and have had people say or act strange around me at times and have developed a fine gage on what borders on ignorance. That being said some people are just clueless and innocent on the entire issue, but I digress.
Now perhaps it is my own self confidence that is purely to blame regarding this issue but sadly I don't think it's the case. Our perceptions on the overweight are obvious. I'm even guilty at times. It is hard to be non judgemental when there are obvious signs of not being "healthy." When I was running yoyoing from 190-210 for the longest time I was running some major distances... the most was completing a marathon. Right now my greatest distance this year has been 23 kms. As funny as it is to say, I was in better fitness then than now.
With that last example I think my point becomes abundantly clear. Because of my own experience when someone tells me they're a runner or a _____ I'll take them at their word... unless it's of course something crazy like they're me from the future and they've come to warn me about Skynet.