People are odd. The reactions you can get from people when taking on any sort of project can be curious to say the least. If you are also starting a project which involves weight loss, fitness and improving yourself then the reactions of those you know can seem to be amplified. Lucky for me my immediate family are all pretty much supportive – I can’t imagine what it must be like for those whose own parents or siblings are their harshest critics. For this I am talking about ‘friends’ and acquaintances.
Before getting into this I will admit that I myself have been reactionary with my lovely she-wolf when she too had taken on a fitness project – I would badger her about what’s being eaten and whether there was any activity. I like to think that I was trying to be helpful, but I really wasn’t – I just came across as judg-y, which I know isn’t a word. The only defence I have is that in my head I was trying to give support, but I was giving it in a rubbish way – which likely had the opposite effect. Now I’ve been on the receiving end of similar comments I realise how sorry I am.
The reactions of some to my new fitness plan were not in any way supportive, almost the opposite and looking to sabotage me. Since starting my fat attack I have heard this sentence a lot, ‘yeah it’s good what you’re doing, but.’ But, always a but, in fact there are such a wide range of but’s to choose from – and the further along the path I go, the more but’s I hear. Here I have just two examples
But…..you’re so boring as you don’t go out as much
I hear this mainly in work. Where previously I was over indulging, the moment you change people feel it’s their job to break your fitness resolve. When asked to go out for a drink it’s not enough to simply say ‘no thanks’ without then being cross questioned on why you don’t want go. ‘o is it your diet?’, ‘o one drink won’t matter’, ‘you should live a little’, ‘you’re a changed man now aren’t you?’ that last one is always said with plenty of sarcasm. If my answer was ‘it’s for health reasons’ then the questioning would stop dead as the person tried to work out if they had tripped into a minefield of possible life threatening illness (the fact that obesity actually is a killer is lost on them). Diet and fitness are treated by some in my office and beyond as a stick to beat people with, or rather beat the fat person with. The second I had any success at attaining my goals then chocolate bars would be left on the desk or drinks invites would come with interrogation style questioning. Could it be, that as you change the person you are it makes others feel jealous of the success? I hope not, as your own health and fitness is only about you and nobody else – a simple well done or asking how you are achieving your goals would be more welcome. Needless to say, I pretty much cut out all ‘non-essential’ drinking and save myself for family and proper friends only. In the end the invites start to drop off, which is not a bad result as for me work is to pay for my real life not the other way round.
But….you’ll end up looking too thin
This is a good one, usually said by those who don’t need to lose any weight, almost as if they don’t want you to compete with how slim they already are. I have set myself a target to lose around 35 kilos (77 pounds) from my start weight of 120.8 kilos (266 pounds). Right now I am down 13/14kgs, there is still a long way to go and I am already hearing that I can’t lose any more weight as I’d look too thin, I’ll never get into 34 inch jeans and I’ve lost enough already why not give up. All of those things are untrue, I have to ask why people feel free to comment and either talk you down or talk you out of your diet/fitness plan (as I have been talked out of in the past). Is something missing from their own lives? Could it be a type of bullying? In the end it seems that it’s perfectly ok for anyone embarking on any type of weight loss plan to expect that their body become a topic of conversation.
Weight and fitness are a health issue, we’ve all heard how obesity is the new plague of the western world, and still both the overweight and those who are overweight but trying to change have to accept that their body is something for other people to comment on and talk about and sometimes laugh at. Fortunately for me my running gives a real endorphin induced confidence boost (and I was confident to begin with) meaning I can deal with the sarcasm and all those but’s at the end of sentences. But I’m not everyone and there are plenty out there whose self-esteem is so low that any comment will break any resolve they had to improve themselves, leaving them stuck feeling bad about themselves and more importantly remaining overweight and unfit. To anyone who likes adding a but to the end of a sentence remember this, ‘blowing out somebody else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.’