It’s that time again, time for me to get on board and start working towards getting this excess weight off my body. Yes, I’ve done diets before, many diets. One or two had some mild success, but most were a bust.
I’ve always disliked dieting, but it really hasn’t been the change in diet that’s been the issue. The thing I dislike the most, is that my weight suddenly becomes something to be noticed by others and commented on. Like a lot of people, I’m very insecure about my weight, and the last thing I want is attention being brought to it. However, for some reason, if it’s noticed or known that I’m (trying to) losing weight, people think it opens a door for them to start in with the unsolicited advice. If it’s not coming off fast enough, I’m told what I should do to speed it up. If it’s coming off just fine, I’m told what I should do to make it come off faster. If I’m frustrated with how things are going, I’m told how I should look at it. If I’m exercising (or not exercising), I’m told what exercises I should try. What is it about weight loss that makes so many people think they are experts?? I’m very happy that they have had things work for them (I won’t go into how frustrating it is to be given weight loss advice from people that have never tried to lose a pound in their life), but that’s the point, it worked for THEM. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to defend myself, explaining to people that I have tried SO many things, and they didn’t work. Even then, most people then imply that I must’ve done something to make it fail, since they know soooo many people that it has worked for. It’s worse with family, for they seem to think that because they share some genetic material with you that it makes them somehow more “clued in” to your dilemma. It’s never ending!
Today I made one comment on FaceBook, eluding that I would be starting a diet. This elicited 5 comments, all of which proceeded to tell me how I should be approaching said “diet”, foods I should try, how I should interpret signs from my body, how I should view the process (“dieting” vs. “life change”), etc. Only one said “Good Luck” and gave encouragement amidst all that, but it was still mixed with advice on food I should try.
Another pet peeve is the “Let’s make it a competition!” suggestion that comes from different places. I’m sorry, but unless we all have exactly the same metabolism/body and health level, including the same amount of weight to lose, it’s never going to be a fair fight. The last thing I need is to feel like a loser and a failure because I didn’t lose X number of pounds before Valentine’s Day, or I can’t jog around the block like someone that weighs 50 lbs less than me can, and I certainly don’t want to be the cause of that kind of embarrassment to someone else.
My dream, is to start losing weight, and hear nothing but “Good Luck!” or “You’re looking great!” along the way, unless I ask for advice. This time, I’m not letting anyone know that I’m dieting or about the process and progress, except for a very small group of people on my message board that I know understand where I’m coming from. If people notice I’m losing (and it’ll be obvious if I do) and ask about it, I will say something like “I’m just being healthy”, and change the subject. I’ll be dodging the “Let’s do this together!” offers, cuz very simply, I like to be alone while I work through this, with no pressure and no eyes on me, except those that are there to give encouragement and give advice when I ask for it. Those people really know what it’s like to try to lose weight.
If I could give any advice to people on how to talk to a person trying to lose weight, it would be this. Be supportive. It’s a personal journey, that can only be learned by that individual, at that person’s pace. Until someone can jump into another’s body and know it like they do, the only person that’s gonna know what works best for it is them. Yes, the journey is going to be filled with trial and error, research, and many frustrations until they can find that formula that their body responds to and doesn’t torture them at the same time. It is a battle that has to be fought by them. It’s going to take time, lots of time. It’s going to take determination, not only to do it, but to keep their spirits up enough so they don’t get marred down in the poor self image they fight against every day. Share with them how your journey has gone if you must, but don’t presume or suggest that because something worked or didn’t work for you that it should work the same for them. Let them make that decision on their own with no pressure. Tell them how great they look and wish them well on their journey, and listen to their frustrations and trials with an open ear and closed mouth. And most of all, love them for who they are.