I’ve hesitated in writing this post. I do want to keep the overall vibe of this positive and encouraging and this feels like such a downer subject. However, in talking to friends who have gone through a similar journey, it seems like this theme unfortunately happens more than you would think and it’s something that should be talked about.
When I first started losing weight, everyone was supportive. People don’t hesitate to tell you when you’re unhealthy, or that they noticed you had put on weight and are happy for you that you’re losing it, or for being more active, etc. The support is endless at the beginning of your journey. When I first started, my Facebook weight loss page was filled with encouraging comments for pretty much anyone who was embarking on this path. We were all excited by weekly weigh-ins where the pounds were slipping away. We were encouraging when the scale didn’t always reflect hard work. People would send private messages saying that they ‘noticed you’d been losing weight,’ and ‘how are you doing it’?
And it’s great! The support is what keeps you going. Having people who want to join you for workouts, or who share recipes and tips with you, and sign up for races with you. That’s the kind of stuff that really HELPS and SUPPORTS others.
But gradually, the warm fuzzy comments start to drift a little dark and slightly defensive. I began to hear ‘well, I just can’t work out two times a day like you’, or ‘I don’t want to limit my cookie intake’. Well you know what, I don’t either! There are definitely times where I want to polish off a whole pack of Girl Scout cookies! But that’s what got me where I was in the first place. Sitting on the couch instead of going for a walk didn’t help me either. There are definitely times where I would rather go to bed early, or watch my favorite tv show… and I still do that! But I have to do these things in moderation. I know if I didn’t get a good workout in or have been pretty stationary (working at a desk job for most of the day), that I might need to get off my butt and move around. So after the kids go to bed, sometimes I’ll go for a walk or a short run. Or when I get up in the morning and want to hide under the covers, I’ll get up and go to the gym. Or when I pop open that box of cookies, I take one serving instead of five. Yeah, I can’t work out two times a day every day either, but sometimes, I have the time, and I feel better when I’m done. Exercise helps me relax when I’ve had a hard day or helps me think through a problem that’s been bugging me.
The negative attitude is really sad and hypocritical. These people always seem to be the same ones who complain about things like ‘mommy wars’ but then they can no longer offer an encouraging word, but suddenly say that you’ve ‘joined a fitness cult’ or other nonsense. And I’m not saying that people aren’t addicted to these things and that there aren’t problems out there for some people, but I’m healthy, my family is happy, and we do what works for us. You haven’t seen my food log so to say that I would be depriving myself of the good things in life is a joke. I’ve just learned to moderate them and balance them with healthier options.
When I first noticed this behavior and shift in attitude, it made me angry. And yes, reading above, it does still frustrate me. But at the same time, how about we stop shaming people and support them? What works for one person may not work for you, but something else can. You can make excuses, or you can get shit done and stop complaining about how someone else is doing something that you can’t do. I will never run a 7 minute mile, but when I started, I walked faster than I ran. As with anything, practice, patience, and dedication are key. Results aren’t always instant but find what works for you. And for what it’s worth, it took me a long time to get out of a 16 minute mile pace!
I think the hardest part, is it does hurt to have people suddenly make the negative comments. I don’t expect, or want, 24/7 praise or attention. But to have people say rude things to face or behind my back… well that’s not worth my time or friendship. I get that people get down on their own journeys or their lack of progress. I’ve had plenty of slumps and mental hang-ups, and I still get them to this day. But that’s also part of why I’m sharing my journey. People have asked how I’ve made it work, but also because I’m proud of it. I’ve worked my butt off to get where I am, and it has been hard, but I’m proud of my progress.
So now, I try to focus on the positive. I’ve made so many wonderful friends from this change in my lifestyle. I’m setting an example for my sons. My husband has also been working on improving his overall health and has completely changed his diet and exercise habits – he’s lost almost 40lbs now! I suffered with postpartum depression after both of my boys, but this time, I was able to get out of it with the help of exercise and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
‘Some people are like dark clouds, when they disappear, it’s a brighter day. Know when it’s time to let go. Removing negative people from your life doesn’t mean you hate them, it just means that you love yourself more.’
– Rashida Rowe
I don’t let the haters get me down. Sure, I wish that the world was all sunshine and rainbows, but until that happens, I’m going to keep meeting and beating my own goals, proving what I can do and accomplish when I set my mind to it.