This post is by OYS writer Alexis from Trading Cardio for Cosmos. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram sharing lots of awesome weight loss tips and motivation!! She’s lost over 100lbs so she has lots to share!
When I chose to start blogging about my weight loss, I did so very quietly and privately. I had a couple friends who knew, Mr. Big of course was aware, but I really didn’t want to share it with people who I saw regularly. Mostly, because I really didn’t know how to handle the barrage of well-intentioned, yet usually incorrect, hurtful or embarrassing advice people would share with me.
Then I had a 24-hour period where three people asked me if I’d had bariatric surgery, and I thought, “You know what? I’m going to tell my story out loud because while I think bariatric surgery is a wonderful tool when used in conjunction with talk therapy, I didn’t opt for surgery. I opted to confront my issues, my feelings and my bad habits, and I literally ran my ass off.” I didn’t really ever see the story being told and it should be told, because there’s nothing as powerful and inspiring as knowing you are not alone.
Immediately after I shared my blog, along came the unwanted advice, commentary and unfortunate comparisons. And while I have not always handled them as well as I would have liked, I do have some 5 tip to share about how to handle the unwanted advice coming your way.
#1 If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
If the people in our lives played by this rule, we wouldn’t need this blog post. But just because they don’t, doesn’t mean you can’t. The easiest way to shut down an uncomfortable exchange like “You know the healthiest way to lose weight is an all-fruit diet,” is to say “Thank you,” and change the subject. Arguing won’t help the conversation, and you obviously know more about what’s working for you than anyone pushing a crazy fad diet, no-exercise pills, magic shakes or something you know isn’t sustainable long-term.
#2 Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
I have skinny friends, heavy friends, friends who used to be skinny and friends who used to be heavy. I have a friend who eats a steady diet of candy, one who eats a macrobiotic diet, and one who is a vegan (sometimes). With with each one of them, I delicately shut down a comparison between their menus and meal choices and mine. Because we are waaaaaaaaay apart on what they view as a good diet and what I view as a good diet, and I don’t want to be hurtful OR be insulted. My standard response is “Oh, I just do what works for me!” and then I change the subject, or ask them about themselves to deflect away the comparison.
#3 Avoid the people who feel that honesty, no matter how hurtful, is the best policy.
Just because I used to be fat/eat way more/have such a higher tolerance for alcohol/only wear dark clothes, etc does not mean anyone else should be commenting on those facts. So at family get-togethers I say hello to everyone, but only spend time with those who lift me up. At social functions, I gravitate towards those people who talk about things, not people.
#4 When I can’t avoid some unwanted advice or commentary that hurts me, I try to let the person know.
This can be awkward and uncomfortable, but If I don’t say something, I risk the person will do it to me or someone else again. “Oh, gosh, I would never say that to my friends who are losing weight! No one wants to be reminded of where they used to be when they’ve come so far!” Gently but firmly stated, no rancor. Consider it a teachable moment for that person and approach them with empathy.
#5 Refuse to be put in a situation where these comments happen.
Now, this is extreme, and sometimes you just can’t avoid a situation or a person, but sometimes you can and you should. It’s a hard decision, but your emotional wellness is important for your happy life, and if you can’t change the person, maybe leaving them behind is a good thing in the long run.
When the unwanted comment has been made, however you react, make sure you take care of you, and do whatever it is you need to do in order to let it go. Often I find a good run or workout de-stresses me and enables me to view a situation more rationally. Sometimes talking it out with Mr. Big, or my mom or a friend helps. In the case of my great aunt, I remember she’s old and unhappy and that I really don’t want to behave that way to others. In the case of some friends, I’ve either tried to provide corrective, constructive feedback when possible, or just stopped spending as much time with them. That part is unfortunate, but as I journey to a happier, healthier person, I want happy, healthy people around me.
What about you? What do you do handle unwanted advice and commentary about your weight loss?
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