My sister and I were talking the other day about my weight loss plight and I, for the first time I think ever, felt like someone ‘got it’. Someone actually heard me. I work hard and have hardly anything to show for it- and I mean that in the literal sense because don’t get me wrong, when I’m exercising regularly, I’m mentally and emotionally unstoppable. But the scale does. not. budge. When my sister said, “You should be skinny, Claire. It’s really not fair for you to work that hard and still struggle,” the clouds opened up and I felt justified. But why is that the first time I’ve ever heard that when all of my friends and family know how hard I work? Because it’s not what we say. We say, “You’re not fat.” “You look awesome.” “Fill in the blank.”
People are ever so well intended and the political correctness of our country has taken over honesty. We are no longer allowed to tell people they are fat- and we over euphemism- because we don’t want to insult them. But in a way, my blog is ironical because I’m going to list the things that people say that are semi-politically correct (and totally true) that piss me off, ridiculously. Now if you have ever said any of the following to me, no worries. I don’t remember if you did or not because I’ve heard them so many times. Digression.
Everyone who is trying to lose weight is trying. And yes, sometimes we need to hear alternate solutions. Sometimes, when we discuss our struggle, we just want to vent. Sometimes we are having a hard time and need advice. But I’m going to tell you, that the following are not helpful and are not advice. Just like when you’re pregnant, people want to help, and want to tell you what worked for them. People like to give support, it makes them feel better, like they are a part of your journey. And who doesn’t need support? So, here it goes:
- Muscle weighs more than fat. Well, yeah. But the odds that the 3 pounds I gained since Monday have absolutely nothing to do with that. Yes, I ran- but running doesn’t really build muscle. And really- what’s the formula? That way I can calculate how much of the weight gained is fat/ bloat and how much is bad ass muscle development.
- It takes a while. Again, well, yeah. Ten years is a while, right? Maybe, just maybe, 11 will be the magic year? I know (as well as other people who are vaguely aware of the science of weight loss) that unless you work out 12 hours a day, Biggest Loser Style, and eat 1200 calories, you will not be dropping 20 pounds in a week. I also know that it’s not healthy, either. But ultimately I need to stick with it and I also know that it should take a while. You do not need to always remind the person that it will take a while- it’s like telling a drug user who wants to quit drugs that it’s going to be hard and a long road. They already know it and hearing it from someone else may force them to be like, “Nevermind.”
- You should be doing this instead (then proceed to tell the person that you lost weight eating hot dogs and ice cream for supper followed by a raw onion). This is the trickiest one because I am actually guilty of this- but when you come up with a scheme like juicing, or eating only cabbage and garlic for a week, or standing on your head and chewing for 25 seconds before you swallow, you’re not helping. Trust me. And I don’t care that you lost 10 pounds doing it. I know my body and I know how much I love food, so I cannot follow a diet depriving me of what I like (because it will ultimately end with me sitting in my pantry, chip crumbs in my hair, chocolate dripping from the corners of my mouth, and salty tears smearing the ice cream remnants on my cheek after I realized that I’m binging). Thanks for the advice, but I will pass because I know it’s really about eating whole foods in small portions and exercising.
- You’re eating too much. The most obvious answer, right? You HAVE to be eating too much if you’re gaining 3 pounds in a day. Although, the science of weightloss also tells me that I would have to have eating 10,500 EXTRA calories on top of my original 2,000 or so of normal calories. Yes, I ate 12,500 calories yesterday. That makes total sense. Thanks.
- You’re not eating enough. Come. On. When people say this, I think: You obviously have no clue who I even am. I am definitely eating enough.
- Are you counting your calories? Are you eating every two hours? Are you skipping snacks? Are you exercising? Are you… I am doing everything possible, trust me. I have to eat often because I have a prediabetic issue. I also count everything I eat because I’m an obsessive freak but that doesn’t matter. I can stick to 1200 calories, 1400 calories, even 1600 calories a day, work out regularly and still not lose weight. I have tried eating one meal a day, eating 6 meals a day, and more traditionally, 3 meals a day. I am doing it and I have tried it. I have even been told that exercising is not good for weight loss. Wait, what?
- Weight doesn’t matter. It’s just a number. This one just bugs me. Of course it’s not about the weight. I’m pretty healthy, I make good choices, etc, but when someone says to you that something that matters to you doesn’t matter, it’s insulting. Also- weight is the measurable thing, the outcome that we all seek. Ultimately it’s measurements/ size that make a difference, but you will not go down in these if you are not losing weight. End of story.
In the past ten years (I can hear the ideas formulating in people’s heads about how I could have actually lost weight in 10 years), I have been trying to lose weight and only when my sister justified how hard I’ve been trying did I actually feel okay. If people can notice how hard I’m working, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I’m not saying don’t talk about it, I’m not saying don’t be real about it, I’m also not saying don’t give advice about: I’m saying don’t assume that people who are overweight and trying to lose weight have not tried everything under the sun. Just because it’s easy for you, does not mean it’s easy for others. Just because you ate nothing but bacon and hamburg and still lost weight does not mean I will. Nor does it mean that you will live longer than me. Sometimes people just want to do it the healthiest way possible which takes a lot of dedication and sometimes some serious frustration moments. Each person has an individual need, and sometimes just need an ear- just ask them what they need. But also, and I mean always, justify their feelings, it helps.