I wanted to write this piece because lately I have been having a few experiences with people being slightly “unpleasant” towards the fact that I am on a diet. Luckily I am the kind of person who doesn’t put a lot of weight in the words of others. I am a lone wolf and generally do as I please regardless of what other people will think of me. At best it pisses me off that people want to lecture me or preach to me about something a. they know nothing about or b. has nothing to do with them anyway. But I can imagine how it would be different for someone who is overweight with low self esteem and no support system. That is one of the main reasons for starting this blog. It is an escape where I can meet anonymous strangers who are having a similar experience to me where we can share experiences and successes away from the judgmental outsiders who don’t understand what we are doing.
I always hate telling people I am on a diet for a number of reasons, including judgment. I always thought of it as admitting defeat because I couldn’t control myself with food, got fat and now must punish myself by deprivation. But I guess when you think about it its not really a secret if you are overweight because everyone can see that anyway. It is hard to hide dieting because food is a social staple in most cultures. You go out for dinner to celebrate achievements. In construction we have BBQ’s a lot for achieving key project dates or safety milestones. People bring baking into the office and it’s almost offensive not to have any. I believe that when you commit to something like a diet, you should have very clear goals in mind because these are the things that are going to keep you on track when the going gets tough. When people start being difficult I always have these same goals up my sleeve to explain to them and reinforce to myself what I am doing and why I am doing it.
I currently am no longer over weight, in fact I look moderately fit with clothes on. However my motivation for weight loss or “The Pursuit of the Perfect Body” as I have put it, is I want to be my best. I have come from a childhood of athleticism and always had a good figure. There is no reason I shouldn’t still have that now, I am after all the only one who is responsible for the way I look. I’m not happy with it so I’m doing something about it (finally!). But Unfortunately some people refuse to accept this as an answer.
It’s easy for others to say “It’s just 1 piece of cake” and really you should be allowed to have a piece of cake whenever you want it. But then I think of my goals and remind myself; I am focused on sticking at this plan and giving it a good honest go. If I don’t lose weight one week I don’t want to think “oh well it was that 1 piece of cake I ate last Tuesday” because that then villainizes food. Food is not bad, you are bad at controlling yourself around food. The diet I’m on has really taught me a lot about control and how to eat to the get the things that you want, even how to eat so you can eat junk for a meal! But that is a conversation to be had in maintenance. I have not finished losing weight so right now I say no to cake! Another benefit I have felt on this healthier lifestyle, which I use to keep me on track, is the way I feel. I guess you get used to feeling crappy and don’t notice it because it is so constant. I would never notice sugar crashes or tiredness because it was so frequent with the way I used to eat. When I had a week off between cycle 1 and 2 of FMD and boy did I notice the difference when we had buffet meals. I had big naps in the afternoons on both days we ate out and my mood, extremely irritable.
So when someone asked me why I would want to continue such a deprived lifestyle? My reply was simple, you can’t describe a color to a man who has been blind his whole life. In the same manner, I can’t explain how this diet makes me feel so good and removes any previous need to have sugar or binge on chocolate. It just feels right and I enjoy it. The “deprivation” doesn’t really bother me at this stage because I am focused on a goal. When you are saving for a new car you don’t go on an expensive lavish holiday. When I get the new car (my ideal body) I will continue the principles of healthy eating but won’t be afraid to indulge in something “bad” every once in a while.
I also know people who use “I’m on a diet” as a complement fish. They want people to tell them they don’t need to be on a diet because they look great. There is nothing worse than someone who is skinny complaining about how fat they are. I feel like screaming “if you’re fat then what am I!” These are usually the same people who tell you everything you eat is not right and secretly have their chocolate bars and then deny having had them only to be outted by the wrappers in their bin! (true story). These people can be really hard to deal with as they just make you feel like crap.
Mostly the “haters” have been people from the internet who are on a different method of weight loss. But I have had a couple of people from my real life who not so much hate on the diet, more they just don’t understand why I am doing or agree with the method of the diet. Calorie counters are the worst. I know, I used to be one. They are so wrapped up in the idea that they can eat whatever they want and still lose weight. Even if that means eating a 500 calorie burger at lunch and starving for the rest of the day. How crazy is that. If this diet has taught me one thing it is that you must always keep eating to keep your metabolism burning. As long as there is good quality food coming in you are going to be satisfied and your body will not start reverting to storing fat. If you have an indiscretion (ate a piece of cake) you must keep eating to keep the fire burning. Try and explain that to a calorie counter and you get told that you are an idiot, meal timing doesn’t matter and as long as you are in calorie deficit you will lose weight. Maybe true but I think I would rather lose fat, look better and weigh the same than have the number on the scale go down and be “skinny fat”. It’s a losing battle you just can’t speak sense to these people, they have too much passion for what they are doing which leads me to my next theory…
I have always related the diet and fitness industry mentality to religion. A bunch of people who have discovered something, a way of life, that works for them. These people see results and wholeheartedly believe that this is the way to do something. The elation you feel when you get on a program and start seeing results can be a high like no other. Endorphins are powerful natural drugs. Weather it is Paleo, Fast Metabolism Diet, Atkins or Cross fit these people are immersed in this world, this activity that gives them results and makes them feel amazing. Such passion isn’t a bad thing, any healthy lifestyle change is to be commended and sure it may be all someone wants to talk about, I guess you just need to put on your social gauge and limit the amount of time you yabber on to someone about something they may not be so interested in. This is fine and I am actually guilty of doing this. If you have read any other post on this blog its not difficult to see that I love this diet and am a huge advocate. Again another reason I started this blog as an outlet for that passion so I don’t have to bore my family, friends and work colleagues to death by talking about it.
This is all good and well but there is a line in the sand. I hate preachers. People who like the above believe in something so passionately that they think everyone should have to live like this. They are the people who corner you every time you are eating and critique what you put in your mouth. The people who tell you that your workout plan is all wrong. My favorite are the people who ignore all reason and blatantly promote their way against any logical argument. I have been on forums where I written long winded factual posts only to be answered with “LOL no you’re stupid”. I don’t mind criticism as long as it is constructive. “Lol no your stupid because…” I felt like replying but the best way to deal with these people is to ignore them. They are trolls trying to do one of two things, a. provoke you to continue an illogical argument or b. they are actually naive enough to wholeheartedly believe in something that is flawed and has holes they can’t explain so they deal with that by putting others down. As long as you know what you are doing and why you are doing it then you should be fine.There was a quote I saw on Facebook which I feel sums ups the best way to deal with haters. No idea if Robert Downey Jr ever said this but I like it:
Just say “oh well I am going to give this a go and see how it goes”. You need to be selfish and focus on what you need. You shouldn’t let other people and their opinions get you down. The only way that you will learn in life is trial and error. You can learn from others mistakes but when it comes to dieting what works for one individual may not work for another as our bodies are different, our genetics are different and our environments weather it be climate, work or family situations are all different and all of these things will contribute to your weightloss journey.
There is no one right way to lose weight but there are probably thousands of different methods. As humans we are constantly developing new technology and scientific breakthroughs which sculpt and change our opinions of the world. As we age our priority and values change. I am not perfect and something I have realised since starting FMD is that keeping an open mind is important. My goal in life is to never stop learning and the only way to do that is keep an open mind. So if someone you know (or don’t know for that matter) is of a different opinion that doesn’t mean you should have to convert them to your way. I think we should all support each other in our weight loss journeys because there is already enough hate in the world as it is.
I hope this helps at least 1 person. Dieting can be so alienating and can be a very lonely experience. Stay strong, keep a positive attitude and remember why you started. You can achieve anything you want in life. The only thing stop you is you!