May 20, 2012

How do people respond to your weight loss?

This post is part of a reader Q&A.  I'm more than happy to answer your questions about my weight loss process (or anything).  My email button is on the sidebar.  Just please remember that I am not a doctor, dietitian or a nutritionist.  These answers are absolutely specific to me and my personal journey.

Question: How do people respond to your weight loss?
Most everyone has been very positive.  Friends and family have been especially supportive. When I announced to my family that I was going to take a year to lose 75 pounds, they all were 100% behind me. My husband was a rock when it came to helping me stay focused on the goal and positive about even the smallest of accomplishments. (I've actually asked my hubby to write a guest post about what it means to support someone who is trying to lose a lot of weight.  So stay tuned!) Losing weight and getting healthy is a strange combination of single-minded, solitary fortitude and open-minded, compassionate support. You can certainly lose weight all by yourself, but gosh it's a lot easier when you have a cheerleader or two.

There is a small group of people, mostly acquaintances and friends of friends, who immediately want to know how I lost the weight. When I tell them that losing the weight was really tough and took lots of determination and discipline, their eyes glaze over a bit. My guess is that they are hoping to hear about a pill or a cream or a video that led me to lose such a large amount of weight. Again, this is just a guess. Then there is a smaller group of people who, when they hear that I've lost 70 pounds, immediately respond with a warning about loose skin or a story about their friend who lost 100 pounds and then gained back 70 and ended up having a bypass surgery.

I have to remember that weight is a very emotional topic for lots of people. It certainly is for me. I sometimes have to be careful when I talk about it. For instance, some people have medical disorders or are taking medications that cause extreme weight gain. They feel powerless and trapped by their condition and are therefore apprehensive to chat about healthy choices, especially when they feel they have none. Additionally, some people are very attached to their food as a cultural birthright (think Southern cooking) and become defensive and protective of their heritage when I bring up the topic of a veggie-based diet.  

I lost weight for my own health and well being by making choices that suited my lifestyle - choices that I could sustain and be happy with. When people are inspired by my process it feels great! When people are put off by my weight loss, I don't take it personally. No matter when their reaction, I always refer them to this blog for a more comprehensive view. Once they've read a few posts, they seem eager to ask questions about my journey and share thoughts about their own. It's important to remember that everyone is fighting some kind of battle, so I always try to meet their resistance or their excitement with compassion and a smile.

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