To Speak or Not to Speak

I’ve been on diets since I was about 10.  Sometimes they would work and I’d lose some pounds, then I would get tired of it, lose my momentum, and gain them back, usually plus more.  I’d say 45 years of that is plenty of dieting.  Several times I would have successful periods when I lost significant amounts of weight, generating lots of comments and questions from other people about how I did it, what advice did I have, etc.  Sometimes I felt like the poster child for Weight Watchers which got pretty old pretty fast.

Seeing other fat people tugged at my heartstrings and I often found myself volunteering things to try.  Why weren’t they following the simple steps that I knew made all the difference?  Eat less, move more is so easy.  Walking was easy.  Lots of vegetables.  Portion control.  Honestly, it wasn’t that hard.

Except that, of course, it was hard.  Sticking with a program for weeks and months and years is not easy when you are programmed to eat in response to particular foods or emotional situations.   I spent time in therapy as well as the gym, WW, and the nutritionist office.  Not for addictive behavior or eating disorders, but still, time with people who helped give me tools to use in working through my issues.

The world is full of fat people, a lot of them are bigger than I am, and I don’t volunteer anything to anyone now unless it’s asked.   I don’t mention lapbands or Weight Watchers or books or gyms or therapy or portion sizes.  I know from personal experience that someone could have lost significant weight that’s not obvious to someone else, or from a medical condition.   If I’m asked about my own weight loss, I’m happy to talk about it.  But I do not impose anything on anyone else, even if they are ordering something in a restaurant that I think is not particularly healthy for them.  It might be a planned treat – and really, it’s none of my business.

Is that enabling them?  Maybe.  It’s also keeping my nose out of their lives and their business.   Being the recipient of such well-meaning comments in the past, I know how much it hurts to have someone else kindly tell me that the right thing to do is eliminate sugar, or go into therapy to figure out my issues, or just go to a gym to help tone up.   I wasn’t stupid, I knew those things.

No matter how happy any of us are about successfully changing our lives by losing weight and making significant lifestyle and emotional changes to do so, those changes apply to us and not to everyone we meet.  Not being ready to deal with my reality was MY business and something that I had to come to terms with in my own time and way.  I owe that to others as well.  The right words at the wrong time or from the wrong person can cause serious harm.