Many of Us know all too well the long-term problems we’ve had dealing with our weight and food issues. We don’t deal with those in isolation: we have families, friends, work colleagues, doctors, WW leaders, casual acquaintenances, and strangers on the street who all feel it’s their right and responsibility to show us the error of our ways. Sometimes it’s done with love; other times with harsh words of judgment and failure to live up to expectations – often of things we set for ourselves. The same comments mean different things depending on whether we’re in the zone of sticking to food plans and eating “good” food.
My experience has really only been as the fat person being criticized, er, supported by the healthy perfect person reminding me that chocolate is bad, that my portions are too big, that I didn’t have enough fruits or vegetables, that eggnog is full of fat, that candy canes are pure sugar, that I should drink water instead of soda, that a cookie will destroy my food balance for the rest of my life. Okay, they don’t say that part, and usually the statements are made one at a time.
But honestly, do the people saying things to the fatties not realize that we’re not stupid and that we already know that stuff? We’ve heard it most of our lives and it’s as though we put hands over our ears and sing “la la la la la la” while they say the same thing over and over. It’s not that they’re wrong. It’s that it’s a judgment and a reminder that once again we have failed.
Which, in my case, usually means I reach for another cookie, tho I’m trying not to.
I do understand that people who are in a healthier place than I am do not want to enable me or those like me to continue eating to our destruction. I get it, really I do. At some point, though, your words to prevent enabling simply become thorns in the side or ignored completely. The epiphany to change happens inside and rarely in response to a same-old same-old “you screwed up again” comment.
So if I may make a suggestion going into the holidays — try just loving the person as they are right now, warts and all. Just for a little while. Without constant criticism or judgment, without reminders of failure, without suggestions that now would be a good time to go on a diet. Have healthy options available, from small yummy clementines to lean proteins and fresh veggies. Note that low-fat ice cream is a healthier option than the full-fat kind.
But also remember that, for most people, a Christmas cookie or two won’t kill us. And often being able to eat something tasty in public, without evil eyes being cast, means there’s less of a craving to sneak into the kitchen when everyone is occupied to stuff the face with half the cookie jar just to prove that we can eat what we want.
Of course we could overdo things. Trust us, we’ll know it when we do. Love us anyway – and tell us so.