Warning: This is a rant.
Is it just me or do people really not want their friends, colleagues, and peers to get healthy? Granted, this in no way applies to everyone I know, but since I’ve rededicated myself to working out, I’ve noticed many people who take jabs with criticism veiled as support.
Right now I’m focusing primarily on basic cardio training. People will say, “That’s great. When are you going to start weight training?” Rather than give me support for what I am doing, what I hear them saying is that it is not enough. “When will you start Crossfit, TRX training, etc.” I’m human. This kind of feedback makes me feel defeated.
I’ve mentioned to several friends that I’m trying to eat better. The standard response is “Good luck with that.” What kind of support is that?
At one time, I liked supplementing posts with photos of the fitness equipment I use, but people would zoom in on the equipment’s dashboard and feel the need to critique my performance: not enough reps, the duration isn’t sufficient, heart rate isn’t high enough, etc. So I’ve stopped doing that for the most part. No need to invite the jabs.
All of this reminds me of drug addicts who don’t want their buddies to go straight. That’s a real thing. Does my change in lifestyle threaten how they view themselves? What’s the deal? I’m also reminded of my ex-wife’s grandmother, a wonderful woman, who would implore you to eat the huge meals she would prepare, and then talk about how chubby you were becoming. I felt like I couldn’t win.
My personal experience has made me wonder about what bariatric patients go through when they are trying to lose weight either through a medical or surgical weight loss program. The impact of those around you can be immense. How do their family members react to their lifestyle changes and do they feel threatened?
Fortunately, at work, I’ve got a couple of colleagues who genuinely encourage me – particularly when I’m debating whether or not to work out on a given day. For that, I am grateful. Last week was a really tough week, and there were a couple of days when I was completely out of gas by the end of the workday. But these co-workers encouraged me to not give up on my workout and told me I would feel better after exercising. If it weren’t for their encouragement I probably would not have worked out, and they were right, I did feel better emotionally and physically.
My belief is that to be successful, we need to build a community around us that is made up of people who can be supportive and not feel threatened by the changes you’re trying to make. When making significant lifestyle changes, those are the voices I want to hear!