Here’s the reality of the situation: it’s never going to stop. The attacks, I mean.
As soon as you make it known that you want to take better care of your health, people will start sneering. They will plant seeds of doubt in your mind. They will ask you if it’s really worth it, why can’t you live a little, you know one drink won’t hurt.
It is worth it. You are living – more than ever before. And one drink may not hurt, but it can also be a slippery slope (tequila, anyone?).
The irony of what’s happening is beyond baffling. Here you are, finally dedicated to making a healthy, sustainable lifestyle change. You’ve cut out binge drinking, you’ve stopped mindless snacking, you’ve finally conceded to the fact that “curling” your iPhone to your ear ten dozen times a day does not actually qualify as weightlifting. You’ve quit latenight television to get a few extra hours of quality sleep, and you get up hours before work to hit the gym.
You’d think more people would be pumped for your newfound changes.
But instead, you’re met with resistance. And lots of it.
When I first discovered fitness – strength training, prioritizing protein, and all that jazz – I was very much alone. I think it’s especially difficult to be a female in this kind of world and not be judged and alienated. When I began increasing my protein intake at lunch, piling on an extra serving of chicken here, a side of cottage cheese there, my friends at my table would jab at me. I was deemed a weirdo just because I didn’t stand in the panini line everyday and because I asked for second and third helpings of broccoli. The guys in the weight room would stare at me point blank because I was in “their” territory – I mean, shouldn’t I be off in the corner peddling away on the elliptical for an hour?
My family didn’t get it at first, either. I would come home and ask if I could have a leaner cut of meat and I would be questioned. I would be offered dessert and I’d politely decline and I would be accused of being selfish and rude. Just one, they’d say. You can have just one. Or, your mother made this especially for you. Do you really want to hurt her feelings?
[Tweet “Much of the time, people mean well. But other times, they have no idea what they’re doing to you.”]
Food pushers. That’s what they are. Anyone who, intentionally or not, attempts to sabotage your fitness efforts by constantly offering you food and pressuring you into making poor dietary decisions. These may be your coworkers who ask you time and time again if you want a slice of birthday cake, a handful of m&m’s, a bite of pizza – despite being fully aware that you are focused on your diet. Your roommate, your friend, your grandmother. A one-time occurrence is nothing to get worked up over. But these food pushers… damn, are they ever persistent.
And boy, do they ever bring you down.
If there’s anything I could have said back then to get them to realize the magnitude of the grief they imposed onto my life, this would be it….
Dear Food Pushers,
I know you don’t quite get it, because if you did, I’m positive you would not be doing what you’ve been doing.
Please try to understand. What I’m doing is not easy. Hitting the gym consistently, chugging water, turning down my favorite sweet potato fries – this is all very, very difficult for me to do. But I’m sticking with it because I’m putting my health first and I’d like to be in the best shape of my life. It’s hard enough as it is to make all the sacrifices to live this way.
I am well aware of how delicious the food you are offering me is. You do not need to describe to me in fine detail the texture and moisture of the fudge brownie you have jammed down your throat. I don’t need to hear about how that chicken alfredo is the best pasta you’ve ever had in your life. You don’t need to hold those breadsticks under my nose so that I can smell how scrumptious they are. Really, you don’t. I believe you.
Am I sure that I don’t want that cake? No, I’m not sure. The truth is that I would love a bite or twenty. Because who doesn’t like birthday cake? I do want some, but I also have bigger goals in mind. A little bit of instant gratification is not going to get me where I want to be.
And if I show up to a party and sip on seltzer all night, please leave it alone. You think I’m no fun because I’m not throwing back beers and taking shots like it’s nothing; I think you’re annoying for making it an issue in the first place.
I say nothing while I watch you clog your arteries with that deep-fried crap. Some things that I could say to you include: Do you really want to be eating that? Are you certain you want to stay flabby and blame your genetics for the way you look? That’s funny you’re blaming your weight gain on motherhood because you’ve been grazing on potato chips all day. Maybe you should order the ahi tuna instead of the chicken fried steak for once.
Doesn’t feel so good to read those words now, does it? That’s exactly how I feel when you question my dietary choices. It’s rude, it’s uncalled for, and it’s really none of your concern.
Whatever choices you want to make in your life are yours to make. If you want to stay overweight and never give up your steady diet of soda, beer, and mozzarella sticks, who am I to stick my nose into your business and make you feel like dirt?
You don’t make your health a priority, but it doesn’t mean that I have to do the same.
Maybe you’re insecure about yourself and you’re projecting that onto me. Maybe you’re jealous and the fact that I am making positive changes in my life makes your blood boil.
It doesn’t matter. Cut the crap. Pretty please and thank you.
All the best,
A girl on a mission.