*WARNING – Prepare for somewhat rant…..*
A while ago I decided that I was sick of being at the size I was at and that it was time to do something about it. Seven years ago, I was boxing, tiny and felt great about my body. After a glorious bout of pneumonia which cut me out of exercise for a year and then a nice long stint in the bread basket of Canada where everywhere you look is a processed food, I finally found myself in the position to be able to do something about the weight. And so after 3 months of boxing and getting into a decent fitness routine, I started on the Atkins diet (because my body retains water when I even look at a carb). I lost the weight, then under the stress of work and more travel, it happened again and I ballooned. So back on the bandwagon I go. To make myself do it, I booked a cheap Groupon photoshoot for fun.
One of the biggest challenges I have found to weight loss is not even the strictness that is required to stay away from the carbs. I got to that point now where I was 3 weeks in I don’t crave or want them anymore. My biggest challenge to dieting is other people’s attitudes. It is a sad thing to say but for most people, the biggest challenge that they will face is lack of support from other people. I used to have this all the time when I was living at home with Mum and Dad because they didn’t want to eat what I was cooking and I wasn’t being considerate of others. I now cop it from work colleagues who seem to correlate levels of fun with the amount of alcohol you consume. One colleague even finds pleasure in putting carbs under my nose on a daily basis and I want to punch him, not because I want his bread roll (the thought of which now makes me want to puke) but because he is being such an unsupportive turd. Fun also seems to be correlated with excess consumption of not so healthy food also. If you refuse to consume you are then ‘antisocial’.
And so I pose this question… While everybody says that they are happy for you when you lose weight, are they actually? Or are they annoyed that they themselves do not have the strength and willpower to go out and do what they want so they find comfort in bringing you down to see you fail. And more so, is this not a reflection of society in general and the need to cut down the tall poppy instead of embracing and encouraging the strengths that we have. I see it on a daily basis in the school system with the smart kids getting bullied or attacked for ‘enjoying science’. You will see it in the media with every celebrity attacking each other through Twitter about the clothes they wear or the things they say and do. It makes me angry. And what makes me even more angry is that people tell me that I must be angry because I need a carb. The truth is, it makes me angry that we cannot as people support the positive decisions that others make in their lives because we fear that it somehow makes us inferior or less of a person if we are then not making these same positive decisions.
Truth be told, I don’t want to progress up the chain of command at work. I don’t find the trade off of the title for the extra stress beneficial for me as a person. But I will support those who do because I can appreciate the work and dedication it takes to step up. I don’t want to be an Olympic boxer. But I will support and appreciate those I meet with the natural ability and hardcore work ethic that want to go all the way. Hell, I will support people in whatever positive decisions they want to make in their life. Because it is their life. And whatever makes them happy is whatever makes them happy. Majority of people will support these ventures… but weight loss? Why is this such a different thing for people to come to grips with and support. Why is there such a peer pressure to drink more and eat more rubbish over the peer pressure to avoid clogging your arteries, live longer and be healthy? Is it because we feel less bad ourselves about trashing our bodies if there are others engaging in the activity too? And then somehow we can vilify our behaviour knowing that it is because others do it we can too, guilt free. Therefore anyone who chooses not to engage is labelled a ‘loser’, ‘downer’, ‘spoil sport’ or ‘boring’ and hopefully it will push these people back into the hole of conforming to peer pressure so that everyone can feel good about themselves? So many questions. I don’t know the answers. But what I do know is this….
Please, if you are reading this and you have a friend that is trying to lose weight, please be a good human and support the positive changes they are making in their life. Support the fact that they don’t want to die and early death due to heart attack or obesity. Support the fact that what they are doing is hard. Even if you don’t agree with it. Even if you feel that it imposes on your social life and the things you can do with them. Even if you feel inferior because you think you can’t. Support it. Change your attitude about the idea of ‘fun’ to not include copious drinking and broaden your horizons to include something new. Who knows, you might find something new that you enjoy and feel better about yourself in the process.
And to those on the journey of dropping the pounds, congratulations for making a change! I am with you all the way and we can do this with or without the support of others because we are strong enough and courageous enough to make change on our own. We deserve this. And so we will have it!