As some of you may recall, I have began a work-hosted Biggest Loser competition. It's only a little over a week into my new diet, and I've heard a myriad of statements that annoy me so frequently that I feel it is my public service to write them down for everyone as a learning opportunity. Here is what not to say to someone on a diet (or at least someone like me, or just me):
"Why? You don't have to lose weight." You're right, I don't HAVE to lose weight. No one is forcing me to. However, I am over the weight that is considered healthy. When I sit down, my roll is now protruding over my pants. My face is rounder than it used to be. I get out of breath easier than before. I want to lose weight, but yes, you are correct, I don't need to.
"You look good the way you are." This one is mostly harmless, and I appreciate it, but I could look better. And this diet isn't exactly about how I look. Firstly, I want to be a viable competitor in the competition. Secondly, I want to feel better. I hate having to jump my way into jeans, or wear a baggy shirt so my stomach isn't really noticeable. I just want to live a healthier lifestyle, and hopefully lose a few pounds.
"Just make sure you're doing this for you." Here's a unique one, as who else would I be dieting for? Of course it's for me.
"Do you think you'll actually be able to do it?" Thanks for the confidence booster! Do I think I can do it? I sure hope so, as I've committed $20 because I believe in myself.
"You just have to stop drinking." The amount I've heard this one is pretty unsettling, making me feel like I must be perceived as a drink away from an alcoholic. So that's problem number one with this statement, but it's also false. I'm going to have to do way more than that. I'm going to need to lay off a lot of unhealthy eating habits. I'm going to need to work out more. I'm going to need to find a new way of spending time with friends.
"Oh, you're not going to be able to go x." I actually think people are scared to hang out with me in certain settings, should I crack and order a burger. Then it's on their conscience that I broke diet. However, I am perfectly capable of restraining myself, and if I don't, then it's on me.
Instead of saying one of those phrases, try one of these statements that people have said to me, which made me feel great:
"Good for you, being healthier is a great goal!" Encouraging, yet not overly so, and demonstrating that being on a diet is actually a good thing.
"I'm going to eat healthier too." Bam, it's nonjudgmental and we're in the same boat.
"I'll come to the gym with you." Bam, it's nonjudgmental and we're in the same boat.
Or, go with the strongest response I've gotten yet:
**Nothing.** Don't say anything. Just keep it moving. I'm exactly the same person, just doing a bit more working out and a little less eating. I'm not sick. I don't need a confidence boost. I don't want empathy or sympathy. I just want life to continue just like normal, as this diet I'm on isn't even a diet per se, just a commitment to healthy living.