amandaHportraits-70July17,2018

When Other People Have Opinions on Your Weight Loss

Navigating Opinions With Grace

Recently at the grocery store, an employee stopped me. “I’ve been watching you over the last few months when you come in the store. I’ve seen your weight loss.” he said.

I started wondering what direction was this conversation was about to head. Over the last couple years, there have been many different opinions, questions, statements, and unsolicited advice that I’ve received concerning my weight loss. I’ve learned to take it all with a grain of salt.
So, I smiled, braced myself, and heard him out.

 

Before

“You’ve lost a lot of weight and you’ve done really well. Good job! I just wanted you to know I’ve noticed your hard work.”

I was blown away by such a sweet compliment. Essentially, he said, “I see you. I see the work you’ve put in. Great job.” And that was that. It was so refreshing, so encouraging to hear that from someone who had no ulterior motives, no underlying jabs to give. Just a kind word to offer.

For the most part, family, friends, and acquaintances have been super supportive. There have been only a couple of downright ugly comments I’ve received, and maybe a friend or two who checked out once the weight started coming off. I’ve learned that most people mean well, even when what they say can be brash, uninformed, or somewhat hurtful. Usually, they’re curious, or want to know how they can lose weight too. I’ve heard a whole gamut of statements/questions.

“When are you going to stop losing weight?”

“You’re too skinny!”

“I thought you lost all that weight because you were sick.”

“You need to lose a few more pounds.”

“You’re going to dry up and blow away!”

“Here, have a donut.”

“What makes you think you’ll be able to lose weight after surgery?”

“Having weight loss surgery is the easy way out.”

“You can eat anything you want to now, can’t you?”

I’ve learned to give grace and try not to take things too personally when people voice their opinions of my weight loss. Some people think I’ve lost too much weight. Some people think I need to lose more. Others think it’s been a cake walk since I had surgery. But mostly, like I said, they don’t mean anything by it. Sometimes, it’s just small talk and maybe they’re not sure how approach the subject.

So, here a couple of take-aways I think we can apply:

If you have a friend or loved one who has been on a weight loss journey:

Be mindful of the sensitive nature that is weight. For some, it is a very personal struggle that has been one of the hardest things for them to conquer. They may feel hopeless, out of control, unsure of what steps to take, or just defeated. Whether or not they have chosen weight loss surgery, they may not feel comfortable opening up about it.  Be encouraging. Be supportive. Don’t pressure them about their weight loss, what they eat, or how they exercise. Allow them the freedom to volunteer information to you. I talked about this in more depth in a Facebook Live video HERE. If you want to skip ahead to this particular topic, go to around minute 25 where I address this. 

If you are the one who has lost a lot of weight:

Be gracious to others when they are curious, ask questions, want to know how much weight you’ve lost, how you did it, etc. A lot of people want to have success as well and just want to glean what they can to apply it in their own lives. However, you don’t have to divulge anything you aren’t comfortable with. If people are rude, nosy, just want to gossip, or have opinions to give you that you didn’t ask for, just smile and be kind. You can politely say that you aren’t comfortable talking about it if you aren’t. That’s up to you. But, you don’t have to continue to be subjected to negativity or nastiness. It’s okay to stick to boundaries when it comes to talking about this personal issue. 
Now, I willingly talk about my struggle with my weight. I am open about it because I want to help others who are coming behind me, those who are struggling and need encouragement and a helping hand. But that wasn’t the case for me from the beginning. It took me a while to feel comfortable sharing with others. It took me a while to process it all. If you aren’t comfortable sharing now, there may come a time when you are ready to open up about it. So, give yourself grace, too. It’s okay to have boundaries. It’s okay to take the time you need to process, to get comfortable in your own skin. 

My highest weigh was 324 pounds. In the picture on the left, I was 304 pounds and on the right was 185 pounds.
Family photos weighing in at well over 300 pounds on the left. Right: Mardi Gras fundraiser weighing in at 185 in a fitted dress! Something I never would've imagined I'd feel comfortable wearing.

So, at the end of the day, I’d encourage you to be kind, show people (and yourself) grace, know it’s okay to have boundaries when talking about your personal health and weight loss issues, and to use the opportunity to encourage others. 

 

For more info on my journey, to stay updated on weight loss physical challenges, and to join in the Cultivate Create tribe, follow along on Facebook and Instagram. You can join my newsletter at the very bottom of the page, and join the Cultivate Create Weight  Loss Community HERE.

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