In the various interviews I’ve done with fitness competitors for my blog, one question always comes up and the answers never cease to amaze me. I ask everyone I interview one specific question in each interview:
“What was your friends/family reaction to your weight loss transformation/decision to compete in a bodybuilding competition?”
The answers range from “No one was supportive at all” to “I had a great group of circle of friends but no one comes to my shows to support me.” It was always rare to hear a reply of “Oh my family and friends loved that I decided to compete! They really help me out!”
I don’t know what it is about losing weight or changing your lifestyle that makes people that are closest to you run for the hills and disappear. Or worse, consistently put a negative spin on your efforts. Perhaps it’s jealousy or it’s something they themselves would LOVE to do but they don’t have the discipline. It doesn’t have to be losing weight that causes these reactions.
It could be anything that improves your health. Maybe you decide to quit smoking or quit drinking or cut back on the partying. Sacrifice is something we as a society have a really hard time with, don’t we? We want it all and we want it now. To give something up doesn’t sound fun. It requires hard work and some discipline to say, “This isn’t worth my health. This isn’t worth my life. I need to stop this behavior. I need to get my life in order and it starts with sacrificing __________.”
Outsiders, co-workers, friends, family- They see you giving something up and they think “That person is no fun anymore. They used to party with me, they used to go out to lunch and dinner with me. They used to drink with me. Now they went and got on the healthy train and left me behind. So forget them!”
These people went from being friends or just acquaintances to becoming destructive people in your life. If you hang around with them long enough, they could completely derail your efforts to be healthy. And you’ll end up at square one. Think I’m exaggerating?
Here are examples of just a few things people have said either to me or to someone I know who was trying to lose weight/better themselves:
“I bet that healthy food tastes gross…You probably have to douse that in salt to make it taste decent, right?”
“All those salads you eat, doesn’t that get expensive? Why even bother. It’s so much more convenient just to get something thru the drive-thru.”
“You have a personal trainer now? How much did that set you back? Why would you even invest in that, you can just do stuff on your own and save some money.”
“Didn’t you join a gym last year and never go? What makes you you’ll start going more often this time?”
You have to find a group of people that ARE supportive. Ditch these “friends” as fast as you can because all their negativity will do nothing for you except possibly get you back to your old ways and give up on your dreams. If you don’t ditch them, at least have a comeback ready to fire back at them.
Here are some good ones:
“Actually my food tastes really good, that’s why I keep eating it! Wanna try some?” (chances are they’ll say no)
“My grocery bill isn’t that much to be honest. I invest most of my money into whole foods and by avoiding all that junk in the middle aisles, I’m saving money. As for fast food, that stuff makes me kinda sick. I only have it once in a while and to me, it’s not worth it.”
“Not that it’s any of your business but I happen to love having a personal trainer who understands my struggles. The money I’m investing in them is worth knowing what I’m doing in the gym and what I’m eating is working for me. Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t know what to do. I love that someone is holding me accountable, it really helps! “
Since I’ve started my quest to get healthy, I’ve been going to the gym much more often than I have in the past. I see it as an investment. I hate to waste money just paying for the membership and not utilizing it. I’ve met some really good people there so that keeps me going.”
The bigger question is. why? Why do people feel the need to tear each other down when one of them is successful or doing something that isn’t “normal?”
As I mentioned in the beginning, perhaps it’s jealousy and envy. Who wouldn’t want to look really good? Who wouldn’t want to do something for themselves that’s going to improve their health? Who wouldn’t want to be able to say, “Yeah, I did that!”
It’s a desire I think we all have, but it could be fear of success or just fear of failure that prevents all of us from even trying. I think some of these negative people see YOU trying and YOU succeeding (or failing, and that’s okay too) and they think “I want to be able to do that…but there’s no way I’m going to.”
So they rip you apart because without perhaps realizing it, they don’t want you to succeed. They want you to stay right there in their comfort zone. All together. One big miserable family. So get out of the bubble. Get out of the comfort zone and rid yourself of these negative nay-sayers.
Hold your head up high, carry on, and persevere. Leave everyone else in the dust. Because guess what? When you are successful, the first question they’ll ask you was, “How in the world did you do it?” And you can reply:
“I had the most supportive friends and family I could ever ask for. I made it a point to only surround myself with positive people and it made all the difference! By the way, you look hungry. Want some of my salad?”