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Dear Family and Friends

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

As some of you may know, I recently moved back home. This means I have three other people in my household, when I'm used to it just being me. Major transition! I'm still not all the way settled and my emotions are rattled constantly.

They're trying, bless their hearts, but it's making me feel alienated. The constant barrage of, 'Can you have this?', 'What kind of soda do you want?', 'You're not eating with us and I'm worried', is working my last nerve. I know they mean well, but I'm starting to feel like the bearded woman in a freak show.

So I've written the following letter:

Dear Family and Friends,

I understand that this transition of me from Chunky Shelby to 'I Have an Actual Waistline' Shelby may be difficult at times for you to deal with. I appreciate that you are trying to help me achieve my goals, but you need not worry about me.

I know you are proud of me for exercising. However, making a comment like, "Oh, you don't work out every day?" when I take a day off comes across as condescending, as if I shouldn't be allowed that luxury. In my heart, I know you mean it as more of a 'Wow, you've gotten those results without spending every second of your day sweating to the oldies?', but my weight loss can be a sensitive subject at times and I don't always comprehend your tone.

I appreciate that you want to buy more 'Shelby friendly' groceries at the store, but the constant, 'What can you eat?', 'Are you allowed to have this?', 'Do you drink anything besides water?' makes me feel like a weirdo. If you want to eat healthy for you, I'm happy to make suggestions, but justifying the bad things you eat on whether or not I'll eat them leaves me in a sour mood, since you're just gonna buy what you want anyway. I'll make a separate food run for 'my' things, thank you.

You've made it my decision to choose the restaurant based on what I can eat. I don't want it to be up to me. You choose. I can find something anywhere. Our evenings don't have to be based on what I have left in my calorie range for the day.

To summarize:

I'm still Shelby. Just in a smaller package. You don't have to worry. You don't have to coddle. While this may be uncharted territory and new to you, I'm doing this the right way. You don't have to schedule your meals around me. I'm the one changing, so be okay that I'll work around you. I'm going to throw some healthy dinners in the mix, but I'm not going to throw it in your face and get all preachy about it. I respectfully request the same courtesy when you are eating your unhealthy foods.

I may be smaller, but my emotions aren't. I feel the hurt. I feel the self-consciousness. I feel the hesitations in your voice. Just sort of back off, if at all possible. I beg of you. Let me be. Let me figure ME out. And we'll be good.

I love you.

PS - Thanks for putting up with me for all these years. I know it hasn't been easy. xoxo
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CHUM48
    We often read about us changing and forget that our family and friends need to change with us. If we are looking to them for support we need them to understand the who, what where what and why we are doing what we are doing. Awesome letter, great job of standing up for YOU!
    1996 days ago
  • DEBK0923
    this was a great blog
    2071 days ago
    Good for you....No one is in YOUR body but YOU...so enjoy your successes & your journey...YOU are worth it & don't let anyone tell you different!!! emoticon emoticon
    2078 days ago
    Written so well. I can relate to this.Very frustrating! Good for you for standing your ground!! Sometimes it's so hard not to let the people we have to constantly be around bring us down.In my case, the other 2 adults talk about losing weight and being healthier but aren't ready to take the steps for themselves, aren't ready to make the change.I hate hearing, " How can you eat that much salad?" or, " Can't you eat it a different way?" We just have to keep pushing one day at a time!!!!!
    2079 days ago
    great blog! way to go!
    2080 days ago
  • KLONG8
    It's funny what gets to us, isn't it? Even though you know your friends and family mean well....it doesn't always feel that way. I think you have a handle on it.
    2080 days ago
    Great blog! Keep up the great writing as I'm sure it helps get the emotions out!
    2081 days ago
  • SASHA521
    I haven't experienced the changes that a major weight loss can bring and how it can change your friends and family. But, I'm pretty vocal about my struggle and trying to eat healthier and working out so if I happen to say "I don't think I'm going to the gym tonight" there are some people who say "are you sure that's a good decision?....you should go...don't stop...etc." Or may comment if I decide I can have a not so healthy food choice. We all realize that we have a problem and that putting the work into it and changing our habits is what will lead us to success, but it seems we've been judged all our lives and that extra judgement doesn't help with our struggle.
    You look great, your smart choices got you where you are...and the bad choices too. So I like the idea of the letter and I hope that they will start to understand and allow you to be you! I will be curious to see how others treat me or change as I lose as well.
    2081 days ago
    2081 days ago
    Good for you for working so hard to achieve your goals! It can be uncomfortable when you change the rules of the game, for yourself and the people around you. I agree with another person who posted that it might help you to find a counselor to help sort through your feelings and give suggestions for how to navigate these situations in a way that leaves you with some peace. Sometimes another perspective and some suggestions can be eyeopening. Keep on truckin' !
    2082 days ago
    I love that letter! People may think they are helping, and may have the best intentions, but they don't know how it can make a girl feel!

    You are inspiring! Keep it up!
    2082 days ago
    Transitions are hard! My husband used to work from home on some days, and when it was my day off of work it was weird to have him there. I had my own little "day off routine" and he was constantly asking "what are you doing", "what are your plans for today?", etc etc! Going out to dinner with friends could get annoying too because some of them would keep saying "what can you eat?", or "oh! You're having chocolate?!? I didn't know you could eat that!". I felt like yelling "back off people! Worry about your own diet!". It can definitely be frustrating!
    2082 days ago
    Great letter! I hate when my husband or kids say, "Should you really be eating that?" I understand that they are trying to help, but if I'm eating it, I've already weighed the pros and cons and decided to splurge.
    2082 days ago
    Great letter. When I finished reading it I thought "Can I print this out and give it to my mother-in-law and three adult step kids???"

    Good luck!
    2082 days ago
  • SPIRIT42013
    This is the hardest part! Maybe some family counselling is what would work. Best of luck, Shelby Things will get better!
    2082 days ago
    That was a great letter and it made me cry a little!! I love your strength!! emoticon
    You are an EXCEPTIONAL and PHENOMENAL woman!! Hey is "AWESOME" your middle name? emoticon

    Rock It!! Show 'em how it is done! emoticon
    2082 days ago
    great letter, thanks for sharing

    I have been on both sides of this....and really, the people that love you are trying to help, it just doesn't always seem that way.

    you go girl!
    2082 days ago
    You and your family are sure going through an awful lot of changes at the moment! There's a lot for all of you to adjust to, but I'm sure with patience on everyone's part you'll figure it out eventually.

    Just remember your SP friends are pulling for you!

    2082 days ago
    Great letter hope you get a good response from your family.
    2082 days ago
  • KIPPER15
    Nicely written letter. It is hard to deal with the fact that they don't understand what you have done and how you did it. I wish you luck. emoticon
    2082 days ago
    Very well written letter and I hope your family takes it the way you meant it. It is hard going back home after you have been away and then to add being on a healthy lifestyle and exercising makes it even tenser.

    But all in all sounds like you have a terrific family. Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July.

    emoticon emoticon
    2083 days ago
    Your family sounds wonderful. I think you're imagining the condescension in their voices. They just care about you and are really going out of their way to make sure they do nothing to stand in the way of your progress. I would LOVE a family like this. I guess I come from somewhere else--as both my parents are gone and I miss them terribly. I would say to appreciate how good they're being to you, and just stick to your guns and enjoy all they're trying to do to HELP you! It could be so much worse, they could be encouraging you to eat stuff you shouldn't.
    2083 days ago
  • GBAUM0432
    Very Nice Letter
    2083 days ago
    Great Letter, I hope you leave it where your family can read it.
    2083 days ago
  • KERLIN26
    That's a great letter!
    2083 days ago
    I know what you mean!
    2083 days ago
  • CHEEKY1000
    Well written and let's me know what to expect. I'll be moving home in the next few months to help my mom care for my father. Actually, I'll be taking care of her. lol She tends to get so caught up in caring for him, she forgets about herself. Anyhow, she will often say some of the same things your family says. Unlike you, I don't have the willpower to resist certain things. If there are Cheetos around...I'm a goner. LOL

    Great letter! Thanks for sharing!
    2083 days ago
    Very well said!
    2083 days ago
    Well Said!
    2083 days ago
  • JWAYNE90
    You hit the nail right on the head here.

    With they gym situation, if I dont go my mom will say 'you havent been to the gym FOR A WHILE'

    If Im rediculously hungry and eat an entire serving of fast food (instead of leaving half for leftovers)
    She will say
    'Youre gonna eat that WHOLE THING?! Wow...'

    And as a vegan whenever I bring home specialty food or cook something delicious she says, without fail

    'I would eat that...'
    as if it would be doing me a favor! And I'm like 'I know, because it is delicious.'

    Good luck with your family!
    2083 days ago
    Your family as you know are just worried they will do or say something wrong, they want to make sure you stay healthy and fit. It is hard for them to realise you have it down pat . Be thankful they care and not bitter because they try.

    When my DH backed off one me all the way, I lost my self again and gained my weight back , everyone is different I needed that little extra push.

    Hugsssssss Keep up the great work.

    2083 days ago
    Great letter. Your doing an amazing job. Keep up the great work!

    2083 days ago
  • CATDUG19
    Fantastic letter. I may need to borrow this for my own family. Your are so right about TONE it is so important and so hard to understand. I wish you continued success and thanks for the blog
    2083 days ago
    Great Blog!!!
    2083 days ago
    i like this. emoticon
    2083 days ago
  • CAMAEL100
    Great letter. It is much easier living the healthy lifestyle when there is only yourself to worry about. But you seem to have an excellent attitude to compromise etc. Best of luck!!
    2083 days ago
    i love your clarity and conciseness. it is a journey...a very personal, individual, unique one we're each on as we choose to be healthy. i hope the letter help your family understand.
    2083 days ago
    2083 days ago
  • JANSUE57
    This gives me insite on what not to say to others who are trying to lose weight or stay on an exercise program!
    2083 days ago
    It is always very hard to go back under the parent's roof after you have been on your own. You expressed your feelings well and it was great that you assured them of your love for them. I am sure it will work out and things will settle down. Stick to your guns! You have come too far to go back to the chunky version! emoticon
    2083 days ago
    Very well said, goodluck u can do it :) its a new challenge and i knw u r up to it.
    on another note sooooo glad to hera from u :)
    2083 days ago
    Well said. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2083 days ago
    Very well stated. I've been there before, and I can't wait to get back.
    2083 days ago
    Great letter!
    2083 days ago
  • JULIA1154
    That's a great letter and I hope your family & friends read it in the spirit in which it's offered.

    Good luck with your new living situation. Adjusting to living with others again can be SO tough even without food issues thrown into the mix. I hope your letter helps smooth the adjustment - for all concerned.
    2083 days ago
  • AMBER281
    That is a terrific letter!!
    2083 days ago
  • REENIE131
    Terrific letter! I think you've covered things we all deal with!
    2083 days ago
    Thanks for shareing... emoticon emoticon
    2083 days ago
    Excellent letter very well said!!
    2084 days ago
    What a fantastic letter - emoticon
    2084 days ago
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