Know-it-alls and Injuries
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
I noticed something about myself on the weekend. I am selective about who I tell regarding my lifestyle changes and work to get healthy and strong mentally and physically. Why is that? Because some people seem to take it on as their personal challenge and want to extol all the wisdom that they have about their healthy lifestyles on me. And all of these people are slim and fit. Which I do not begrudge them but they’ve always been that way and have no idea what it’s like to be overweight their whole life or to stare down the prospect of losing 100+ lbs. So as soon as I even vaguely mention that I’m trying to eat only healthy choices or get some exercise they offer a multitude of opinions on what to eat, when to eat, what supplements to take, what exercises to do etc. etc. etc. And you know what? It’s freaking ANNOYING.
My problem has never been knowing what to eat or not to eat. Or how much exercise I need. I KNOW all of the fundamentals of weight loss. It’s the MENTAL fortitude to decide to engage these tools, to make it a priority. To overcome the KNOWING-DOING gap. And through all this advice no one who is doling out their nuggets of wisdom offers any sort of advice around this area because they aren’t familiar with the mental struggle of an overweight person. I have a friend that lost 130lbs a few years ago. She went from a size 22 to a 2. And she has successfully kept it off for 3 years so far. I shared with her my plan to join her in that department (not that I’ll ever be a size 2, but you know what I mean). And did she offer even one clue as to what to eat or how to exercise? Nope. Not one. She said, ‘that’s great! Let me know if you want someone to walk with.’ Because she knows, as it was for her, that it’s not a case of knowing or not knowing how to do it. That I had to come to that low point on my own, as she did, and that I had to dig myself mentally out of that hole on my own. As she did.
And in contrast, I mention something about this to my brother on the weekend via phone and he immediately starts doling out advice such as ‘don’t eat dairy or wheat. Just eat salads’ Because this is a man who has been active his entire life. At 40 he weighs the same as he did at 25. A lean 180 with visible ab muscles. He runs, bikes, plays all kinds of sports. He never eats dessert and has never had a sweet tooth. His fiancé is active too and together they’re two active and fit people. When he gains 5-10lbs he just stops eating dairy and wheat for a few months and drops it again. And thus this is his advice. He has been my brother for 36 years. He has seen me overweight my entire life, lose some weight, gain it back again. And yet still he chalks it up to simply ‘eat less, get more exercise’ and when I say it’s just not that easy, he says he doesn’t get why it’s not. And he’s right. He doesn’t get it. And neither do most people until they’ve been in the same situation.
So I’m selective about who I tell. I do it unconsciously really. But I realized it when I’d spent an hour on the phone with my friend (the one who thought it would be fun for me to wash her babies – see previous blog post) that not once did I mention it. Because she falls into that category of people who don’t get it and believe it’s just a case of calories in, calories out. And I’m regretting telling my career coach about this goal – he leaves me email and phone messages about protein powders and supplements I should be taking. I want to scream at him – ‘I’m seeing you to help with all the crap from the neck up! I’ll deal with the stuff from the neck down myself thank you very much!’
I know people just want to help but it doesn’t help, it just bugs the crap out of me. Am I being harsh? Yeah probably. But it’s my life. My journey. My choices.
We had a beautiful sunny and warm Easter weekend here on the west coast. And I spent most of it inside working on my house renovations. They never end. As soon as I finish one thing, I stare at it and admire it and then start planning the next thing. But I did get out for my C25K run/walk early on Sunday morning as the sun was rising. It was so nice out. Unfortunately, my calf muscle was not on board. Nearing the end of my 3rd ‘round’ of running (of the 30 second run, 2 minute walk rounds), I felt a twinge in my right calf muscle that hurt enough to stop me running. I walked for a bit and decided that I had actually hurt myself enough that I shouldn’t run anymore today. So I walked home. It was increasingly sore that day. I iced it and stretched it but it’s still pretty sore yesterday and today. So now I’ve gone and injured myself and I’m frustrated because I was feeling good about my running and I have to take a break. I self diagnosed via Google (which we all do) and it seems to just be a regular calf strain but I have to wait 7-10 days until I try running again. And need to do lots of stretching.
I did some yoga yesterday but now I’m frustrated because what else can I do for cardio that isn’t going to strain my leg? I wonder if swimming would help or hinder it? Any other ideas?
Member Comments About This Blog Post
As always, my friend, you have written so nicely what so many of us feel! On Easter I was having a discussion with my sister about my weight loss strategies when her "know it all" boyfriend interjected with this little gem, "you only need to do one exercise to lose weight...push yourself away from the table"! This was followed by a totally obnoxious laugh. And I replied with, "wow, that's brilliant! You should write a fu@#ing book!" And I walked away!!
I had a friend recently get out of rehab for a relapse with drinking and pills and as I Listened to her story I couldn't believe how much I could relate to her! Does it makes me insensitive to draw comparisons of a bottle of vodka and a handful of Vicodin to a giant bag of Doritos and an entire box Little Debbie's??? Maybe. But I feel like it would be easier to break an addiction to drugs then food! I can't just stay away from food, I still have to eat!!
Eat less, exercise more!! If only somebody had told me before!! Now, I get it!! Thanks so much!! (That's going to be my new sarcastic reply!!)
1516 days ago
First off, sorry about the calf muscle! That sounds like it hurts. I hope it starts feeling better soon, so you can be off and running again!
As for the advice from people who have no idea what they're talking about... oh my goodness, I know what you mean! At 425 pounds, I had well over 200 pounds to lose. And people were always telling me things like:
Just eat less.
Everything in moderation.
Reduce your sodium!
Etc etc etc. One day, I got fed up with one of them (mostly family members) and said, Have you *ever* had a weight problem?
Then how do you know? You saw it on the news, right?
People still give me advice, even though I've lost 128 pounds. Without their help, thank you. But I think the moral of this story is: people love to give advice, especially when it's advice they're not qualified to give. Sigh.
I enjoyed your post!
1516 days ago
I don't discuss my weightloss activities or too much about my employment status. I don't invite everyone in to my private world as I don't want their input. Especially when I am not eating according to plan.
1516 days ago
Yup. I might be interested, if someone is telling me about something they tried that worked amazingly well. But as soon as the phrase "protein powder" comes out of their mouth, *BLINK*! My brain and ears turn off. I am not mixing protein powder into everything I eat every day for the rest of my life. THANK YOU, NEXT.
I am also selective, I think, without realizing it. Partly because I don't want to hear all kinds of BS, but also because I can get kind of obsessively analytical about what I AM doing, and I don't know if other people want to hear me wax poetic about it. I'm in my second round of People Noticing, so I am having to have those conversations more. A few people noticed I'd lost weight somewhere in the 25 pounds lost area, so I had a few brief conversations. It's funny, people will bring it up like it's a secret. They creep up on you and murmur "Um... are you losing weight?" Hahaha. Now that it's more obvious, 1) more people are noticing and 2) they're louder about it. "WHAT are you DOING??" So yeah. That can get interesting.
OH I JUST remembered why I was going to comment. Speaking of people telling you all kinds of junk you don't want to hear, please enjoy my favorite weight loss related blog post OF ALL TIME, "Horrible Pieces of Advice Provided By Fools"
The whole blog is totally worth a read, at least the early stuff (2004). I read it over and over again like it's my religious tome.
As for the calf... you can try swimming. It's worth a shot. I swim a lot (A LOT!!!) and it sometimes bothers my hip, when my hip is bothering me, sometimes not. If it does bother your calf, see if they have pull buoys where you swim (the floaty thing that goes between your knees). An arms-only swim workout is a beast workout. You can really kick your butt if you push yourself.
1516 days ago
I totally understand. I think we all have similar challenges with our friends and family.
1516 days ago
I understand what you mean I never offer my advice unless it is asked for.
1517 days ago
Awesome post... You hit in the right place! I never saw it like that and now I feel you have showed me the light.
People who hasn't been through a life long struggle with weight (and a lot of weight of 100+ pounds), will never understand what this means and how it affects you. I know almost all there is to know, but the struggle is deeper...
Thank you for sharing this post.
1517 days ago
This is a really important post and I hope it gets on the Spark-radar. If it were about calories only, we'd all be fit and at healthy weights.
I don't have your particular struggles which are terrible (I would hate being lectured on how to eat), but I get a lot of comments about my running. Holiday dinners are marked by "running is bad for your heart," "marathons will kill you," "Women who run when pregnant are crazy," and a lot of well-meaning "advice" about how I should run or shouldn't run - and sometimes from people who don't run at all! You are not being harsh - personally, setting boundaries with say your career coach or ANYONE is important.
I love how your friend teaches us to handle this: offer companionship not advice or a lecture. I'm also probably going to tattoo ATTACKFATKAT'S response to my forehead for my family.
About your calf (since you asked :D) have your tried heat therapy? I find that it works well with icing. I'm icing my hips/knees right now but I sit on an electric hot pad or use an old fashioned rubber bottle and apply heat right after. Stretching can work differently for different people - I see more injuries when I stretch and my sister doesn't (she gets faster), you might have to see what category you fit into!
1517 days ago
This blog was good for me. I think I am one of those ppl who always has advice and I needed this even though it smarted a little. Thank you =)
1517 days ago
If it were me, I'd ask your friend how she lost weight. Size 22 to 2 and maintained it? That's pretty amazing! We all have to find our own way, for sure, but shoot, I want to know how she did it!
1517 days ago
"I'm glad that you have found something that works so well for you. I can tell it's really paid off! What I'm doing right now works really well for me too, but if I decide I want more information on _________, I'll let you know. Thanks for your support!"
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I deal with these people alllll the time. Low carb, no carb, gluten free, no dairy, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo, liver cleanses...you name it, I have heard a pitch for it. And all I end up doing is repeating the above phrase and usually not sharing my weight loss stories with these people unless they ask specifically. Sometimes I feel like a parrot, but most of the time it ends up getting people to stop preaching their gospel. It's not that I disagree with what they have to say, that it worked for them. It's just not something I want to do.
Like you said, for people who have eaten healthy all of their life, or who have never dealt with depression or emotional eating...they don't understand. The thing is they don't really know how to respond to that either. If these people really want to be supportive, you have to tell them what you need in a positive way. Like "I really appreciate how supportive you are of me and my weight loss efforts. It would help me even more if you did ___________ or said __________ if I am feeling down or struggling."
1517 days ago
I totally get everything you are saying- if you have never struggled with your weight and I am not talking about wanting to be smaller to fit in your bikini and you need to lose 10-20 pounds. You have no understanding of what helps or what we go through mentally. My sisterinlaw has always been a twig- my niece is a big strong girl-maybe could lose 25 pounds but she rides horses and is a ski instructor so she is very fit. In fact she does all the heavy chores at home. My sisterin law repeatedly calls her fat, embarrasses her in public. I would love to say something to her but I know she would assume I know nothing because I am heavy. My niece has even said to me she eats extra junk because she knows it makes her mom mad. Sounds like a recipe for a life long weight problem to me.
I never tell people I work with what I am doing unless they are another big person and I know they would understand.
Thats why I love spark people - it is the best place for understanding and support- when I am feeling down or need encouragement- there is always something to read or someone to connect to who understands.
We can succeed together
1517 days ago
I am cracking up!!! Yes, I know those people. I know LOTS of those people. I work for a Physical Therapy company with a bunch of health nuts. They are very nice people and it's a great job, but there's not a one of them who knows what going on with me because the minute they do it's going to be "Have you tried this low carb, high protein, high fiber, chewy granola, flaxseed, organic shake?" Just no....It's just like you said. It's not the physical. I know how to do the physical. I understand the science behind losing weight. It's the struggle with myself; the battle, the internal war, the eating for reasons other than being hungry. Unless a person has walked that walk, no diet or exercise advice in the world is going to help. Really, really good blog!!!!
1517 days ago
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