I recently had lunch with a friend whom I haven’t seen in years. While we have kept in contact via the annual Christmas card, our lives were just too busy to get together before last week. When we met at the restaurant she was shocked to see how much weight I had lost, even though she knew I was running and working for SparkPeople. She immediately asked what I did to lose the weight, as if I had lost it overnight. Keep in mind it had been a good four years since we last saw one another, so I could understand her curiosity. She wanted to know what supplement, food replacement drink, commercial food or program I used.
When I told her about SparkPeople.com and all the hard work and sheer determination I had spent the better part of 4 ½ years doing, it was as if I had burst her bubble. She told me how she had tried Slim-fast, other commercial programs, and even the diet pill Meridia, none of which she actively pursued for more than a few months. She did lose weight, but she did not keep it off. She proceeded to say she was so tired of wasting money and time dieting and was feeling hopeless that being overweight was her destiny.
Oh boy could I relate. That was precisely the position I was in when I decided to give up dieting in February 2005. I had reached the point that I just didn’t want to keep dieting for the rest of my life.
But how do you convince others that there is no quick fix? I am not too sure if I was convincing enough, though. I really don’t think she wanted to know or hear how to do it—you know, the old fashioned way of tracking nutrition, getting in some good ol’ cardio and strength training exercise, and most importantly ridding oneself of the diet mentality that can hold many of us hostage to the scale or jean size.
I truly believe she was hoping I was going to say take this special pill or drink this special potion every night and voilà she would be transformed into a skinnier version of her current self. She was so deflated that she just didn’t want to hear another word. That is when I knew it was not my place to convince her otherwise.
What saddened me was her quick dismissal of everything I had to offer, but I also know that I have walked in those same shoes myself. You know, when you know in your heart what you must do to lose the weight and get fit, but the journey just seems so overwhelming. She did visit the SparkPeople site and I hope one day when she is ready she will take that all important leap of faith to reclaim her health and when she does, I will be there ready with open arms to guide her along the way.
Have you had an experience like this with a friend? How did you handle this? Do you feel frustrated or sad that you cannot convince your friend to see that there is no quick fix?
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