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My journey is not your journey

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Far too often we fall into the trap of thinking that OUR way is THE way. We've all met the self-righteous vegan. I once had one of those tell me that she would never eat "a corpse." There's the OMG CARBS ARE EVIL types (I'm not naming names.) There's the "I would never eat anything with fat in it." Or "If you're not eating Paleo/intermittent fasting/raw/whatever you're killing yourself."

Listen. You aren't winning any brownie points for being an insufferable know-it-all. You're not helping people by preaching the gospel of your healthy living lifestyle. Especially when 90% of the time, whatever fad-of-the-week you're preaching is based on shaky, insufficient, or flat out made-up "science" that doesn't hold up to peer review, or at the VERY least, hasn't been peer-reviewed at all!

Don't you DARE look at me, my weight loss, and decide that because you're further along on the process than I am that you are somehow better or more knowledgable than me.

You losing a few more pounds than I have means one of two things: You either got started before me, or you haven't had to deal with my life.

You come to my house, deal with my budget, my alcoholic husband, my ADHD kid, my depression, my near-hoarding, my poor mother, my neurotic grandmother, my pill-popping mother in law, and all the crap that goes with it, and you feed ME what you want, and THEN we'll talk about how you're superior to me.

I know what I'm doing. What I'm doing is WORKING. I've done the research. I know what the science says. The odds are, when I ask you for a reference and you link me to a website trying to *sell* me something that in fact, I DO know more about a given subject than you.

But you know something? I don't rub that in your face. I don't tsk tsk and say snide remarks about your lack of information. What I do is ask for references. Ask you to support your statements. And if you can't? I post mine, and leave you to it.

I DO NOT look at your weight loss ticker and say that I need to read a book to do as well as you have.

Most importantly, if you're going to do that? You'd damn well BETTER have some kind of dramatic freakin' story to go with it that's going to blow me away and impress me. If you've plodded along at *exactly the same rate of weight loss I have* then I'm not impressed.

You know who impresses me?


She has lost an insane amount of weight, and she didn't do it by eliminating food groups, or following strict diets, she did it by following Sparkpeople principles. She has become a near-celebrity, and it most assuredly wasn't by being self-righteous. She's been positive, helpful, and inspiring. And she's totally my hero.

There are other people who impress me, too.

There's Russell38, a low-carber who manages to defend the lifestyle without being an insufferable prat, and making it clear that his way isn't for everyone.

Vtricia, who inspires me every day by beating her journey into a pulp and continuing to document her journey into maintenance.

There are countless others, too many to name here.

They all have one thing in common:

Education, and positivity. They KNOW what they're talking about, and their goal is to support others, not tear them down.

This is a site with people who have 5 lbs to lose, hundreds of pounds to lose. People who have lost hundreds of pounds, people who are just looking to maintain.

You cannot *ever* judge someone by a weight loss ticker. And you most assuredly can't feel superior to someone who doesn't appear to be as successful as you, because the odds are that you are wrong, and you're going to hurt someone when you do.

I'm hard to hurt, people. I've been on the internet since the late 90s, I've been a professional forums moderator for the last ten, and I've been insulted 10 ways to sunday in some pretty creative ways. I once had someone post my PROM picture and say it couldn't be me because it was pixelated and I had brown teeth, so I needed to brush my teeth more often. That didn't hurt nearly as much as just a few minutes ago, when someone completely dismissed everything I had to say simply because I haven't lost as much weight as she has.

I could make so many rude, vicious statements about that. I WANT to. I've typed them out here and deleted them three times, because that's not what Sparkpeople's about.

But I will rant, by dammit. And close with this. I remind you that we are people. These aren't screen names, with little pixel robots behind them. There are real people, with real struggles, and real lives. You don't know their journey. I don't know yours. Your journey is not my journey.

And if you're going to insult me? You'd better back that trash up with *science.*
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'd say you just spoke up for a whole lot of people (brilliantly so) ... and not just those of us on SP. Thanks!

    At the moment, you might feel like an Army of One, and, no doubt, ONE that could whoop the tar out of anyone who dared to tangle with you, but just wanted to say you do have SP troop support beside ya - Troops who know the true meaning of the word SUPPORT.

    The Amish have a saying they use a lot; "Too soon old, too late smart" ... For the person who insulted you, a good thing, perhaps, to ponder.
    1923 days ago
    So true. So honest. So confident. So good.

    Do your thing your way, girl! Bravo.
    1923 days ago
    Yeah, we all get the occasional smack. It is frustrating, and sometimes more. I will say that feeling hurt is extra. It is a tendency some of us have, to feel beat up but stupid little things. My sister is dying of Cancer, has a short prognosis, and we are doing what we can, diet, exercise, energy work, hypnosis, etc.; her dietitian say her alkaline diet is pure nonsense, however, conceded that mouse studies have should some interesting results, but are not supported with human studies.

    I noted that Cancer is not simple, and mice rarely worried about how they will pay rent in five year or what Grampa gave to older brother 5 years ago, but people do.

    I noted that part of what we will do is to work in this thinking as well.

    Your journey is not my journey. We are each doing the best we can and progressing consistent with our background, experience and knowledge. Do not allow yourself to be injured by unkind words (It does not matter if they were deliberately unkind, or accidentally unkind; they are still just unkind words.)

    Take care, my thoughts and prayers go out to you regularly.

    1928 days ago
    LOVE your blog! Really love it!

    Thank you for ranting and all the best as you do what is best for you!
    1929 days ago
    I must have missed something. LOL Sorry to hear that someone was giving you a hard time. I know most of us here are just trying to do the best we can and appreciate the input of others. In the end, I do agree that 99% of us would do best by just following the basic tenets of SP. There will always be exceptions and due to all the factors involved and various human types out there, one can't expect everything to work perfect for everyone.

    So just keep up the good work and do what I know you know is best for you and your situations. God bless
    1929 days ago
    Sometimes people forget that this whole thing is for free... We are here to support and give advice, according to our experiences and experiments! We are not always right and we say what works for us, in the extend that it works.

    For me, losing 0.5 lb per week was perfectly fine, for my dad losing ONLY (!) 4 lbs per week is devastating...

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your support!
    1929 days ago
    And thanks for the shoutout!
    I think we have a lot of new years resolution people on here now, not that there's anything wrong with that. I was one of them last year! And because this is the largest healthy lifestyle site we have some marketers prowling about.

    But yeah, I vastly prefer to stick to my friend feed and my teams for interaction rather than the message boards because for whatever reason folks there are a little prickly sometimes. And I am pretty sure I used to be that way (Not that I'm going to go find out what you're talking about, I'll trust you). I've been a low carber and a vitamin mega doser and a sugar kicker etc.
    1930 days ago
  • _MOBII_
    Ha! Even if they had science to back them up, it may or may not work for you anyways! I am sorry that someone was a meanass to you. Some people just don't think before they speak...or type.
    1930 days ago
    Preach! I agree with you. I hope I am not a know-it-all but I do have that tendency.
    1930 days ago
    LOVE this blog. I've been seeing this myself lately on here and with the whole food documentary kick I've been on lately. I think the biggest problem is we as a society have lost the ability to critically think about something. We see it on TV, we take it as gospel. We see Dr. Oz promote it or our own doctor demand that we follow a certain diet and we think, "Ok, they are experts, so I'll believe wholeheartedly in what they say and there's no need to do any of my own research." All of these shows, documentaries, so called "experts" all tell us that their way is the only true path to weight loss and any other road is a surefire path to being unhealthy. It's almost like we all are ingrained with the thought, "I am right and everyone else is wrong" and we rationalize that in any way we can so we don't have to admit we are wrong or even try to have an open discussion where you simply agree to disagree.

    Like others have said, this is a mentality that is popping up in all areas, like religion, guns, politics, education, career moms vs. stay at home moms...we just love to find any opportunity to put ourselves up on a pedestal because we are special. We are right and everyone else is stupid. It's belittling. It's adult bullying. And while I have become a more optimistic person as of late, it is something that still makes me a little anti-social. Just like we need to teach kids critical thinking, we adults need those lessons as well.

    Not every student in a classroom learns the same way, and the same holds true for weight loss. The same path does not work for everyone, and the most important thing you can do in your weight loss journey is to find what truly works for you and not just snatch at the latest fad diet (like ear stapling...have you heard about that? Wow, just wow). If you want to convince others your way is a way to consider, then be a role model through your SP presence, blog posts, etc. Don't badger other people, ridicule them, or dismiss them because you think they are wrong. Being a bully or defensive is not going to win people to your cause.

    I'm sorry that you see that even here. Keep fighting and not sinking down to their level. They must be some pretty unhappy people to feel like they have to judge someone on the internet like that. I think we all could use some lessons in kindness, discussion techniques, and critical thinking.
    1930 days ago
    On the same note, or a similar one...you inspire me! That's right...I put you in the same inspirational category you described ~Indygirl.

    I mean, this time last year I was going strong, then I hit a wall. Now I'm back and trying again...you on the other hand have been here the whole time, making changes in a way that makes sense to you...the kind of changes that last a life time!

    You are honest about your journey, the ups and downs.

    You don't oversimplify or look for magic bullets.

    I'm banking on your success because of all of that!
    1930 days ago
    Add into that the people who demand you 'eat clean' and I'm with you 100%! What I'm doing is working for me, both physically and financially. I'm not going to go vegan or paleo or 'eat clean' just because you say so.

    Love it!
    1930 days ago
    Great blog post! emoticon
    1930 days ago
    Very well said!
    So very true, and just blunt enough to get the point across!

    And at the end of the year... or several years... because you have slowly adjusted and WORKED your butt off and LEARNED how to be healthy the hard way, you will have an easier time maintaining your weight than someone who fad diets.

    Keep it up!
    You are MARVELOUS!
    1930 days ago
  • BILL60
    Hang in there!!
    1930 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/7/2013 10:01:01 PM
    I think your argument goes far beyond weight loss. It goes to people who argue about politics, guns, marriage/sexual orientation, etc etc etc. Everyone has an opinon and everyone has a reason why they have that specific opinion. Only a portion of the population will support that exact opinion and nearly no one will support every single opinion we have. If someone chooses to never listen to another opinion, especially one contrary to their current belief, then they will never learn anything new and be stuck forever in their percieved reality.

    I know, for myself, some people believe I'm a big know-it-all and tell me to shut up because I couldn't know, but what I've tried to do is challenge their belief so they can prove it to themselves and/or to consider something else that might help them. It's never up to me to change someone else, only to offer the information I have for them to consider. I hate when people shoot me down harshly because I'm giving them information, but I know that if someone isn't open to other options, then there's nothing I can do.

    It's wonderful that instead of shooting someone down you are open to logical and realistic information. Hold your head up and know that you're ahead of the curve.
    1930 days ago
    I just want to know one thing, are you eating pasta for dinner? emoticon

    Great blog and congratulations on all your hard work!! Too bad you can't hide people on SP like facebook, she has no business posting with her bad attitude.
    1930 days ago
    Sorry to hear that people are being jerks. That is just stupid. Everyone is different.I can share what has worked for me without being a jerk. I know some people who are complete cowards in reality, yet on the internet they talk a big game. Thank you for posting this. Blessings to you on your journey
    1931 days ago
    Gee, I wonder what inspired this blog emoticon

    Don't let it get to you, any thinking person could see what was what and dismiss the tacky comments as what they were - trash.

    1931 days ago
    Well said!
    1931 days ago
    Fair Point Well Made, Ms. DragonChilde! (if you've read the 50 Shades of Grey series you'll understand.)

    People can be seriously hurtful if they feel they are "Right". /eyeroll

    I applaud you for the courage to put this out here. I hope many many people read this blog and take away a lesson from it.
    1931 days ago
  • INDNANNA1979
    Excellent post! I completely agree. I used to listen to those people who have the "miracle cure" and finally realized those are just fads and as soon as they start eating carbs/sugar/caffeine/whatever again they will gain all that weight back. Slow and steady wins the race and every body is different.

    Incredibly well said and I thank you for taking the time to type it all out!
    1931 days ago
    emoticon high fives because that was excellently said
    1931 days ago
    the statement made on that thread was rather harsh, and definitely uncalled for. You handled it very well, IMO.

    snarky posters have ticked me off a few times. Some boards I stay away from all together because snark seems to be the rule, not the exception. I guess for some folks the opportunity to hide behind a keyboard is the opportunity to be rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. Sad.

    and some folks don't get sarcasm (difficult, I know, when you don't know the poster and you can't 'hear' a tone in a written comment). A little insight on me for anybody who reads this: when I'm quoting a COMEDIAN as my source...it's meant to be light hearted, m'kay? I've been told I was 'so rude', had a 'well, DUH' thrown at me...that's just recently!

    you are doing GREAT and an inspiration to many. Keep hanging tough, Heather!
    1931 days ago
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