You would imagine most family and friends would be THRILLED at seeing me retire over 100 pounds, right? Well, for the most part, this is true. One friend came up with a cute little goodbye … “It’s GREAT to see LESS of your MORE often!” Have to admit, that took a couple run-throughs to catch what he meant. Too fun!
Part and parcel of changing my image from the inside out (see post below) was helping folks I know (who are still morbidly obese) NOT feel threatened by my new lean and healthy body. Many have known the FAT me for 95% of the time we’ve known each other. These folks have watched many other drop and gain a few times. They anticipated that would happen to me. Since it hasn’t, at first, it seemed threatening to them. How? from their comments, like, “You look TOO thin.” Or, “Are you really okay? You seem to look a bit gaunt.” As you might guess, these folks really struggled with the change they witnessed in front of their eyes!
I happened to ask a few folks I had just started getting to know (when I reached my goal back in 2005), “do I look too thin? Do I appear ‘gaunt’ to you?” All of them said, resoundingly – NO- you look great! From those responses, the next time I heard a “you’re too thin” from one of my long-term obese relationships, I kindly, gently asked, “does my being thin bother you.” Of course they laughed at the notion that my new healthy weight bothered them. Months later, as our connections grew more strained, I offered them a graceful way to maintain a relationship.
With as open of a heart as I know how to make it, I look into their eyes (or asked them to listen closely to my words as we spoke on the phone) and said, “I love YOU for who YOU are, no matter your size, no matter your attitude about me. I hope you’ll do the same for me.” Of course, everyone always says, “OF COURSE I’ll love you for who you are.” Now, what they seem to miss, is, ‘what kind of love’ are they willing to share. Conditional love, love that requires me to look or be a certain way, is the kind of love I shy away from these days. Conditional love played a large role in how I got into my morbidly obese condition. As I gained a more healthy sense of self, I watched other’s imagine, almost EXPECT me to ‘go back to my old self.”
Since 2006, I’ve stepped-up my boundary settings skills with folks. I make it clear from the beginning that I’m on a path to live to at least a robust, lively, fully engaged 150. That path include maintaining the best physical health I’m comfortable with. (I have to admit, I need to get back to more walking these days. I’ve gotten keyboard-bound with all my writing! Yes! Yes! I Know! I know. Gotta step away from my keyboard more often!!)
Now, my health and wellness coaching program includes a couple KEY questions people MUST ask all those they hold near and dear BEFORE starting on my program.
Question two: who might be non-supportive in your quest to become more healthy in the form of teasing, less-than-kind remarks, etc.
Based on the number of people identified in the above two questions, we’ve got an excellent idea of where to start. Until YOU have 100% support by 100% of those you hold near and dear, you may need to allow those less-than-supportive types to fade into the past. The most kind gesture I know to allow someone to be who they wish to be is to give them the space to do that!
Questions? Need help? Call! 312-268-0000. Let’s talk. Kindly know, as we come to our last segment of this 13 part series. I’m here for you! Engage us to help you sync-up that image you have on the inside with what you see on the outside.