TW: Diet and weight loss discussion
So, I know this might garner some backlash, but I wasn’t sure who else to ask.
I work very hard to be extremely accepting of all shapes and sizes and truly believe that the only thing that matters is being comfortable in your own skin. However I am not currently comfortable in MY own skin and for that reason am working to gently and healthily lose body fat. (I think “losing weight” is a misleading term)
How do I make it clear to friends that this does not at all reflect how I feel about them or their bodies? I have a hard time maintaining my “diet” (another word I am not a fan of) around them because they make comments about how I don’t need to diet, how if I’m dieting they should be dieting, how I’m so “good” for exercising so much, how I should just eat one cupcake to make them feel better etc. and I truly feel bad because I don’t feel superior to them in any way because of my life choices. How do I make this clear to them?
I do not believe that dieting and fat acceptance are mutually exclusive because what is important is how YOU feel in YOUR OWN body. I know there is probably no easy answer to this question, but it has been nagging at me for quite a while.
Well I think it’s great that you want to help make your friends feel comfortable while you make these changes in your life. You are conscious of their bodies and experiences while at the same time want to cater to your own needs and feelings. I love it, that’s the way it should be.
So many of us are used to those friends who annoyingly boast about their diet and fitness regimes whilst simultaneously judging others for enjoying a sammich in their presence. Or those friends who post on Facebook every time they lose weight, eat a salad, or attend a spin class. These people are more interested in seeking validation, encouragement and praise for their “healthy habits” than anything else.
You’re not setting out to do that. You’re already doing it right. What you’re doing is right for you and you don’t want to be pushing that on anyone else, but these things do come up and I can see how it might be an issue.
When dismissing a cupcake, don’t go into the “why” - Just simply say “no thank you”. Most of the time when people dismiss or refuse to indulge in sweets/fatty foods, they often tack on the “why” - “I’m on a diet” “I’m trying to be good” “I really shouldn’t” - and that is where the divide comes in. By focusing on that kind of negativity and food shaming, you make others around you feel uncomfortable or “bad” for wanting to indulge. You may or may not do this already, just wanted to be sure to mention it.
If you are quietly going about these things and keeping your progress to yourself, yet your friends still appear to be offended when you decide not to indulge around them (which I would find a little strange), start a conversation and help to reassure them that what you’re doing is for you and has nothing at all to do with them. Explain your experiences and try to focus on it being YOURS, not THEIRS - how what you decide to do or not do is not meant to dictate their personal decisions. That you encourage them to enjoy all the things they want to enjoy because you want them to be happy. That you hope they will respect your restraint, as you are doing it for your own reasons and no one else’s.
This all just goes back to the thing I feel I repeat on a daily basis - your body is yours and what you do with it is no one else’s business.
If at the end of it all, your friends still feel uncomfortable - honestly, it’s not your fault. You are doing everything right. You can be the most respectful person in the world, but it is impossible to control the insecurities of others.
I hope I was able to help. <3