Sh…don’t tell anyone, but I’ve lost ten pounds. I’m happy about it. I plan to continue with the changes I’ve made in my diet. I hope to lose fifteen more pounds. However, I dread that inevitable day when someone notices and says, “Hey, you’ve lost weight.” In fact, I’m hoping that by losing only a pound a week I’ll just fly under the diet radar until people are used to the “new” me.
I like support when I’m trying to do something difficult. I like a compliment when I do something well. But I hate the attention that dieting attracts. To tell you the truth, most people who are in the middle of some serious diet plan are BORING and I don’t want to join their ranks. I don’t want food or carbs or calories or miles walked to be the only thing I talk about for the next six months. I don’t want every conversation with another human being to start with, “So, how much weight have you lost?” I just want to go on being me- a thinner me- but just me. I want to talk about my family and the weather and school and my town and gardening and all the other things I love.
A few years ago an acquaintance quickly lost about 75 pounds and then gained it back. I honestly think she just couldn’t cope with the reactions of family and friends and co-workers. She knew how to be fat, but she never had time to learn how to be thin. People who lose tremendous amounts of weight often move or change churches or jobs because they want to be accepted for who they are, not constantly compared to who they were.
Why is it that we feel comfortable asking “dieting” people all kinds of personal questions anyway? If a person is fat we don’t walk up and ask, “Okay, what have you been eating?” We don’t say, “Did you walk four miles today?” or “What size is that shirt?” Yet, we ask those questions, and more, the minute a person loses a noticeable amount of weight. Fat= not our business. Thin= tell me how you did it and don’t skip the details. No wonder so many people don’t mind being a few pounds overweight. Nobody bothers them!
I know we are all looking for the “magic answer”, but let’s face facts. We don’t need to ask questions. We know the answer: Eat less, exercise more. What you eat less of is up to you. It doesn’t do me any good if my dieting friend tells me she is losing weight by eating fewer candy bars, because I don’t eat candy bars at all. And my solutions probably won't work for her. So let’s stop hounding people who are losing weight. Let’s give them some space and let them get comfortable with who they are becoming. And if I want to tell you what shirt size I wear I’ll turn the label out where you can see it.