Everyday Inspirations

 
 
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A dear friend of mine has worked hard to get into shape. In the process, she has, naturally, lost weight. She looks beautiful, healthy, and happy, and I'm thrilled to see her well-earned changes.

My friend's weight loss is not her ultimate goal; her physical fitness is. However, her weight loss has garnered a lot of attention. While people have good intentions, some can only fixate on a smaller body, not athletic achievement. And when well-meaning individuals say things like, “Wow, you've lost a TON of weight,” it can be a challenge.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hearing, “You lost weight! You look great.” That can be very motivating and some people want to hear it. However, constantly hearing HOW MUCH weight you've lost or HOW DIFFERENT you look can be tough because it can feel like you're being told “You looked bad/fat/awful before.” And who wants to hear that?

We are raised to think being thin is the ultimate goal. This is not true. Getting active to better yourself (live longer, improve stress on your body, improve mental health) should be your goal. We should be celebrated for working to make life more enjoyable, not just to fit into a smaller size. While new pants can be a nice bonus for getting in shape, they should not be the only reason. If you're exercising just to lose weight, chances are you will get bored and have no motivation. You need to establish a relationship with your body that keeps you going on the days you want to quit.

Easy ways to compliment weight loss (without just focusing on weight):
  • Focus on the activities that have contributed to the weight loss: “I've noticed you're getting more active. You look great! What have you been doing?"
  • Exercise improves a person's mood. Talk about his or her change of attitude: “Your pleasant attitude is so welcoming. Thank you for being positive. It makes my day better.”
  • Point out a person's dedication: “I've noticed you've lost weight. You look awesome. I know how much dedication and work it takes to get fit.”
3/29/2010 12:13:00 am

True ... weight loss may be because of health (possibly bad health) or even just to feel more comfortable in your skin (lugging extra pounds takes a lot of work!). The focus on appearances only makes for lots of "Shallow Hal" type comments.

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3/31/2010 04:27:24 pm

Reminds me of a quote I saw the other day that I will now butcher, "Instead of fighting against the bad, nurture the good."

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