How to manage negative feedback about your body, fitness and diet
It was a typical Tuesday night in the gym. My client went through their warm up, then we began our training session. About a quarter of the workout through, they said to me with great disappointment, “Shane, do I look bad? Do I look unhealthy? Honestly.” I was taken aback, then reassured them that they looked great and were crushing their workout.
With a bold statement like that, I had to ask why? "My family told me that I have lost toomuch weight. That I look unhealthy”. My heart immediately sank.
When you're starting a health journey, there comes the feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and lack of confidence. Also, the learning process of how to deal with these feelings and not letting them hinder your path. The last thing you need is someone telling you, you are doing it wrong or you, “don’t look good”.
DID THEY ACTUALLY
JUST SAY THAT?
“Don't comment on other people's bodies unless it's POSITIVE or they happen to ask for your opinion or advice.”
– Neghar Fonooni.
The thing is, no one has any right over your body. It’s yourbody. It’s yourbusiness. No one else’s. It’s that simple, but simple things can made complicated. In this case, outside noise, and Nay-sayers. Nay-sayers are at the market. They’re at work. They’re at the gym. And unfortunately, they’re even found among your family and friends.
The issue is where they are found, but that they don’t have a problem telling you exactly how your journey to better health makes themfeel, for better or worse, and they're ignorant to how these words may effect you.
At the end of it, some people struggle to be happy for another person's success. We’ve all encountered them to some degree. We've probably even been this person ourselves. This can be about what food you eat, to when you eat it. What exercises to do, to what exercises you don’t do. To spin or not to spin. That Crossfit is good or no its bad. You will get it all and everything between.
On your health journey you will get advice and comments you have not sought after or want. This is very frustrating when you're starting a new fitness class, to then hear, “Why are you doing that? You should be doing this.” Because they’re an expert on your body and enjoyment right?
"YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT? ...NO."
The scenario above is not an isolated case either. This happens to everyone who goes through a body transformation or fitness journey. We just don’t talk about it. The possibility that some people will not exactly be happy for you or your success.
“When I initially lost my weight, everyone told me I was losing too much and they always judged what I ate. Some to the point that they didn’t like eating with me anymore.” - Undisclosed
This is sad, but real. It's often we go out with friends and try to eat healthier, ordering a chicken salad and some guy at the table pikes up, “Oh yeah, you would order that. I forgot…you're eating healthier nooow.” Or in another case, everyone at the table knows about your fitness journey and you order a burger with fries. So, Angry Amy from across the table announces, “Aren’t you on a diet?”
Being in this industry, I’ve had the pleasure to encounter this as well. Right out of college, I was trying to get clients. I got an email stating, “Maybe if you lost weight, you would have more clients.” Thank you, kind stranger.
Another interesting moment, “Your waist is looking wider” and “Shane, you’re looking trimmer.” In one day, I had someone tell me I looked “wide” and another “trim”. All within 3 hours. At first, this was confusing and I didn’t know how to process this information. Now, my thought is simple:
It’s nice to have compliments and with compliments come criticism. Outside feedback about your body is all subjective - a matter of opinion.Take it as that. No matter what journey you embark on - fitness, personal, or professional, you are going to get unsolicited feedback.
Whether they're pleasant, hurtful or indifferent - it doesn’t matter what comments are made about you. At the end of the day you can lose 10lbs and someone might mention how great you look. Or maybe they’ll say you look like you’ve put on a few. Heck, you could gain 10lbs of hard muscle and get comments like, “Hey, you’re looking good. You must be trying to slim down.”
The comments will come, but don’t let these words or phrases hinder you. Take it, as is background noise. It doesn’t matter what anyone, anyone thinks about you. In the end, its how you feel.
It’s your body. Its your life. Its your story.
Now go on and continue to create that great story.
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