Home Friday 5 Friday 5: Five Examples Of Sabotage, From The BGG2WL Readers

Friday 5: Five Examples Of Sabotage, From The BGG2WL Readers

by Erika Nicole Kendall

So… let’s be real. As supportive and encouraging as we can be, here… the outside world? Not so nice. For one reason or another, the world is full of people who insist upon attempting to thwart our efforts to live healthier lives… and, though rather unoriginal, I call these people “haters.”

She's tired of hearing it, and so are we!

I was lucky – I surrounded myself with people who loved what I was doing, encouraged it, sacrificed for it (my mother was pretty pissed, at one point in time, about her 2-liters of pop – yes, it is pop – disappearing) and share in my successes – and, at this point in my life, the people around me don’t even question my lifestyle and don’t make snide remarks. It appears, though, that some members of the BGG2WL family aren’t so lucky.

Here, we’ll take a look at five of y’all sharing some instances of sabotage, and how silly some people can truly be:

First-time commenter, here!

I *just* had this convo with my hubby about the, um…cultural unpacking to do. Yesterday, I ran an errand for my LS, who sprained her ankle during a step class. During a meeting, she was asked how she hurt her foot and when she told them, she said she was told, “You know, exercise will kill you.”

Another person told her, “You should just eat and get fat.”


“They said this to your face?” I asked. “Yes,” she replied.

*blank stare*


I started working for a vitamin company about ten years ago. It was my job to research vitamins and provide the needed documentation for anything we said about their benefits. As I did more and more research I saw how I needed more vegetables, less meat and more exercise in my life. Many of my overweight, female, African-American co-workers actually started calling me names like skinny minny or less flattering names commenting on my lifestyle change. I felt like I had to defend myself and would often talk about my family’s history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and early deaths. It was almost like being unhealthy and having a disease like the above mentioned illnesses was more acceptable than living longer without medication and doctor visits every month. I started getting into yoga, swimming and bike riding and then the “oreo” jokes came. You know black outside, white inside. I also would walk to the local farmers market on weekends to purchase fresh, local vegetables and fruits, and this also illicited hate filled commentary.


Yesturday I hired a personal trainer and am so excited to get started. But anyway…When i cook healthy(which ive been doing for over a year now) My boyfriend will kinda look at the food and go, “thats some white ppl stuff?” I just tell him no, its food thats gunna save ur life and mine so shut up and eat. He doesnt ask me that too much anymore. He eats it and his blood pressure is down because of it.


If I go to pick up my mom at her (all white) sewing group and we all go out to lunch, I get razzed mercilessly if I don’t order fried something with all the trimmings, polish off the whole plate, and top it off with pie. No wonder the smallest of these ladies outweighs me, literally, by a hundred pounds. Most of them, though, are older ladies who grew up on farms and think a good meal is fried chicken or chicken fried steak or meatloaf, with potatoes and cooked-to-death green beans with bacon, and biscuits and cornbread (because, of course, one starch at a meal is not enough, right?), and dessert, washed down with tooth-imploding sweet tea or Coke. If you don’t put it away like a hired hand they think you’re sick, or putting on airs.

Yes, ma’am; I love the food here but I don’t want to be 250 pounds with bad knees and Type II diabetes. I’ll have the spicy grilled catfish and a side salad. And a take-home box, because I know they’re going to give me two whole catfish fillets and there’s no way I’m finishing all that at one meal.

I’m not afraid of good old Southern cooking but I’m not going to eat it all the time, and I’m not going to eat more of anything than I really want.


Last year for my son’s bday I set up a fajita station. We had grilled chicken or grilled sliced portobellas for the non-meat eaters, peppers & all the usual fajita offerings (lettuce, tomato, etc), fresh grilled corn on the cob, huge salad, fruit kabobs & of course the required cake & ice cream. My aunt complained the WHOLE time about where the fried chicken & macaroni salad was as if that’s the only fare we can serve at a family gathering. It really worked my nerves. Then she says, picking over my food, “I can’t eat this stuff.”

Stuff? What stuff? *sigh* It saddens me to think that for some of us if it isn’t fried, smothered, or cooked to death (string beans) it’s not our kind of food. This logic is ridiculous.

As for exercising this doesn’t seem to be a problem for men of color. They are encouraged to shoot hoops, run track & bike all day. Yet when a woman of color wants to partake in an activity it’s viewed with ulterior motives. She must be “trying to lose weight for the summer”; or she’s “trying to be cute” (or white). Being active is never viewed as wanting to maintain health or simply for enjoyment.


Do you have a “hater” story? What happened? More importantly, how did you handle it?

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Dawn A. February 10, 2012 - 11:53 AM

I’m experiencing story #2 for realz. My retorts have been either agreement (“skinny Minnie” = “that’s right!” or “you’re disappearing” = “I hope not!”) or none but a smile. Because I know they see the real health differences (better attitude, more energy, etc.). Now my co-workers are starting to come around. My cubicle mate is now eating a pretty healthy breakfast everyday. She JUST commented on how “there really must be something to this eating breakfast thing..I’ve lost a few pounds”. And to me, that’s part of what it is about – helping people to have their “come to fitness/health” moment by example.

Angela August 10, 2012 - 9:47 PM

I too have encouraged my co-workers. I’m vegeterian and now 1 co-worker is trying and the other is asking me about. I’ve started Insanity and she tried to do that with me. I lost 14lbs and she is eating healthier. It feels good to know that your encouraging someone but on the flip side, she told me my legs were getting to muscular and my second stomach is not as noticeable. Sounds like hate but your trying to be like me but oh well, as long as she is encouraged.

Frances February 10, 2012 - 12:37 PM

After working out religiously for three months a friend of mine mentioned that if I lost weight that wrinkles that were hidden by my face fat would show up.

Ronise February 14, 2012 - 10:49 PM

Someone sounds a little envious. Time to get a new friend.

Neffy April 13, 2012 - 6:08 PM

I totally agree, thats not a good friend

Frances February 10, 2012 - 12:40 PM

Handled it by telling her to basically shut up and that she was being ridiculous.

Vee February 10, 2012 - 1:21 PM

Well I pretty much get the same responses when I eat healthy and work out.

“You don’t need to lose any more weight” oh and my favorite from one of my girlfriends “you ain’t gonna have no booty”. I said to myself I would rather get to a healthy and comfortable weight than worry about having a ‘booty’ *eye roll*. In our culture some of us are so hung up on having this ‘ghetto fat booty’ that we do not want to would loose weight? Any one on here experienced this?

I mentioned to one of my girlfriends about Kelly Rowland’s exercise DVD her response “she is too boney for me”. I was like oh well she is inspiring me to get healthy and have something I have always wanted a flatter stomach 🙂

Lisette April 14, 2012 - 9:52 PM

Yes on the ghetto booty thing. What’s so funny to me is that we don’t listen to what a contradiction there is with the bodacious booty stereotype. The guys who like women with onion butts ALSO say cute in the face with a little waist. The “I like big butts” song says little in the middle but she got much butt.

Many of the women who use the I don’t want to lose my butt excuse not to exercise don’t just have a big butt. They have jelly belly, thunder thighs, saddlebags, flapping arms, double chins, etc. They don’t realize that if they work on being fit, they can be bootylicious like Beyonce or Serena.

Mary Ann MacKay February 10, 2012 - 11:25 PM

Most of the time while I was losing weight, the majority of people were very encouraging and supportive. They saw how heavy I was to begin with, and were quite happy for me when I got smaller.

There are always people who are critical, though. It has been my experience that most people who make rude comments or criticize me for following healthy eating habits are making a veiled attempt to excuse their unhealthy choices. If they admit that what I am doing has value, gives results, and makes sense, then they would be silly not to do the same.

Warped logic, I agree. Does it make sense to anyone else?

Nicole March 1, 2012 - 12:34 AM

I can totally relate to this. I was out at a restaurant with a friend and her family, and she felt the need to point out to everybody that I had split my food in half and put it into a to-go box. Like the fact I was actually putting in effort to lose weight was so funny, as she dug through her purse to find her Sensa for her food. I’m not knocking Sensa, hey if it works and helps you to lose weight, great, but me I would like to make a life style change, not a temporary one. I don’t knock you, why do you feel the need to knock me?

Patti February 12, 2012 - 9:59 AM

I’ve said it here before, my worst hater was my Ex. He complained that I was gaining weight; (mind you he went from 175 to 260 during our 17 yrs together), but bring home doughnuts, ice cream and refuse to eat anything that wasn’t traditional and heavy. He complained of my desire for stir fry as “Chinese food ain’t healthy”, even when I cooked these things at home. I should have known it was the beginning of the end when his azz asked for a ‘Wok’ for Christmas and he started complaining daily about my weight. All I know is that I was able to shed 260 pounds of ‘ugly’ weight the day we broke it off. The rest will be up to me.

Johnnie October 26, 2014 - 9:50 AM

I can relate to this. Several years ago I dated this man for 2 1/2 years & during that time I gained weight so I tried to do something about it . He would get angry when I wouldn’t eat a lot or go for walks. When I confronted him he admired that he pushed food at me because he didn’t want to “lose” me. Well, he spoke it into existence.

Roxie February 13, 2012 - 12:04 AM

I use to hear negative comments also. Especially the “eating white” and “trying to be white”. because i wanted to look into a vegetarian on vegan lifestyle. I guess only “Caucasian people” are suppose to live a healthy lifestyle and African Americans are suppose to only eat fried foods and have health issues?.
I will never understand the logic some people go by.

Lou Ink April 6, 2012 - 5:36 PM

Yes, i used to get that a lot from my ex. when i would cook for him he would say “i don’t eat white ppl food” or he would make snide comments about me only eating grass. simple because i subscribed to a healthy lifestyle. i refuse to cook fried food at home & most everything i eat is really light in salt or it’s organic & loaded with vegetables. i used to get that “trying to be white” stuff form my ex as well.

Diandra February 13, 2012 - 4:58 AM

The only person I used to have any kind of trouble with when I started the lifestyle change was my mother. She is a great cook, for sure, but her cooking skills stem fron the sixties, when women had to be “curvy” and the amount of butter determined how good your food was. We don’t meet too often, but when we do, she insists on cooking and “doing something good” for me. Which, at one point, was a store-bought lasagna (yuck!) with extra sour cream, spiced butter and two layers of cheese. I guess she remembers her dieting attempts and automatically assumes I must be miserable, so she is trying to make treats, and she really does not want to understand that I am happy with all the changes. Usually I shrug it off, eat a tiny bit of the treat and stick with the less unhealthy option (if there are any) for the rest of the meal. (My sister once commented how I was getting “too skinny”, but I think she said so out of real concern, so that does not count. I promised her I would stick with healthy numbers and options, and everything was fine.)

Adrienne July 8, 2012 - 1:41 PM

I am hoping my weight loss won’t split up my marriage! I was very healthy and active when I met my husband , but after I had kids and some other things I feel off the wagon, now I am ready to get my life and body back ..and he starts bringing home Vanilla Coke..and ice cream sandwiches..talking about he likes the fact that I am “soft”..that is not endearing..PRAY FOR US!!

Eva February 14, 2012 - 11:35 AM

When I told a co-worker that I learned how to swim, she said, “I don’t mess with that.” HUH?

Ronise February 14, 2012 - 10:54 PM

Ohmigosh…Sad, but that made me laugh. You don’t do what? Swimming is actually a great way to lose weight. When I was in junior high (many moons ago), swimming is required. I wanted to pass, so I had to participate. I definitely lost weight.

Vee February 16, 2012 - 10:44 AM

It seems like when you try to do something positive and healthy for your well-being some people don’t know how to take you.

LadyHumanFace February 22, 2012 - 12:12 AM

Gah! I have one. I hadn’t seen my mother in about 6 months because of school and within that time, I lost about 35 pounds (190 to 155ish at 5’2″…). When she first saw me, she cried and kept wailing about me not eating. At every meal, for a week, she’d stare at my plate and try to add more food to my plate.Now when I pass up desserts and unnecessarily greasy food, she goes on this huge rant about how I look like ‘someone can break me’ and how she misses my curves. Like the hours of weight training don’t fix both of those issues. Pft…I can’t wait to go back to school to lose the rest lol

Jennatwin March 23, 2012 - 10:31 AM

First time commenter here! I want to say first that I LOVE your blog! I am white, but that hasn’t stopped people from saying negative or sabotaging….. My TWIN is at least 40 pounds heavier than me and has numerous health issues including sleep apnea, pre diabetic, high blood pressure…. You know the drill. My mom is diabetic, my dad has had 2 stents put in for heart trouble and my grandparents had the same issues. I am trying to avoid all that. My TWIN has, on more than one occasion, said I should just be “fat, dumb, and happy”! Like eating and BEING healthy can’t make me happy! My parents will visit and buy doughnuts everyday even when I tell them we (hubby & kids too) don’t need them! Ugh!

Nika March 23, 2012 - 10:45 AM

I have a “friend” I used to stop and see before or after I went to the gym. I’m in workout clothes and my hair is tied down and it never failed she would make a comment about me needing to comb my hair. Now mind you she wears a wig that looks like rats have been having relations in it, but I could not believe she would try me like that. I’ve always been known to keep my hair “whipped” but really? Why not celebrate the fact that I’ve made the decision to get healthy and get my body on track? I don’t visit her anymore and as a matter of fact we don’t speak at all. If I have to lose a few friends as I lose weight, oh well!

R Kahendi April 12, 2012 - 10:07 AM

Lol. Nika, you cracked me up with your “wig that looks like rats have been having relations in it” comment.

Lisette April 14, 2012 - 9:41 PM

We have Thanksgiving dinner at Granny’s each year, and she’s known for being very blunt. As my sisters and cousins are crowding in to say hello, Granny comments on all the big ole butts and bellies and how they’re too young to be so big (I’m the oldest and smallest granddaughter). I step up and hug Granny. She steps back and looks at me and says, “You ready to eat?”

chellez29 August 31, 2012 - 10:07 PM

I am mentally preparing myself for a complete lifestyle change. Every journey begins with one step. i am implementing daily exercise routines and practicing portion control to become healthy first, and hopefully lose 70-90l s of unnecessary fat. When I told a co-worker that I wanted to lose like 100lbs, they said “oh no! You ain’t THAT big! You don’t need to do anything that drastic” and now if we go to lunch together, they’ll insist on the most unhealthy restaurants. The fact that they even said I wasn’t that big doesn’t negate the fact that I am big. I no longer share with this person.

Tami March 15, 2013 - 1:02 PM

I am right there with so many of you. This year I started eating differently and exercising daily and dropped 5 pounds. When I told one of my sisters about my exercise and weight loss (and I was all excited to share), she made a sound and looked disappointed and said that I didn’t need to lose any weight. She totally missed the point about me being healthy and happy. I mentioned to my mother one day that I was thinking about trying a vegetarian diet. She yelled at me and told me I was going to be skinny and sick. I’m shaking my head because diabetes runs in my family (mom has it) and I’m trying to avoid it by getting healthy and fit and changing my eating habits.

Stacy July 22, 2013 - 12:43 PM

Work has been the worst when it comes to getting people to just buzz off and stop offering commentary on what I eat. I’m not looking for lots of support, just the respect that comes with not critiquing my choices — whether that’s eating my grilled chicken and veggies or turning down weekly invitations to the bar.

I’ll say this for the few who sit closest to me — and know I don’t care what they eat so long as they leave me be — they have finally stopped asking me to join their takeout orders. I think there was a trial period during which they didn’t want to feel rude about not offering.

One coworker, who knows me through a good friend that works at our company, makes it his business to walk all the way to my side of the office and sneer at the healthy food I eat for lunch. I don’t cruise past his desk bragging about my salads or make snide comments about his choices. I’m minding my business and enjoying my meal when he shows up and starts the conversation with, “Well THAT looks healthy.”

He used to swap smoothie recipes with me and dropped significant weight last year. He stopped eating healthy and exercising, the weights back and now I’m his punching bag. Not cool!

kelaine December 25, 2013 - 2:32 PM

I still clearly remember the first time I tried to get healthier. I’d started gaining weight around 3rd grade and by middle school this was a real problem. Couple that with having moved to a new school in fourth grade and having a hard time getting along with the kids at this school and I was pretty miserable already. I made a decision to only buy salads for lunch because getting the regular school lunches resulted in comments that I was a pig or a whale (despite eating the exact same thing as everyone else).

When I got the salads the response was “oh give it up, seriously there’s no point” (basically – though often the words they used were much more cruel). Being a little pre-teen then I just decided to stop getting lunch and I rarely got lunches from seventh grade up until I graduated high school (and this trend even continued a little bit in college but to a much smaller extent). At home I started eating in private and I was afraid to exercise where people could see me because I internalized that bullying.

But here’s the thing – bullies that had no bearing on my life didn’t bother me so much (there was a high school kid that felt a need to pick on me on the bus and I just rolled my eyes and listened to my music) but the people saying this were people I was supposed to get along with. They were my fellow girl scouts that I felt I had to spend time with regularly because my mother was so excited for me to be a girl scout. They were people who actually called themselves my friends though I never called them that. All of this gave me a very skewed view on friendship, health, and what it takes to ‘be happy’ (since I was always taught subtly through life experience that making friends happy would be what ultimately made me happy). It took moving far away from all of that and being tossed into a completely new life in a new state to be able to find my own personal worth.

These days people might make a comment that I have to ‘be bad once in a while’ but it doesn’t bother me. I shrug and let them go on their way because they don’t mean harm and they usually just want to share their cookies with me. But it is a completely different tone than middle school too. Of course I’d expect that of competent adults (which is the kind of people I surround myself with now that I have that choice – something I never had in school).

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