Home It's All Mental The Art Of Silence

The Art Of Silence

by Erika Nicole Kendall

A while back, I wrote a post about setting goals, and whether or not it’s beneficial to actually tell people:

And do we see goals as public property and “small talk?” As complicated as my current goals are, I certainly don’t think I can talk about them in a conversation with people who are only slightly interested in me. I don’t say that to imply that people shouldn’t ask – I don’t mind that – but I do mean that perhaps we should be careful regarding how we discuss our goals and who we share them with.

The more I talk to people about their personal goals with fitness and weight loss, the more I hear them tell me about how non-supportive their friends and loved ones are in them reaching their goals. They talk about how, once their loved ones learn of their desire to eat better, they find brownies and other irresistible sweets in the house all of a sudden. Now, they see their favorite cake on the dining room table as a centerpiece. Not flowers, not fake fruit (fake fruit?)… but a cake, man. Now that their girlfriends know that they’re trying to make better choices, they’re being put under the hot lights. They’re being given the third degree. They’re being asked the hard questions and, once they can’t give “the answers,” are told “girl, just shut up and eat this food… stop ordering all these salads.”

And all the while, while people are talking about this stuff, I just keep wondering to myself, why tell anyone anything?

If you’re starting on a journey that leaves you a bit confused and, just maybe, a little self-conscious, do you really think you could handle finding out that your peers and loved ones aren’t so supportive? And once they do show themselves to be non-supportive, do you think you could handle their acts of sabotage, should they choose to follow that path? If your answer is anything other than an emphatic yes, it might as well be “no.” Let me explain.

I remember when I first decided to give up red meat and pork, which was my junior year (I think?) of high school. I told my mom that I was planning to let go of the pork chops, the ham hocks, the ribs, the steaks, the burgers… all of it. It had to go. Considering how much she mad chicken, I figured I wouldn’t miss it much anyway, right?

Y’all. Before I knew it, every night… it was some kind of pork. It was ribs. It was roast. It was pork chops. It was bacon… every morning… bacon. House reeked of bacon (hence my general disdain for it – not because it’s “unclean,” just because I’ve been traumatized! Dang!) all the time, and it was inescapable. She was tryin’ to sabotage my efforts, man! Moms can, sometimes, take our efforts to change our eating habits (the eating habits we’ve developed from them) as an insult to them  – it implies that what they taught us was wrong, and that we reject what they passed down to us.

And what about our girls? When we go kick it with them, and we head out to eat before we go out for real… what happens when they notice that we’ve chosen something grilled instead of something fried (and usually in soybean oil… yuck?) Do we go in on how disgusting fried food is (by the way, it doesn’t have to be) and how you’re making healthier choices and losing weight by not eating it… thereby making them feel like garbage as the waiter drops their burger and fries in their laps? Do we tout our moral superiority for choosing the “better” option in the midst of temptation, thereby guilting your friends for not showing the same restraint as you?

If you ask me, I say no.

Now, I’ve written about this before – the fact that the people we spend the most time with can wind up feeling judged in a roundabout way by the decisions we make. And, let’s face it – we can’t always help that. Sometimes, that has more to do with insecurity than anything else:

I mean, think about it – when we hear a woman talk about how she doesn’t want “big thighs,” how many of us have looked at our own thighs and asked ourselves “What, is something wrong with big thighs? Do I have big thighs? She doesn’t like my thighs?” and it causes us to feel some kind of way about ourselves and the decisions we’ve made for ourselves. [source]

But how much do we contribute to this? Do we ruin perfectly good outings by explaining to our friends how “those cupcakes are why they can’t get rid of their gut?” Do we, out of eagerness to share what we know, piss off the people who love us the most by trying to invoke their “come-to-fitness” moment before they’re ready? You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not – I’ve heard the stories, and I’ve witnessed it myself.

I’m a proponent of the art of silence. Like, the way my shoulders shrug off questions? You’d think I was a politician. I don’t want my outings with friends and family to turn into conversations about my eating habits, where I might be mocked and weakened and feel compelled to make decisions I’d rather not, just to conform and make everyone else [except me] comfortable.

“Aww Erika, you don’t really even go out to restaurants anymore… why not get a burger or something?”

[insert slow shoulder shrug]

“Dang Erika, you’ve got to try those cookies Danielle brought in to work… why aren’t you getting any?”

[insert slow shoulder shrug]

“But Erika, you’ve eaten this way your whole life and you’re still alive! What makes you think the problem is the food, and not just you?”

[insert shoulder shrug] [waits a few moments] “Oh, did I show you my pedicure? It’s my favorite shade of pink, too…”

All three are things I’ve heard over the course of my journey. All three have answers that could easily add another 1,000+ words to this blog post to answer each question but really, my little shoulder shrug works wonderfully. Now, I’ve advocated for straight up lying to answer these questions but really… you’ve got to use that to progress onward to the point where you simply don’t answer these questions. It’s pretty hard to find a point of contention in your reasoning… when the only reason you give is a physical version of “I don’t know.”

It’s all about self-care. Know your abilities. Are you able to handle the questioning? If so, then proceed with caution. If not, then know that. It’s a part of your new lifestyle – venturing off into unique territory and knowing you have a whole new set of strengths and weaknesses to assess.

The reality is, the more attention you draw to your lifestyle changes, the more people you’re inviting in to tell you how wrong you are and how you should be following the advice they’ve read in Marie Claire this week… and if you’re on the path to building the confidence you need to keep going, you really don’t need the additional battles of defending your choices at every turn. You don’t need the extra task of sifting out the friends from the frenemies. Your focus simply needs to be on making the “new” into the “normal.” If someone asked you why you always take off your favorite pumps and put them back in the box once you got home – a habit you’d developed from Mom – you’d answer “I don’t know.. it’s what I’ve always done.” and go on to another topic. Start thinking about this with the same approach.

The goal, in the end, is to make your new lifestyle something that isn’t “new” and “novel” anymore. It isn’t a “sideshow” worthy of pointing, staring and dissecting. It’s just you. And while you may be total star material… this is not a reality show, you aren’t in OK! Magazine and your every move – namely, your choice in salad dressings – really doesn’t need this much attention. Just shrug your shoulders… it counts as an upper body work out if you do it enough, anyway.

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Marcia July 26, 2011 - 12:46 PM

Great post! I have regained 20 lbs that I lost and I am on a mission to lose it the healthy way by eating clean and working out 6x a week. With that said, I find myself just keeping quiet about why I do not want to go out to eat with the girls, why I don’t want the burger from the grill at the barbeque and why I brought my own turkey burgers. I just do like you: shrug my shoulders or change the subject. I ignore the suggestions about how to lose weight quickly or the comments that I look good the way I am–“girl, what are you dieting for…you don’t need to lose weight. Mind you, those comments are coming from my sista friends who do not want to deal with their own weight issues. I have learned that this is my journey and no one else’s. I choose to lose weight and I really do not want to hear it! Thank you for your always right on time posts–they have been very helpful!

Silky Coils July 26, 2011 - 12:58 PM

I must admit that I get side tracked when I go out to eat with friends still. With certain folks I make better choices, but with others not so much. What I’m doing now is not going out to eat, or go to my fav Panera Bread where I can bring my lunch or just meet and chat (no food).

Its a process. Lol. This was a great post and thanks for it. I plan to try the silent move with the shrug.

Keelah July 26, 2011 - 3:28 PM

Great post!!

Daphne July 26, 2011 - 3:32 PM

People have noticed that I’ve lost some weight, and if they inquire, I just respond, “I’m committed to a healthier way of eating,” or some variation thereof.

I don’t mention weight loss (although it’s an obvious side effect), fitness, or any reference to my body. Because 1) I don’t need other’s advice if I’m not asking for it, and 2) even with the best intentions, people (especially women) tend to use others as a measuring stick, and so they want to know what you do, how you do it, how quick is the weight loss (because if it’s happening slowly, they’re not interested), what “tips or tricks” you have, is it the next best thing, etc.

And I just…can’t, right now, maybe ever. It’s taken a long time for me to get it together and take sustainable action, and I refuse to be veered off course by riding the hamster wheel of mainstream “weight loss and health.”

As Marcia referenced, the journey is incredibly personal. While I understand the value of family and friend support in general – in this arena, I think it can do more harm than good. The American mindset on body image is so skewed that I think it takes more work to weed through all of the information, advice, and shaming to get to a healthy place vs maintaining status quo (with regard to the current “diet” mentality).

I remember a few months back, a co-worker approached me because she noticed my weight loss (frankly, given my size, I’m surprised people noticed), and I was in the breakroom, making a green smoothie. When I provided my standard response, she reacted with concern, of all things. Concern that I not to try to “do too much and go crazy.” I smiled and nodded and went on about my business, but I was thinking, “Da hell? How is incorporating more whole vegetables and fruit into my diet doing too much?” People are strange creatures sometimes.

Holly July 26, 2011 - 4:06 PM

Thanks for the reminder that it’s really no one else’s business but my own what I decide to eat and when. I really don’t need to explain myself or get into “discussions” about how right or wrong my/some one else’s eating habits are.

In the past I’ve dealt with some serious food opposition from my father when I tried to make a positive change in my diet. He would encourage me to eat fourth and fifth helpings of dinner because he “didn’t want to give it to the dogs.” When I finally put my foot down during my high school years and refused to eat anything beyond seconds, he would hound me and hound me until I just left the room. Guess what happened to the uneaten food? It somehow found its way into the fridge instead of being “wasted on the dogs.” Now I’m severely cutting back on my fatty red meat intake, and you’d think I was attacking him personally. I’ve offered to still cook it for him while just making myself an extra veggie dish, but that doesn’t seem to be good enough for him. Too bad. My health is too important to throw away on eating junk.

SoFrolushes July 26, 2011 - 4:27 PM

I wish I never told a soul except my husband that I wished to lose weight. I have over the years gained 7 stone ish and it is not good at all. As I am not able to get to a gym I bought a cross trainer and wii fit plus various exercise videos from 10minute workouts to 1hour workouts. Yes I have lacked full commitment but so far at least once a week I am doing my workout. I also occasionally leave my car at home and me and kids go walking.

I joined weight watchers and quit. however I found the moment I told people I was doing weight watchers or exercising I knew what was coming next. All my efforts at watching what I eat still continues and even doing Zumba on the wii gets my sweat going. Yet I am constantly told I need to join a gym and have xyz be my personal trainer. They don’t realise that my kids benefit from seeing me workout at home as they love it too. So much more stuff. I was better off not talking about it and just doing it. I only have one friend who truly understands. Contrary to what my other friends think, I know I don’t eat loads of food that is the problem but my inactivity. I used to walk everywhere till I met my husband etc.

Another thing everyone wants to tell me what to eat what not to eat, what exercise is best. I did an intense 5 minute step workout and told my friend about it and she rubbished my achievements and said that is nothing to celebrate. However I celebrate al my health and weight achievements no matter how small or big. Did I mention the friend who told me to go on a liquid diet as she thinks it would suit me. when I said I need food solids etc she told me I was not serious.

LBC July 26, 2011 - 5:43 PM

I didn’t say anything because I pretty much feel the same way about it that I do about religion and politics: It’s personal, it’s individual, I don’t need to justify it, and you don’t need to justify it to me. If somebody asks, I say I started jogging again . . . and then I change the subject.

I didn’t actually tell my mother I was trying to lose weight, but of course she noticed and commented (positively). She tells me my brother is a little jealous, although he would never say so to me directly.

Kiesha September 30, 2012 - 1:02 PM

I think I am going to have to try your I just started jogging again line. I am finally having success on Weight Watchers and everybody has something to say about it. I am happy I have a supportive family but this journey would be so much easier for me if everyone would just shut up!!!! I will never understand why do people feel the need to tell you you are losing weight. Are they trying to put a flag on what they discovered? Who asked them to chime in anyway.I have people who say things like “you are losing weight, you finally have a waiste line” and they sit there and wait for me to say thank you as if their insults are compliments. I can no longer hide the weight loss, but I do need to find a better way to deal with the comments, and I think learning the art of silence may be a good approach.

triple T January 22, 2013 - 4:27 PM

People make comments and wait for you to say thank you when it really is insulting. Or as my family puts it a BackHanded compliment. Such as Your suit fits you so nicely. It no longer hugs your waistline like it did the last time you wore it. I have learned to give the blank stare. Or the high pitched “Really you don’t say” response to these individuals. I do not share that I am dieting because of the running dialogue it inspires.

JoAnna July 26, 2011 - 7:08 PM

I enjoyed a DimSum lunch with my oldest girlfriend last week. We’re both diabetics, but she doesn’t do any type of workout. The weight I’ve been losing, she claims she’s gaining. She also always has an excuse for not working out so I don’t mention it anymore. At the restaurant, one of the waiters mentioned she missed not seeing me and that I was a bit smaller. No biggee, but I saw that “look” of competition in my friend’s face. So after lunch we decided to go to Coldstone. She demolished a double scoop with nuts and a waffle cone. I ordered a single scoop in a cup and ate half. She asked me how could I let good ice cream go to waste, and told me I should finish the half because “God knows when you’re going to get to Coldstone again the way you avoid restaurants….”

I wish I could share this lifestyle with her, but I’m tired of flabby fat people telling me how to work out, or how to push my body, what to eat, or anything that has to do with my “get fit ‘n healthy” goals. They arent the ones suffering from swollen ankles from Popeyes/Church’s/KFC fried chicken. They aren’t the ones who will wake up with a headache and soaked in sweat from going to bed with high blood sugar. They aren’t the ones puffing from exertion by having to walk from the far end of the parking lot… Oh, yeah! They are! And they want to share all the aches and pains of their unsavory lifestyle. And that has no place in my life anymore.

Dawnn July 27, 2011 - 9:59 AM

I’ve just begun my journey, so I did what I always do when starting something new, I research and read, read, read everything, anything that I can find on the subject until I find what sounds best to me and attack it from there. Well, every morning the first website I visit is BGGTWL…the second is…SparkPeople…third…some news blog to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I do things in that order.

Now the people I work with have all observed this, and all I hear from them are things like – why are you reading that? Why are you trying to change your eating habits? Those foods couldn’t possibly be bad for you…I’ve eaten that all my life and I’m okay… The list goes on. My point is that, the people who I spend over 70% of my time with don’t support me. They criticize me for bringing my lunch 4 days a week and only eating out on Friday. They turn their noses up at my baked chicken, veggies, salads and water. They call me crazy for walking the mile from my bus stop to the job instead of catching another bus, especially in the sweltering heat we’ve been having.

It bothered me at first, having to defend the lifestyle change I was making, but I’ve stopped responding to their criticism. Their voices fall on deaf ears. Now, when they talk I simply change the subject. I’ve learned that not everyone is going to support the choice I’ve made, but that I don’t have to justify my choices to ANYONE. It took me 31 years to finally start this journey and to find the courage to stop following the status quo and just do me. Now, I do what I feel is best for me and will only speak on the subject if someone shows a genuine interest.

Spiderlgs July 28, 2011 - 8:12 PM

I just used this right now in a situation completely unrelated to weight loss. I have always struggled with trying to defend or explain my actions, without getting overly sensitive or overly defensive… and I decided to try shrugging and the shrugging was awesome.. no other questions… the situation was dropped.. and I sat not awkwardly, but comfortably through the silence. Thank you 🙂

PurpleFro July 30, 2011 - 3:22 PM

One time I shared my recent weight loss victory…loosing seven pounds to a girlfriend (who is 120 and an excersise queen)…her response…”i thought you’d loose more than that..ive seen you smaller than where you are now in less time”. See, I started school..gained the weight I lost back..then hit a plataeu..so after clean eating and semi consistent work-outs (because of my schedule) I lost seven of the 20 pounds I gained..over a four month period. I simply loose weight slow. The pounds and inches didnt start comming off until i decided i was going to eat clean and monitor my caloric intake. Now i mcarving out time to get my tush doing cardio five times a week like I used to. Even if it just means brisk walking for an hour.

i was quite proud until she made that statement. I got the “tall n weighty” genes from my father side..and my mother has the same body frame/weight problem areas I do. So I have an uphill battle.

What makes me mad is, why when people see you are trying to shed some weight, they are not supportive even if its a small victory. Needless to say, i wont be sharing any more weight loss victories, ill just put in the work, keep my mouth shut and let my gradually-slowly-but-surely-getting-smaller body speak for itself. Trust me when I say in my days of being 30 pounds smaller..I was FIERCE..so imagine tall, dark, natual hair with doe eyes and full lips walking by…and i belive she knows this as well! LOLOLOL

Rock on girls..your weight loss journey is delicate and personal and it doesnt have to shared or explained to no one but you and your true supporters..

everyone else……can have a celery stick with a dab of hummus!

Fitempress August 21, 2011 - 5:58 PM

Just this weekend someone asked me “Girl u losing weight?” and my response “Me jus a try one ting” ……She started talking about her efforts or lack thereof to lose weight and I kept quiet and the convo about weightloss eventually fizzled out!…..I think I will continue to use that as my response! “Me a try one ting!”

Stefanie September 19, 2011 - 2:37 PM

Hi Erika,
I think making lifestyle changes and sharing with the RIGHT people is good. It helps us to be accountable for our choices (knowing that someone else is watching us or knows our goals) and it lets our support group know the direction we are going, so they will be mindful of our new activities. They may either choose to join in or do things to help us along the way (making a healthier dinner or encouraging us when we just don’t feel like taking that much needed walk). I have learned that it is not wise to share my ideas with everyone I know. Every one I know does not care about the good things I am doing in my life; and they will be the same people to nitpick at me or belittle me when I do OR don’t do something. God has given me some great friends and family; on the other hand, He has shown me who to share my thoughts with. And I take that wisdom and make it useful.

Queen Esther October 4, 2011 - 1:13 AM

this entry rang true for me on so many levels. thanks for writing it.

in the book “the artist’s way”, sandra cameron instructs participants in the 12 week program not to tell anyone about it because most people are frustrated artists and will subconsciously work hard to undermine you if you do. according to her, they won’t be able to help themselves. i think this is true of most people. they unknowingly nurse their frustrations about things that have nothing to do with the focus of their ire — especially when it comes to changes that are visually quantifiable, like weight loss — and they find colorful and interesting ways to sabotage your efforts.

when i lost weight, a lot of chubby/overweight/out of shape/sedentary people receded into the background of my life. the thing is, i never dieted. i simply changed my lifestyle and i couldn’t accommodate their eating habits or their inactivity anymore.

of course, all of that begs the question: who can you tell? perhaps that’s an entry that can be an addendum to this one…

1beautifullymade October 4, 2011 - 10:43 PM


Dulcinea84 November 1, 2011 - 6:21 PM

When I read the title of this blog post, I was hoping to read exactly what you wrote about! This has been an ongoing thought in my mind since I began to slowly lose weight…I am very selective about who I share my weight loss journey with. Everyone need not know, or be concerned with (or “consumed” with, as the case may be!) what I’m eating, what I’m doing for exercise, etc. This is part of the issue with being a larger person, especially a large woman, especially a large black woman: Everyone thinks they have the right to police your body, mind, and mouth. I really don’t have the patience to sit through lecture after lecture; advice that wasn’t asked for and often times is misinformed.

I do appreciate and take to heart the genuine concern of those who have shown me affection over the years. But the same friends who stayed “silent” for year after year of me packing on the pounds? The friends who said nothing while they watched me “bury” my emotions with food? The friends who never said boo as the scale went up and my overall quality of life diminished? My Lips Are Sealed! It’s not about hate, it’s not about blaming any one else for what I’ve done to myself, it’s simply about not letting negativity infect my mind and heart. It may sound cliche, but there are some roads you have to travel on your own.

Thanks indefinitely for this post, Erika!

PinkGurl73 December 31, 2011 - 7:22 PM

This is definitely a great article. Thanks for sharing!

val January 1, 2012 - 12:18 AM

I recently started a journey with weight loss I have lost 104pounds …by just eating right and exercising….if people want you to keep eating bad they are not comfortable with the new you…they will adjust and if they don’t so what..I had to really focus and decide do I wanna feel good about me ….the answer is yes…I am going to enjoy the benefits of being healthy …

irene April 13, 2012 - 12:04 PM

Just wondering what are some of the steps you took in losing so much weight? I also want to say congrats

Diedra January 31, 2012 - 4:07 PM

This was a great post…I feel as doe the statements were so true…It is good to keep your goals to your self because you never know who is hating or who wants to see you down…This is something I’m trying to work on weight loss and keeping goals that I have set for myself….

Vee March 5, 2012 - 9:54 PM

Great article!!

Victoria March 5, 2012 - 11:58 PM

This is so true. You just can’t talk to some people when they already have their mind set. I became a vegetarian in high school and I got a lot of negative feedback. My friend’s mom told me that vegetarians were sickly, emaciated people and I needed to eat more meat. Most of the people who told me these things also had a lot of health problems.

Just the other day, one of my coworkers was talking about how organic food was a waste of money and cooking from scratch cost way more than fast food. She also has a lot of health issues, but eats fast food for almost every meal. She usually has at least 3 or 4 cups from fast food places on her desk.

I used to defend my food choices and lifestyle, but now I just smile and move on. It’s easier on my blood pressure and sanity.

Shantana March 6, 2012 - 11:49 PM

For me sharing has put me in a mind set. I know the spot light is on me so I push harder. whats crazy is I get emails and comments from friends who has taken my meal ideas, or even started working out because of me. I tell people I’m by no means a know it all and am still in the learning phase of making correct decisions in my health and I want to share if they want. My spouse is opposite he is more private about his gym habits and he is a beast in the gym.

I come from a very private family which is why sometimes I have the need to shout it to the rooftop. I am happy and happy about my progress. If they not feeling me that’s fine but if they are I may have made a difference in someone’s life. I guess all in all discerning who you share your experiences will change how people react.

Papi77on March 30, 2012 - 6:59 PM

luv this post! and the shoulder shrug had me laughing out loud. It reminded me of what I should of done everytime my co-workers have me feeling guilty for not taking lunch breaks at the same time with them. the truth is, every month i write out my goals…i plan out my week by and plan out what a generic day looks like by hours..and everytime I see that I spend about 10 hrs for work (including transit)…I sit back and realize i can benefit from making every hour count. and so i actually plan to get certain things checked off my list during lunch. i enjoy eating with my co-workers…but i honestly have all of my hours planned…including downtime…

ANYWAY…i was forever trynna explain myself for the choices i was makign with my time….and i will stop…i will no longer explain to my mom why all the food that she leaves out for me is not getting eaten. although i love the food (and it’s good for you too)…i have made a point to make sure i get in my servings of certain fruits and veggies…adn i’ve realized that tehre is just not that many hours in teh day to eat everything…but i felt so guilty about. i am a new person…and i just didn’t realize how much i need to communicate that to myself and therefore i will understand the awkward and uneasiness that comes when i really am not interest in the donuts at work due etc…it’s not even like i don’t like donuts…or that i’ve decided never to eat them for the rest of my life…but I AM SOO SOO SOO TIRED OF EATING DONUTS, AND COOKIES, AND OTHER SWEETS ON OTHER PEOPLE’S SCHEDULES….and i fall for it everytime…i’ve been schedulign what i eat for about a year and a half now (I eat every three to fours hours…a blood-sugar leveling tactic that has been a BLESSING)…and over tthsi year and a half i’m realizing that when I eat on my schedule..all is well…when i start to let surprises, etc from other come into play…i am weak and have no discipline to say no.

i luv thsi website…it’s doing exactly what i’m using it for (lol, excuse me, but yes I am in a sense “using” you)…i was looking for something to reiterate what I already know about myself, about what it takes to be healthy (work/effort), about celebrating lookign and feeling good…i needed something to reiterate that for me…b/c when i tell myself that…i never take it seriously…i don’t value my own observations about myself…which is very unfortunate b/c there is a lot that i have been able to solve on my own, but i never take to heart until i read it in a book…or by Grace, 2-3 people have to make similar comments…anyway…i have accepted that about myself and i am proud to forgive myself for it. For whatever reason i have learned to be dependent on “other” to learn and to grow…i am now learning that intuition is real…that the Spirit of discernment and wisdom from within is as real as Christ is risen…really what it is is that i’m learning that God loves me so much as to empower me with the tools i need to live a peaceful, joytful, and faith-full life. i have forgiven myself…and i’m working on trusting myself and allowing myself to make choices that make sense for me. in the meantime…i’m glad to just keep returnign to yoru website and learn from you…on how well you listen to yourself. you are considerate of yourself and your strenghts and weakness…you are attentive to yourself…to your story. weight loss can be reduced to basics (eating right, exercising, avoiding stress etc)…but i’m also learning that each has their own reasons for the weight gain…and once you contextualize your weight gain…you will know how to appropriately apply the weight loss tools to your situation. the key for me, is TAKING THE TIME, to make that evaluation….now i get excited when i sense my mind turning over and over, deciding what i’m going to do about that cofee ice-cream i want but that i don’t really need at the time…i love the “battle”…i see it as the fact that i care about myself enough to challenge the choices i make. it’s so easy to grab it, eat it, and guilt it aftwards..or deny that it was a big deal…but now that i actually think it trhough “why do you want to eat it” “is it important”…”what would you rather be doing than eating…[insert some of my dreams and long-term desires like a trip to Spain]”…all that self talk to me is an expression of self love.

ANYWAY…i’m talking to much..i’m so excited for you my dear…and all who are benifiting from this webiste. I have left you with many grammatical/spelling errors, do forgive…i was typing away really fast…

Kami January 22, 2013 - 10:23 AM

I been learning to keep private about my new weight loss goals. People are not supportive or tell you dont need to lose. I just keep my goals to myself and ignore advice for the most part. For the year of 2013 I would love meet my goal of healthy lifestyle choices and weight loss. i just started a new journey in December and found that I enjoy hot yoga/bikram yoga.

Frances March 17, 2013 - 7:14 AM

I feel the same way about bacon! Every time I would say that I’m not eating pork anymore someone in my family would go out of their way to make it 5 days straight and the house would reek. Thankfully my husband is made of awesome and actually respects my choices.

T'ara August 24, 2013 - 2:22 AM

I don’t mind posting my fitness goals and stories online. I don’t mind sharing my food/progress photos on Instagram. I don’t even mind sharing my struggles w/ my followers on Twitter. I know there are people (some who are probably friends) who will be dismissive of my lifestyle change, and I don’t care.

Here’s why:

I told myself my lifestyle change was about ME and only ME. Only I could bring myself down or build myself up. I’m responsible for eating properly and working out regularly, so why should I care about the negative things people think? Mentally, I always see a fat girl in the mirror, but my clothes and very supportive close friends of mine will always tell me the truth.

I do have a “support” group with close friends and we talk about our daily food/workout struggles or triumphs. They help to keep me going because I know we’re honest with each other. That honesty is why I don’t mind sharing my triumphs and troubles w/ the world. I also hope to inspire others by posting my results.

HOWEVER. I do NOT discuss weight loss and lifestyle changing with people aren’t serious about doing so. I don’t give advice on quick-fixes, and any discussion people try to have w/ me on that topic will just get an “oh, okay, do you” response from me. Soo yeah…I guess that’s where my “silence” part comes in.

Just my two cents, great article, Erika.

Sharon September 10, 2013 - 8:54 AM

I love this post! I experienced plenty of ridicule from my overweight family members and (so-called) friends. I guess they got the impression that I thought I was “all-that” and better than them because I decided to make better/healthier choices for me. Even some people that were a normal or healthy weight weren’t as supportive as I thought they’d be. I heard “girl, you alright!” or “I don’t need to walk” or ” child, Imma eat…”.

At 27 years old I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, borderline hypertensive, good cholesterol was low and my bad cholesterol was high… That was enough for me to want to make a difference and change to a healthier lifestyle.

I joined a running group (Black Girls Run) to find like-minded people. I started walking, jogging, biking, and eventually going to the gym. I began to make better food choices.

I am proud to say that even when I didn’t notice a change in my weight I felt more energetic and less lethargic. Others also noticed the change in my muscle-tone and figure. By the time I’d lost a couple of sizes, inches, and about 10 lbs my husband and I decided to conceive another baby.

In the beginning of the pregnancy I was fine, still doing 5ks, 6ks, and walking/running two to three times a week. Then came nausea, vomiting, pain, etc… I consider this a temporary break and can’t wait go get my “operation bounce-back” in effect. I’m already thinking of future workouts, running and walking again, lifting weight and sculpting my body into what I want it to be. But others don’t understand why I’m sad cause I can’t do much more than rest at this time. So I’m sure after the baby is hear they’ll be looking at me like I’m crazy for not just sitting around, nursing, and ah em… eating like them. After all, I will be nursing and needing to consume enough calories for me and the baby.

I’ve lost several loved ones to diabetes, stroke, etc… I’m one that prefers to learn from other peoples mistakes. I don’t mind cutting out red meat, or pork, or greasy foods. I actually like salad, all kinds of greens, veggies, soups, whole grain foods, and water! So I’d appreciate not being judged for wanting to live a healthy life. No need for me to die in my 50’s or 60’s due to some pre-disposed (possibly) genetic or environmentally-influenced illness that can be prevented just with diet and exercise.

As long as I like how I feel and look…I’m good. I won’t let the opinions of others bother me. Plus having no sign of diabetes, excellent blood-pressure, and being in overall good health is reward enough for me in addition to setting a better example for my children. 😉

Michelle Rogers June 13, 2014 - 10:26 AM

Great post. When I first started my healthy lifestyle change, I didn’t tell anyone. For months! Not so much because I feared sabotage, but because, given my past track record, I had no expectation of success and didn’t want to announce I was starting something just to publicly fail again. But this time I did succeed, and have been at it for over 5 years now. These days, I’m happy to share everything I know…if asked. I generally don’t volunteer my opinions or habits unless the topic of healthy eating and exercise comes up.

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