This is a common problem. Often times when people have fitness goals they want to reach, they either a) aren’t getting supported by their friends and family and/or b) have nowhere to turn for advice and help.
You could be hard at work trying to eat clean and workout, but your spouse has ordered in Chinese or pizza. Your friends are trying to get you to eat cake and candy, and laugh when you tell them you’re not eating that. Maybe they’ve told you things like “I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.” Is it that they really don’t want you to succeed, or are they not aware of how their behavior is bothering you?
First of all, it’s not always personal. People come to us with their own experiences and limiting ideas based on those experiences. They could be well-intentioned and simply fear that you will fail just as they did. In this case, it’s not that they want to sabotage your efforts, it’s that they don’t understand them. If they couldn’t exercise for longer than a week without quitting, why should you?
Second of all, you have to understand that people have their own issues. I personally lost some friends after I lost over 100 lbs; there were people who felt threatened by my success and weren’t happy for me in the least. I got a lot of insecure comments directed at me, they didn’t want to be seen next to me because they felt “ugly” or “fat” in comparison. Some just flat stopped talking to me. A few even accused me of “hating fat people” because they couldn’t imagine that anyone who was into fitness didn’t. I hadn’t personally changed one bit, but my appearance sure had. Very sadly, not everyone will be happy for you and you may get people who will project their own insecurities onto you. Some will come around eventually and some won’t. If they don’t, they weren’t your true friends to begin with. Your real friends will stick with you “through thick and through thin”, and in more ways than one.
Lastly, some may be afraid of losing you. This is a whole other insecurity problem altogether. People fear change, and fear that change in loved ones will mean that they will change to the point where they won’t be around for them anymore. They may fear that you will “look too good” and not want to hang around them or that you won’t be able to enjoy the same activities with them anymore. You may have a significant other who expresses concern that people will be more interested in you or that you might “trade them in for a better model”.
Bottom line: if you have close friends or a loved one who is treating you strangely, talk to them. Find out what they’re thinking and feeling, and why. Communication is a wonderful thing!
There are people who are afraid of success not because they’re afraid it’ll change them but because of how others will react to them. They are afraid that people will react similar to the ways I’ve listed above! And due to these fears, they sabotage their own success; they don’t even need someone else to do it for them. You could be afraid of unwanted attention or that people will treat you in a way that will make you feel uncomfortable.
Then there’s the “success guilt” factor. We are continually bombarded by ideas such as “you’re perfect just the way you are” and made to feel guilty for wanting to change and improve our lives. We’re told “we should be happy with what we have” because after all, if we have it so good now, isn’t asking for more a bit selfish?
The answer is no, you are not being selfish and YES, taking time out for self-improvement is a good thing–and I’ll tell you why:
- When you succeed, you show those around you that it’s possible. You CAN get into shape, improve your health, feel better, and look better. That should be inspirational and should be cause for people around you to say “Hey, if s/he can, so can I!”
- The better you make yourself, the more likely you can be useful to those around you. No family member likes to stress over a loved one and their health. Make the right choice for others around you and be happy and healthy.
- The changes and improvements you make in your own life aren’t isolated. They affect you, your moods, your attitude, and therefore your decisions. If you can make small victories over time, they will snowball and cause even bigger and better things around the corner–if nothing else because you are now convinced you can.
You may be asking after all of this the following: “Well, that’s great and all, but I really WOULD like the support! Where do I find it?” Here are my suggestions for that:
- Join groups both on and offline pertaining to fitness and your fitness goals. That way you’ll be in good company and can stick it out together.
- Start something social. Go for walks with your family or co-workers, do things together that involves physical activity that would be fun. Start a lunch hour power walk!
You don’t have to do this alone, and there are many resources online that can help you. Heck, I’m one of them! And I provide fitness coaching for free! I had support but nothing in the way of a knowledge base when I first started, so I had to learn the hard way as I went along. Why struggle like I did?