Do Successful Dieters Turn into Judgmental Jerks?
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A friend of mine went to see a diet guru; one of those women who lost a lot of weight and launched a successful “How To Lose Weight” programs. My friend said the woman seemed to know her business, but she also seemed egotistical.
And that made me wonder….
I can’t speak to that diet guru, but as someone who has lost a lot of weight, I wonder if I am sometimes considered “full of myself.”
Anyone who beats an addiction (food, alcohol, smoking, gambling, and so on) deserves a lot of credit. If they have overcome their addiction and not reverted back, they should be respected. However, that respect is diminished if they are not gracious in their victory and present as either judgmental or self satisfied.
I cannot speak to other successful dieters and how friends, family and acquaintance perceive them. However, I can try to clarify some dieter misperceptions from my own perspective.
Here’s what people may think about me – and my response:
- Linda is self-satisfied
In 1995, I was a 300-pound woman, lost 140, gained it back to 260 and now weigh 130 pounds. I was a size 28 and am now a size 6. Of course I’m happy and feel good about myself! Who wouldn’t be? I try to be modest, but it’s been seven decades of self-loathing about my weight. Give me this one (as long as I don’t act like a jerk!).
- Linda is way too rigid about dieting – she’s a fanatic
Yes, that’s true. Someone once observed that I traded one addiction (food) for another (dieting). After 70 years of Monday morning diet restarts, I am totally committed to my food plan. I am so regimented that I even shock myself. However, I know with absolute certainty, that if I waiver even a little, I’ll begin a way-to-familiar downward spiral again.
- When I eat with Linda, I feel she judges me
I would have to be an inanimate object to sit across from someone at a table and hear her say: “I’m doing really good on my diet this week” while consuming a basket of focaccia bread with oil. But I would add that I am not judging, I am observing. Frankly – I may even be envying for the enjoyment she is getting from the food. After a lifetime of failed dieting, I am in no position to judge anyone – ever.
- Linda is boring; she’s no fun when it comes to food.
Guilty as charged. I bore myself. I do not deny that I can suck the air out of a party when I walk away from a lavish buffet table with a broiled chicken breast and a salad. I’m sorry, but I’ve had a lifetime of lasagna and chicken parmesan and pizza. I can’t do it anymore. I don’t care what you eat. If it makes you happy, go for it. Please – do not judge me for what I don’t eat.
- Linda won’t even sample my home-made apple pie
This is one of the hardest things facing a committed dieter. A hostess makes something “special” – which happens to have 300 calories per bite – and is hurt because you don’t eat it. There’s a fine line here: a mutual respect issue. The dieter needs to respect the cook’s effort, but the cook needs to honor the dieter’s commitment. Just a taste may be the solution for the dieter. As for the hostess, it’s not fair to guilt a dieter into eating.
- Linda is not supportive
Not true. After decades of failed dieting, I know the struggle that dieters go through every minute of every day. I still struggle every minute of every day. I will absolutely not judge you on your choices, and I will 100 percent support you if you need me. Just ask.
As to the aforementioned diet guru who is full of herself. I hope she helps her clients. I’d rather have an egotistical diet guru – who knows her business and can help me lose weight than a well-meaning hostess with apple pie who guilts me off my diet.