If you’ve recently started a new diet and exercise plan, you may have noticed an interesting (and irritating) phenomenon. Even though your new lifestyle is improving your health, your mood, and your appearance, not everyone is supportive of the changes you’ve made.
And you might not only be hearing this from people who are habitually jealous or negative… sometimes it’s the people closest to you, who care for you the most! What’s the deal?
Naysayers are an annoying and sometimes motivation-killing fixture of almost everybody’s life. People tend to encounter them when they make any lifestyle change: going back to school, making a big career change, or moving across the country.
But they can be the most persistent and detrimental when they’re naysaying your healthy lifestyle. As if sticking to a diet and exercise plan wasn’t hard enough already! The last thing you need is lack of support from coworkers, friends, and even family members.
First, let’s talk about why naysayers bring you down. What’s their problem with your healthy lifestyle?
“Oh, please. Everybody knows diets don’t work. You’re wasting your time.”
They’re jaded. You know this guy: he’s tried every diet out there, and none of them worked. Some of these failures could probably be attributed to him, but he probably just hasn’t found the plan that works for him. Instead of trying again, he chooses to believe that diets don’t work, and he’ll tell anyone who will listen that they shouldn’t bother trying to lose weight. Like most people, he doesn’t want to believe that other people can accomplish something that he couldn’t. But you know: he could if he tried!
“But you look fine! You’re not fat! Why do you feel so bad about yourself?”
This one is complicated! It sounds like a compliment: You look fine! You’re not overweight! But it’s a little more complex. You’re doing something that your friend doesn’t think she can do herself, and her subconscious mind is being a bit passive-aggressive, trying to get you to be satisfied with yourself as you are, and even throwing in a little jab: You must feel bad about yourself! Luckily for you, you’re probably feeling great because you’re meeting your goals and improving your life.
“Come on, live a little! A few French fries won’t kill you.”
They’re genuinely worried about you. Maybe that piece of coffee cake isn’t meant to be a diet downfall at all! Your coworker might be genuinely worried that you’re not eating enough, or that your diet is too drastic to be healthy. Don’t assume that everyone is out to get you when you’re losing weight. Some folks are just afraid that you might be harming yourself. Maybe they don’t know much about weight loss, or maybe they only see you when you’re eating a snack or a salad, or maybe they never need to diet so they assume you don’t either.
“I wanted to go out for burgers tonight. Your diet is making ME miserable too!”
Change is scary. This is something you’re most likely to hear from your spouse or your roommate. They’re comfortable in their current lifestyle: it’s easy. And now you’re rocking the boat by making big changes! This can cause your spouse a lot of anxiety. What if you change too much? What if your relationship dynamic changes? What if your new lifestyle cramps their style? What if you pressure them to join you in a weight loss journey, and they’re scared to change themselves?
But you don’t have to let these naysayers ruin your motivation and keep you from reaching your weight loss and fitness goals! Check out these 5 great tips for dealing with naysayers that you can use whenever you encounter negativity about your new lifestyle.
- It’s not your job to change minds. You probably know from experience that guilting, pestering, or bullying someone into making a healthy change rarely works! Everyone needs to find their own motivation to change, just like you did! It isn’t your job to change other people’s minds about your lifestyle… or theirs. Because you’re feeling so great, you may be tempted to get others on board with you, especially your spouse. But the best path to take is the one of least resistance: Be a fantastic advertisement for your healthy life! Your husband or your best friend will become interested in making their own changes naturally. Let them think it was their idea!
- It’s not personal, even when it feels that way. Remember that most naysayers are reacting to you defensively: they feel that your healthy lifestyle is a negative comment upon theirs! You know that you’re making healthy changes for you, but an insecure naysayer feels that you’re only trying to make them feel bad about their own choices. But remember: It’s not about you at all, it’s about them! So don’t take the bait: change the subject and divert the discussion onto a more neutral topic.
- Who’s the expert in how you feel? Just because someone else tells you that you look great, that you’re healthy, or that you don’t need to change doesn’t mean that they’re right! Who is the expert in what you think, feel, and desire? You are! Don’t let anyone make you second-guess your desire to make healthy changes. No one is perfect, and you won’t be when you reach your fitness goals. But you will be better, and self-improvement is important and healthy! Wanting to better yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t like yourself. It means that you think you are worth the time and effort.
- Surround yourself with positivity. If you’ve just got one too many Negative Nancys in your daily life, try to find a few people who actively support your fitness goals. Is there someone in your life who has been through their own weight loss journey? Do you have a coworker who’s also trying to eat healthy? Is there a fitness group you can join through your gym, or online? If you’re finding it difficult to tune out the voices of naysayers, just one supportive voice can make a big difference in your motivation and success.
- Tell it like it is. If you’re fed up with the naysaying from a particular person, tell it to them like it is. Tell them why you decided to start your weight loss journey, what you hope to achieve, how much you’ve struggled, and how little their attitude is helping. This might seem harsh, but it’s almost guaranteed to work: someone who cares about you will understand when you explain your why. Why is this so important to you? They may not become your biggest cheerleader, but they probably won’t make any more disparaging comments, either!
Hushing the Naysayers
Some naysayers are really trying to bring you down, and others are just worried about you. But just because you look fine on the outside doesn’t mean that you feel great on the inside! You have every right to improve yourself as you see fit. We hope this rundown on naysayers has made you feel better about the ones in your life. Don’t worry–you can handle them!
Check out these two posts about influencing others and getting bad diet advice!