Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Weighty Matters

So there's this girl who has a blog (no, not me!).  Liz is a twenty-something Canadian who's been chronicling her weight loss from 200-ish pounds to her goal of 125.  She's halfway there and I've been rooting for her as I lurked around her blog.

She's nice and pretty and very candid as she tries to find herself on her weight loss journey.  I still maintain that she's nice, despite a recent blog post that sparked some backlash.  In the post, Liz talks a new friend she made who she estimates must weigh around 300 lbs.  She and her friend touched on the subject of weight loss, naturally.  The friend wishes she could lose weight and took some steps to do so, like joining a gym, but still has a self-defeating attitude, since she says she's tried everything, but to no avail.  In the next breath, the friend orders something fatty, which to Liz, signals she isn't fully committed to losing weight.

Liz writes in One Twenty Five:

"I saw myself in her so much. Really, I did. It was actually so bizarre how much I related to this girl I had literally met a mere 40 minutes before. As she talked to me about her weight, wanting to lose weight, and her plan, I could see through it. She wasn’t ready to actually lose it. She isn’t ready. She hadn’t 100% committed. Simple, really. I know she’s going to fail at whatever routine she is on now… why? because everything she said, also came with an excuse.
  • I have a trainer, but she can’t make me sweat too much because I have work after (RED FLAG).
  • Well, calories don’t matter because I work out (RED FLAG)
  • I’ve tried everything! (me: Calorie counting?) No. I hate writing things down
  • My mom, sister and brother are all over weight. It’s in my genes (RED FLAG)
  • Did you know it takes more calories to burn certain fruits, than eat them? (RED FLAG)
  • It’s 50% food. 50% exercise. (HUGE RED FLAG)"

I totally get what Liz is trying to convey in comparing their situations and ultimately, their level of commitment to getting healthy.  The problem is that Liz comes off as...well, judgmental, to put it nicely.  Or an "asshole," as one commenter said not-so-nicely.  I wouldn't go that far, but I have to admit, I felt a little uncomfortable reading the post and even winced once or twice.  As a former over-300-pound person, I felt kind of bad about the mild condemnation, and dare I say it, condescension, in Liz's tone.  In Liz's defense, she did acknowledge her own weakening will power, but still...I don't know.

Maybe it's because it doesn't seem sporting to compare a morbidly obese person to how she herself used to be.  I completely agree that anyone who attempts to lose any weight, be it 100 pounds or 10 pounds, needs to make a commitment and take the necessary steps.  But comparing  one's own issues to someone else's is a tricky endeavor.  Liz doesn't have as much weight to lose as her friend does, so even if Liz is being sincere (which I think she is), she comes off as self-righteous.  

That's the thing about public fora, though.  You can't control how others will interpret your words, no matter how tactful you try to be.  How do you respond to backlash?  Do you ignore it or address it head-on?  I wonder what Liz's reaction will be.

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