Saboteurs, bullies and weight loss: Mean girls

I am not surprised by women’s abilities to be saboteurs. Many have not matured since their glory days in middle school, high school, or college. They have not learned life’s lessons, not one iota.

Bullying? What? Saboteurs? Who? Undermining others? How?

Yes. Some women are still bullying, undermining and sabotaging others, mainly other women.

Let’s identify the easiest of these women, the bully sabotaging person:

The co-worker, the family member, the lunch buddy, the casual acquaintance, the cousin, the friend or the lady at church, those within your everyday environment, who feel justified in pulling you aside and remarking on your personal changes.

Most of these socially encountered types will offer comments in a passive aggressive manner that leaves you wondering or standing there stupefied by their audacious behavior.

We’ve all been there….”Oh that dress is lovely. I’m not sure I could pull off a look like that.”

“You overslept this morning. I see you didn’t have time for make up. You look a little washed out.” (No, really I’m not. I choose not to put on makeup to come down here to pull weeds at the community garden. I’m strange that way, dressing for the job.)

“Is this a new look?
It’s such a trendy haircut. Your other haircut was so much better for your age but this looks good for something different. It helps make you look fresher.”
(I didn’t realize I had a best by date on my forehead.)

“You’re looking run down, is this project more than you can handle?” (No, really I’m not. I choose not to overtax myself micromanaging the team of women, but hey, if, you want to run the show, have at it. )

“Are you trying to fit in with younger Moms?” (Oh heck, No! You couldn’t pay me to go backwards and surrender all this accumulated knowledge, no, thank you.)

You’re going to make me look fat.” (Let’s fix that now, go stand over there.)

“You need a good steak, girl.” (Well, don’t we all need a good tasting meal?)

“Have a little cheesecake, come on, you know you want to” OR while at a table filled with guests, “What’s the matter with my cooking, oh, now that your dieting, you need to watch the calories. Oh, I am so sorry, I would have made a salad.” (Yep, Aunt Grace isn’t a fan of portion control and “hell hath no fury” like an unused plate surface in an Italian household. This is an insult of the highest kind.)

“Are you trying to get in shape to look younger now that you’re getting older?”
(No. I’m trying to get back to healthy because my annual blood report was starting to look as scary like that girl in the mirror.)

My favorite most astonishing comment to date, offered in a seemingly commiserating hushed whisper:
“Wow, you’ve lost a lot of weight. Is it THE CANCER? Noooo!? Ohhhhh, GOOD, I’m glad, I didn’t miss praying, if you needed me.”
Me: Both my eyebrows winged to the heavens, a drooped mouth omitted a disbelieving choke of shock followed by a chuckle of relief, that thankfully, she stopped talking. After gathering my senses, I was able to say: “Thank heavens, I’m glad you missed the opportunity.” (Geesh, with well-meaning folks like her, who needs enemies?)

Dear “Well-meaning Ladies“,

My weight loss is not a fast, or medically induced arrival, fad diet, power shakes or promotional weight loss gimmick, or middle life crisis. It is a lifestyle choice. MY lifestyle choice. I never gave you or anyone else a thought when I ventured to correct my poor choices so I could improve my health. Nope. Not one thought. I didn’t even post a picture on line via social media for support.

I am presently, no less than I weighed 8 years ago, a number well within the CDCP, guidelines for height, frame and age. I was actually never over the highest range, but I was very, very close. I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t feel well physically or emotionally.

I didn’t strive for a dress size to annoy you for bragging rights. I didn’t go get stylish new clothes to impress you. Nope. I did not. I went upstairs into my attic pulling down those clothes which I tucked away many years ago. I impressed myself.

I danced my little happy dance of joy.  Yes, I DID!

Thank God, NO ONE but Dominick saw that!  I never once thought of you, as I figuratively high 5’d myself. No. Not. At. All.  I did not run outside to strike a pose and snap a selfie. I did not upload to twitter,  Facebook or Instagram, my proud moment of look at me.

I did shriek internally with joy when my annual physical presented improved blood work results. I am healthier because I lost weight. I sleep more soundly because I exercise. I impressed myself by building stamina through walking without inducing an asthma attack or triggering high pulse rates.
I did not once think, “Oh hey, she’s going to notice I hack/wheeze a lot less when I quickly walk uphill.” Nope. Because I am not convinced I matter all that much to anyone but those who matter to me. Yep. I did not think to include you in my journey.

The dietitian in my insurance provider’s workshop, advised not to explain my goals.
Historically, they’ve found others will be supportive and most will not, there by derailing you from achieving your fitness.  In retrospect, this was apt advice. I’ve encountered the unsolicited concern, overtly snide remarks, platitudes and passive aggressive compliments.

The “helpful friend” who wants every waiter to know, I am dieting because I’m not eating as I once consumed. But stick close because she’s gonna indulge in dessert. (Yes, indeed,  I am. Because I choose wisely and I choose not to put unlimited useless calories in my body wasting precious stomach “real estate”.)

I had a “concerned friend” point out “A lady OF my age (49) doesn’t look good as a rail thin as a teenager.”
Ummm, excuse me, even when I was a teenager, I didn’t think I looked good as a rail thin teenager. So, no. I wasn’t enamoured of the wasted waif look.

No one was happier than me to gain pregnancy weight and keep a pound or two. I WAS always “rail thin” until 32. I’ve got the wedding pictures at 24 to cringe over. Now, I’m going for healthy and happy.

I’ve experienced the “lunch buddy’s” shocked tone and scrunched up face, followed with outraged snip, “Is that ALL your going to eat? Ohhhhhh. Well, now that you lost the fat, I guess you can eat normally, within reason.”
(Yep, you knew the snipe was coming out of her mouth.)

I’ve had the “casual volunteer acquaintance,” ask me, “Do you THINK you LOOK good………… thin? You should know, at some point you need to stop or you’ll need a doctor because too thin isn’t healthy.”

A quietly said, “You’ve lost your curves…was that smart?” Complete with grandiose gestures to the chest. “You do want men to notice your smart figure?  Don’t you?” Nope.

Never knew I carried my brains in my bra. GOD knows if that were the case, I would be simple-minded, right? The correlation being size equals intelligence? If sizes were the markers of “smart” than thank God, the good Lord gave me hips and a bottom for carrying my big brain for so long, since my “brain” was so small.  Now, I’ll just buy a big purse and shove them inside….makes about the same sense as the other. Nope. Nada. None.  Absolutely, no sense at all. Smart?!!? Good Lord, folks.

Just, wow. I’m so very glad my husband, my sons and a very few select friends were part of my support group.  Otherwise, I would still be in the “smart category, with big numbers, health-wise,” pleasing those so-called caring, well-meaning friends, who think a preconceived size equals healthy and strong.

And, those who really don’t care at all, except for looking better than you, at all times.

Fat, thin, slightly overweight or out of shape people are not indicators of strong, healthy bodies and minds. Good choices, healthy mindset, aka… feeding your emotional needs, in tune with your body’s natural hunger levels, combined with fit lifestyles for strength to carry the aging process through the years are markers of good health. Science, not tailored advertising, should dictate sound nutrition. Coupled with supportive networks will take anyone further than the latest fad, gimmick or gym.

It’s NOT a dress size, it is not a predetermined amount of food, a plate size or starving.

Nope. Not once did I do it for you concerned, everyday acquaintance. I did not do it for your compliments or attention. I did it in spite of the voice of society’s ideals. I did it for me. I matter to me and my guys. I don’t care if you understand or agree. I/Our family choose to embrace changing my/our choices and living well. It is a slow process to unlearn poor choices and choose to go forward in a new direction.

My family is supportive of our family becoming healthier people.  It’s a choice of lifestyle, what we can control, it’s emotional and physical, large or small efforts, one smile of encouragement at a time with subtle adjustments that became our new normal.

Now you have my facts, YOU can continue on with your “caring efforts & vast health knowledge” with someone else.

I. AM. OK.

In hindsight “your truthful wisdom” has made me laugh, it feeds my emotional need for humor. EVERYONE knows laughter is good for the soul and body. You are feeding my soul with laughter NOT harming myself esteem with your inane comments.

I like being “Naturally Slim” as like I was naturally back then, when I was younger. The difference now: I’m not ashamed to be slim, I’m proud of myself physically and emotionally. It was a whole health effort in every aspect of my body and mind. I am prepared to live my choice and understand why you cannot. Someone’s insecurities cannot and will not undermine mine because this slimming down taught me skills and gave me choices. Connected together how those choices effect all areas of a person.