When I first started aggressively trying to lose weight and get healthy 4 years ago one of the big struggles that I had to get beyond was people pleasing.
Oh there is a party going on? With food? Sure I can come. Just a little bit won’t hurt.
However, I am a social butterfly, and at that time, I lived in Grand Rapids where I had a very active social life. 3-4 nights a week of gatherings of some sort turned into more than a little bit.
As I traveled this road, I came to realize that I didn’t have to do everything I was invited to and I certainly didn’t have to accept every dish passed my way. My friends, those who truly supported me, would NOT be offended if I passed on their food offerings.
When I signed up with Leif Anderson Fitness 34 weeks ago, I knew that at the end of my 20 week package I would be able to walk away confidently knowing I had done everything possible to lose weight. Since I knew this, I also knew I had to give it everything I had so that I could walk away without any regrets. No lingering doubts of, “if only I had or had not…” would be able to be in my mind. Leif had also told me pretty directly that if I worked the plan, 100%, there is no way he could not keep my body losing. I set out to prove him wrong by doing everything right. (side note: I failed at times at being perfect. Go Figure.)
What this 100% commitment translated to in reality was what some might consider extreme. I skipped a family Easter dinner because I knew that I was not in a place mentally/emotionally to go to a gathering and eat on plan. I took a small amount of heat for that from family and it was kind of depressing to spend Easter alone, but I figured if I can get my weight under control, I will have at least 50 more Easter dinners. If I don’t, my Easter dinners are numbered. I chose an extreme short-term measure based on how I felt in the moment in regards to food for the vision of a long and healthy life.
Often I will decline invitations to things based on how I feel about food. At first, I didn’t explain why and later I began to explain and as my friends saw my results they totally supported my decision to remain steadfast in my commitment, no matter what.
Now, I don’t always say no to things. There are plenty of times I feel in complete control and will go and meet friends for dinner. I will have already eaten my dinner and will merely sit with them while they eat and I will drink a diet soda. At first this was weird, but again, as friends saw my intense commitment to my journey and that nothing was going to stop me, they stopped questioning me and really started supporting me.
Often, they ask when my next free meal is, so we can do dinner out without breaking plan. Some have joined me for cardio on occasion. Others have asked what my meal plan is for that week and invited to cook for me, then cooked according to my plan. When people love and support you, they are willing to make adjustments to be able to spend time with you in a way that is supportive.
Yes, at first it is weird to say no often and to set firm boundaries based on what you can handle in a given moment. For this people pleasing girl, it felt incredibly selfish to be making such demands on where and what we do. What I discovered though is that this is MY journey. People love me. I don’t say that in an arrogant way, just a matter of fact. My friends and family love me and they support me to the extent of my commitment. If I am wishy-washy in my stance, they will be to. If I stand firm in what I can and cannot do or handle they will rise up and stand firmly beside me and they will do it gladly.
All of these paragraphs ultimately say this…it’s ok to say no and it’s ok to set boundaries. This is your life. Do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. One day you might be able to handle ordering off of a menu, other days you might not without deviating from plan. Know your limits. Check in often with yourself and act accordingly. Your true friends will love you, respect you more, and rise to the occasion to support you as you take bold steps to take back your life.
and…don’t be afraid to let people in on what you are doing and to ask for help.
We are not meant to live life alone. I could not have lost 78 lbs without the help, love and support of my friends. They could not have supported me well unless I was clear about what I needed. Give them a chance to support you, say no as often as you need to. Know your limits.