Monday, November 8, 2010

Don't Listen to the Critics

If there's one thing I've learned about this journey over the past three years, it's this: you can't please everybody, and you shouldn't bother trying (when it comes to weight loss). The only one who matters in YOUR weight loss journey is YOU. I don't mean I don't care about other people... obviously, I do. Trying to encourage is one thing; trying to *please* is something totally different.

It's human nature to speak one's opinions. There is nothing wrong with doing that! I have gotten some great insights and advice from comments on my blog. I love it! But you may have noticed I ignore a lot of the advice I get. And that's to keep my sanity!

There is the kind advice, which comes from people who actually do care and want to help me succeed.
There is the hostile (usually anonymous) criticism, from people who seem to have bitterness in their hearts.
Both forms of communication give information. When you get a comment with 'advice' or 'criticism', think about it for a minute. Maybe they have a point. But don't base your journey on what *everyone else says.*

Here's some of the advice/criticism I have gotten over the years on this blog:

You are eating too many calories. Cut back!
You eat way too much fruit. Bananas are high in sugar.
You need to exercise more. Try jogging, swimming, aerobics.
You are losing weight too slowly. I am not inspired anymore.
You are eating too few calories. You are going into starvation mode.
Why don't you eat fruit? Fruit is good for you!
Don't exercise right now, just focus on the eating.
You need counseling or you'll never lose the weight.
Try OA. You are an addict and cannot do this by yourself.
You are losing weight too quickly! That's bad for your body.
Stop drinking coffee. It's unhealthy.
Cut the sugar out of your diet. Try Splenda instead.
I love how you sort through issues in the past to resolve them. Do that more often!
You need to eat more beans.
You should go to Weight Watchers. You need the structure.
Close down the blog. It's not helping you lose weight, it's just a distraction.
Don't use artificial sweeteners. They are poison. Try agave nectar.
Why do you use honey in your tea? Honey is the same as sugar.
Three pounds a month is not ever going to get you to your goal.
Try doing some squats and lunges to strengthen your legs.
Stop dwelling in the past. Let the past go and quit bringing it up.
Cut out the beans and oatmeal, they are too high carb.
Persimmons can be toxic.
Drink more coffee. The antioxidants are good for you and the caffeine speeds up your metabolism.
You need to go to a binge eating disorder camp.
I think you are turning anorexic, you're not eating enough.
Agave nectar is really bad for you! Use sugar instead.
Why are you eating dark chocolate? You need to stop indulging to lose the weight!
Losing 10 pounds a month is so drastic. Slow it down a bit!
Medifast is a starvation diet.
You are eating too much protein.
You should not eat so many eggs, the cholesterol is bad for you.
You are just going to gain it all back when you go off Medifast.
You are too strict. Indulge once in awhile or you'll go crazy.
You are losing a bunch of muscle because you're not strength training.
You are losing weight so fast that you are going to have a real problem with loose skin.
I cannot believe it has taken you over three years to lose weight. How about getting serious?

See, if I tried to listen to *everyone*, I would go insane. I get all kinds of advice. Some of it is good, and based in fact. Some, not so much. Doesn't really matter. What matters is that over time, I have learned that I really DO know myself best. Sure, I make mistakes, but it's that part of the journey. I run things past my doctor. I do my research. And then I make decisions based on what *I* want, what *I* believe will help me the most. And so far, I am very happy with the results.

People criticized me back when I did a monthly calorie bank (x number of calories in a month, instead of a day) but it did work for me, for awhile. It taught me some things, and then I changed to another method. People tell me I am not doing enough or am doing too much of this or that. People say I should never have ice cream in the house, bake cookies, or feed my kids Pizza Hut. But see, the only one who knows all the details of my life, is me. Like I said before, I feel like I am getting a PhD in myself. I understand that not everyone knows that my knees are shredded and that if I did lunges and squats I would be in the hospital. I know not everybody remembers the pain I was in for weeks after doing gentle swim aerobics. I know not everyone agrees with me using artificial sweeteners NOW and going back to using honey LATER. And I know when I post that I put bacon in my split pea soup someone will have a fit about it. That's okay! I absolutely do not mind people sharing their opinions and thoughts! But let's be respectful. Me, I can take it... but I hate to see other bloggers who are newer at this and take a harsh comment very personally, letting it set them off to self doubt and sometimes overeating or stopping blogging because of it. Let's be kind.

I do thank everyone who has left suggestions and insights. I have definitely learned from all of you! But bloggers, and others: don't listen to the critics. If what YOU are doing is working for YOU, so be it. Smile and nod and keep doing what you're doing. Ask your doctor if you're worried about something. Do your own research, but do NOT worry about what everyone else thinks, says, or comments to or about you. If you are losing weight slow/fast enough for *yourself* that is what matters. We all have to deal with the consequences of our choices. But the very best part of this journey is learning about yourself. And it does take trial and error and lots of time to make that happen.


-J.Darling said...

Two Thumbs way up Lynn!

The #1 thing I advise ANYONE in ANY Situation is that YOU have to live with YOU for the rest of your life. So if you can do XYZ and look yourself in the mirror and be proud of that than - then you're doing the right thing! If not, then maybe some of that advice isn't a bad place to start?

Lisa said...

This is a great post! Every person is different and you do what works for you. No one is perfect and we do the best we can.

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

I completely agree with you! Do what works for you - what works for some may not work for others.

I like the "getting a PhD about myself" bit!

I always say this: If I'm listening to everyone else and trying to make everyone else happy, then there is probably one person who IS unhappy - me! To thine own self be true.

Julie Lost and Found said...

amen and amen!!

Lisa said...

I love that you are working on getting a PhD about yourself. I think I am still working on my Master's. ;-) Awesome post -- thanks.

Signed: New Blogger Lisa

Anonymous said...

Amen.................. Linda from Pa.

Joy said...

Going around the blog world the last two days, I don't think this post could have come at a better time! My blog is brand new so no backhanded advice yet but I expect it will happen at some point. You just keep on, keepin' on, Lyn. You know what you're doing and have 100 lbs less to show for it ;)

BTW, I emailed you the other day to ask to be added to Bethany's blogroll but my Yahoo was acting funny and now I can't find the sent email. Would you mind adding me to it? I'm new to the blogging world and am trying to delve in as much as possible! I would really appreciate it! :)

Princess Dieter said...

I'm all about people finding what works for them. Not everyone has the same lifestyle, taste buds, discipline, cooking skills, etc.

If a person wants to do high carb, low carb, medium carb, Zone, Atkins, Potato Diet. Whatever. If it works for them, gets them to a healthier weight, teaches them something about how to plan their life to keep that healthier weight, then fine.

I sent off my DNA to find out which diet is a best match for me. I plan to try their suggestion. If it works, it works. If not, I'll tweak. But it's a thing I'd like to know.

My only concern is when people actually do stuff that may harm them and leave them in the hospital or dead. Other than that, if they wanna eat one meal a day or six, their business. If they wanna eat no fruit and all veggies, their business. If they wanna eat bacon 10 times a week and steak 7, their business. Eventually, their bodies will like it or not and they'll learn something.

I'm all about learning what your own body likes. :)

If someone asks me what I think is idea, I'd say: Fruit and veggies, clean meats and dairy, healthy fats, occasional treats, balance, and keeping to the number of calories that your body can handle for its size and activity level.

That's ideal to me.

But ultimately I think it's about finding a way to keep your weight down and health up with as much enjoyment as one's caloric limit allows. There is truth to the fact that if we eat above what we burn off metabolically, we will gain weight. So, finding our individual enjoyment in that boundary, we each have to figure that out.

And I wish everyone well on whatever they do, though I do cringe when I see people eating cookies, candy, sodas, and claim victory on a non-produce day, low protein day, as long as its in the caloric limit/WW points allowance. There is such a thing as "crap food choices" that will starve your muscles and bones and hurt your pancreas/liver. :)

Anonymous said...

Off Topic:
Wanted to send you a thanks. While back you posted about hair loss, and taking biotin and oils. I've experienced loss and thought I'd give it a try. Each of the 5 days I've used the biotin has been full of comfortable energy. This is a change, maybe a coincidence, but maybe not. In any case, thanks!


froggy said...

when my four nieces were teenagers we were sitting in my SIL's living room talking about diets. The girls were asking my SIL and myself questions about all the latest diets and trends. I had to laugh to myself. My SIL and I had YEARS of experience and we weren't very good at it so I don't think we were the best to give advice!

Chris said...

Yep! You gotta be ok with it for it to work! Its that simple!

Shan said...

I had to giggle at all of the advice. I have seen so much of that from message boards. I remember the wars that ensued after SBD or Adkins hit big (again)..The WW vs pick a diet...Tea and Coffee...what-have-you. It's insane!

So, thanks for the reminder!

Ann K. said...

Rule of life #546: Don't give advice to others. They really don't want it (even if they think they do):p

I learnt this in active listening for psychology and counselling and its true. I will break my own rule and say:
Do do whatever you feel is right (like maybe getting a PhD in yourself!) :D

Twix said...

good advive :D

spunkysuzi said...

I truly do believe that different things work for different people and no two are alike!!
As i'm learning what my body wants and deals with i'm becoming a lot less stressed.

mensa said...

Some times it does make your head spin, doesn't it? There was a famous person that said something like I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. I think that parallels with doing you own thing when it comes to losing weight. Just because you don't do it like I do it doesn't mean that I'm not cheering for you. Good post.


Esre said...

You are awesome, just keep doing what you are doing it works for you!

Ann-Marie said...

The only thing listening to other people ever did for me was make me unhappy. If I do what makes my body feel good I'll feel good too. I actually did have any success until I stopped listening to other people.

Lily Fluffbottom said...

In the end, it looks like you win. I mean, despite everyone's helpful or not so helpful advice, you lost weight, and you're keeping it off. Good for you! Don't let the man get you down!

Lori said...

Bravo! Losing weight is so individual and people change during a weight loss as well, particularly those of us that have lost a lot of weight. You are able to recognize when something stops working and do what *you* need to do, not what someone else tells you to do or whatever the latest fad is.

Anonymous said...

You're my inspiration. You are doing wonderful and I am thrilled for you!! My husband has lost 30lbs in the last 3 months and some will try to criticize his method and sabatoge (sp?) him too; but he is doing it in a healthy way too and he has so much more energy. I tell him to ignore all the criticism too!

Rose B.

Cynthia said...

I love it, Lyn!

If there is anything this journey is, it is INDIVIDUAL! No one else knows my body or what will drive me nuts or what will work. I am figuring things out, bit by bit. One thing I've learned is that my tendency to push hard during exercise is NOT what I actually need to be doing right now and maybe not best for me ever.

That long list of advice cracked me up!

Mind Over Fatter said...

How true but I just cannot believe some of the comments you posted as coming from other bloggers, it boggles my mind. In the end the only person that has to be pleased is ourself. No one out there has the magic answer and should just focus on themselves...

LN said...

Bravo!! And thanks, I am new to blogging and can relax a bit about comments and advice now.

Fat Grump said...

I completely agree Lyn. We have to find a way of losing weight that works for us.

We all do it differently. Some people become 'experts' in their fields, and that is great, advice is great too, but at the end of the day, if a plan makes us uncomfortable or seems unworkable (to us!) then it is of no use whatsoever. We have to find our own way, and often that involves lots of trial and error.

I am muddling along. Those people who are really into it and exercising and cutting out this that and the other I admire - because I know I couldn't do it! :) Conversely, they may be rolling their eyes heavenwards because I am 'muddling' through and including food treats in my plan. I become impatient with am losing weight (extremely!) slowly!:)But it works for me.

The advice is often well-meaning, but we do have to find our own way if we embark on this long term. We know ourselves best. I think you've shown us that you have found a way that works for you, despite the critics.

Sil said...

You should not be so happy, you should not be so proud, you've only come to fully understand what compassion is all about. You've only got to known yourself and became free (not only from the pounds) but from the power of other individuals and from (some of) the absurd requirements from a very unkind society. You are an awesome woman. I admire you.
Lots of love from miles away

Verity Vaudeville said...

I know what you mean. It's not the helpful suggestions or advice but the people who live by the 'one size fits all' mentality. They see that you're not following it to the letter and tell you that you're doing it all wrong. When, like you said, only you can know what does or doesn't work. And just because one method is effective for someone, doesn't mean it would be to the next individual. Because that's what it is; a very individual journey.

Anonymous said...

I like this post. I do not post what I eat online because I got tired of hearing people tell me what I should and shouldn't be eating from it. So I do my own thing, sometimes trying out advice others give me to see what a difference it makes, and sometimes I ignore it!

Gaelowyn said...

awesome post!! sad thing is.. i've told MYSELF almost all those 'comments' in month, or sometimes a week in the past!! hell, maybe even in one day!
I think that you sharing your journey is AWESOME.. and inspiring.. and I hope, nay, believe that most people take from it little nuggets to use in their daily lives, in their own little ways. Thanks.. this is a great 'service' to many people out there.. even the negative nancies!!
I used to get a lot of flak from a particular co-worker, who tried to turn her little work area into a mini-middle school clique..going so far as to talk about others as they were still in the same room, then go all "hush.." when they would turn around at hearing their name mentioned! I looked at it this way.. if her life was so empty that picking on me gave her some degree of happiness, if even for a few seconds.. well then, I served a higher purpose without even having to do much. I have my family, my friends, my pets. I have love and support.. I don't need anything from her. And then.. because I know it pizzles her off to no end.. I kill her with kindness! :)

Ruth said...

Love the list of advice! too funny, and annoying really. (haven't we all heard things like this before. oh, the 'experts'! gotta love 'em.)

Susan said...

Amen. AMEN.

There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all diet, or eating style that works for everyone. We all need to get a PhD in ourselves.

Well said!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

I am so unmotivated by harshness. Seriously... no one EVER erected a statue to a critic!!


Beth at Obesity Strike said...

Love the list. You are eating too much vs you are anorexic. Amazing what different people can see in the same blog.

theantijared said...

If I listened to everyone then...what am I saying? I never listened.

Rhi said...

Hi Lyn!

I've been reading your blog for the last year or so, and you never cease to provide many thought-provoking topics! It blows my mind the conflicting and sometimes ignorant advice that you have gotten, and I'm so happy for you in the path you've taken.
I also have a blog (read: very very new), and if you would take a look and come and say hi over there I would really appreciate it!
Keep doing what you're doing!

Ariel said...

Glad I read this post. It applies to more than just weight loss.