Tuesday, October 4, 2011

323- But I Did

Over a year ago, I was out to lunch with a friend of mine and we decided to go for a walk after our meal.  She is considerably overweight, but it never seemed to bother her.  She never talked about it or made any noticeable efforts to eat differently/exercise.  As we were walking, she commented on how much weight I had lost recently (this was after my first 3 months of Paleo) and asked me to help her lose weight.  I was surprised by her request, but immediately my brain screamed "bad idea" so I told her I would think about it.
I had to think about this for many reasons.  1) Who am I to give anyone advice?  2) I know both of our personalities could clash if one person is telling the other what to do 3) I knew her, and she doesn't do anything she doesn't want to do and 4) I know myself, and how frustrated I get if people don't listen to my suggestions, especially after asking for them!  So, there was a lot of potential for friction and I had to decide if I wanted to put myself in that situation.  I politely declined, citing my continuing battle and how I still had a long way to go myself.  She understood.
If you know me, you know I couldn't just let this go.  Someone genuinely asked for my help, and I couldn't just decline.  So every time I was headed out the door to do something active, I would call and ask her if she wanted to go.  She was always busy doing something.  I put her address information into a box on the WeightWatchers webpage that said "send me information."  One day I was over at her house, and I saw the materials in the recycling bin.  I asked her about them, and she said "I have no time to attend meetings, plus its too expensive."  I invited her to come to my gym over and over, and eventually, after I had heard every form of "no" possible I just stopped asking.  I had her over for dinners consisting of delicious meat and vegetables.  She always talked about how good the food was, but when I would offer to show her how to make it, she would turn me down.  I made a point to stop making our meetings involve a meal out somewhere, and started suggesting active things, or coffee shops.  Before I knew it, we were hanging out considerably less since we weren't going out to eat!
Yesterday, I was over at her house and she was telling me how she got invited to her 10 year college reunion happening during Christmas time, and how her soul mate had already said he was attending via Facebook.  She went on to say, "I'm so fat.  I'm just as fat as I was a year ago, and if only you had helped me when I asked, I wouldn't have to face him so fat."
I said to her: "But I did.  I asked you to do stuff with me.  I offered to teach you how to make healthy meals.  I invited you to my gym.  I stopped making dates to eat out at restaurants with you.  I had WeightWatchers send you stuff.  What more did you want from me?"


  1. Until people really want to change, they won't. Change is uncomfortable, especially at first. You did various things to help, and you did it in a way that was not pressuring her, but allowing her to MAKE the decision. She chose NOT to learn/do/join/cooperate.

    Frankly, I'd have been mighty pissed if someone put their lack of progress on my shoulders.

    I can't tell you how much, for months, every time we met, I tried to get my nephew to give up sugar/eat more healthful options at family functions/etc. He died before he could make the changes...at age 44...with complications made worse by his morbid obesity. I still feel like, "What if I had tried harder." But the truth is, and i know it, until HE had decided, all my trying would have been for naught. All my tips, interventions...bupkis.

    I'm willing to help anyone in my family or circle who asks. But I expect that when they ask, they are serious, not bullshitting me and wasting my time. I will offer books, urls, time, tips, recipes. Whatever. But they need to be serious, or nothing will happen.

    That, I learned.

  2. It's definitely NOT your fault. You did everything that you could. It's ultimately up to the person to make the changes that he/she wants and they have to really WANT to change. Not everyone gets to that point...unfortunately. It's taken me awhile and I'm not even totally there yet. Not as committed as some people are. But I'm working on it and will take responsibilty for myself and not put it on someone elses' shoulders.