While at the grocery store tonight I did something I’ve not done before. I overheard a woman in the next check out line tell the cashier that tomorrow is her 48th birthday and she’s going to celebrate by beginning to lose weight. Of course, this got my attention. Age 48? Using that particular birthday as a motivator? Hmmm. She reminded me of…well, me.
While I was writing my check I whipped out the incredibly unattractive photo of me taken when I weighed 81 pounds more than I now weigh. I keep it with me so that I can remember how bad things were and how bad they can be again. By the time I got through check-out the shopper was outside waiting for her hubs to pick her up curbside. She was quite a bit overweight and I wanted to offer some encouragement. I made my approach.
Me: Excuse me. I overheard you talking about wanting to lose weight.
Her: Yes, my mom’s overweight and I just really need to make some changes.
Me: (Wondering what her mom had to do with it and showing her my awful photo). This was me 81 pounds ago. You can do this.
Her: Well, it’s going to be hard for me. I have asthma and I can’t exercise like others can.
Me: I understand. But in my experience it’s 80% nutrition, so I know you can do it.
Her: But it’s really going to be hard for me. I love sweets and it’s going to be tough to go without them.
Me: Um, it’s been hard for me too at times. But I know you can do it.
This went back and forth for a few more sentences. I finally gave up and headed to my car. My last attempt at motivation was to say, “If I can do it, you can do it.” She shot me a look that suggested she didn’t believe me.
I have no idea what this woman has been through in life. I’m not a doctor and I know nothing about her medical condition. What I saw was someone who wants to lose weight but seems to be stuck in hopelessness. I really hoped to say something that would be helpful. I’ll I seemed to do was trigger some kind of martyrdom and frankly, I was annoyed. I wish I hadn’t commented.
There’s a saying among people who are on a path of recovery. “You spot it, you got it.” That simply means if I see a behavior in someone that annoys me…that really gets under my skin, I also have that behavior. I hate that saying, because in my experience it has been true. I think the reason this woman’s attitude annoyed me was because I’ve been where she appeared to be. I remember thinking weight loss was easy for everyone else, but it was my lot in life to be heavy and miserable. I no longer feel that way and I didn’t enjoy being reminded of that trait I thankfully abandoned quite a while ago.
Tonight I’ll pray that this woman receives the understanding that she can eat cleanly tomorrow. And hopefully she’ll want to do the same the following day.