I wrote a post on Facebook the other day that said, “Nine word you will never hear me say: If I can do it, you can do it!” I didn’t elaborate on it much, I just made the statement and left it at that. Today, I’m elaborating because this is something that has bugged me for a long time and I feel compelled to share.
This is my message to all of you (us) who have been successful in losing weight…
PLEASE STOP SAYING:
“If I can do it, you (anyone) can do it!”
I realize that those words are meant to encourage others who feel like they can’t lose weight but I don’t believe they are as effective as you think. In fact, I personally find those words insulting both to the person who says them AND to the person at whom they are aimed. Worse than that, I believe that they are capable of doing more harm than good.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but to me, regardless of how well intended those words may be, when I hear or read them I instantly feel defensive.
I mean, essentially what people are saying is, “Don’t tell me you can’t lose weight! Look at me! I lost weight so obviously you can too. I mean, if I, me and ALL of MY issues could lose weight then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do it too.”
Now I know those (probably) aren’t your intentions but regardless, that’s what those words are capable of: creating feelings of guilt and self-loathing.
Furthermore, your ability to lose weight has absolutely NOTHING to do with anyone else’s ability to do the same so PLEASE stop using this phrase to “inspire” others. Stop encouraging people to compare themselves to you. Stop rubbing it in their faces that YOU were successful and that they’re…not…yet.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Be PROUD of your accomplishments without degrading yourself. You achieved those goals because you worked hard and didn’t give up all while learning valuable lessons that should be celebrated and shared with others.
If you want to inspire your friends and family to live the happy, healthy lifestyle that you’ve achieved then talk about HOW you did it. Be honest about how difficult it was; tell them about the sacrifices you made and continue to make without sounding all high and mighty about it. Share the obstacles that arose and what you did to overcome them. Tell them what worked for you and what didn’t work. Reassure them that it is a PROCESS that requires trial and error, dedication and determination. Let others know that there will be plateaus and setbacks and plenty of frustration but that in the end it’s all worth it. Tell them that you believe in them and that you’re there to support them but DO NOT TELL THEM THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU DID IT THEY CAN TOO!
PLEASE, PLEASE erase those words from your vocabulary and remember that what actually determined your success was that you believed in YOURSELF. Allow others to believe in THEMSELVES too.
For those of you who are struggling to lose weight, please don’t compare yourself to me or others. We all have our strengths, weaknesses, abilities, limitations and obstacles. Yes, you CAN do it, but not because I did it, or because anyone else did it, it’s because YOU ARE doing it. Believe in yourself.