Magical Wishes

Genie Lamp by DavidD on flickrI ran across this article on Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty on the fallacy of weight loss miracle cures. (They have so many great articles over there, check them out if you get a chance.) Anyway, it reminded me of something that’s been happening in my own life in regards to my weight loss: dealing with the question: So, what are you doing?

It comes up almost every time I bump into someone who hasn’t seen me for awhile. I have a small frame, so my weight loss is fairly obvious. Inevitably the So, what are you doing?question comes up. The frustrating thing is that they don’t really want to know. No one wants to hear the real answer. If I start to tell the truth, “I used the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track calories.” their eyes glaze over and they look away. I have actually had someone, a friend, turn her head and start a new conversation with someone else while I was in the middle of that sentence, at about “on my phone to track…” The truth is what everyone already knows – there is only one way to lose weight: burn more calories than you are taking in. It doesn’t really matter how you do it. Different methods work for different people, but what it comes down to is, you have to work out a little more and eat foods that are (mostly) good for you. But, of course, that isn’t what people want to hear. What they want is a miracle cure. They want to take a pill or an extract and have the “pounds melt away.”

The other thing that happens is that people hear I am running and think that is how I lost weight. It isn’t, and frankly, it really irritates me when people leap to that assumption. I know what they’re doing. They are finding a reason they can’t lose weight themselves. It goes something like this: Oh, she’s a runner now and lost a bunch of weight, but I can’t do that because (insert reason for not running) so therefor, I can’t lose weight like her. What I try to explain is that I lost the weight first. I was not running at my heaviest. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the heck out of people that are out there running while overweight. Talk about being brave and strong! I see those folks out on the trails and I always want to run up and shake their hand and tell them how awesome I think they are. (I don’t because that would be weird, but I think about it.) But that wasn’t me. Instead, I waited until I was at a size where I felt more comfortable, and that’s when I started running. I don’t run to lose weight. I run to keep the weight off. I also run to increase my stamina, my endurance and my confidence in myself. I run because I am finding I can do a lot more than I ever thought possible – but that all came after the weight.

I was venting to Julian about all this and he came up with the absolutely perfect solution. He gave me a phrase to use:

Well, I have two wishes left… and you know what?  I am taking offers…

I’ve used it a bunch. It never fails to get a laugh – usually accompanied by an eye roll. It directly confronts the magical cure mentality in a harmless way. If they press, I typically following it up with “I eat a little less, I work out a little more,” and leave it at that. Weight loss is a really personal journey. I have a few dear friends I can talk about it with, but otherwise I try not to talk about it too much, except here on my blog with you, dear reader!

Photo credit: davidd

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