My Boxing Coach Gave Me An Actual Compliment!!

Gloves and wrapThat’s right, I got an actual compliment from The Instructor (TI) in my boxing class!! Understand that TI is a nice guy. He’s funny and he’s encouraging. He’s also a Welshman who yells like a drill sergeant. All the other coaches at the studio use head mics to be heard over music and sounds of people working out. Not TI, he just bellows.

While in class TI walks around and helps people with their form or encourages them to work harder. This usually means variations of, “C’mon you can do more than that!” or, my favorite, “Keep moving! This isn’t yoga!” When he helps me he’ll say something like, “There you go. You’re getting it.” But it isn’t an actual compliment as much as an acknowledgment that I’m trying.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to modulate my effort in class. The first few classes were so hard that I just did what I could do and sort of limped my way through, happy to just get through to the end. Once I started getting a little better, I realized that all my energy was going to the first part of class, but by the end I was completely worn out. So, I tried holding back a little at the top of class and about halfway through pushing out as hard as I could – but that’s a lot trickier than it sounds. Once you get used to holding back, it’s hard to suddenly pick up, especially since make no mistake, the class is tough. Last night for whatever reason, I just went all for it. And that’s when it happened, I was working a combination at the bag and he walked over, watched for a second and said:


AHHH! I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know if it was on my form (which I kind of doubt since I am still working on that,) or if it was because I was really going to town on that bag. I have to say, it made my night – and just that one word helped me keep pushing through the class. At the end I was slowing down, of course (and so was everyone else,) but it felt great.

You know what that means of course… now I have to give it everything I’ve got every week. Whew.


Photo credit: Maxim Pierre via flickr

Does My Face Cause Regrets?

compliment or-nsultOccasionally I write about the odd “compliments” I’ve gotten since losing weight. Please understand that I know most of these are said with good intentions, and I do appreciate that. I just smile and say thank you when they are given. (I only rant here in the privacy of the internet with you, dear reader.) And one final disclaimer – I am not “anti-compliment” or anything. I really do appreciate when people take the time to say something nice or encouraging to me, it’s just that sometimes, when you dig into what has really been said, it isn’t really a compliment.

The most recent one came when I changed my profile photo on Facebook. (It’s the same photo of me that I put up on this post.) I don’t post a lot of of photos of myself, so a lot of people commented on it and said very nice things… but there was one that got under my skin. It was from an ex. He’s a good guy and we dated back in my 20s. The relationship was never going to “go anywhere” but we had a lot of fun. Even though we had our issues, I was honestly surprised when he dumped me for his crackpot, creepy boss. This is the compliment he left:

I don’t have many regrets in life, but this photo gives me an additional one.

Now, I know it’s supposed to be nice, but… it isn’t. Not really. Let’s break it down:

If he just had said, “I don’t have many regrets in my life, but you are one of them.” (and not on a photo of me,) that could have been sweet. Without being on a photo, the comment could be because I am an awesome human being and an all-around badass, and he regrets dumping me for his weird, needy and possessive boss lady. Fair enough.

If he had said, “Daaaaaaannnnnnng woman, you loooooooook goooooood. I haven’t dated anything that fine since 1993!” I would have laughed my head off. (And it would have probably been true!)

However, when we unpack what he did say, this is what I get: “You look good, now. I regret breaking up with you, now.” Honestly, that just ticks me off. I may have lost a little weight and gotten a makeover, but I am still the same dang person! The photo gives you an additional regret? You think I look attractive (now) and so you wish you hadn’t been a jerk in the 90s? What if I wasn’t attractive? Would you still regret it? Because let’s be honest, I’m still basically the same person I was a year ago. I can’t exactly put my finger on why, but this comment of his makes all my feminist hackles rise.

I don’t mean to make mountains out of molehills, and hey, I like the way I look too. I just don’t have any illusions that it makes me any different (better or worse) than I was before. I’m me, for all that that means: good and bad. If you regret being a jerk because you were a jerk, fine. If you think I am pretty, fine. But if you regret being a jerk because I am pretty, you’re still a jerk.


“You Have To Stop”

This is my "Did you really just say that to me?!?" face.

This is my “Did you really just say that to me?!?” face.

So, in the middle of the office today my boss said to me, “You have to stop.”

“What?!” I asked, thinking he was talking about how many tech bugs I had been assigning to our developer staff.

“Losing weight. I am serious. It isn’t healthy, the way you… you need to stop.”

Fortunately, at that minute we were both heading into meetings, because that meant I didn’t punch my boss. Which is good. I just bought a new furnace. I need my job.

But, I can’t get it out of my mind. I had an urge to show him my food logs on MyFitness Pal and say things like, “Hey, what did you have for breakfast? Pretty sure it was crackers and jam since that’s what you eat every morning at your desk. Today I had polish sausage, ham, goat cheese, a fruit smoothie, cantaloupe, and a cup of coffee… with cream.” (All true, by the way.) I also had the urge to challenge him to a push up contest. He looks pretty fit, but I guarantee I’d smoke ‘im.

He’s my boss, and he’s roughly 20 some odd years older than me, so I know he has kind of a “dad” thing. I am tempted to remind him that I was once married to someone older than him, but that probably wouldn’t help either. Look, I understand that “you have to stop” thing is actually an older, awkward male way of saying “you look good and I don’t know how to process that, or say anything nice, since that might be considered sexual harassment.” I don’t like it, but I get it.

Obviously the face of poor health.

Obviously the face of poor health.

It’s the “it isn’t healthy” part that just ticks me right off. Look, I know exactly how healthy I am. And thanks to this blog, you my dear reader, have a pretty good idea too. But my boss? He has no clue. I know to the ounce what I weight. I know my bone density, my fat percentage and my muscle mass. I know where I fall in various charts and graphs on body weight. I also know exactly how much I eat, what percentage of it is carbs, proteins and fats, and how fast I can run and much I can dead lift.

I know there are concerns about eating disorders, and if he had taken me aside and said, “Hey, are you doing okay? It seems like you are losing a lot of weight, and I am concerned.” I might have been a bit flustered, but not mad. That would have been nice. Calling me out in the middle of the office is not nice.

I also understand that we are looking at a big change here. Not only have I dropped 30 some pounds, but I have also drastically changed the way I dress. I now (*gasp*) wear clothing that actually fits. For a long time I wore 2X clothes on a 1XL body. Now that I like the way I look, I am more comfortable with wearing clothes that actually conform to my body. I’ve been working in the office 14 years, so it’s a big change.

But still… it is so insulting! Like I don’t know how to take care of myself! So, I decided to do something about it, something that would help me laugh it off and shake it off. I went into the ladies loo and took these photos. I want you to see what the look of poor health is so you can identify it and call your friends, loved ones and coworkers out on it. They’ll thank you for it.  Jeesh….

One more quick note – I used to hate photographs of myself. Frankly, I’m still kind of uncomfortable with it, but I read this article: Hate Your Body? Take More Pics! on Everyday Feminism, and decided that I loved the idea of reclaiming my self-image. And you know what? Taking these silly photos and writing this post helped a lot. Thanks!

(Also if you want to read more ridiculous things people have said to me, click the Compliments tag. Sadly this isn’t the first.)

A Compliment I Hate

Intentions by findingtheobviousGetting compliments about my weight loss is fun. I’ve written about some of my favorites before. However, there is one compliment that I kind of hate. I’ve heard it twice in the last couple of days:

You’d better watch it! You are wasting away to nothing!

Ugh. Seriously, I hate this. Look, I understand that the folks who say this don’t mean any harm. I know they are trying to be nice… which is why my answer is polite instead of a punch to the jaw. But let’s break it down a bit, shall we? Let’s talk about what I actually hear when someone says this. (Hint: It isn’t, “You look very nice.”)

You’d better watch it! What is this supposed to mean? It seems to imply that I don’t work for this, that instead I took some magic pill and oooohh noooo if I don’t get the antidote in time I will disappear completely! I mean, talk about condescending. The subtext I get here is that if they had the option, they would have stopped my weight loss a few pounds back, but I am obviously the type to run wildly with scissors, golf in thunderstorms, and lose too much weight. Gack.

You are wasting away to nothing! Okay, what in the world am I supposed to say to this? My instinct is to say something like, “oh no, there is plenty of me to lose!” Yuck. I can’t believe that actually came out of my mouth the last time. I sound simultaneously like one of those people who can’t take a compliment and like I am obsessed with my weight. Plus this is one of those negative compliments. I know it is supposed to be humorous, but instead it sounds like I am now less of person now that I have less weight. That’s ridiculous.

And finally, the word “wasting” makes me uncomfortable. We’ve known people who have lost a lot weight due to horrible sickness, that is wasting. It is sad and awful. That is not what is happening here. Implying it bothers me; it cheapens the pain of others.

Again, I know that the two people that said this to me mean well. They would be shocked and mortified if they knew how this made me feel since none of that was their intention. Who knows? I might have even used this phrase myself back in the old days, it sounds like something I might have said. I know this though, I will never say it again. Instead, if someone is looking well, I think I will start with, “Hey, you look great.”


Photo credit: findingtheobvious

Sometimes, You Have to Laugh

From the Amusing Compliments File*Day 279: Smiles by crimsong19

Last night I had a Board Meeting. The conversation went something like this:

Board Member 1 (who knew I was working on my weight): There she is! Miss Skinny Minnie! [followed by additional very kind compliments.]

Board Member 2 (who obviously heard the complimentary tone, but not the content,): Oh yeah! I wanted to say, Long View Hill, that I noticed it right away in the parking lot. You have a new haircut! I thought to myself, Long View Hill looks really cute today! **

Note: I have had roughly the same haircut for about a year now.

Lesson Learned: When you lose 20 pounds, you also get great hair!  Who knew?!

* I share these compliments with you because they make me laugh, but please know that these are not the only things people have said to me. People have been awesome! I have had wonderful support from my boyfriend, my sister, my mother, and all my dear friends. One of my coworkers, who I’ll call Always Annoyed Coworker (as she always seems a little pissed off), raved about my weight loss the other day. This is the first compliment she has given me in the 14 years I’ve known her!

** Though I giggle about this with you, I learned a long time ago that a compliment is a gift. You should never turn down a well intentioned gift. The best thing to say when getting a gift is simply, thank you. My response to Board Member 2 was: Thank you. I appreciate that!

Photo credit: crimsong19

Worst Compliment, Ever

So, I wore my new fancy clothes to work today.

My fashionista coworker called in sick.

My weight loss guru coworker was in a foul and grumpy mood and refused to talk to anyone all day.

The only comment was from one of my male coworkers, who said:

“Did you lose more weigh… oh no, you are just wearing a black shirt. Never mind.”

You gotta laugh!