Friendly Fire

March 25, 2010

I woke up feeling pretty awful this morning–sick to my stomach and freezing cold. I’m pretty sure that this is a result of some unrelated to dieting stresses I am experiencing in my life at the moment, but it has me in a pretty unmotivated mood. Funny enough, this is a great mood to be in to discuss a dieting phenomena I have deemed “friendly fire”.

Borrowed from the military term Friendly Fire in dieting is a similar idea: friends accidentally shooting your motivation down……and it really is the oddest thing.

I go out of my way to avoid telling people that I have changed how I’m eating because of this, actually. Have you noticed how, when you tell someone you’re not drinking, or you’re going to get a side salad in place of fries, instead of being supportive and congratulating you on a healthy choice, your dining companions will often question your motives?

Now I can understand when people who are of pretty healthy weight get into a bout with low self-esteem and talk about wanting to lose weight, usually through crash dieting. Friends worry about them and want to make sure they know that they are beautiful and don’t need to change a thing. But for girls like me, who have been told by medical professionals that we need to cut our weight in half–those of us weighting well over 200 lbs, why should our motives have to be questioned?

Well… as odd as it is, people get weird about weight loss. There is just no way around it. Some people feel guilty because they know they too should be making better choices and exercising. Some people (as shallow as it may be) will worry that you will began to look better and want to find new friends or a new significant other. And still, some people will just be weird about it.

The only way I have found to help avoid Friendly Fire is to be absolutely assertive when it occurs. I chose to not drink one night and several of my friends were put off by it–as uncomfortable as it was I told them each individually that I am worried I will die in my 30s if I maintain my current weight. And that my doctor has told me I will develop heart problems if I don’t start to change my behavior. Once your friends realize your true motivation for change, they’ll be supportive. They want you around as long as you can be. I also let them know that I think I am beautiful now inside and out, and that I am just wanting to make sure my life lasts as long as it can. If for some reason your friends/family/co-workers or whatever aren’t supportive after this, maybe they aren’t really as great as they seem to be.

Lastly, I still avoid telling people that aren’t close to me that I’m losing weight. Actually, my dad who lives in a different state doesn’t even know. Why? Because people can care too much, that’s why. If my dad knew, for example, he would be really excited and always want to know what I ate and how much exercise I’ve done every single time we talk. That can be great support-wise, but it can also create expectations of you that are unrealistic. You can start to feel as if you’re going to let these other people down if you eat a piece of fruit for breakfast, or indulge in some sugar-free pudding after dinner. For me, it’s easier to live up to my own expectations and not let my weight loss be the focus of my interactions with others.


4 Responses to “Friendly Fire”

  1. […] your friends why you’re cutting back–you’ll need to expect some Friendly Fire, because it makes people feel awkward when they’re drinking and you’re […]

  2. […] trust for diet advice. The list includes your mom and mainstream media. I made a post about friends and family that seem to care about you, but really sabotage dieting when I first started the blog, and definitely think the idea is worth […]

  3. […] I plan to revisit Friendly Fire, and how to avoid letting others get you off track (something BIG around the holidays). […]

  4. […] of my very first posts on this blog was about something I like to call Friendly Fire, and I’d like to take a moment to reflect on this […]

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