Combating Negativity

Sometimes, you find that people who are close to you don’t seem to share your enthusiasm when you start a new healthy lifestyle. They ridicule, make snide comments, or otherwise put down what you are doing, trying to scare you with anecdotes they claim they heard from others or on the news about the difficulty or danger in your new diet. I have had this happen to me, and still, over three years after my wife and I began our healthy journey, I still hear from people that Paleo, Whole30, Keto, IF, etc are dangerous and won’t last long. Well, I don’t know where they are getting their info from, because Whole30 and Paleo have saved my life, I’ve been maintaining for over two years, and IF is working really well for me right now!

The reasons why people do this varies. Many times, people like to put others down when they feel their own shortcomings are being brought to the fore of their consciousness when they see you succeeding at something. They would rather drag you down than to admit that you’re doing something amazing that they can’t bring themselves to do.

Another reason this happens is because people don’t like change. They have put you into a certain slot within their world, and when you start changing your own lifestyle, they feel pressured to change where you put you in their social circle. They also begin to have doubts about being able to adapt to the changes you’re making.

Something else I’ve noticed is that often, it is the people we feel are the closest to us, or that we’ve invested a lot of emotional capital into who are the most vehement in their disapproval. In my personal experience, these people liked having the fat, jolly guy around to poke fun at. Now that I’m thinner than they are, they aren’t able to make fun of me for being overweight. It forces them to point the finger at themselves.

You need to learn to shut those people out. Often, these people are family members, and I’m not advocating cutting them out of your life, but you have to let what they say go in one ear and go out the other. I’ve had to do that, and it’s served me well.

A small anecdote about my own experience. I was telling a close family member that I was proud of hitting the 50lbs lost milestone early on, and I was expecting a congratulations or for them to at least be happy for me, but what I got was apathy and a snide remark. “Well, you still have a lot to go, so it’s not that big of a deal.” Oddly, it’s possible that in their mind they were being supportive or helpful, but if that’s what they thought they were doing, I’d have rather they didn’t even try. I didn’t let that conversation get to me. I remember it, but I didn’t let it demotivate me. If anything, I decided that I was going to show them, and that I was going to succeed despite their negativity.

Rely on your own motivation, dedication, and persevere regardless of what the Negative Nancys or the Pessimistic Pauls have to say. You are worth the effort, and worth the hard work. Do it despite the naysayers. It feels so good when you reach your goals. 

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