Have you have ever started living a healthy lifestyle and then challenged by a “fit shamer” in your life?
A fit shamer is someone who tries to make you feel bad about the healthy choices you are making in your life. Or who tries to influence you to make unhealthy choices instead.
“It’s happy hour today, can’t you miss your workout this one time?”
“Why are you spending that much money on a gym when you could go to my gym for $10/month?” (the same gym that that they’ve been to 3 times in the last year)
“Come on, you can have 1 piece of pizza! It won’t hurt!”
“It’s the weekend! You can get back on track on Monday!”
It’s important to understand the reasons why people say things like this and what you can do about it.
Here are 4 tips to STOP fit shamers:
1. Understand that it’s an internal struggle that they are having with themselves.
When a fit shamer says one piece of pizza won’t hurt, they are most likely trying to make themselves feel better about the choice they are making.
1. Don’t have the motivation or the will power themselves to refrain from the pizza. It would make them feel better if you join in.
2. They don’t want to feel guilty about their decision. They are saying “you’re healthy, you’re fit and if you do it, I can do it.”
It’s a problem on their end, not yours.
2. Educate them on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.
“Why do I go to the gym and choose to eat healthy meals throughout the day?
Why is it important for me to change my lifestyle?”
Let a fit shamer know that a lifestyle change means that you are committed to this journey on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean that you can stick to it four days a week and do whatever you want for three days.
Let a fit shamer know that you haven’t just lost weight, gained more energy and gotten better sleep by magic. It took work and you are proud of yourself for the work you put in to see these benefits.
Once they know the benefits that you have seen they may want to jump on board too.
3. Flip the tables
You’re not shaming your friends for having the piece of pizza.
“Hey why are you eating that? You’re overweight and that’s not going to help you lose weight”.
If you said that to them it would be extremely offensive!
Most people get that, but they don’t see that it is offensive the other way around too.
Ask them: “Why are you having that piece of pizza? What is that piece of pizza doing for you?”.
Let them respond. Then kindly tell them that you are choosing not to have the piece of pizza because it won’t help you get closer to your goal. This is a great way to earn people’s respect and I bet that person won’t ask you that question in the future. 🙂
4. Do A Friend Clean Up
This one may be the hardest step but it can be the most effective one of all.
If you surround yourself with positive, supportive people, you are MUCH MORE likely to reach your goal. If your friends are constantly hounding you for the choices you are making and trying to make you feel guilty for living a healthy lifestyle you may need to assess if they are a good person to surround yourself with.
A real friend will encourage you and support any decision you are making in your life.
It’s a proven fact that people become most like the people they surround themselves with. If someone is constantly putting you down or trying to bring you farther from your goals…are they really a great friend for you?
You may have to re-assess and make some hard decisions about your circle of influence. But in the end, it will make a far greater positive impact on your life.
Know that there are other people in the world that DO want to make these positive changes in their life. In fact, we have a gym of almost 200 people that are in that exact same boat. Finding a support system to hold you accountable and encourage you to hit your goals is crucial to your long term success.
You may be surprised that these old friends may come back in the future for your help. They may not understand it at the time but when these people are ready to make the change for themselves, they will need you.
And that’s one of the biggest rewards of all…passing on your success to others!
Founder and CEO
Pursuit Fitness and Performance