Days 162 & 163: When You Receive a Compliment

I received a random compliment from my yoga instructor on Monday night after class.  Joel and I had gotten home and I was making a chicken soup dinner when I got some texts”

“I looked at you today and thought, Patrick is no longer fat.”

“Good job :)”

Haha, talk about warm fuzzies! When your fitness instructor takes the time to message you in his free time and acknowledges just… everything?  I mean, certainly “not being fat” is a goal of mine, but coming from a workout where-in I was able to do everything and then some.  Yeah, I’ve come a long way from the first time I stepped into the studio a year ago.  In fact, I was realizing last week that had been a year since my first attempt at the studio.  My core was horribly out of shape and after two classes last September, I had to get my back worked on before I took another stab at classes in November.  By then the same instructor who sent me the text above had added 30-min classes to the schedule which let me get a good workout without destroying my pathetic core. 😛

Ah, the fuzzies.

At this point, I think its important to mention two things:

  1. My yoga instructor is just one of many people who have paid me a compliment, and I don’t want those people to feel like I don’t appreciate their kind words! Joel is an amazing support base. Calling me on when I’m bad and randomly giving me golden bits of praise- I love you!  And then there’s the rest of my family and friends who’re just too sweet for words.  🙂  Thank you all for your love and support.  You make staying on this diet easier than it ever could be otherwise.
  2. This is a great example of the difference between a compliment and permission to stop dieting. For me there are two things that differentiate the two. A compliment is exactly what it sounds like.  “I looked at you today and thought, Patrick is no Longer fat.” Who doesn’t want to hear that?  The important things is that he’s not giving me permission to stop.  There’s no “You’re done” or “you’re fine”.  There’s something in the language of his compliment that is more “way to go!” and “keep it up!” rather than “no more exercise needed, your done.”

With reference to my post back in July “Permission to Stop Dieting“, I’d argue that the difference is staggering. Compliments can hurt, when they come in the form of permission of consolation. “You should be happy with who you are,” is a very important notion.  The thing is, many people aren’t and physically, I’m not happy.  For me it all probably stems from a childhood idolization of the superhero physique (American Gladiators anyone?). I want to be fit, muscled, and built.  My struggle is that I’ve always, always been a big guy.  I weighed 115 lbs when I was in 3rd grade.

Let that sink in…

115lbs at 8 years old. Even though I’m taller than most people, I’ve always been a big guy and I don’t want to be.

With a quick revision to my “permission” post above… A compliment empowers me to lose weight where as consolation provides me an excuse to quit.

If you have a friend who’s dieting, the best thing you can do to help them succeed is offer your support (remember the Positive Feedback Loop?).  I’m not suggesting anything as time-intensive as working out with them (unless you want to), but how about the act of taking an interest in their successes and struggles. You can pay them a compliment and most of all don’t tempt them.  Obviously you shouldn’t take them to McFatties Deep Fried Roadhouse (god I hope that’s a real place, haha) when you know they’re dieting, but you shouldn’t feel like you need to go to extreme lengths to accommodate them either.  The point of a good diet is to create a functional lifestyle and they’re going to be tempted every day. Basically, don’t shove the plate of cookies in their face and get offended when they don’t eat one.

To summarize-

Empathy, support and compliments are good.

Bating, anger and consoling are bad.

To speak to the diet really quick, Monday (as you can tell from above) was a great day.  Shakes were drank, workout was great and I made a really tasty chicken noodle soup.

Tuesday? I’ll admit I was really tempted to workout, but getting out of work after 6pm kinda puts a damper on that.  Joel’s been under the weather since Monday night and I wanted to make sure he was as comfortable as he could be.  I ended up pan frying broccoli and mushrooms with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil alongside two salmon patties.  Delicious.

Have a good Wednesday. 🙂


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