Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How do you feel about...unsolicited advice?

Recently I read this post on FitSugar that talked about offering unsolicited health and fitness advice.

Here's a quote:

Say you're eating lunch with a friend who's overweight. She's sipping a Diet Coke while dousing her salad in gobs of Ranch dressing, croutons, and shredded cheese. Would you politely offer some tips about how to make her meal lower in calories or would you keep your mouth closed? Offering health and fitness advice is a tricky thing. There's a fine line you can cross over, where you end up hurting her feelings instead of helping her become healthier.

I feel that nothing good ever comes from unsolicited advice. Depending on who it's coming from, the situation, mood, tone, and a lot of other variables, a simple statement can cause some really awkward situations.

Before I started WW again, and this blog, and effectively 'came out' with my diet, it really, really bothered me when people tried to 'help' by making suggestions about what I should eat. I felt judged.

I guess it comes from years of being ashamed of my size. I started my first diet when I was 8. I have been losing weight actively since I was 11. I have never liked what I looked like, been satisfied with my size, or felt comfortable at my weight. It felt quite shameful when family made comments like 'should you eat that?' or 'do you really need that cookie?' on holidays or at special events.

When I was a teen, if the advice came from more slender friends or relatives, I felt like they were rubbing it in, saying that they were better than me, and that I had something to be ashamed of for being chubby.

But right now, it doesn't bother me at all. By being open about my weight loss goals, struggles, and successes, I feel like I AM asking for advice. I find it really helpful when friends or family or my boyfriend point out healthier options on the menu at restaurants. Because I'm firmly entrenched in my 'honeymoon period' of weight loss, I find it encouraging that the people close to me are looking out for my goals and helping me stay on track.

What do you think?


Deb said...

I'm going to say: it depends.

Like you, I'm pretty open about my weight loss goals. If someone has heard about a new workout or has a great recipe they want to suggest to me, that's great. If there's something that's been working for them that they want to share, I'd love to hear it.

If it's something like me eating a cookie, I don't need someone to let me know how many calories are in it. I know, and I am making that choice. The only person that can get away with "should you really eat that?" type comments is my husband, who I've asked for direct help.

Heidi said...

Im still not comfortable with telling anyone but my best friend about my goals - because i've failed so many times before and i can't stand to fail publicly...

In fact I dont even right on my blog about food/dieting etc because i'm embarassed. Silly eh?

Im trying Zumba classes because i love to dance and i'm hoping that will be a motivator...

Lauren said...

Unsolicited advice about health/weight loss is generally a bad idea, unless the friend has made it known that she is trying to lose weight.

In the situation above, maybe the girl is fine with her size. And unless she says otherwise, nobody really has the right to say something that will very likely make her feel bad about herself.

RescuingLisa said...

There is noting in this world that aggravates me more than unsolicited advice! I hate getting it from my friends and family (even still after losing 46 lbs). The other day my mother was telling me about how I should concentrate on toning and I nearly took her head off. I don't know why - but I just can't take it!

Breanne said...

I think I definitely agree with Deb. If you're going to tell me about something that worked for you, or something new you heard of great.

But it's all in the approach. I hate it when people act like they're an expert on diet/exercise - if I didn't ask you for your opinion on what I'm eating, I don't want it. :)