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Old 07-17-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
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Default Support vs. Criticism?

I'm taking a tangent off another thread This morning my husband informed me... and starting a topic of support vs. criticism. How well do you handle support or criticism from friends and loved ones? Do you wish you had more of either? Are you very sensitive about the topic of weight loss/gain? Do you feel scrutinized? Do you want someone to police you or would you rather be left alone?

I am very sensitive about my weight loss and do tend to get very emotional if someone calls me out on my eating, and I think for that reason nobody around me approaches me on the subject. At the same time I feel isolated and I wish someone would see past the wounded-puppy response to keep at it. My husband does not ever criticize me or making suggestions on healthy living. He supports me in whatever I do and listens to me when I talk about how I want to lose weight but he makes no remarks about what I eat and never puts me down for how I look. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had a drill sargent policing my food decisions.

When does constructive criticism cross over to being judgemental and hurtful?
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:20 AM   #2
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I think there is a difference between policing and support. There is also a difference between someone that is on a weightloss journey being critisized along the way, and someone who is morbidly obese, is suffering health issue from it, hurting their family because of it, and refuses to even talk about it in anyway.

I have a very hard personality. I would love to have someone in my life that didn't let me whine or make excuses for screwing up. I would like this in weightloss, running, school, and life in general. I try to keep myself in line, but of course I tend to give myself slack. I wish I had a husband that over the course of my pregnancy, instead of getting excited evertime I was like "oh I'm craving ice cream" and running out to buy barrels full (because he wanted to eat too and I think secretly likes me fat with him), was like "you really don't need that"..

.I see no benefit getting mad at people that are trying to help be be a better person. I personally find it annoying when people are all like "oh don't mention my faults". Faults and mistakes don't make us bad people, it makes us human and the only way to correct and improve them is to recognize them, admit them and go from there. In my uneducated in this field opinion, people that get mad at having their mistakes pointed out, it comes from a fragile self esteem that perceives everything as an insult, which is weird, because I would have thought I have a low self esteem, yet that doesnt bother me.

People getting mad at someone being like "oh are you sure you want to have this snickers bar? I mean you are doing so good on your weight loss and you weigh in tomorrow"makes me think of the classic narcissist that goes into the narcissitic rage when his ego is wounded because someone pointed out he wasn't perfert.

I am hard on myself with every area of my life like school, or running, or house cleaning, or parenting. People in my life have often told me I am very hard on myself, but look at the results.

Dispite coming from a very poor, uneducated/ alcoholic/ mentally ill family that routed for me to fail, I paid for school myself have my RN and am currently carrying a 4.0 for my BSN. I expect nothing less from myself. I have lost about 80 lbs twice after each pregnancy (if I have only been better during pregnancy, I wouldn't have have to do that though) but I lost it twice in the course of 3 years, while some people struggle to lose that over the course of a life time. I will do it again. I wanted to be a runner and did so. I only wish I could be harder on myself, because I wouldn't have gained so much weight while pregnant, maybe I would finish school sooner...I'd be a better person.

I'm not perfect, so when I make mistakes, I evaluate them, see where the weak part was in my behavoir and make a plan to fix it. BUt it would be nice to have another person to give me that extra kick in the *** when I start to get weak. I would love to have a trainer like Jillian Micheals for example, I need that firm drill sergeant kind of person. I just don't thrive with a soft cuddly director...because I have such a strong personality, that I would just be like "shut the heck up, I'm going to eat this pie now"...I need someone to be like "Hey you was to be a fat *** forever?, don't eat that cake a hole!"

I don't take it offensively as I am not trying to hide from my weakness, instead I see it as the other person caring enough to show some tough love. But I'm not typically a super sensitive girl, I think more like a guy in many ways, and I *think* that guys (though some guys will need to chime in here), that men respond better to a hard type of direction, where as women respond better to that soft type of encouragement.

I edited to add, that I would define critism as someone saying "You might as well eat that cake, you aren't going to loss weight anyway"...or " are you still trying to lose weight? You haven't given up yet?" ...I think people referencing that I will fail, THAT'S critisism. NOt people pushing me to succeed.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:32 AM   #3
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In my opinion, sometimes some so called "support" is thinly veiled criticism. To me, real support requires action, not just words. For example, my husband said that he supported me going back to school to get my Masters. The words were easy to say. He really supported me when he took the kids to soccer practice so that I could work on a paper.

When it comes to losing weight, my husband supports me by not keeping my favorite junk food in the house, letting me choose restaurants that have food that fits in my plan. etc. My mother supports me by having food options that fit within my plan when I am visiting her and not pushing other food items on me. My coworkers support me by accepting "No thank you" when they bring food to work. I think that I should change that to "some of my coworkers".

If someone has supported me by their actions, I don't have a problem with them asking about something I am eating. It is not uncommon for someone to ask how a certain food fits in with my plan. I explain to anyone that really is involved in my life why I can or can not eat something.

I have had people act like the food police and that is not at all what I need. I try to smile and politely dismiss them. There have certainly been times when "constructive criticism" has crossed over to being judgemental and hurtful. If it is someone who is not really important to me, I try to let it roll off of my back. I learned a long time ago that life is harder on you when you are sensitive. If it is someone important to me, I try to talk to them to let them know how they can support.

I have also found that the longer I stick to my plan I get more support and less criticism. Seeing results seems to make a difference.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by time2lose View Post
In my opinion, sometimes some so called "support" is thinly veiled criticism. To me, real support requires action, not just words. For example, my husband said that he supported me going back to school to get my Masters. The words were easy to say. He really supported me when he took the kids to soccer practice so that I could work on a paper.

When it comes to losing weight, my husband supports me by not keeping my favorite junk food in the house, letting me choose restaurants that have food that fits in my plan. etc. My mother supports me by having food options that fit within my plan when I am visiting her and not pushing other food items on me. My coworkers support me by accepting "No thank you" when they bring food to work. I think that I should change that to "some of my coworkers".

If someone has supported me by their actions, I don't have a problem with them asking about something I am eating. It is not uncommon for someone to ask how a certain food fits in with my plan. I explain to anyone that really is involved in my life why I can or can not eat something.

I have had people act like the food police and that is not at all what I need. I try to smile and politely dismiss them. There have certainly been times when "constructive criticism" has crossed over to being judgemental and hurtful. If it is someone who is not really important to me, I try to let it roll off of my back. I learned a long time ago that life is harder on you when you are sensitive. If it is someone important to me, I try to talk to them to let them know how they can support.

I have also found that the longer I stick to my plan I get more support and less criticism. Seeing results seems to make a difference.
That is a great point! Telling someone not to eat something, then going out and buying truck loads of junk for the house is not supportive. Well under that idea, my husband is actually not supportive at all, ever. He has verbally always just kept quiet for the most part with the occassional "good job" but he constantly brings junk into the house, goes on fast food runs and asks me what I want, and is happy when I go off plan. But I think that comes from him wanting me to stay fat.

But I agree, that just using words to police is not effective, it has to be a package deal. In my response I just assumed that the same person smacking the cake out of my hand would not have been the one to bring the cake home in the first place, because then they are just being an a$$ for setting me up for failure...although I still believe even if we moved upstairs from a bakery that its still my own fault for eating there everyday and I cannot blame the baker.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:50 AM   #5
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There is no one answer, because the line between support and criticism is a moving target - not just from person to person, but even for a single person on different days, in different moods!

For ongoing relationships, the keys are communication and compassion. Be honest about what helps you and what doesn't, so your partner understands. Be compassionate when your partner does something that you don't find helpful; explain patiently, do not be angry that your partner has failed to read your mind.

Some people do not feel adequately supported if their partner suggests getting an ice cream after dinner. Some people do not feel adequately supported if their partner says "should you be eating that ice cream?" Some people do not feel adequately supported if their partner says nothing at all. There is no way for your partner to know what kind of support YOU want if you do not figure that out for yourself and explain it honestly, thoughtfully, and calmly to him or her, sometimes more than once, and without anger.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:50 AM   #6
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Great question and one where the answer is often relevant to a specific situation. So much depends on the tone of voice. For instance, someone who asks "Why are you eating that?" truly as a question may be wanting to learn about your eating habits. They may be trying to lose weight themselves and want to know your secrets. But "Why are you eating that?" asked really as a statement for a thinly disguised statement of what is actually criticism is much harder to take.

If I've asked someone to support me by reminding me that I'm eating something I shouldn't, then I have no problem when they remind me. If I haven't asked, I basically consider it incredibly rude.

Now, the actions part is where I think the true support comes in. Especially if someone who is trying to be supportive by not buying junk food or letting me always pick the restaurant. I think that shows a great deal of desire on their part for me to succeed. But I also think that it's not fair to them to expect them to always defer to our preferences.

Hhhmmm. I'll be noodling on this one for the rest of the day!
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:04 AM   #7
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For hubby and myself how to best support each other is a constant work in progress. I have learned though that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. When hubby is silent, I want him to speak up, and when he speaks up, I want him to be silent. To some degree, I find that we're both a little irritable when we calorie restrict, so it's very easy to get on each other's nerves.

We finally decided that the best way to help each other was to stay out of each others weight loss and food choices, at least for the most part.

However, we recently discovered that we are able to cooperate and encourage when it comes to exercise, whether going for a walk, or to the gym, but we always realize that what helps today, can become annoying tomorrow, and vice versa, so we keep working at it and experimenting even with things that haven't worked in the past.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
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I like the support and really haven't had an criticism at all.

I have been fortunate that my family is really supportive. When DD wanted to go to a Mexican restaurant on vacation, she asked me if I'd be able to find something to eat there. DH and DD are both perfectly happy with me "plating" everyone's food and no longer serving family style. DS is admiring (I don't see him as often since he lives out of state)

When I oversnacked on our vacation two weeks ago, DD did say something to me--I had asked her to, and she was hesitant but I had asked her to--and so she did.

All my coworkers but one have accepted that I don't eat unplanned snacks at work. Even when they say "you don't want that" when someone brings something in, I know that they're being supportive--and it's said in a teasing, supportive way. One co-worker, though, seems to always want to remind me of what sweet treat is available, and encourage me to break my rules and eat it. He's from a different culture, but even so, I find it annoying.

The rest of that team, though, wants to go out for a team lunch--the obvious suggestion (pizza), I would have skipped. So they asked where I wanted to go, I picked Red Robin (jr cheeseburger w/o bun and a side salad), and they said 'sure'!
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:28 PM   #9
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In the past the hubby was a bit critical of me trying to lose. Not because he wanted me fat and not because he felt threatened in any way, but because he didn't hold the same priorities over it that I did, and didn't want to see me hurt myself over some unrealistic ideal. But over time he's adapted to my new habits pretty well where he was previously judgmental.

For example, he initially thought the idea of me keeping a food journal was "obsessive;" now that he's seen how much it helps me he's been very supportive of it and even occasionally asks if I'm keeping up with it properly. He doesn't really comment one way or the other about my food choices, although he'll sometime tease me in a good-natured way when I steal some of his fries or ask to share a dessert. He's become a bit more health-conscious himself (yay!) and doesn't even feel tempted to sabotage me by storing certain treats in the house, as he knows he doesn't really need them either.

I think I've gotten a lot better at handling criticism in general, but I believe a big part of that comes from the confidence I've gained from my successes in the past year. I have a good idea of what works for me and what doesn't, what I can occasionally splurge on, and what I personally need to avoid, but am still open to reasonable advice. What I can't stand is someone looking over my plate and telling me I need to learn to eat more ____ or how I'll never lose if I let myself eat ____. I'm sure to let them know I'm doing just fine as-is, thankyouverymuch.

My ex was notorious about his issues with food, much worse than I ever was (and I was admittedly pretty bad at one point). I think he was much more comfortable with me being fat, yet he would constantly make snide comments about how much better things would be if I was "skinny and hot" and would very obviously stare at conventionally attractive women. He'd even remark that my tummy got in the way of certain things . . . never mind that his was bigger than mine. And then he'd turn around and freak out if I didn't want to indulge along with his binges. He got extremely angry with me once for declining to eat at a place I had clear allergies to, telling me it was all in my head, that I wouldn't get sick, and that he couldn't enjoy his food from there unless I was eating the food too. I told him to go ahead and have it if he wanted, but no . . . he preferred having me throw up for a week rather than be forced to eat his treats alone. Funny how the criticism was the absolute worst from him, but he was obviously uncomfortable with his own weight and wasn't ready to do anything about it. Much of that was projected onto me I think, and he took it as personal insults any time I showed any effort in making either of us healthier.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:55 PM   #10
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My boyfriend thinks he's supportive, but he's not. I just don't talk about weight loss or anything related to it anymore. He's made some pretty disparaging comments about other overweight women, so it makes me wonder what he really thinks of me.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:36 AM   #11
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My boyfriend thinks he's supportive, but he's not. I just don't talk about weight loss or anything related to it anymore. He's made some pretty disparaging comments about other overweight women, so it makes me wonder what he really thinks of me.
Maybe you should talk to him about it. That's not fair that he talks badly of other overweight women, how is that supposed to make you feel?
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:21 PM   #12
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This has been a real interesting read for me, it's really made me think.

It's true, what even the same person says to you one day can be wrong the next, it's your mood and how they say it and why. I'd say my husband is supportive but I don't really know how, I suppose when I said I was going to start my new weight loss journey this month (after years of just putting it off and pretending I was ok with being fat) he said for me to tell him how to help, what I liked was that he didn't say that he agreed I needed to the lose the weight, it was just like his immediate response to ask what he could do. And he's done what I asked, which is to come to do the grocery shopping with me so we can look at the best stuff together, and he's fine with cutting out the junk too. He said if he ever wants any of that he'll get it during his lunch break from work so I'm not tempted which I so appreciate.

I think the problem is my friends and the rest of my family, maybe they don't know how to act but one thing that bugs me is that I'm taking phentermine and extra supplements too and they look at me like they think I am taking the pills and expecting to be able to sit and eat all day and still lose weight. Just little comments like, 'You know you have to eat less, the pills don't do all the work for you'. I know that and I'm working really hard on this. The pills stop me feeling hungry so I'm eating real healthy now and I'm working out 4 times a week for the first time in my life and the pills give me the extra energy I need to do that, and I think this time thats whats really helping me. I never thought I'd like exercise but I really am enjoying it.

Maybe trying to prove them wrong is the motivation I need, it just depends how I take it, and what I do with it that really counts now.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:33 PM   #13
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This is just me, but I really want to be left alone. I talk to myself so much about this issue that I don't want to talk to anyone else.

I just started WW online and I really like it. If I need support from others, I like to turn to 3 FCs.

If I tell friends and family that I am on WW, they constantly ask about it and monitor my progress. If I don't lose, I get a lecture about the importance of losing weight. My husband goes to WW meetings and constantly talks about being on program, and then brings home junk food as hs "treat", which always tempts me. I have asked him a million times not to bring that stuff home but he still does it.

Even though people might mean well, interaction with others just aggravates me. I am done talking.

This time, I am just focusing on my behavior and working on myself without dragging anyone else into it.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:49 PM   #14
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My DH never says a word about my weight either way, he just tells me I'm gorgeous (which I know is BS, but bless him for saying it anyway).

The only support I really ask of him is that on his nights to cook (we rotate) that he make something that fits my dietary needs. He's about 50/50 on that but he does try.
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