With Friends Like These…

We’ve talked before about how negative things like shame, humiliation, and embarrassment do not foster positive change. But some people refuse to believe this. They think that if they are just mean enough, then wonderful changes will occur (changes that they define and measure, of course). I’m going to have to assume that that’s the only way they can affect change in their own lives, because in mine, it doesn’t work at all.

Meet Steve Miller. Huffington Post UK (ungrammatically) calls him “the UK’s no nonsense, straight talking and renowned as the UK’s Weight Loss Master driving results with his unique style that combines mind programming, motivation, honesty and humour.” Steve’s website offers us the opportunity to change our lives forever, to finally lose the weight, using his program of hypnotherapy. To be honest, I didn’t read any more than that, so I can’t tell you any specifics.

Steve, I don't want to be friends.
Steve, I don’t want to be friends.

What I can tell you is that Steve decided it would be a super idea to start something called “Warn a Friend They Are Fat Day.” And I’m sorry to have to tell you that we missed it – it was last Wednesday, January 7th. Steve assures us (punctuation his!):

‘Warn a friend they are fat day’ proposed for January 7th 2015 is not about being cruel. In fact it is the complete opposite. It is about sensitively and tactfully talking to overweight friends and family members about our concerns for their health. In fact it is a day that could potentially save thousands of lives and at the same time heighten our friends and families confidence as they are encouraged to take action to lose weight so that they feel better and more confident about themselves.

Isn’t that nice of Steve? We definitely are not aware that we are fat, so having a friend tell us is a great idea. And of course we are all unhealthy, feel terrible, and lack confidence. Thankfully, Steve has an action plan people can use to save us fat friends, with helpful information about portion control and exercises for people with limited mobility. Because of course we’re all eating 20,000 calories a day and can’t get off the couch without the help of heavy duty equipment. Thank goodness Steve and his minions are here to save us!

Now I’d like you to meet Katie Hopkins, also from the UK (apologies to the UK in general, because I love many of you madly!). Her plan for fixing the fat world? She gained over 50 pounds (by stopping exercising and eating three times her normal calorie intake) so that she could then turn around and lose them, thus proving that fat people are just lazy and we could all be thin if we tried harder.

Katie, see above re: Steve.
Katie, see above re: Steve.

Of course, Katie will be successful in her weight loss, because Katie is not naturally fat. Once she stops gorging, her body will go back to its set point. This proves nothing about all fat bodies, or all bodies in general. It only proves something about Katie’s body. Sad that so many people will think Katie’s transformation is incredible, and believe her message that fat people are just lazy.

Lest you think this is just a British idea, there was a personal trainer named Drew Manning who did it here in America, too: Was ripped, gained weight, got ripped again. Even though this only proves something about Drew’s body, he will take your money if you would like to give it a try. Steve would also like lots of your money. Katie, I think, is in it for the attention. (You may have noticed I haven’t linked to any articles or websites; that’s because I don’t think these people deserve your clicks.)

Sadly, there are Steves and Katies everywhere. There have probably been times when you’ve been a Steve or a Katie. Think about it: Have you ever wanted to make (or made) negative comments about someone else’s body, eating, or exercise habits, in the hopes it would make them change for what you consider the better? Have you ever achieved something (like weight loss, or a physical accomplishment), and assumed that everyone else can – and should – do the same?

Bottom line: You don’t need friends like Steve and Katie. And you don’t need to be one. Figure out what health means for you. Ask for help if you want to, but make sure it is positive, encouraging, supportive help. Your body knows what is best for you. You just have to tune out the noise and listen.