I suppose we have all experienced it… feeling a little bit of joy from someone else’s failure or misfortune… Did you know that there is an actual term for that emotion? Its called Scaudenfreude! It is defined as pleasure derived from someone else’s failure or misfortune. Its sad that as humans we feel these sorts of things toward each other. There have actually been some studies on why people feel this. It comes down to having low self-esteem, feeling threatened by someone else’s success or perhaps feeling that a certain person deserves to fail or have something bad or unfortunate happen to them.
I’ve heard this from a few of my clients who have lost significant amounts of weight. They say that even their best friends are just “waiting for them to fail and gain all of their weight back”. Some people even take action as if to try sabotage their friend or loved one’s weight-loss/fitness journey. How? By putting them in positions that cause temptation or social pressure. It could even be an insecure partner or spouse who feels as though their relationship might fail if their partner becomes more attractive by losing weight or becoming fit.
I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve written in the past about my own weight loss. Fortunately, I have never been a yo-yoer… I lost weight once and have maintained – well I have now achieved what I consider a maintainable, healthy weight. I’ve been within ear-shot of women in the gym who feel that I don’t fit the “personal-trainer” mold. Does it bother me? I’d be lying if I said no. It has definitely made me feel insecure at times… but never for very long. A few self-reminders that I am in this business to help others become fit and healthy are all I need to make those feelings dissipate.
Three years ago, I was at 17% bodyfat and what it took me to achieve that was not something that was healthy nor maintainable for ME. What it takes for one person to achieve a certain physique and leanness is not the same for all. There are genetic factors, medications, lifestyle factors and many other variables that make it less maintainable for some. I’ve come to a point in my life where I am very comfortable and proud of my strength and fitness levels. My focus has changed from being as lean as possible to being as fit as I can be cardiovascularly and in my endurance and strength as I can possibly be.
I’m also a huge foodie as are all my friends in our social circle. We love to travel to different places and the first thing we do is research the hottest places to eat and drink! I’ve even taken my level one sommeliers! I love to sit down at the end of the day with a glass of wine and some dark chocolate to unwind… for me, its therapeutic… and I’m at a place of self-acceptance where egg whites and rice crackers are not going to do it for me. Some take pleasure in will-power and dedication to a very strict diet and achieving a very lean physique. I admire them whole-heartedly and often stand in awe. I never look at them and wish they would drive down a jar of Nutella or 10 pounds of poutine or just go get a life… that is THEIR life and they are living it the way they choose.
So what can YOU do if you feel as though you have no one on your side? Well, talk to your trainer! So many of my clients will email me, text and just plain vent during their training sessions. This is one of the main reasons that I won’t train friends and family. It can get too personal. When I have a client whom I have no previous personal relationship with – its easy for me to stand back and be objective about a lot of situations. The client then also feels safe and in a place of non-judgement. If your best friend keeps asking you out for wine and appies and knows you are trying to lose weight… she may not be your best friend. If your Mom invites you over for dinner and serves all of your “favorites”… you may need to have a talk. If your spouse tells you that your workouts are a waste of time or stupid…well… that is certainly not a supportive partner and you may need to do some serious soul-searching.
The other thing that you can do and that I do daily, is remind yourself how blessed and fortunate you are. I thank the universe daily for the path its led me on and ask for guidance. I wish the best for people no matter what they may wish for me. I choose to place my energies at a higher place than those who wish evil on me. You can only control your own thoughts and actions. You can do nothing to control the thoughts and actions of others. So to spend time worrying about the thoughts of others is simply a waste of your own time and energy.
Focus on your goals. Decide what you need to do to achieve your moderation and don’t feel guilty or bad about doing what you need to do to stay on track. Practice self-love affirmation. To get my clients started, I will often print and decorate a little sentence each week and have them place it where they can read it over and over. State out-loud each day what you are thankful for in your life. As my clients and readers know, I am a firm believer in the law-of-attraction… if you continue to practice positive self-affirmations and focus your energies toward the positives, you WILL attain your true place and the best possible you.