Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm Just Saying: Weight Loss

"I'm Just Saying" will be a recurring column using metacommunication. That is, communication about communication. I will discuss communication about communication about certain topics.

Tonight's topic is weight loss. I find this a weird subject to talk about. There seem to be some unwritten rules.

1) You don't talk about losing weight until after the fact. For instance, just about anyone I tell, "I'm trying to lose __ pounds," will respond "What?! No way, you don't need to lose any weight. You look fine/great/too skinny already!" But if I lose my __ pounds and someone comments that I look great or that I look like I lost weight, and I tell them how much I've lost, I'm congratulated.

2) It's ok to talk about workouts or fitness pursuits, but not specific diets. For instance, just saying "I'm doing the 30-day Shred," seems to elicit a modicum of respect, sometimes awe from people who have either done it themselves or wish they were as cool as me for having the discipline to do it. Same with running a marathon or joining a gym. But for some reason going public with a commitment to Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or even the old Atkins-type plans is met with questioned intentions or intelligence or some story about how some one's friend tried that and failed or died or something.

3) You can only talk about weight loss to other women the exact same size as you, with the same weight issues. It's just awkward to bring up one's weight around women larger that you because you don't want to make them feel bad or that they have to reciprocate with their own weight woes. It's impractical to talk about it with smaller women, because obviously they can't relate. (One exception is if the other woman was the same size or bigger than you and has successfuly completed whatever diet regimine/workout plan you are on.)

4) Ladies, never talk about this with men. I think deep down men are more similar to women in their pursuit of the 'perfect' body than they talk about. Skinny guys want to fill in their shirts, chunky guys want to stop sucking in. But you never hear them talking about this in mixed company. I never know when to comment if a guy has lost weight, even if I think they needed to. It drives my husband crazy if I lament how skinny he is and that I need to fatten him up. I've decided there's just no way to win here and the topic is best avoided all together.

5) Guys, never talk about this with women. I mean, seriously.

Am I right? What other rules for talking about weight loss are there? Gimme some other topics you'd like to see discussed in "I'm Just Saying."

2 comments:

  1. you're so right about the same-size thing. i HATE when women bigger than i am hear/know/discover/see that i'm trying to lose weight. just makes for an awkward convo all the way around.

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  2. Funny! I like the part about how someone tells you about how their friend was unsuccessful, died, etc. :)!!

    I find it best to not discuss politics, organic food, child rearing, working moms, autism, healthcare, or environmentalism. :) I stick to sports and weather mostly. And of course you know i'm kidding.... :D

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