Put up or shut up

I had only been in Ohio for a few weeks when I attended my first hash. That night I met my awful ex-boyfriend, M, and her soon to be boyfriend. For a few months the four of us spent a good amount of time together; going on trips, eating out, and drinking heavily (as most hashers do). Within six months I had gained fifteen pounds, I was at my heaviest weight ever and I looked atrocious. I made changes, I took the means necessary to lose the weight, and within months it was off again. And I was single again.

As for M, it wasn’t the same. She and her boyfriend have been together for over a year and a half. Within that time she has gained over fifty pounds. More than fifty pounds. That isn’t a small amount and it is impossible for her to hide. She has removed herself from our hash group and I rarely see her these days. At the beginning of the year, M was proud to mention that she had joined the local gym. Fantastic, I thought, now she can get back to her old self.

That was more than five months ago. How frequently has she attended the gym? Three times. The first time I was supposed to join her, but she was wishy-washy the night before so I didn’t set an alarm. She was furious that I didn’t show, but somehow she went to a body pump class. Next she met with a personal trainer (since it was offered free with membership) who was kind enough to tell her that she should only repeat a workout three times before changing it up and that workout classes were useless. She listened to the trainer. She returned to do the workout the trainer planned, but stopped right after.

I know it isn’t my place, but her actions frustrate the hell out of me. She has taken the first step to better herself, but has been stuck in a stand still since. No matter how much her friends (myself included) have offered to exercise with her, she refuses to do anything. Her boyfriend (a good friend of mine) joined the gym to help motivate her. Now he goes three times a week. Did this help? Nope.

She joined us for Girl’s Night last week and it is apparent that she is continuing to gain weight. It isn’t pretty. And I don’t know what to do. I have no right to get upset with her, but I want to help her.  She refuses to workout with me (probably because I’m slightly too high energy about exercising), she won’t workout with her boyfriend, and no one else can push her out of her rut. I hate seeing my friends spiral out of control. What is a girl to do?

Have you ever dealt with a frustrating friend? What has helped motivate them to alter their harmful lifestyle?

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About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on June 13, 2011, in Body. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I have seen someone I care about in a similar situation. You can offer them help but only they can decide to do something about it. I agree it is so frustrating but from my experience you can’t force them into it. Such a bummer. I hope she figures it out soon!

  2. As hard as it is, you can’t force it upon her. Just like kids, the harder you push, the harder they push back. I almost wonder if part of it is that she doesn’t want you or her BF to see how out of shape she is (even though it is obvious, sometimes the act of being in a gym working out is tougher). Have you asked her why she doesn’t want to work out at the gym? What about an offer to do a workout video at home with her or go for a power walk. The important thing to remember is if she agrees, to go at her pace to build her confidence in her ability to exercise and then gently put her to work harder.

    Another option would be to have her over for dinner, cook a nice healthy flavourful meal and introduce good nutrition to her as well. Good luck!

    • Ya know what, I never really thought of it that way. I’ll definitely consider inviting her for a power walk or healthy dinner. Thanks for your insight!

  3. **sigh** I have SO been where you are. Unfortunately, until she REALLY wants to make positive changes for herself, she will continue to gain weight. It is clearly frustrating for you because you know the importance of exercise, eating right, etc. And it requires real, grown-up discipline. Some people are just lazy and some people just downright don’t care. But you can’t MAKE her more active and you can’t MAKE her care. You just have to keep letting her know you’re there when she decides to make the change for herself.

    And honestly, she’s not stupid. She knows good and well she’s gained weight. She’s not blind and can look at her formerly healthy same in the same pictures you can. She clearly just isn’t ready to make a change yet.

  4. I have to agree with the other commenters. She has to decide to make the changes and commit to the gym and eating better. I’ve known people in your position before and it drove them nuts, but there was nothing they could do to make someone be better unless that person wanted to change.

    In other news, I have never heard of this hash thing. What is it?

  5. This may be a surprise… so sit down.

    I know exactly where your friend is at. No matter how much you want to push them into doing what’s best for their health, they can only move at their speed.

    I wouldn’t say that I’ve hit my peak and have had my “a-ha!” moment, but I do recognize that what I’m doing now is clearly not working in any positive manner.

    I think the suggestions made from others regarding private workouts and healthy meals/fancy nutrition learnin’ are awesome ones and are perfect opportunities to drop a little knowledge as to what’s up.

    You’re a great friend. A patient friend. Hopefully she comes around!

    –Ron

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