Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tearing down, lifting up

Why do people have to try and tear each other down so much? Seriously??

I could give a million examples, but I had a conversation with a woman that just left me scratching my head a few days ago. She was asking me about my running, weight loss, etc. and asked me what I weigh. Now I never took Social Etiquette 101, but I am pretty sure that isn't a question you just go asking people... especially people you aren't related to, married to, or best friends with.

I am super easy-going and happen to be very happy with and secure about what I weigh (if you missed this post, I recently hit 70lbs lost) so I told her that I have been at 137lbs for about a month. She acted all surprised and said she thought I was "smaller" than that, and then proceeded to tell me that she thinks a healthy weight for me would be more like 117 and I should work to lose another 20lbs. Seriously?

For one, 137lbs for someone that is 5ft 5inches tall is a completely healthy weight. It is right in the normal weight range. I have muscles. I even have some definition in my abs! I have gotten a lot faster with my running. I feel healthy and strong right now. I am wearing a size 4. If I never weigh a pound less than 137, I am perfectly ok with that. Seriously.

I am pretty confident that I could diet and get myself down to 117 if I felt the desire to (and worked really hard at it). But would I be at my strongest? Would I be the healthiest I can be? Some people might be their strongest and healthiest at 117. Maybe I would, but I don't think I would be. I don't buy that lighter/thinner always equals healthier.  I don't buy that skinnier is always better. I don't want my daughters to believe it, or my friends and family!

I have some newly-found self confidence (thank you running!) so her comment didn't hurt me or bother me, but it really did leave me wondering WHY people do that. Why do people say things to try and make others feel bad? Or to doubt themselves? Or to feel like they aren't good enough? And I know sometimes we are way too hard on ourselves too. I have definitely been guilty of being too hard on myself, although I think I am a lot more emotionally healthy now than I used to be (again, thank you running).

One of the things I have loved about running is how awesome and generally supportive the running community is of each other. Both virtually (in all the great running blogs!) and at races, it seems that most runners respect and encourage each other, whether they are running 5 minute miles of 12 minute miles, whether they are running their first race or their 100th, and whether they weigh under 100 pounds or over 200. I am just as proud of my friends who get out there and struggle to finish a three mile run as I am of my friends who run marathons regularly.

I think that is why I enjoy blogging on this blog so much, and why I enjoy reading so many running blogs. The support is great.

So whether you are happy with your weight or trying to lose, whether you are already super fast or have paces in the double digits, and whether you can do a 20-miler without stressing or are still building up to running more than a couple of miles, BE PROUD of yourself. Be happy with yourself. You are good enough how you are.You are doing awesome and the hard work and energy you are putting into running are going to pay off in a multitude of ways.

And now your homework is to find someone to lift up emotionally today. Give a smile, a genuine compliment, a hug... whatever.  Instead of tearing others down and trying to make others feel worse, lets all make someone feel a little better about themselves today.

20 comments:

Deanna@MilesToRun said...

I am a new follower, and I love this post. We are so much more than a number on a scale! You are a big inspiration. Keep on running!

Rae said...

Amen sister!

I can't believe that woman said those things to you!

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES said...

I too am secure and open enough to share my weight, but I don't really think anyone has had the audacity to ask. And then to tell you that you need to lose more? That's insane. I honestly believe people say things like that to cut you down and make themselves feel better.

Emz said...

LOVE this.........BE PROUD of yourself. Be happy with yourself.

awesome.

Julie said...

That woman was JUST WRONG to say anything at all. WOW! I can't imagine feeling ok to say something like that to someone else.
You are at a perfect weight and strength and if anything, trying to lose 20 pounds would probably backfire! You are happy with yourself, so STAY happy with yourself. Don't mess with perfection!!

Her Name Is Rio said...

I agree. That woman stepped over the line there. Way over. What you're doing works for you and that is terrific!

Kara said...

I just found your blog and I couldn't agree more with this post! I get that question all the time about baby weight (I had a baby 9 months ago) and I have to tell them that I don't own a scale and I don't know. You should see their face!!

I read on Hungry Runner Girl that you ran your first marathon in Dec. in 4:15...that's awesome! I just ran my first marathon last weekend in 4:19, so I know how hard that is :)

Terzah said...

I am definitely one who obsesses and worries over this. If I had had that conversation with that woman, I'd still be all down about it. My mom has always said, "Stop thinking too much about yourself. Think of others!" Your homework assignment reflects that very wise advice--I'm looking for someone to boost right now.

vicariouscuteness.com said...

its like you were writing to me. thanks for being an inspiration.

Tiana said...

I really needed this post. Last summer I did three sprint triathlons and a MS150. My first season of any races and was feeling really good about myself then in in Sept I fell while I was holding my then 2 year old. My baby was unhurt but in saving the baby I hurt both my both knees and ankles. My right ankle is still having problems so I can't run on it yet. While at a friends house I weighted myself I was 6 pounds heavy than in the summer. I'm not going to beat myself up over it anymore. When I can run again I'll run.

:) Tiana

Teamarcia said...

Very well said. I can't believe she asked you that then had the nerve to suggest further weightloss....over the line for sure.

ClistyB said...

Weight and money talk can really offend people.
She felt comfortable asking you about your weight and you felt comfortable telling her. I don't see a foul here, both parties were willing.
She felt fine telling you her opinion and it didn't happen to be something you agreed with (the end weight part). Eh, whatever right?
I've learned that when I share a whole lot on a subject, I can't get upset if someone tells me their opinion on said subject. Keeps the blood pressure down.
Clisty
5'9 165lbs 12 minute miler <--- I'm sure shed have setting to say about that

Pam said...

Very well said pretty lady!! Just found your blog through Janae(hungryrunner). I'll be back to visit! I agree with every word of your post! Wow!! You're a mom of 12!! Your amazing!!

Have a great day!! :)

misszippy said...

Ugh. These people are so off the mark! You did a great job with putting this into the right light.

Heather Forcey said...

It must be in the air to be mean and rude. I've had to have this talk with my 7th grade class several times last week, and I challenged them to compliment each other and lift each other up.

People are just rude. And they don't think when they talk. Congrats to you on losing weight and getting strong! I am working on it! I am also trying to be kind to myself in the process and not expect perfection. Easier said than done.

Jake Rosen said...

Weight isn't the final measure of health. There are so many levels of your health than can't be covered with a single number - cholesterol, oxygen intake, body fat percentage, stress levels....

People need to open their limited view of what is and isn't healthy. Great job dealing with that.

Mallory said...

Ooo I would have given her a piece of my mind! I am 5'2" and I weigh more than 115! I am pretty skinny too! That woman must have been on drugs.

OneThankfulMom said...

Erin, it's a funny thing, but some people have a hard time simply being happy for others. What you have accomplished with your health and your life must leave her feeling insecure. As for the numbers, you look amazing, you are clearly very strong, and I know for a fact, that you are lovely through and through. My "long" run this week is a 5 miler, not too impressive, but I love checking off the work outs on my training plan each day. Thanks for the inspiration!

Lisa

Beana said...

just had to comment on this one...that is CRAZY and rude. I prefer to have a few curves instead of being stick thin! I could "lose" more weight according to the BMI scale, but I'm pretty happy where I'm at and even my husband says he wouldn't want me much skinnier. I'm "normal" just on the high end I guess. I'm glad you can identify her insecurities and feel confident about yourself.

ConnieKay said...

I am new to your blog - but I have to jump in on this conversation. Wow! I sometimes wonder what rock people were rasied under. There are two things my Southern mother taught me - never, ever, ever ask a lady her age, weight, or hair color (ok three things). Why do some people who do not even know us - think they know what is best for us.... I applaud everyone who knows it is ok to be who they are.