I’ve gotten that question a few times in recent weeks in regards to weight loss. The most recent was when a coworker followed me into the restroom at work, asked much weight I’ve lost and then asked this gem of a question:

“What’d you try that worked best?”

Like I must’ve tried a couple different magic pills or crazed diet plans and one of them finally worked. I didn’t know what to say because I know that before I made my lifestyle change, this answer would have pissed me off, but it’s honest, so I just told her that I learned to eat better, eat less and be a lot more active. Exercise, I told her, was really the key. One of my favorite phrases is “I work out like a fiend so I can still eat pizza and cupcakes now and then” because it is true.

“Oh,” she said, and disappeared into a stall. Then she started talking again, which I find so incredibly awkward and horrible — I don’t even like to talk to friends while we’re in bathroom stalls, let alone a random coworker!  She proceeded to ramble on about cleaning out the fridge and not wanting to waste food so she ate pretty much everything.

I said, well, if you do that, then go for a walk, don’t just sit around, and then start over the next day. She just looked at me and said, “No.”

No?!

Nope, she said, she wouldn’t do that.

Oh, OK. I guess this conversation is over. (That part was unspoken.)

I know there were a lot of things I could have said, ranging from moderately helpful to really bitchy, but also I know that nothing could’ve made me want to get active and eat well until I was ready. And it did not happen overnight. I think it’s something that happens every day, with every decision you make.

There is another woman at work (who thankfully does not follow me into the restroom) who has maintained a 60-pound weight loss since the late ’70s through Weight Watchers. We’ve talked a lot about weight loss and her work as a WW leader, and she said the same thing — that the motivation has to come from within, and if someone is not ready for WW, they’re welcome to leave and come back when they are. I’ll never forget how she phrased it.

“At some point in your life, you just have to do it.”

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