“You Must Be Doing It Wrong”

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I touched on this briefly in another post, but I thought it was worthy of its own post 😉

It seems to often be the consensus that every time that a person does not get the desired results from certain advice, or when a person doesn’t get equally as good results as someone else did, then…”they must be doing it wrong.”

That really grinds my gears because that is what has probably been assumed about me, most of my life. I’ve been overweight for a good portion of my life. And I’m sure, many a thin person has looked at me and wondered why I just didn’t “do something about my weight.” When in fact, I was ALWAYS, ALWAYS struggling with my weight. I was almost ALWAYS working my tail off to lose weight. I have done Weight Watchers 4 times, starting at age 10.  I’ve done Nutri-System, I’ve exercised obsessively, I’ve eaten 500 calories per day, I’ve eaten a low fat diet for decades. I was “doing it right.” Unfortunately, I was following very bad advice. I was doing the wrong thing, “right.”

So, when I embraced a low carb lifestyle, everything changed. My results were so dramatic that I began to think 3 things. 1. There was no other way except this one. 2. This HAS TO be the answer for everyone. 3. It must work just as good for all people.

During this time, I belonged to social media groups where I shared my journey and I got to talk to thousands of people over the years. I began to run into lots of folks that weren’t having the same success as me.  I would see others in the group comment that “you must not be doing it right.”   But when I spoke to these people, and dug deeper into their stories, I realized that some people were working just as hard as I was, some maybe even harder, and not everyone was getting the same results.

This led me to reach a vital conclusion. That is: some people can DO EVERYTHING RIGHT and still not reach the same results as another person. Let me say that again. Just because someone is not getting the results they want, or the results that others have gotten, it doesn’t mean that they are doing anything wrong.

We are all so different. Some have such bigger obstacles to overcome and have to work so much harder. Just like I have worked so hard all my life to reach a normal weight. Onlookers may have thought I was scarfing down Twinkies when in fact I probably just came from 2 hours at the gym.

So, let’s compare two overweight women. They both learned about low carb living and joined a low carb online support group.

Woman #1 was a normal weight most of her life. She has never had any health problems. Most people in her family are normal weight and healthy. She gained a little weight in college, then a few more pounds when she had kids. She goes on a moderate low carb diet, sheds all the weight, and her health is great.

Woman #2 was overweight from early childhood. Both of her parents have Type 2 diabetes and are overweight. She also gained more weight in college and with children. She has hypothyroidism. She develops Type 2 diabetes. She yo-yo diets for years and it makes things worse. She is now obese. She embraces a VERY low carb diet AND exercises. Her diabetes is reversed and she is having her thyroid disorder appropriately treated. She loses some weight, but really struggles to get off all the weight she wants. So she works harder. Drops the carbs even lower, exercises more. Progress is slow. So she reaches out to her support group for encouragement and help. She meets Woman #1 who tells her that a low carb lifestyle works. If she is not getting the results she wants, she “must not be doing it right.”

That just breaks my heart. Woman #2 is probably doing it MORE “right” than woman #1, but as she has so many more significant obstacles, her results are not the same.  And furthermore, who decides which way is “right” anyways?  Who sets the standards of “right?”  What is right for one person may not be right for another.  Aren’t we all just experimenting in ourselves to see what is “right” for us?

Folks, please stop thinking that if others don’t get the same results as you, or the results you THINK they should, they must be doing something wrong. That can be so hurtful and discouraging. Please stop.

A better strategy is this: IF they are asking for advice (and this is important. Don’t give advice when it is not asked for. Some people just want to vent their frustrations to a listening ear. They are not necessarily looking for advice.) Ok so IF they are open to advice, rather than assuming they are doing something wrong, how about ASKING them what they are actually doing? I have seen many genuine group moderators or admins ask something like “please give me an example of what you would typically eat in a day and what your average blood sugars are.” Then you could actually determine if there is anywhere a person my need help or guidance if, say, they are new to this way of living. You may find areas where you can help them.

You know what else you may find? You may be surprised to find that many people are doing everything just right, and there is not much more that they can do. If that is the case, then just be kind and supportive. Be a good listener. You might suggest that they get a medical evaluation to assess for any medical reason that may be preventing them from reaching their goals. But often, it’s not a medical issue. It’s just the cards that have been dealt. We sometimes just have to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. A person, like woman #1 may not understand this. But for those of us like woman #2, we get it, lol!

So please be kind. Sometimes the disdain and judgement I see among folks who are supposed to be helping each other is just astounding. Remember, support groups are for SUPPORT and ENCOURAGEMENT. If you are NOT doing that, then maybe you are the one who is “doing it wrong.”