Such a pretty face

You may think I’m referencing my students when I say the words “peer pressure”, but believe it or not, peer pressure is not limited to kids these days. We learn about peer pressure early on in our educational careers (mostly through Meology classes- remember those?), but it’s something that we experience throughout our entire lives. Now while I know adult peer pressure comes in many forms, I’m going to focus on the peer pressure that comes to one who is going through the weight loss journey, as it’s the closest to my own experiences.

There will be some who start to read my post and immediately brush it off as “overreacting” or “silly”, but weight loss peer pressure is a real thing, and is often the demise of people going through this lifestyle change. Those who deliver peer pressure originally see it as being supportive; motivating a person to make healthy choices. However, the receiver may see it as negative, passive aggressive, guilt-laden or demeaning. Peer pressure can also be in the form of sabotage. I know that’s a pretty strong word, but sometimes those on the sidelines may not want you to change, therefore say things that may make you feel like caving in. These pressures can stem from those who are close to us, those who have been in our shoes or society in general. We live in a world where everyone believes they have the right answer, and many try to pressure others into thinking, doing or feeling the way they do. This is especially true with weight loss.

“You should try this diet.” “But you have such a pretty face.” “One bite won’t hurt”. “You’ll just give up after a couple of weeks just like you’ve done before”.

Weight loss peer pressure is a real thing. Here are some ways I deal with it, in order to keep my journey a positive experience.

When someone says You should try this diet… I listen, as it very well may be something that could work for me. I will typically ask for some of their favorite recipes, then thank them for sharing their suggestions. Sometimes people truly are just trying to help by sharing what has worked for them.

When someone says But you have such a pretty face… I thank them, then walk away before anything else can be said. If I’m in a situation where I cannot escape, I usually change the subject, diverting them to a more positive conversation topic or returning the gesture with a real compliment towards them. As a child, and overweight teen, I was told this phrase more times than I’d like to remember. I always felt like I was sub par because my face was “pretty”, which apparently meant that the rest of me was completely repulsive and shouldn’t be attached to such a “pretty face”. Thankfully I never let that type of peer pressure get to me, and have learned to love myself, no matter what my body may look like at the moment.

When someone says One bite won’t hurt… I politely decline. If I don’t need that second glass of wine, piece of cake or slice of pizza because I know it’s not going to fit into what I need at that moment, I just say no. Coming from a very demanding Spanish family, often times “no” means “yes”. Although “no thank you” should be enough, feel free to make excuses like “I’m full” or “I don’t like it”. If all else fails, once again I remove myself from the situation. Whoever is pressuring you to consume will most likely find another victim.

When someone says You’ll just give up after a couple of weeks like you’ve done before… I respond with something that makes them really think about why they said that to me. Usually something along the lines of “I really need my friends and family to believe in me right now” does the trick.

Have you ever experienced adult peer pressure? How did you handle it?

Talk soon,
Steph 🙂

15 thoughts on “Such a pretty face

  1. Family are the worse, at least mines is. I love them to death, but they feel like they are entitled to say anything that comes to their minds. I just want to tell them don’t worry about how much I weigh or what I’m eating. I am 46 and it never ends. They drive me crazy. Sorry for the rant, but I know where you are coming from, because I am not stick pin either. 🙂

    • Girl, I hear you. My grandmothers used to be very critical of my weight. I know it was all about them trying to look out for me, but it still hurt and probably drove me to continue making poor choices. No one can make decisions for us except for ourselves, is what I’ve come to learn.

  2. Girl, I’m 42 this year and the peer pressure never goes away. I have a lot of Beach Body friends who are constantly pressuring me into the latest program. I often wonder, “Why do they think I need this? I like the way I look. Why do they think I need to change?”

    Family is definitely the most critical. I could tell a countless number of stories. I was heavy in my teens but lost weight in my adult life before I met my husband. My mom is the most critical on me when I start to gain weight. It’s awful, especially after I had my babies and it took FOREVER for the weight to come off. She would make comments and I would say, “Don’t hate. You’re just jealous because I look hot no matter what size I am.”

    • I agree with family being the most critical. I know it definitely comes down to them wanting what’s best for us, but it doesn’t erase the hurt, and definitely makes you second guess yourself more than it would coming from a friend or the public. I think you’re AWESOME and hope that I can one day do all that you do! You go girl! 🙂

  3. I have a lot of adult peer pressure – not about losing weight, although sometimes about not running like a speed demon since I am surrounded by runners – but about DRINKING. And I share this with my teenage daughters, the pressure to drink alcohol does not stop when you hit any age. I don’t want the calories, I don’t want the negative affects on my organs, and I would totally rather have a chocolate dessert than a martini or beer — but friends always seem to think you can’t have a good time without a drink in your hand. I’m here to say I had fun at college and continue to have fun out to dinner or hanging out with friends with minimal alcohol. Maybe I DON’T like to feel buzzed almost as much as they DO like to feel buzzed. (and beer to me tastes like old, moldy rice, ewww)
    I’ve even been at a party OVER age 35 where everyone was smoking pot and I declined and one guy hounded me so badly for so long about it that I left the party. I can handle being the only sober one – I used to go to raves as a teen and stayed sober – but I can’t handle one guy asking me for over an hour why I don’t want to smoke pot.
    I like to think I just have a better sex life and find pleasure in other ways 🙂
    Ahh, thanks for the vent!
    And the first time I saw your blog home page I thought you had a pretty face, because I thought it looked a lot like MINE! Long lost sisters?? Are your eyes a yellowish hazel too? And THAT would be my only reason for saying that to you 🙂

    • I totally get what you are saying with the alcohol. I do enjoy having a glass (or few) of wine or the occasional margarita; however, it’s when I want it. I’ve had friends who roll their eyes when I’m not drinking and I laugh at that. And still don’t drink unless I want to.

    • Ha! Well thanks! Maybe you’re a long lost sister! 😉 My eyes are super dark brown though… almost black, but ya never know!

      I hear you on the drinking issue. I enjoy wine, but I can’t remember the last time I was drunk. I hate the feeling, nd as a teacher, I don’t want to do something that will get me on Bay news9! Thanks for sharing, and stay strong in your choices, no matter what!

  4. I experience it with my choices each day, whether it’s food, my spiritual journey, etc…I think there are people to bring us to understand what is right for us, to know ourselves so intimately, that when those words are uttered, it brings me back to me…how do I feel about me? I can affirm that I trust what I’m doing and their words lose the power they once had. It’s a great “check in” tool. It also relieves the other person of having any responsibility for how I feel.

    • Well said. I think most adult peer pressure isn’t specifically meant to hurt someone. It’s mostly said “in one’s best interest”, but the receiver doesn’t see it that way. It all comes down to what works for me, and like you said, trusting in yourself.

  5. I get the “one bite won’t hurt” over and over and over again. My boyfriend’s family, especially, are food pushers. They always want you to just try something, just have one more bite, just enjoy it with us. It’s difficult. I try to stand my ground. If something isn’t worth it to me calorie-wise, I don’t have it. And, I’ll say “no” over and over and over again.

  6. What kind of friend or family member would put you down by telling you that you’ll most likely fail? Getting in shape or losing weight is a sensitive subject, which some may not understand, but even a small little comment that one person may mean nothing by can stick with someone for a long time. I used to hear the “pretty face” thing all of the time, and although that person might think they’re complimenting you, someone who’s insecure in their looks or weight take it a different way. Understandable but hurtful. We all need to surround ourselves with people who build us up!

    • It’s the whole reverse psychology thing. They throw things like “You’ll just fail” thinking that it will be a motivator to “prove them wrong”. Yeah, doesn’t work like that! It’s definitely hurtful, not motivating. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Adult pressure is so hard at times. Because adults should know the difference and know not to do that.

    Sadly when it comes to family it is SOOO hard to say ‘No’ or for them to accept it the answer ‘No’. But I agree w/ you, walking away is sometimes the best thing you can do!

  8. Adult peer pressure is REAL. I have heard some of those stupidities throughout my life. Most of the time it makes me want to work harder. My problem is never others though, mine is usually myself. I am my worst critique. This is usually who I need to watch out for the most. 😉

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