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Blog: What to do When People Shame or Criticize Your Healthy Lifestyle

“You’re obsessed”
“Why are you doing this?”
“You’re getting too skinny, muscular, etc. etc. “
“Have some fun for a change. Live a little”

Have you heard any of these things from friends or family members during your quest to get healthy? I hear them ALL THE TIME.

Before we try to process these things, we need to understand why friends or family members would say something like that, especially when you’re striving for improvements in your life!

I’m going to be 100% honest with you guys. This is a touchy subject, but if we continue to respond instinctively (emotionally), we’ll just perpetuate the issue.

This is basic psychology.

Health, fitness, and body image are all polarizing topics. Every single one of us struggles with body image in some way. Some struggle more than others.

What makes this an even touchier subject is that most people KNOW that the lifestyle they’re living isn’t conducive to getting the body or health that they want. They don’t exercise consistently, they don’t eat the foods they should be eating, they don’t sleep enough, and they’re always stressed.

So what happens when we decide to go all in and commit to a healthy lifestyle? We exercise consistently and eat healthy. We expect everyone to be support and in awe of our commitment, right?

It doesn’t always work that way.

Our actions challenge their biggest insecurities. We start doing things that they know they should be doing.

Instead of responding positively (like we think they should), they might feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame for the unhealthy lifestyle that they live.

THIS DOESN’T MAKE THEM BAD PEOPLE/FRIENDS/FAMILY MEMBERS!

This makes them human.

They don’t intend to criticize or shame you. It’s a defense mechanism for the insecurities that challenge them.

When we go on a commercial airplane, the flight attendant always advises the passengers to put on their own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. This makes sense. It’s pretty tough to save someone’s life when yours is in imminent danger.

The same goes for health and fitness support.

I’m sure they WANT to support you. But they’re going through the same struggles that you’re attempting to overcome.

So what do you do?

Instead of responding with backlash, respond with empathy.

Offer YOUR support to them. Explain what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and WHY you’re doing it.

There’s an inverse relationship, I believe, when it comes to success and criticism.

The more successful you are (at anything!), the more criticism you’ll receive.

Also, the more you struggle with anything, the more you’ll feel compelled to criticize others. Again – defence mechanism.

This is human nature. We’ve all been there. God knows I have.

When you’re pursuing a noble goal, expect to face judgement and criticism. It will hurt especially when you hear them come from loved ones, but understand that it isn’t maliciously intended. You’re just attempting to do something that most people can’t relate to.

Remember, “People always want you to do well. Just not better than them…”

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