That question should be preceded by big red warning lights and loud sirens, because the odds are, you’re not going to like the question. Even when you know – after having been hit with the proverbial bombshell – that the person asking didn’t mean any insult. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. They’re trying somehow to be helpful, or tactful, or understanding…but I have found that the end result can be a severe blow to the gut.
Here’s the scenario. I’ve lost just over 15 pounds, in about 7 weeks. I’ve probably lost anywhere from a half inch to an inch-and-a-half, depending on where I’m deciding to measure at that moment. I’m fairly proud of this, honestly. Maybe that’s the problem. Pride goeth before a fall.
I tried on a pair of dress slacks today that, quite frankly, I don’t believe I’ve worn in in over two years. I’m kind of happy I’m wearing these slacks. And I would’ve never tried them on today except for an experience on Saturday. See, back in November 2015, I took the two boys to a play. They had to go to a play for a “drama appreciation” class they were taking. I had purchased a new pair of jeans, and a shirt, and a really funky sweater-thing to wear. The mistake I made, however, was not trying on the jeans when I bought them. I bought the exact same size and exact same style that I had on at the time, and didn’t think it was necessary. Until I got ready to go the play that night, and they wouldn’t zip up. Not by just a little – or like when you can lay down on the bed with a pair of plyers or a hanger and get them pulled up, and then wobble around all stiff-legged until they stretch out. No, these were so far away from zipping up that it was just completely not even something I tried. I folded under the edges, pulled the shirt down as far as it would go, and wore the funky-sweater think pulled around. And I was sad, but it was what it was.
At the end of December, I finally decided to get my act together, if you will, and get serious about getting back into shape. Family trip to Disney World in July will sometimes be enough motivation to make a change, right? I bought into Herbalife, and somewhat into paelo, and it’s actually been amazing. Immediate results, and other than a few minor blips (like Super Bowl Sunday), I’ve steadily been losing. This last Saturday, on a whim, I tried on those frustrating jeans.
And. They. FIT! I didn’t even have to break out the plyers or the hanger. I was able to zip and buttom them standing up! I did a little happy dance around the bathroom, and the bedroom, and then ran outside to look for Larry. Who was busy working on the pool pump and wasn’t really paying attention, but he did give me a “good job,” so I was happy. Wore them the rest of the day, and then again on Sunday when we went out for anniversary.
Then this morning, as I was picking out what to wear, I spied these dress slacks, and thought why not. And. They. FIT! So all in all, the weekend, and into this morning was great.
Then I came into work. And the first mistake I made was bragging. There you go, folks. Don’t brag. It doesn’t do you any good. I went into a friend’s office (who was the one who told me about the paleo diet in the first place), and said “Guess what? I’ve lost 15 pounds! And haven’t worn these slacks in over 2 years!”
She was very impressed and happy. And then came the question. I should’ve said no. I should’ve walked away. But you know, I’m happy! I’m in slacks I haven’t worn in forever! My friend was happy for me! Don’t be fooled.
“Can I ask you a personal question? Do you have ulcerative colitis and that’s what makes your tummy so big?”
(that is a deflating balloon, btw. Wind right of the sails)
I know. I really really do. I know she meant well. But … really? REALLY??? How bad was it that this is the question, when I tell someone I’ve lost weight? How morbidly obese did I appear to her? How damn big did my tummy seem to be?
What a kick in the gut. Literally and figuratively. So much for all the progress. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still on track, and more determined than ever. But that hurt. A lot. A hell of a lot. Just … damn.
To end this apparently never-ending self-pity I’m having today, here’s my advice: If you have to ask if you can ask a personal question…it may be because you realize, deep down in your heart, that there’s a chance it will be hurtful or insulting. Just don’t. You’ll either be able to figure it out eventually on your own, or the person will tell you when they want you to know. Even when you also know, deep down in your heart, that you don’t mean any harm and are just being a friend. Unless you grew up with the person and have that kind of relationship where nothing is held back at all – just don’t. Very rarely will co-workers have that kind of relationship.
15+ pounds down. 60 more to go.
I’ve got this.