It was time for a change. I needed to put my health first. Like most people, we all do this with New Years resolutions, but this year it is deeply personal to me. My dad suffered a massive stroke last September and it really shook me to my core. I began to examine what I want for myself and my family. I decided to take a different path than my parents did regarding health and fitness. The stress and gravity of everything needed to be channeled somewhere. I used the gym as my vehicle. I signed up for the nutrition challenge and began pushing myself in the gym.  PRs were coming fast and furious. I was doing things I had never done before.  The weight began to shed off. I felt like fierce butterfly emerging from its cocoon. I was feeling great and stronger than I had ever been. Tri-Cities and all its people had been the best medicine during my most difficult days.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a dinner party with friends. I was excited to share my success and tell them about my journey. I thought if they heard my story it could motivate them to make a change in their life. The conversation drifted toward my appearance and it felt like I was on a movie set and someone yelled, “Cue the storm clouds!” They were all about to rain on my gain parade! I know I am not the only person that has gone through this. It starts out with a compliment and then before I can utter the words Crossfit or Nutrition Program they began the nay saying. Questions of “why” and statements of “I don’t want to get bulky”, “you’re skinny, you don’t need to diet, “Are you going to compete or something? I don’t understand the point”, or “I hear there is a lot of injury with Crossfit”. I began to feel like an attorney defending my client in a court room.  I engaged them because I wanted to share the secrets to my success. I really wanted them to understand my reasons why.

I was frustrated. Why were my friends, and in some cases family, criticizing my achievements?  It wasn’t until several conversations later with various people that it really began to dawn on me. I am on a journey. I have made solid choices to change the course of my life and because of my physical change it made them question their current situation. The nay saying had nothing to do with me, Crossfit or nutrition programs. It was really about their own personal point in life. They were on a different journey and it wasn’t down the same path as mine anymore. Perhaps my path was a glaring realization that they should reevaluate their priorities or they don’t know any better. I am going to be prepared to steer those storm clouds in a different direction.  I only have energy for positivity. I did a little research and found two easy ways to subtly change the conversation. I am going to save my energy for PR cartwheels.

Tip One- Pit Stop

The pit stop is to simply pause and leave the situation and return with a new discussion topic.  An example would be as follows: The topic comes up. Say thank you to the compliment. If asked, state what you have been doing and then excuse yourself to the restroom or for a beverage refill. When returning, start a new conversation with topics such as the reason for gathering, weather, or current affair items like the last season of Game of Thrones.

Tip Two- Word Association

Word association is about building a bridge between topics. For example, if you are in a losing battle with the “Naysayers” and you wish to no longer discuss/defend the topic of your lifestyle, try this, “I love lifting weights, but what I really love lifting is bags of mulch and getting my yard ready for summer.  What are you planting this year? Who did your landscaping?”

It’s hard not to take their criticism or skepticism to heart. The way they feel about your metamorphosis isn’t a reason to stop or derail your journey. Remind yourself they simply aren’t ready to begin their journey. These two tips can be like meal planning for your sanity in social situations because everyone is going to try and force their opinion. Remain true to your journey. Surround yourself with people who understand and support the changes you are trying to make. Always remember your why.