Thursday, May 19, 2011

Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys

Hey fitness lovers! I know, I know, it's been awhile since my last post! I'm trying to be more consistent and was on a role for awhile but life sometimes gets in the way. Sorry. But I'm back! :) Here with a post on a subject that has been on my mind for awhile now and that's "Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys." If you don't already know, "Debbie Downer" and "Negative Nancy" are terms used to describe people who always have a negative attitude, no matter what the situation or how joyous an occasion it may be, they can always find a down side, bring up a negative point and as you can guess, these people are never much fun to hang around. Now that I've got the definition of the two terms out of the way, you may be wondering, "how do these type of people relate to fitness or nutrition?" Well, I'm glad you asked!

I've found along my weight loss journey, and even today, when it comes to talking about fitness & nutrition there are A LOT of Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys in the world! And I'm not talking about random people you may meet in passing, I'm talking about people you really know, like friends, family, co-workers... etc. Often these people, since they are so close to you, can be negative influences in your life without you even realizing it. While some may be out right negative about your decision to start a new healthy life style or good health and exercising in general, others can be Debbie Downers or Negative Nancys without them even realizing it. For example, you ever start talking to someone and the subject has nothing to do with health, weight, nutrition or fitness, but somehow you find that the subject of food and how they need to lose weight but nothing seems to be working seems to come up? Then that turns into how they want to exercise but just can't find the time? Then the subject of different foods comes up and how many calories are in this and that are brought into the conversation and it just goes on and on until, even though you may be a health & fitness nut, you're even tired of talking about it? Sound familiar? I know I can relate! And no matter how much encouragement or advice you give them, they never really listen, they just make excuses to stay in their negativity because the reality is, most Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys are complainers who put nothing into action. Not only can this type conversation be annoying, but it can also discouraging. No matter what point you are in in your journey, this isn't the kind of conversation you need to engage in, but it can be especially detrimental if you are at the beginning of your weight loss journey. We all need to try to surround ourselves around encouraging, positive people who, even though they may not be interested in a more healthier lifestyle, support our decision to make change and encourage us in reaching our goals!

Debbie Downers and Nancy Negatives aren't easy people to be around but what do you do when you have no choice in being surrounded by them? Say your job is full of them or your family isn't supportive? My advice would be: 1.) Limit your time around those people. That may sound harsh, especially when it comes to family, but negativity is negativity and at the end of the day you've got to take care of yourself! If it takes not being apart of the "clique" at work or taking some alone time at home, do what you have to do to stay positive. 2.) Try to change the subject. This can be hard because most of the time, these types of people (Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys) like to harp on the same subject over and over, they like to keep the negativity going and have a hard time letting a subject go, but if you're persistent enough, they'll get the point that you no longer wish to talk about it. And finally, 3.) Realize that you can't change people. This goes for Debbie Downers, Negative Nancys, and everyone else! People only change when they want to change. Contrary to popular believe, change isn't something that just happens, it's always a choice. Also, a lot of times, a characteristic of being a Debbie Downer or a Negative Nancy didn't just happen overnight, this was probably something that developed from years of being around a parent, sibling or friend who was one first (stuff like that tends to rub off on you which is why my first bit of advice was to limit your time around them), so it's not entirely their fault. Be patient with them.  

And sometimes you've just got to rid yourself of the Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys in your life, period. Now I definitely wouldn't suggest this if your dealing with a family member (that's a whole other story!) but being constantly surrounded by a negative person is not only bad for your health and fitness goals, but it's bad for your sanity in general, especially if you are making an effort to be a positive person. The choice is ultimately up to you.  Be patient and stay positive!

Your friend,

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