Monday, March 7, 2011

It’s A Guy Thing

Twice in the last few weeks I’ve heard virtually the same weight-loss story. The first time I was in a local restaurant eating dinner and watching a Pens game, when someone yelled across the bar to a guy sitting a few stools down from me, “Hey, you look great! Have you lost weight?”

The guy yells back, “Yeah! 40 pounds!”

“Awesome, dude!”

“Thanks!”

You know me. I couldn’t NOT ask the guy how he did it. After all, if he was willing to yell his weight loss across a crowded bar, I figured I could ask him his story.

“I got my driver’s license picture taken and I didn’t like my face,” he said. “So I decided to lose weight.”

“Just like that?” I asked.

“Yup.”

“How’d you do it?”

“Diet and exercise,” he said.

Two weeks later, I was with some friends in a different bar. Two guys walked in. One ordered a Guinness and the other a Coors Light. I heard Mr. Guinness (rail-thin) ask Mr. Coors Light (slightly overweight) when he had to leave to go work out. Mr. Coors Light said he could have two beers and then he would go home. Work out? On a Friday night?

“Wow, that’s discipline,” I said. “Working out on a Friday night?”

Mr. Guinness jumped in. “This guy here’s lost 40 pounds! Come on, man, tell her.”

“I lost 40 pounds,” Mr. Coors Light laughed. “I’m gonna lose 20 more.”

“Wow, that’s great!” I said. “How did you do it?”

He shrugged and looked at me like, Duh, lady.

“Diet and exercise,” he said.

After his second beer, Mr. Coors Light ordered a hoagie to go for his wife (so sweet!) and said he’d only nibble on a bit of it on the way home, then he was going to hit the treadmill while watching ESPN.

Both men got me thinking, ‘Is this a guy thing?’ Both lost weight just because they decided to, and they did it without Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss, NutriSystem, or Optifast. No zone/beach/acai/colon/miracle-pill diets, they just cut back on the hoagies and started working out.

And what about those conversations in public? I know I’ve told my story on Oprah and sundry other places including my blogs, but not without a certain degree of shame, fear and, yes, embarrassment. Even now I cringe when I watch the videos of the shows I’ve been on. If someone yelled from across a crowded room that I looked great and asked if I’d lost weight, I’d be mortified. And I certainly wouldn’t yell back, “Yeah! 170 pounds!” If one of my friends flat out announced to a stranger in a bar that I’d lost weight…again, instant mortification. Yet, the two guys who lost weight seemed completely unfazed by the questions or my inquiries. In fact, they were down right giddy about it. Didn’t bother them one bit.

Go them!

I want to be like them one day – fearless, accepting, and genuinely proud of my accomplishments among strangers who aren’t interested in weight issues. It’s easy to be comfortable talking about weight with people who “get it,” but it’s another to discuss it with, oh say, a potential date. Sure, if I meet someone, I wouldn’t have to tell him about my weight loss, but in this Google-able world, it doesn’t take much to learn my story.

So I need to put on my big girl panties and get comfortable. It can’t be just a guy thing. It has to be a Lynn thing, too.

19 comments:

  1. This is so true! And just one of the many reasons why men suck (just kidding - kind of). My husband announced one day that he was going to lose weight - and then he did! Just like that. 20lbs in 2 months. WTH? I've been trying for two years.

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  2. I don't know...I think if (when?) I loose 40 pounds I will be VERY happy to shout it to the rafters. I hope you are soon so proud of your incredible accomplishment that the embarrassment will be history.

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  3. Over thinking, over analyzing. Talk about self destructive. Living a positive thankful life is a better road to travel. I really appreciate your blog.

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  4. Great post, Lynn! I've read a couple articles along the lines of "losing weight like a guy" and I love that mentality! I think men tend to take the emotional element out of the process, which certainly helps. Also, let's not kid ourselves--they have an easier time dropping the pounds!

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  5. Loved this because it is so true. We women could grow some 'eggs' in this area and be proud, too.

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  6. Women just need to stop being ashamed of themselves and stop being so hard on themselves! We put way more pressure on ourselves then men actually put on us.

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  7. Guys also think farts are funny and will hold their stinky shoes up to a friend's nose and laugh about it.

    One friend of Jay's says whenever he'd having a bad day he thinks about the time Jay was running with a wheelbarrow and accidentally hit the basketball hoop post. It hit him you-know-where, and he was on the ground.

    Apparently this shocking accident that would have had me running to him in concern, causes his friend so much hilarity even years later. (Guyland.)

    My dad was on a riding lawn mower and some leaves were caught on the back and on fire. A friend of his drove by and waved at him. On the return trip he said, "Yeah, you were on fire when I went by before."

    Okay, that is no friend. What the hell? My dad found it hilarious, including my incredulous reaction.

    Guyland is a strange place,and yet things like your post make me see it's definitely okay in some ways too, even if *I* don't necessarily understand it.

    love you, Val

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  8. Maybe it just depends on the context. The men on The Biggest Loser seem to be more emotional.

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  9. While I admire their spirit, I wonder why weight loss seems more embarrassing for women. Maybe guys are more comfortable about admitting they were overweight to begin with because society is easier on overweight men than on overweight women? I hate to be so pessimistic, but there's your harsh reality.

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  10. OWN IT, SISTER! I think you need to read this blog post because what you have accomplished is amazing:

    http://thefeministbreeder.com/the-world-needs-more-women-who-brag-about-their-accomplishments/

    I love, love, LOVE The Feminist Breeder. She'll make you want to shout it from the rooftops, or at least in your living room ;-)

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  11. I would have a hard time shouting out my numbers because I'm embarrassed I let myself gain so much weight in the first place. Maybe it IS a gender thing - you'd think men would be ashamed as well, but no - they are proud, those weirdos.

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  12. I've found that guys really can lose weight much easier than women (I realize this is not true in every case). Any blog I read that belongs to a man and they lose consistently every week - even if they 'cheat' by eating lousy food! Weight just doesn't hold the same water for men as it does for women. They look at their bodies differently than we do, I think.

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  13. I would yell across the room or show them my excess skin without a thought. And I do tend to laugh when a guy gets hurt (but not a woman). But I do not think 3 stooges are funny.

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  14. I do think it is a guy thing because they don't seem to be so emotional about gaining the first place. I guess it is in the same vein where when a man's hair goes grey he gets `distinguished' and a woman just gets older! Maybe if we women judged ourselves (and each other!) less by what we weigh and more by how many pushups we can do or how far we can throw a ball we could also look down and go `wow my gut is hanging over my belt, I'll cut down a bit' and just do it? I still get embarassed if someone mentions how much I have lost in public as I immediately see people (usually women) mentally adding it back on as they eye me up and down!!!

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  15. Having more muscle helps you to burn more fat. Men naturally have more muscle mass than women, no matter what their weight. Men don't have menstrual cycles either (yes, I know it's obvious). Their hormones don't fluctuate to the extent that ours do. In addition, our bodies need to cling to every ounce of weight in order to nourish the babies we carry in our bellies. Anorexics don't get pregnant. Being too thin destroys your fertility (And yes, I do know that being too fat can have a negative effect on fertility, but often, excessively heavy women suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. They gain weight BECAUSE of the PCOS and they are also often infertile.)

    It's definitely not in our heads: Men lose weight much, much more easily than women. It's a physiological reality and it sucks the big one. Women are so disadvantaged when it comes to weight loss that it just makes me want to retreat to a cave and forget about everything.

    My husband dropped 11 pounds in a month. What did he do? He reduced his portions ever so slightly and drank more water. The changes he made were so minimal that I didn't notice anything. He mentioned in passing that he had lost some weight. No big deal.

    Do I resent this unfairness? You bet I do!!

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  16. P.S. I forgot the one "huge" change my husband made to lose weight: he stopped drinking one small glass of unsweetened fruit juice at night before bed.

    Geez, that must have been really, really tough.

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  17. bizarre isn't it? You'd think that we went to quite considerable effort to lose weight, so we'd be proud of it. But noooo, in our heads it's still a case of 'but if you lost Xlbs, surely that meant you were overweight before'. Even after all the work, the cup can still be half empty.
    Maybe we should all practice yelling out randomly in the pub how much weight we've lost?? Just a thought...

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  18. It might be less of a "man thing" and more of a less emotional commitment to their weight, body image, self esteem.... Women are more complicated in the way that they deal with and approach situations (especially our bodys). In Dec. I woke up and said I am the biggest I have ever been and I do not even know how much I weigh. Made a doctors appt. and was told I was in stage 2 with my blood pressure and I am only 27. By the weigh I had bloomed to 351 pounds. I went home cried my eyes out and had myself a pitty party and then said it has to change. Woke up the next day, got a personal trainer and went grocery shopping for "new" food and here we are in mid march and I am down to 307 pounds, no special diets or diet pills. I think it takes the mind set to just do it no if, ands or buts. Only big butts! :P

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  19. I think you should shout your story from the rooftops :) I remember you on Oprah and I loved how excited you were. I think you have such great things to say and you really inspire people. You are the teacher now remember :)

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