DietBet Diary #6: Why is it easier to talk to my fellow DietBetters than my friends and family?

The mysteries of opening up about weight loss to people you've never met.

I hit my DietBet goal yesterday morning!

Because of that, everything feels wonderfully awesome right now, despite my peach cobbler episode last weekend. This time, the diet, the work, the support… it’s all clicking and I’m chugging along like the Little Dieter That Could. My drastic reduction in sugar has helped my stomach more than I thought possible and my blood pressure is starting to go down a little at a time. Of course, I can’t stop drinking water and peeing every thirty minutes, but clothes shopping is already more fun and I’m going to join another DietBet this week to ensure I stay on track as this one comes to a close. (By the way, if you get the opportunity to join one of Sarah Gilbert’s DietBets, totally do it. She is such an encourager!)

Seriously, I feel brilliant! Kinda like Julie Andrews dancing around on a mountaintop in The Sound of Music. Yep. That’s me.

The only thing bothering me is no one here at home has noticed any weight loss yet, and I refuse to ask the “Don’t I look like I’ve lost weight?” question.

But my fellow DietBetters have noticed. Comments on this DietBet Diary blog series have been so kind and heartfelt and my goodness…what a great bunch of cheerleaders you guys are!

But, I feel like I’m living a double life. Very few of my friends and family in “real life” know what I’m doing (meaning the weekly diary updates with my DietBet and the actual game itself).

Are any of you in the same boat? Are you guys keeping quiet too?

Why is that? Why am I afraid to tell people? And more importantly, why am I willing to spill my guts to the entire DietBet community, which consists of hundreds upon thousands of people, instead of telling the folks who actually know me—who care for me, who would step in front of a car for me—about this wonderful thing I’m doing to improve my health and increase my longevity?

I could make the argument for anonymity. It can be easier to open up behind the mask of “no-one knows me,” and some of us need that anonymity in order to open up at all.

Years ago, my BFF from high school lost well over 100 pounds. Now, this was fifteen years ago, so social media wasn’t quite what it is today but, at that time in her life, she was so painfully shy that she couldn’t bear to go to actual Weight Watchers. When WW launched their online sponsoring my girl chose that route because it meant she could avoid face –to-face encounters. The online solution enabled her to lose the weight and today, well, her social calendar is mind-boggling.

I’m sure that out of the nearly 1,500 players in my current DietBet, quite a few are experiencing the same agonizing shyness my BFF once did, and the anonymous, online quality of the game lets them open up.

But what about the rest of us?

It’s not shyness for me. Obviously, I’m willing to divulge my struggles with food and exercise. But, I am embarrassed. I know I’m overweight. The people who know and love me know that I’m overweight. It shouldn’t be a secret that I’m trying to become less overweight.

But the thing is—I’ve tried and failed so many times, with all of them watching, and well, honestly I didn’t feel like failing in front of them again.

Now that may seem like I’m headed into the game with the expectation of failure – and maybe I’ve taught myself that along the way. Maybe I became so used to failing that I didn’t believe I could succeed anymore.

Every single person on this earth has stuff they aren’t good at: weaknesses, trouble spots and crutches. However, being fat is by far one of the most noticeable. You can be a liar and hide it. You can be a cheat and walk down the street and no one would have any idea. You can be a kleptomaniac, drug addict, or a guilt-ridden enabler and there’s a good chance we’d never know.

But struggling with a food addiction is something else entirely. It’s pretty tough to hide that. Eventually, it’s going to show up on your body, in one way or another. And it’s embarrassing.

Because of this, I was hesitant to share my feelings about dieting with those in my life. But doing exactly that in an environment like DietBet has been a breeze. The warm reception I’ve received has been so comforting and it made me realize, this is why DietBet is so successful.

We need to talk about it. We need to complain and whine. We need encouragement, and asking for those things from friends and family members who don’t understand or who aren’t tuned in to what we are doing can be disappointing. However, inside this DietBet group, well, this is what we’re here for. This is exactly why we’ve plopped down our cash.

We can log in twenty times a day and get encouragement by simply asking for it. We can inspire others on days when they feel low, because we know someone will do it for us next week when we fall into a piece of chocolate cake.

Here, I’ve noticed we have no shame in sharing the nitty gritty aspects of fitness and healthy eating… and its side effects.

And to me, while we may be “strangers” technically, we aren’t really. We’re a tribe of weight loss warriors, spanning the miles and lifting each other up during our most difficult journey.

This is the sixth post in a DietBet Diary series that follows Heather through her whole game. If you missed Heather's earlier posts, catch up now:

DietBet Diary #5: Peach Cobbler for Dinner...and Breakfast

DietBet Diary #4: My Food Life Is Changing, and I'm Scared

DietBet Diary #3: My Body Planned a Rebellion. I Shut It Down.

DietBet Diary #2: Chubby Girl Yoga

DietBet Diary #1: One Writer Gets Real About Life on the Chubby Side of the Fence


Make it WayBetter

Try it: open up in your next DietBet game about something that worries you, something "embarrassing," something that you don't think anyone else will understand. Chances are, you'll be met with a flurry of support, encouragement, and people who know exactly what you're talking about!