Criticism, Haters, and Discouragement: The Negative Nancies of Living a Healthy Life

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is good, right? Beginning an exercise program that improves your overall well-being is a great idea, isn’t it? Losing weight, feeling energized and happy, and looking better than ever should make you feel that you are on top of the world, shouldn’t it? You’d think so, but for some turning their life around and heading in that direction actually causes them a little pain along the way. I’m not talking about the pain of exercising. No, I’m talking about the emotional pain that some endure on their journey of becoming a better version of themselves physically.

You all know what I’m talking about. Something tells me you have probably encountered one or two of these negative people yourselves unless, Heaven forbid, you have been one.


I’m talking about what is now known as a “hater".  A hater doesn’t necessarily have to be that person you have never really gotten along with. No, a hater can be someone you know very well, maybe even love. They could be a friend, a sibling, a boyfriend/girlfriend, even a parent. I have been the subject of, and heard stories about, people who feel that it is their duty to make another feel bad because they are transforming their body into something they feel is beautiful. These people make hateful comments about someone losing weight by saying things like, “they’re too skinny,” “they’re losing too much weight,” “they can’t be doing that and still be healthy,” and so on.

Some haters like to criticize women for having what is (in their opinion) too much muscle. The most common comments I see on a toned woman’s picture is “Ewww,” “she looks like a man," "Gross, “I’d never want to look like that.” They’re so original (insert sarcasm).

There are many reasons one might stoop to that low level of cruelty and negativity. Personally, I think the majority of it is jealousy and self-loathing. Deep down, they want to look and feel great. They want to make that change but don’t have the discipline or will power to do it. That donut is just too good to pass up. That night out on the town with their friends is too tempting. Why get out of that nice, warm, comfortable bed to go to the gym? They just can’t do it and can’t admit you have something they don’t - drive and determination.

Having a strong, athletic, and healthy physique makes others uncomfortable and jealous because in all honesty, they want that. I read a story that said when people would tell Arnold Schwarzenegger that they’d never want to look like him he would look at them and say, “Don’t worry, you never will.”

One thing that I say to the haters, the critics, and the discouragers out there is that you have no idea what it takes to change your entire body. The hours of physical labor, the dietary sacrifices, the money that goes into making the type of changes that you deem undesirable is something to be proud of and to respect. When someone commits to making a positive change in their body they are excited and proud, and when you make comments to undercut and devalue their efforts of course it hurts. Remember, you are speaking to a human being: someone’s child, someone’s parent, someone with hopes and dreams. Don’t ruin that for them. Don’t be the person who is the cause of another’s sadness and self-doubt.

To those of you who are going after your goals, understand that there will always be nay-sayers. There’s not much you can do about it. Rise up and while you create that rocking body, you may want to develop some thick skin as well. Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t look back. Don’t forget, this is your life and you are making improvements. Changes that will not only make you look better, but make you feel better. It’s good for your overall health! Don’t forget that. It’s not just about how you look on the outside, but how you feel on the inside. It’s about getting your body to work at its optimal level and to create a better quality of life!