A note about "The Rules"

A little over a month ago I wrote about the first New Rule -- Leave No One Behind -- and I don't think I really explained all of my reasoning behind this.

As a reminder....
If you meet someone who expresses their desire to make a positive change, it's your job to encourage them. It doesn't need to be much. You can just be there to listen, to be a cheerleader, to give tips and hints, or even go for a walk/jog with them. But the new rule is "Leave No One Behind." If they choose to confide in you, you're now a part of their successes and failures. They took the first step, now show them they're not alone.
The thing is this -- and I know you will all have your own story to tell about this (please do!!) -- is that at some point in our lives, someone noticed the dangerous path we were headed down, and did nothing to stop us.  Let me rephrase:  there was all a time when we needed help and guidance and someone failed us.  Sure, they might not have thought it was their duty, but I don't care about duty.  I'm talking about compassion.

I wonder what my life might have been like had my gym teacher in second grade said "Hey, I know you're having a hard time running the mile run.  I'm going to run with you for a little bit and teach you how to run so you don't have trouble breathing" instead of saying "hurry up, everyone is waiting for you!"

What kind of body would I have now if, back when my grandmother died, my parents actually talked to me about what I witnessed (yep, I was in the room when she expired) instead of letting me express my sadness and confusion through eating?  The same goes for when my mom died:  What would my life be like now if my father hadn't overwhelmed us/me with his own grief and allowed me to have my own?  What if he he had insisted we all go to a family therapist and talk about our pain and grief.  What if someone had noticed his floundering and stepped in and said "Hey, do you need someone to talk to about parenting stuff?" 

I know I can't go back and fix what happened in the past.  I can reach back into my memories and change the focus of the lens to be more understanding, but that's about it.  However, what I can do is honor that little kid who needed help by helping other people who might be in the same position.  Granted not everyone wants the help. They need to be receptive of it.  But my background makes me willing to help just about anyone who asks for the help.  Why?  Because I know how hard it is to (1) need help and (2) ask for it. 

So this is what I'm going to leave you with -- not a challenge or a question, but a humble request that you do a favor for 7-year old me and maybe a favor for the person you were who needed help, and gently help someone towards a healthier, and happier life.

((and I think this is why I'm still so mad about the nurse -- there are so many people who have the ability to actually help people who are unhealthy (obese, overweight, anorexic, bulimic, etc.) and just choose not to because of their own prejudices.  Thank goodness there are people more than willing and more than dedicated to take on this task.))


I love this. You're a really great person.


aww... thanks hon.
I don't think I am a great person -- but like Mother Teresa said (and I'm paraphrasing) I just hope to do small things with great love.


This is really great and you are so right. When I started blogging it was all about making myself responsible for my actions and helping myself through this journey. Now, hopefully as I learn the ropes of blogging, I hope to one day inspire someone else who needs help to keep going and know they are not alone. Just like so many others in this journey have done for me.


Vinny -- I'm totally going to start singing "You'll never walk alone" right now...

Seriously -- I think this community that we're building is a gift, a resource, and will guarantee our success.


It is definitely a community. We should #1. Make a hash tag on Twitter for all of us and 2. Plan a meet-up in the future to all get together. :p


I'm trying to get #dcfitblog and #fitblogtravel as a thing-- but I don't know if that's going to happen.

I think we need a #fitblog map first...


Childhood sucks! My middle school-high school years were horrible. I didn't have anyone to talk to and that's probably why I always pull for the underdog now.

Sometimes it's not that people don't want to help it's that people just want to complain. They don't want to change their situation.


I think people LOVE to complain but never about the right things...


It always amazes me that people manage only to see the surface and not the deeper part of what's actually going on with people. There's always a story and a reason why someone is the way that they are. It's such a shame that we don't dig deeper.

It doesn't mean that you can help everyone or that you should help everyone but a little empathy can go a very long way.

It was one flippant comment from my manager at work that made me suddenly realize that I had the ability to change things in my life.


there was a lady were I used to work.. who could not wait for me to gain my weight back.. I had lost over 40 pounds.. over the years I did gain it back long after I had left that job.. you know I always think regarding those viperous people.. I may be fat.. but i can lose weight.. I can change.. you on the other hand are ugly.. ugly in your soul.. and you... can never change.... I always think that about them.. in some odd way it gives me comfort.. as child food was constantly being taken from me.. I wonder if someone had just taught me how to eat properly .. what would my relationship with food be now.. Since I was 10 I have been on diets.. diet pills .. wacky quickies.. and long protracted programs.. and what I find works best as an adult is keeping track of my food and exercise.. sort of like banking.. you have an allowance of calories to spend during the day .. thats its... but you can earn more calories by burning what you have used.. thats what works the most realistically for me... still a work in progress...


I can totally relate on the gym teacher who didnt do enough. I was talking about this a while back when I was working my way through the c25k...I was useless at running in school, I could sprint but couldnt do anything more that 400 meters without dying and having to walk. If proper running technique had been encouraged instead of there you go theres a field maybe I would have enjoyed running/jogging much sooner.


Robby, I was deeply touched by this specific post. I read almost all of your previous ones but this particular one truly moved me. It's so true and I, like everybody else can relate to it. I have always been my worst enemy. I could never be satisfied with my body/body image. No matter how fit and healthy I was, I would always think that it wasn't "perfect" enough. Now that my body has dramatically changed after giving birth to my dear son, I can look back at my old self and realize how obsessed and drastically blinded I was. As you said, people love to complain about the wrong things. So, instead of feeling sorry for myself because I didn't enjoy my fit body before, I'm learning to love the way I am for what it is. Not for what it used to be, or what it could have been. Not even for what it will be after I lose the baby weight. It's not easy but I'm working on it.


LOVE the rules. This? This is why I stopped three times during my 5K on July 4th to encourage a young runner who was struggling. To talk to him about being less about SPEED or BEATING SOMEONE ELSE and more about DOING HIS BEST and BEING PROUD OF FINISHING. I wish someone had talked to me about that stuff when I was a kid. So AMEN to being there and helping when people need it!


What an amazing post. We have a lot in common - and I LOVE that!! My belief is that lots of people have a hard life, but it's how you chose to use situations you lived through that makes the difference. No one is going to change if they don't want to - but maybe knowing that there's a person willing to help might give them that little nudge they need to get the job done. You are a very inspiring person...one that gives me a nudge when I need it. You're helping me - and many others - thank you!!


Well first off, thank you all for commenting...

I think everyone is saying the same thing: our experience, our struggle with our weight makes us a bit more mindful of the struggles everyone else go through.

Kendra: Rule number one is predicated on a very big IF -- IF someone comes to you, IF someone opens up to you... In other words, we recognize how hard it is to get to that point of saying "I need help" -- and so we shouldn't push people away when they're ready...

Honib: that's a sad statement -- "I wonder if someone had just taught me how to eat properly .. what would my relationship with food be now.. " I can only hope that people hear that message and begin to TEACH their children how to have a healthy relationship with food instead of leaving it up to school/media/peer pressure, etc.

Sarah Lou: Personally, I wouldn't go that far -- I don't know if I'd enjoy being a runner, but I wouldn't dread it as much. Though, I've always wanted to run in a pack of people. I think I like the idea of herding.

Zineb: This is something i struggle with too -- but I kinda resort back to possible world theory & physics -- that right now in a version of reality there is a me that is completely happy with who she is right now, there's a me that never had the epiphany, and there's who I am right now. Overlay all of those people and you kinda average out to where i am right now -- thankful to be on this path and confident that the past me is proud of me, the future me is rooting me on and the current me can do this.

SRG: Glad you love The Rules. I am a rule maker by nature, and I will be strictly enforcing these rules once I'm emperor of the known world. Glad to see that you stepped in and helped someone who needed it (especially someone younger!) It's important to remember that when we help other people succeed, we too succeed.

Joanna: I think it's a tug of war sometimes with our weight -- feeling like it's easier to give up and enjoy the mud bath -- but the connections we make are people who line up behind us and help us win the battle. It is how we face adversity that makes all the difference -- whether it's alone, or with lots of support.

I'm glad I can be your nudge :)


I agree. We should try and help when we can and when our help is welcomed.

My problem is the frustration that comes with seeing people who need help and either don't want it, or won't accept it. It's tough to watch people struggle. I find I often fall into the trap of trying to "fix" people, which I admit, is the worst thing I could do.

On the flip side, sure we may have been spared some suffering if people had treated us differently at certain points in our lives. But that said, it can be too easy to blame others for our shortcomings. We have the power to sculpt our lives from where they are now, to wherever we want them to be. If we didn't, we'd all be in trouble ;)



I remember how I was before the "epiphany" that I talk about so much -- http://fatgirlvsworld.blogspot.com/2010/07/savor.html.

I wasn't blind, I wasn't stupid, I wasn't lazy. I just felt like my hands were tied. When a person is in a position like that, no one else can liberate them, it has to be of their own doing. We know what life is like on the other side of the epiphany, but people need to go through that themselves.

I understand the frustration with wanting something for someone that they don't want for themselves, but that's our problem, and not theirs. Buddha says life's suffering comes about from the desire to control -- situations, other people, outcomes, etc.

However, what we can do in the meantime is make ourselves a likely target -- someone who is approachable and non-judgmental. We can tell the world we are ready to help.


Forget the things that caused you distress in the past, but NEVER forget the lessons they taught you!


As always FG you are an inspiration! xx


Thank you Rae and Andrea for your comments!


I love this. I try to live by this rule, always. Thanks for linking it up in #fitblog.


Yay! I'm glad you like it! I think it's the most important rule -- it's a reminder of how interconnected we are. Our successes and our failures are shared when we share our journey with others.


I love your rule. It is so important to remember all the people that helped you when you needed it, and I always try to encourage people in the same way when I see someone who looks unsure, unhappy, or ready to give up. Thank you for this post!



Simply put, it's paying it forward.
I think everyone has had a pivotal person in their life that helped put them on the right path.

You're welcome for the post -- I can't wait to hear how you're following the rule.


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<3 Robby