I’m returning to college after a summer at home and hurt over comments about my weight from my father. I was very active in sports while in high school but am not playing any sports today. The lack of going to a practice every day coupled with lifestyle changes in my freshman year of college didn’t do my body good. I’m aware of this. I’ve continued the weight lifting routine I had in high school, but don’t have time for as much cardio. On the last night I was home, my family went out to dinner and my father commented on me looking thick. I know he didn’t mean it to sound insulting, but I can’t help but be more aware of my “thickening” in the last year. How do I navigate being less active than high school without becoming obsessed with this?
Dear Weighty Comment,
The lack of censorship from family can be the pits sometimes. Although your father’s comments about your weight lacked graceful delivery, it seems as though you have recognized that your body post high school has changed. You probably didn’t need your dad to point it out. You are aware.
The struggles of structure from high school to college are real, especially coming off of a highly regimented system of sports practices and routines. Many people can relate. I’ve been there too. I played a variety of sports in high school and while I continued dancing through college, the workout regimen was not as vigorous. Pair lack of sleep with late night runs to Whataburger and cheap (free) frat beer and I can certainly empathize with an eye opening body change after my freshman year. I fed my body crap and felt like it too.
Above all else it’s about being healthy, which looks different on everyone.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be permanent. A simple reconditioning of your lifestyle habits, like avoiding excess drinking, eating healthier and going to bed at a reasonable time, can help reduce the damage. I refocused and became a certified fitness instructor my junior year of college and was paid to workout and teach dance fitness classes. I felt healthier physically and mentally.
The fact that you are disciplined to continue lifting weights is encouraging. At least you are making the effort to hit the gym. As a former athlete, I’m sure any intramural sports team would benefit from having you on their side. This can also help you incorporate more of the cardio that you feel you are missing. Checking in with a nutritionist and personal trainer to help you evaluate caloric intake and exercise needs of your life today may also be beneficial. I would check out your university’s health and wellness center and gym to see if they have free available resources.
Above all else it’s about being healthy which looks different on everyone. Forget the comment from your dad and focus on making changes to help you feel healthier. And have fun. College will be here and gone before you know it.
Dear Weighty Comment,
Negative comments from anyone about your appearance can hurt. It’s enough to have the little critical voice in your own head but it’s another thing to have someone else put those words into the world. When those words come from someone you care about they tend to hurt even more. It sounds like while you’re upset with your father’s comments about your weight and that he likely could have spoken them in a more acceptable way, the more concerning aspect for you is that you believe his comments have some truth.
First things first. Your opinion about your weight and body is the only one that matters. Others can have opinions but it’s your body. End of story. If someone says something to you that isn’t helpful or worthwhile for you, let them know.
Your opinion about your weight and body is the only one that matters.
If they continue, you may need to set a boundary with them to let them know that you can and will alter your contact with them if they continue. It doesn’t sound like this will be an issue with your father, but if he makes another comment you may need to let him know that while you love him you don’t need his body image commentary. My guess is that he will respect your request.
The more important question here for you is what to do next. I would encourage you that whatever exercise or lifestyle changes you make are guided by your desire for a healthier you. All other motivations are short lived.