How Would You Deal With This Unhealthy Coworker?

We all know that guy.

Or that girl.

That person in our office who loves to complain about EVERYTHING: the weather, politics, your boss…and anything relating to weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise.

He’s tried every diet and workout plan for less than a week, he blames everything on his slow metabolism, and claims that he’s doomed to failure because nothing works.

In reality, this person just lacks the patience, knowledge, and/or willpower to actually produce positive results.

Earlier this week, I saw a great thread in the Nerd Fitness message boards about a particular rebel who is struggling with one of her coworkers who makes very little effort to get healthy but has no problem complaining about how unhealthy she is.

What would YOU would do in her situation?

The Unhealthy, Complaining Co-Worker

office desk logo

This is the original post on the message boards:

Does anyone else here work with people who whine about being overweight?

One of the ladies that I work with whines about being overweight all day. I see her for a fair portion of the day from nine until five but I don’t see her all the time so I don’t know what she does with her life. I know that as she’s older (about sixty or so) which makes it harder to shift weight due to a slower metabolism. After whining about it for months and MONTHS I couldn’t take being positive to her anymore. I’d been saying things like, “it takes a while to lose weight, but you’ll get there!” and so on. I finally cracked and asked her what she was actually DOING to lose weight.

She’s not changed her diet at all and her only form of exercise is DIY and gardening, things which I know she makes excuses not to do every week. I could pretty much have summed up her explanation with “I exercise even less than I used to, which was very little, and I eat the same crap I always have. Why have I put on weight and can’t lose it?”

I really had to bite my tongue to not point that out to her because:

    • It would be pretty rude to phrase it like that
    • I have to spend 37 hours a week within six feet of this lady

But SERIOUSLY! I’ve talked about what I do for exercise and assured her than ANYONE can do it and I’ve explained to her all about Paleo and low carb etc. Not in a “you should do this” way but just because I talk about things that I’m interested in and she’s asked me a lot of questions about my weight loss success.

This is also the same woman who has probably about thirty times over the last month declared that I’m going to become “a big fat housefrau” now that I’m married. As if I was just losing weight for the wedding and I’m gonna start scarfing Krispy Kremes now.

ARGH.

How do I deal with this without screwing things up for myself at work?

My Thoughts

dilbert doll

This is tough.

Whether you have one co-worker who complains, or you’re the only healthy one in an entire office of unhealthy complainers, it’s really tough to stay positive when those around you are negative.  These people keep saying “I should do this” and then do nothing or “I tried that and it didn’t work”  when in reality they didn’t actually put any effort towards really trying.

To put it bluntly, these people suck at getting healthy.

Unfortunately, most office dullards find it’s much easier to complain and drag other people down instead of picking themselves up.  They figure if they can bring you down to their level, it makes them feel less guilty about being lazy.  If you have success, then they have no choice but to blame themselves for a lack of progress.

So, how do we deal with those that we have no choice but deal with on a daily basis?

For starters, you can’t just go around preaching and telling people how to live their lives – nobody likes that guy/girl.  On top of that, they’ll be even LESS likely to listen to your advice, no matter how helpful it is, because they feel like they’re being patronized and preached to.

Instead, here are my suggestions:

1) The BEST thing you can do is become Captain America.  Put on your suit of anti-negativity armor (yes, it exists) and inspire with your actions.  You can’t force people to get motivated – nobody wants to be told what to do – but as you continue to make great choices, day after day, week after week, month after your month, your coworkers will definitely take notice of your changed appearance and positive confident behavior.  It might take months, a year, or even longer, but eventually they’ll start to subtly ask questions about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.  At this point, you can proudly offer up advice in a non-preachy way.

My favorite response from the community had a similar idea:

The best way to get over your frustration with what other people say about your fitness attempts/goals or do to reach their own goals, in my opinion, is to kick a$$ at what you’re doing and leave them in the dust.  What was that? Oh I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how ****ing awesome I am!!!

2) Share great articles with them.  There’s a way to help people without blatantly calling them out.  Rather than telling them “hey you need to read this and lose weight,” you can say things like “hey, I discovered this great resource; I know you love Star Wars/Zelda/Shawshank/Mario and thought you might enjoy this” or “hey I’m thinking of trying out this diet advice or workout, what are your thoughts on it?”  You’re getting them involved and reading without telling them what to do.

3) Invite them to “level up” with you.  If they are asking questions, then they’re at least slightly interested in improving their lives.  Explain to them you need a workout buddy to keep yourself accountable.  Explain you found this GREAT AND AWESOME RESOURCE called Nerd Fitness :) and you want somebody to work with to stay on target.  Maybe you can suggest cooking meals and bringing them into the office for the two of you to share.  This method only works if they are serious about getting started though; you can’t sacrifice your own efforts by trying to drag dead weight along with you for the ride.

4) Start a competition.   People love to win stuff.  If you have an a few people in your office looking to lose weight, why not lead the charge by creating a fat-loss competition?  Tell your coworkers that you really want to get in shape for ______________ and you’d love to have some fun motivation to get there – a six week challenge where everybody throws in fifty bucks:  whoever loses the most body fat in that time the prize.  Once you start the email chain on the contest, then you can start sharing helpful and beneficial articles without having to tell them “DO THIS, SUCKA!”

5) Be patient and understanding.  Don’t forget, before you were full of fantastic knowledge about eating healthy and proper training, you were a total newbie too.  Some people might not be ready, and they might not be ready for a while.  It doesn’t make them bad people, it just means they’re not at a place yet where they’re ready to make a change.

Saint and I emailed each other for two years before he was ready to clean up his diet and strength train.  It wasn’t that Saint was a failure before, he just wasn’t ready to get started.  Once he finally reached that tipping point, he became an absolute dragon-slayer.

Do what you can to stay positive and supportive while being that quiet leader who continues to have success and inspire.

6) Don’t let them get you down.  Some people just suck.  I’m not trying to be mean, but that’s the way it is!  They are miserable, they’ve been miserable for decades, they love wallowing in their self-misery, and they will pull as many people down in the gutter with them as possible.  These people want you to either:

  • Join their pity party, or…
  • Pamper them, telling them “No, it’s not like that. You look great and are awesome!”

These vampires can easily suck the life out of you and make you question your own decisions, so it’s better to avoid them all together.  If you can’t avoid them because you have to work with them, then recognize the fact that their words are useless.

Once you’ve identified that these complaints are without merits, it’s almost comical to listen to how much they complain and complain without actually getting anything done.  As soon as they bring up the “I can’t lose weight” behavior and you’ve exhausted all other options, simply ignore the comment or say something like “That stinks. Anyways, about these spreadsheets.”  You’ve put enough effort in, focus on YOU and they may choose to come around eventually – if not, it’s not your problem.

Do they complain WAYYYY TOO MUCH?  Make a game out of it  Start keeping track on a post-it note every time he/she complains and see how many complaints you hear in a week – I’d recommend keeping this game to yourself, unless this person is somebody you’re close enough with to offer up some tough love eventually:

They might need to hear: “So far, you’ve complained thirty-four times this month about being overweight.  Let’s talk about what you’re doing to fix that.”

How Would You Respond?

lego man and desk

That’s what I would recommend.

What sort of advice do YOU have?  

Have you successfully dealt with the complainer at your office? How did you do it?

Is it better to try and help out, or is it not worth the time and effort to try and help somebody that doesn’t wanted to be helped?

-Steve

PS.  Speaking of leveling up, a few weeks from now, we’ll be starting the next 6-week challenge on the Nerd Fitness message boards.  Within the next week, I’m going to be releasing details on The Level Up Club, a project we’re going to make available to a small, select group of people, in addition to the regular free six week challenge on the boards.  Over those six weeks, this small group will work with Staci, myself, and the other rebels involved to learn exactly how to build powerful habits and have success towards building a leveled up life.

More details are coming VERY soon on The Level Up Club, including how much it will cost, what it will include, and the type of person we’re looking for to participate.  I’m only looking for rebels who are actually willing to put in the time and effort consistently over six weeks.  Everything will continue as normal around here at NF; this will just be for people who are looking for more specific direction and daily accountability.

### 

photo sources: office space lego, Dilbert, lego desk, lego man and desk

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  • RaeVynn

    I just don’t talk about my journey at work… and when people notice my weight loss, I just say “thank you” and walk away. I do smile, but I don’t invite questions. I find it works out easier for me if I don’t have a bunch of people focusing on my eating/fitness.

  • Katy Inglis

    I’ve had mixed comments at work – thankfully, no one that falls into this category.  Normally, it’s people questioning my eating (why are you/are you not eating x, y, z and the notorious “Are you sure you want to eat that?”) but I’d agree – the best response, if they’re really not going to play ball and man up, is to just ignore it.

    Also super excited to hear more about the Level Up club, can’t wait for more details Steve!

  • How To Maintain My Weight

    Steve, I see this a lot- not so much whining about it as much as just being around it.  What do you do when you feel like you are the only healthy one in your city, or even your state if you get around much?  It seems like everywhere I go on a day-to-day basis people are sluggish and overweight, and they don’t appear to be happy in their own skin.  I just completed my own diet and fitness guides, but where I live I couldn’t give them away, and it’s frustrating.  What do you do when you are viewed as the ‘dumb’ or ‘quirky’ one for eating the way that you do, and workout the way that you do?

  • KC

     I’ll gladly take one of your guides.   :-)

  • rtalencar

    Oooh! I got quoted, I feel so spiffy!

  • Bad Wolf

    In my department I’m lucky. The majority of the people I work with eat healthy lunches, or at least most of the time (which is great!). Someone is always snacking on greek yogurt, an orange, a banana, grapes, or carrot sticks. Three of my co-workers take a yoga class here once a week. One other person is on WW and is very active. Not everyone here is ready to level up, but everyone here is either respectful of it, thinking of it, or doing it.

    At an old job there were a few people who would rather complain than work for it and one flip flopped between “fat pride” and self loathing combined with injury and illness. It’s not easy to be around or to try to help, but I think the best policy in every situation is to keep working on my goals. The least I can do is succeed, the most I can do is inspire others.

  • Brennan Miller

    Steve, I love the article. I have a similar situation with my wife. She is nowhere near as bad as most whiney coworkers looking for sympathy, but she frequently makes references to how much she’d like to lose weight (a normal female concern). To preface, we’re very different in our physiology and interests. I am a hardgainer that is super interested in fitness and love throwing around heavy weights (gym, crossfit, etc). Whereas she eats healthy but doesn’t like to partake in the same physical activity and her metabolism isn’t as active as mine. I’ve been hearing this for months and have been supportive of her. What I did was start with the food discussion – we watched multiple documentaries on the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, and started reading books about healthy eating and lifestyle (not to mentioned I told her to read NERDFITNESS.com). We’ve progressed to the point where we are starting the Paleo diet June 1st – 30th (and hopefully forever thereafter). I think this is the first step, and will take many more in the future. But as you mentioned in your article, you CANNOT tell, you just have to slowly discuss and wait till they are willing on their own terms!

  • Karen

    My response would be pretty different. If your goal is to help that person change, I’d say reevaluate the goal: she’ll change or she won’t, and if you’ve already provided an example and information, you’ve done everything you can do.

    I don’t think she’s actually looking for help and change. I think she just wants to feel better about herself and her choices. Any responses that try to help her solve her problem are missing the point, which is that she’s using her discussion of weight/diet/exercise to express her feelings of insecurity. If I were in this situation, I’d just say, “as long as you’re happy with yourself, that’s all that counts,” and change the topic.

  • Andrew Jenkins

    I’ve 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000529784895 Zeke Hastreiter

    Take pride in your quirkiness!  After all “what is normal?’  Do we really want to be normal? (I think we all want to be liked and be part of the larger group…but sometimes the group isn’t a good match for who we are, the key is to find a group which you do fit and incorporate them into your life.)

  • http://twitter.com/earthliz Liz Oh

    Sometimes, people are just engaging in “fat talk.”  They want you to say “oh, you’re not fat” or worse “oh, I’m so fat too. We have something in common!”  I always try to call it out for what it is and ask if we can talk about something else.

  • Woodsrider

    Wow, great to see an article about this.  I think we can all relate one way or another with the original poster.
    Good job being positive Steve.

  • http://twitter.com/AmandaCMedau Amanda Christine

    So great to see your input on this!
    And can’t wait for the “Level up Club” info……

  • http://twitter.com/thereselee Therese Lee

    There are a few people at work trying to get healthy. We have marathoners, crossfit folks. But there are a couple people who claim to know everything about fitness (their opinion is that nothing works). They are a bit annoying. I just ignore them. I, like folks here, understand that “health” is a meaningless term and that losing fat and lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, or whetever numbers you use, is often not a simple matter and involves a complicated metric of hormones and biochemistry that the scientific community is only beginning to understand. Through very simple, yet specific tweaks of your eating and behaviors, we can actually create an environment where our bodies naturally do what they need to to protect us from disease.  

  • http://twitter.com/betsywhim Betsy Richter

    Loved this – especially since you’re calling out my attitude/behavior as being that of Captain America, bay-bee! 

    (Best. Label. Ever…)

  • Celidah

    Like Zeke said, take pride in it! Normal is booooring. I always put it this way: everyone’s got a freak flag–some of us are just brave enough to fly it.

    So fly it high, man. Fly it high.

  • http://www.ombailamos.com/ chacha1

    I am a maintainer – haven’t had any noticeable (on the outside) weight gain or loss for a looooong time.  My co-workers over the years often do start conversations about diet or exercise, not because they see my weight going up or down, but because they know I have a personal training certification and am a dancer, and they see me stretching or doing barre exercises at the copy machine or in the break room!

    My typical response is to be open and civil, answer any questions they put to me, tell them what *I* would do to achieve X goal they have, and then expect no action from them.  I don’t ask what they’ve decided to do, or are doing.  

    While generally friendly and polite, I am not all that receptive to complaining, and this must be apparent … because I don’t get much “that doesn’t work” backwash. 

    I do emphasize the evils of dietary sugar and recommend that most people – especially women – try to replace starch & sugar with protein, but I know perfectly well that few people, even the smart ones, can get their heads around the fact that metabolically speaking a bagel with cream cheese has as much sugar as a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

    I eat lunch alone 99.9% of the time, don’t sit in the break room, and so in the main I simply avoid the situation.

  • Nowhereman

    Good article – unfortunately it not only applies to co-workers but others in your life (that you still want in your life and can’t just run away from).  Like your neighbor, cousin, coffee shop barista.  When people notice big changes in someone they all get a fleeting bit of motivation before dropping back into the same old pool of Doritos & reruns of Melrose Place.

    I take the Capt America stance.  And as Steve has said and/or implied in nearly every self-help type
    email – You/They have to “WANT” to do it.

    btw Steve + 1 for a StrongBad reference – kicks it old skool.

    My favorite (and rebel nerd appropriate) –  

    http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail94.html
    Your Head A Splode!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=568761063 Glory Mooncalled

    Just say, “Well, when you’re ready to lose weight, I’m sure you’ll buckle down and do something about it.”  It puts it all back on them, letting them know that you’re done playing the game, you know they aren’t really serious, and that they shouldn’t bother you with their nonsense anymore. 

  • Erik Mitchell

    Lead by example. They need to “actually” want to get fit before they will make an effort. Somebody that complains that often probably has more issues to work on…

  • http://www.facebook.com/thegeezneez Christina McGee

    This article just spelled out my life at work. About a year ago 2 co workers and I started a weight loss journey together. I didn’t realize until later that they were all about the quick fixes while I was trying to learn to be healthy for life. One of them kept doing various cleanses and the other did the HCG drops and only eats 500 calories a day. At first I was very vocal about how wrong I thought these were…but they eventually quit talking to me…so I stopped. I now approach it as it is their bodies and they can do what they want and they are back to talking to me and we rarely discuss weight loss.  I found a new support group here on nerdfitness.com and with and my best friend. I look forward to the day that I can be an example to them on what healthy weight loss looks like.

  • http://www.bzemic.com/impossibleInstinct/ steve ward

    1) The BEST thing you can do is become Captain America. That what i do anymore although it dont always work well.
    2) Share great articles with them: I DO NOT do this unless they are truly interested.  Most likely this grandma is not complaining about her health i will get to that in a minute.

    3) Invite them to “level up” with you: Again i dont invite people unless that is what they want if not then no.

    4) Start a competition: this is a good way to see if people are interested in anything.

    5) Be patient and understanding: this is key, because what you think you are hearing, is most likely not what you think.

    Let me tell you a story from my past, not to long ago I had a decent job but the pay was not that good. Yet for some reason the people i worked with though that i was there for the paycheck.

    Well as the days went on most of my fellow employees seem to complain about never having enough money. So being the business man that i am i started to teach them the basics of business.

    What happen you ask? They got mad at me, i was well shocked was this not what they been asking for?  So after not defeating the dragon I went back to work and listen again.

    Here is what i found out, it was not about the money but what the money bought so to speak. For one woman she wanted to spend more time with her disable kid, for another it was not having to get up to a alarm clock and go to a job that she hated.

    As for grandma, does she really want to loose weight? Or maybe you remember her of a dauther she never had. Again listen to what she is trying to tell not what she is telling you.

  • yadz

    I don’t have a coworker story, but I had a similar problem with my mother. every time we would talk on skype she would complain about her double chin, how puffy her face looked, how big her arms were, how she HAD to lose weight, and on and on. eventually I said (verbatim) “either do something about it or quit b*tching about it.” She just said “you’re right.” she hasn’t brought it up since. She hasn’t DONE anything about it either, but at least I don’t need to listen to the complaining and the “I’ll start dieting TOMORROW” bull-crap anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/BryanWeller Bryan Weller

    I say kill them with kindness. The first thing I would do is friend them on Facebook or have them connect to you in some social network setting. Then I would do what I already do, post the shit out of my success. I post my workout, successes and goals for two reasons. One, I get such great feedback and support from my friends and family. Two, that;s how I got inspired to get going, I saw the success of my friends and that let me know I could do it, too. Given time, if they really want it, they’ll find their way to asking for help. 

  • QuinnFerno

    I like Karen’s response, and also the “That stinks.  Anyway …” answer.  And I agree that a lot of the time these people have deeper issues that compells them to constantly talk about their struggles.  I had a coworker go from complaining about being overweight to becoming a fitness maniac, and she complained just as much after she lost all her weight – it was then about how her clothes didn’t fit, how early she got up or how much more she had to do in her day, how sore her muscles were (all the freaking time, felt like screaming at her to just ****ing stretch properly after a workout).  So sometimes even if they do ‘level up’ it doesn’t always address the attention-seeking issues, which is why I don’t really focus on trying to help people get fit in order to change this behaviour.

    What I would suggest is what worked for me – I found the quote on here that read something like “Spend a week complaining to anyone who’ll listen and see if it makes you stronger/fitter/better”.  If it were me I’d post this somewhere at work.  It worked for me because I was surrounded by people with gym memberships, easier workloads and healthier bodies.  I resented the feeling that I was being judged because I felt I had a lot of reasons why it would be a lot harder for me to reach and maintain fitness than it is for them, and I at least wanted that acknowledged because my effort would be so much greater to get the bodies they have.  (eg not having a partner help with finances and in fact having to financially support family, serious but not openly visible medical issues, very long hours at work, etc).  Having my boss tell me I was disgusting for eating chips when she was less healthy and the reason I was comfort eating in the first place, etc.  But as I digress and start making excuses again this quote made me realise that no-one else was going to care enough about my struggles, and even if they did that doesn’t help me level up my life, and in the end it is my quality of life that is suffering.  That was what prompted me to get past the excuses and kick myself into action.  It may not strike that chord with everyone but might be worth a try :)  Since then I’ve become a vegetarian which has been life-changing (not just on my conscience but it’s been a graceful way for me to decline family meals and cook my own healthy meals, and easy take-away options are less available now), lost 7kg and I’m fitting into jeans I haven’t worn since high school (9 years ago).

  • http://www.TheInfoPreneur.TV/ TheInfoPreneur

    Hey Steve,…your #1 and #2 were almost identical to my thoughts…#2…Possibly even a book vs articles.  But, I think overall…best course is your Captain America strategy and just lead by example.

  • BruteSquad

    I am fortunate, but not by accident.  I was able to find a workplace that promotes healthy lifestyle.  It was part of my job search when I decided my last job was leading me to an early grave.  However, we still have a few.  They are usually older.  So I keep a copy of Younger Next Year (one copy of the Men’s version and one of the Women’s version) in my desk and give them away if people complain.  That was the book that got me started on my quest and indirectly got me here.  I find that when I am willing to hand them a book that will help, the complaining, at least around me, stops.

  • Working On It

    I have the exact opposite problem as the woman mentioned. I work with a bunch of former vets in their early 30s who are obsessed with CrossFit. I am well over a healthy weight and their talk is intimidating to start the process of losing weight. I have quietly started working out daily and trying to watch what I eat. I have already lost 8 lbs. The hardest part of people who are already fit discussing  their workout plans is they don’t consider how hard it is to start working up to that. I’m actually doing the work so I won’t say I complain to them about it, but it is intimidating to hear how many reps someone does or what competition they are going to do next. Just a little view from the other side.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1683010171 Natassha Halverson

    I’ve recently had people ask me how I’ve been slimming down and getting toned. I told them about Paleo. that was it. I never talked about my journey into Paleo before, I just did it and got compliments a couple months later. That was all it took for them to research Paleo and begin their own awesome journey.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1683010171 Natassha Halverson

     I hear that. I started Crossfit 3 months ago so some (a lot) of skills need work. A lot of people talk about how many pullups they did, I’m still learning the kip. But I find the “competition” motivating, even if I am keeping the competition to myself.

  • LilSlayerChick

    “What was that? Oh I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how ****ing awesome I am!!!”

    I think that sums it up the attitude necessary to overcome negativity quite nicely.  I love it, Steve! You’re the coolest!

  • Ambersanto

    I absolutly love this! i have an office full of bi poloar “ladies” that are consistantly complaing about thier diets or lack there of and levels of physical activities. its so fustrating because they always look at what im eating and are making comments like ooh doesnt that haver a lot of sugar or carbs? they make no effort in changing themselves but insist that im doing it wrong. Ive lost 82lbs in 2yrs. i think im doing something right. lol no gastric bypass just weight watchers…kickboxing and jogging. i literally worked my ass off to get where i am now and i still have about 15 more lbs to lose and tighten up some areas but overall …. i love myself and thats all that matters.
    STEVE U ROCK MY SOCKS!!! thank you for being so motivating!!!

  • Gorfram

    My Humble Experience:

    When people ask me what I’ve done to lose weight, I usually just say, “A whole lot of very hard work – you know, the whole diet-&-exercise/complete-lifestyle- change thing.”

    If they really do want to try to lose weight, they’ll ask me for more specifics. If they don’t really want to change – i.e., the vast majority of the time – they can tacitly acknowledge that they just aren’t up for such hard work, usually by nodding slightly and then changing the subject.

    My Humble Opinion:

    Most people don’t want to change, and they aren’t going to. And you and I used to be right among them, right until the moment we decided we really did want to change and were going to do whatever it took to make it happen.

    But we can probably still remember what not being ready to change was like, and what it was like being around people who had successfully made the same changes we idly wished we might someday make ourselves. It can be intimidating and/or embarrassing, especially when we know that the successfully changing person used to be Just Like Us.

    When I, as a not-ready-to-change fat person, used to ask people about how they had lost weight; I harbored a secret hope that they had finally found the “Magic Pill” that would make weight loss easy and effortless (e.g., “I swallowed a tapeworm”). Or at least I kind of hoped against hope that they maybe had some underlying medical condition that would mean that it wasn’t *my* fault that *I* wasn’t losing weight just like they were (e.g., “I swallowed a tapeworm”).

    Our bodies are the most personal things we have (to the extent that our bodies are indeed “things” that we can “have”) and controlling them and what happens to them is one of our most intensely personal concerns. I was going to illustrate this with a non- weight-&-fitness-related example, but all the examples I can think of (sexuality and consent, pregnancy and termination thereof, terminal illness and assisted suicide) are so personal and powerful that they are too divisive to do more than mention here.

    So, go lightly, is what I’m saying. We all used to be there. And we all know that change is highly resistant to pressure, but may sometimes expand into places left open.

  • Dani

    I have a friend like this. When she first started complaining, I offered advice. I had started the paleo diet and it was doing amazing things for me – she kept insisting it didn’t work and she couldn’t do that. After a little while I made it very clear to her that her negative attitude was not cool at all. I said “Well, it’s working great for me. If you don’t want to try it, you can stop complaining about my diet.” She got the message. Now she still complains that she “exercises” and nothing works and she “eats healthier” and nothing works. Every now and then I say “If you don’t do it constantly and consistently it will never work.” and speak nothing more on the subject. She complains, I ignore her and change the subject. So she doesn’t complain much anymore because she knows I am completely unsympathetic.

  • Openmindherman

    I think it is a waste of time to try to change someone who doesn’t really want to start an active lifestyle. As they say: everything what you want to do you can do and what you can’t do you don’t really want.

  • http://taotechingdaily.com/polishing-the-mirror/ Amyputkonen

    I like your answer, Glory!

  • http://www.digitalnomadjourney.com/ Jeff Bronson

    Putting on your positivity armor and avoiding getting into discussion about it the easiest way.  I find you can talk and try to motivate others in an office until you are blue in the face, at your own peril.

    Better to just be positive and drop a couple of tips here and there, if someone asks.

  • Liz

    Here’s an idea: stay out of her business and ignore her.  If she whines about her weight, say nothing.  Put on headphones, tune her out, and do your job.  Her personal life is not your responsibility.  It is hers.

  • Kane Augustus

    Just found your site today.  I’m enjoying it very much.  Thank you for putting so much out there for others to benefit from.  I’m going to get started with some of your workouts.  They look quite fun, and challenging.

    Cheers!
    Kane

  • buffalowings

    I’m so lucky to work with a group of people who are making positive lifestyle changes. We have a ‘weightloss club’ – basically a pool of cash- the person with the largest percentage of body weight lost wins the pool. People share their strategies and tips. I’ve given people the link to nerd fitness. The group has lost a lot of weight. It is contagious – I’ve noticed that some of the other folks in the office are taking walks at lunch or have switched from eating donuts/bagels to oatmeal. I even do bodyweight exercises with coworkers during lunch. It is great to see people getting healthy together!

  • Fitnessworkoutcoach

    It’s amazing how people start to bitch behind a persons back when they are showing results from their training! Jealous is a curse!

  • BV

    It’s my facebook status. Cheers for that!
     
    Great article Steve, btw!

  • Rhabdo

  • http://fitnessaftercollege.com/ Donny

    The things I seem to hear most often are ” You’re TOO skinny” (I’m not) or “We’re having a vendor lunch, better order Donny some lettuce!” I think the most helpful thing is to understand where these comments are coming from. The out-of-shape naysayers are trying to make themselves feel better by pretending that fit people are actually the miserable ones.

  • LeeAnytime

    I think that positivity in the workplace is KEY! Your co-workers may think that you are coming off as fake or un-genuine, but one person can easily change the mood of a group. I also agree that actions speak louder than words. People are always watching. There is no need to tell people how to live their life, what to eat, how to exercise, etc. If the negativity is really bothering you, article sharing is an excellent idea. Especially since the Internet is LOADED with great information on healthy living! 

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  • DaveSix

    This blog post reminds me of a Homer Simpson quote “I’ve tried nothing and I’m all out of ideas!”.

  • http://www.heartratewatchcompany.com/ Me Rosa Michelle

    Whenever I happen to tell any of my co-workers that I get up three hours before office time to exercise in the morning, they make so much fun of me, and think I have gone nuts, and that I am actually a ‘fitness nerd’

  • Susan Thatcher

    Okay, who followed me to work? I’ve had people ask me “what are you doing?”, then tune out before I can answer. Or when I tell them about Paleo (and usually show them the link on this site because the idea of explaining diet and fitness with Lego people seems to sell it), I’ll be asked, “Okay, so how long do you have to do that?” [crickets] I have one friend who has “taken the plunge” with me, dropped a noticeable amount of weight and begun Pilates classes twice a week. I have other friends who give me the “yeah, I don’t want to do that” and still others who cluck and say, “Well, you know 95% of diets fail. Just sayin’.” I just eat my chicken and salad greens for lunch and offer them a baby carrot (that gets some derision, too. “Oh, that’s right. You’re eating healthy.”) I have a policy: if you want to change, make a genuine effort to do so, but something’s not going along as planned or promised, I will pull up a chair and listen to you all day; maybe we can solve the problem. On the other hand, if you aren’t happy, not making an effort to change and still bitch and moan, I don’t want to hear it. It’s a waste of my time and I will not sympathize with you. 

  • Zaini Khan

    yeah,when people comment on your health in office then feel proud of yourself hence these comments motivate you to maintain health .if you lose weight and people appreciate you then feel pride on yourself .