There is a fine line between inquiring with concern how you might assist someone in her diet efforts; and braying persistent, repetitive, noisy, constant, loud-mouthed inquiries as to whether she knows what the heck she is doing.
The former is labeled “being supportive,” the latter referred to as “nagging.”
As examples, supportive is gently and sincerely asking, “How can I help you with your diet?” Nagging is, “How’s that diet working? Should you be eating that? Wow! How many calories in that? Haven’t you had enough?”
Although well intended; polite support might still carry the risk that the answer is, “leave me alone.” However, it is a slam-dunk assurance that a series of harassing, pushy questions blasted in Gatling gun point-blank, rapid-fire succession promises one will receive that same reply, albeit with exclamation points and several choice expletives spicing up the retort.
Supportive infers the receiver knows what to do, but might periodically need assistance.
(Don’t we all?) Nagging implies he is an incompetent, ignorant, bumbling boob — adrift without constant instruction; and since pushing someone who desires no assistance (rightly or wrongly) is a guarantee that the end result will be no place fun; might as well avoid the journey completely.
However, if requested — and therein lies the rub — nagging might have value, or so believes a website whose goal is to keep one on the straight and narrow. Requiring nothing more than a cell phone, internet connection, and a willingness to be annoyed from afar, it can send text message reminders to keep you on task.
Deciding to inspect further, I created a profile.
“How much do you weigh?” queried the on-line form.
This presents obstacle one; do I answer honestly? Even the DMV thinks I weigh 147 pounds; must I now confess to a nameless society of cyber-food-cops my most personal number? On the other hand, I am requesting guidance; if I “creatively address” the issue, recording a more complimentary weight, it might not assist me. Already, the stress is enough to cause me to eat. Brushing fear aside, I bravely answer with truthfulness: “185 pounds.”
“What would you like to accomplish?” asks the questionnaire.
Uh, duh. From the pull down menu, I select “Lose Weight.”
“Ten, is that it? Not very motivated are you?” (OK, I made that part up.)
“By when?” it asks.
I supply a date.
“How often would you like to be reminded?” The service can prompt daily or weekly. I opt for “every day” and select, “call repeatedly until I respond.”
Later that evening, my cell phone alerts me to a message, “How’s your diet going?”
I glance at the communication and return to watching American Idol. Undeterred, the communiqué repeats shortly thereafter; again, ignored. It refuses surrender; repeating two more times, until — becoming annoyed, and wondering why I got involved in this experiment — it dawns on me: I can push the “off” button on my cell-phone and continue eating.
Now, if only there was a way to do that with pushy co-workers or family members, we might be on to something.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a nationally known weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. Check out his new series of free weight loss videos and other inspirational material at www.FourMonthsToGoal.com