“The Truth is our friend even if it’s difficult.”—Dennis Prager
Once you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, some people will compliment you and others will start saying disturbing things to you. The latter group think they are being helpful, and they may want to be helpful but they’re not. They will come at you like pelicans dive-bombing for fish. I call some of them the “you’re too thin brigade.”
In the beginning of your weight loss journey, you’re fragile. You need to stay strong, and most of all, you need encouragement. Don’t, and I repeat, don’t let these people drive you bonkers. Don’t listen when they say: You’re too thin; you’ve lost enough weight; stop it already; it’s not healthy; you need to put some meat back on those bones; and, you’re starting to look sickly.
Granted there are people that lose too much weight and do make themselves sick. Those people need medical and psychological help. But that’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about people who just want to get down to the weight that’s right for their body. There are no fat animals in nature. No fat squirrels. No fat deer. There can be naturally fat people, but you are probably not one of them. We can make ourselves fat and we can make ourselves flat.
Also, where was the “you’re too thin brigade” when I was overweight, sickly and dying? Yes, dying. My blood pressure, the number one killer, was sky high. My cholesterol was high. Not a word when I was splitting my clothes at the seam or when I wore ties with pictures of cake on them. The “brigades” excuse was they didn’t say anything because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Thank you, but worrying about hurting feelings could very easily be the end of a person. How many people wish they said what they wanted to say but one day, it was too late? People need to hear the truth, especially from close friends and family who only want what’s best for them. And they need to hear that truth in a kind and loving manner. And if you can’t say it in a kind and loving manner, well, maybe say it anyway. But get their attention. After that, let it go.
That’s what happened to me. I had a real “aha” moment when someone didn’t worry about my feelings. I was at The Laugh Factory, a comedy club on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. I was being introduced to the crowd. As I was walking to the stage, sneaking up behind me was my old pal, comedian Dom Irrera. He whispered in my ear, “Schiff, you’re so fat.” Not a second later, I hear, “Please put your hands together for Mark Schiff.” I turned and looked at Dom and then raced up on stage.
My shirt was hanging out. No matter how many times I would tuck it in, it would untuck on its own. I could not button my shirt at the neck, and my face was Pillsbury doughboy puffy. My belt was pinned on the first belt hole. I didn’t feel good. I didn’t look good. Little did Dom know that he had just changed my life by telling me the painful truth. For some reason, his words went deep into my innermost self and shook me at my core. I’ve not been the same since. I can still hear and feel him standing behind me. I’ve told Dom more than once that I owe him for helping me lose the weight. He startled me up.
By the way, last time I saw Dom he had packed it on. Hey Dom, I love you, but…you know. I say that in a kind and loving manner.
When the truth hits you in the face, grab on to it and start walking on the new road that was paved just for you.
When the truth hits you in the face, grab on to it and start walking on the new road that was paved just for you. Remember there is no question that doesn’t have an answer. Your job, if that’s what you want, is to never quit looking for that answer. n
Mark Schiff is a comedian, actor and writer.