Fitness trolls: Fighting roadblocks to healthy living

An internet troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages to provoke an emotional response in an online discussion. Their presence on the web is annoying, to say the least. What is even more frustrating is that these trolls also exist in real life, and like their internet-dwelling brethren, they exist to provoke and disrupt your healthy decisions.

These fitness trolls are everywhere. They are passive-aggressive peer pressure masters. They disguise themselves as your friends, family, and co-workers. Let me explain…

You’re at a company work outing where food and are drink provided. Instead of grabbing ribs or greasy fries and a couple beers, you decide to stick to the veggie tray and cook a healthy dinner when you get home. You’re just making one tiny decision that adds up with hundreds of other daily decisions to create a healthy lifestyle.

But that’s when the troll appears. He sees you eating veggies as he takes a bite of his less healthy food and says, “Oh, thanks a lot for making me feel bad about eating this crap!” His tone is in jest, and he doesn’t mean any harm. But he is trolling your healthy lifestyle.

People feel self-conscious when they see others being healthy. It’s a natural response. But the trolls are the ones who try to make you feel like the anomaly. They try to make you feel like you don’t fit in. Sometimes it feels like a compliment, but usually there is just enough bitterness that it makes you uncomfortable.

Your family may have trolls. They say things like, “Oh come on, have some cake and ice cream. No? Are you sure? You know a little ice cream won’t kill you!” They pressure you into conforming with what is normal for them. Sometimes they succeed in knocking you off course for a day. Wouldn’t it be better if they encouraged you to make healthier decisions instead of the opposite?

Female trolls are often the most destructive. Women, have you ever said something like, “I hate you because you’re so skinny.” You may think it sounds like a compliment, but it’s not. It is a destructive and bitter thing to say to someone.

If you find yourself thinking like a troll, take that moment to pause and reflect. Ask yourself why someone else’s healthy decisions make you upset. Is that fair? Instead of being a troll, encourage your friends for being healthy. They deserve your support. Treat them as an inspiration instead of a roadblock.

It’s always best to surround ourselves with supportive people, but sometimes we can’t always do that. The best way to fight trolls is to ignore them. Don’t let them get to you. Occasionally you may need to stand up for yourself, just do so calmly and compassionately.

And if you’re feeling a bit like a troll yourself, it’s time to change the way you think. Apologize to friends you have trolled in the past. Support them, and they’ll encourage you in turn.

We’re all in this together.

Certified Personal Trainer

One Comment on “Fitness trolls: Fighting roadblocks to healthy living

  1. It’s also good to have a healthy personality. This is a great way to promote that as well, Mark! Being a bigger kid, people picked on my chubby buns because of what I ate. Now that I am in shape and exercising, they pick on my less-chubby buns for eating well and I totally fall for it. This is a great reminder.

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