Free Form Friendship

Last Sunday a friend and I… let’s call her Donna, suited up in our best-worst workout sweats, sweaters, mits, hats and shoes and drove out to Petrie Island for an hour workout in 7 degree Celcius weather.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Why the hell would I do this to myself, especially since the previous evening I didn’t get to my bed until 3:00 am due to the fact that I was drunkity drunk drunk (but having a fabulous time, no doubt)? The answer is this: my good friend Donna.

Let me elaborate: Donna and I used to work together for 2 years until she was offered a government job full time – something not as easy to come by as most people would think. Anyway we have managed to keep in touch thanks to Facebook and Ottawa Senators games. 2 years ago Donna was… how do I put this… not at her ideal weight. Before she left the office for her next opportunity, she and I had made the resolution to become fitter and happier with ourselves – the first step being removing ourselves from the toxic relationships we had both found ourselves in. Anyway a few months after she left the office she informed me that she had joined Weight Watchers and was well on her way to losing the unhealthy weight she had gained over her early to mid 20s.

This past Sunday was the first time I had seen her since the New Jersey playoff game we attended (and managed to score the “Move of the Game” no doubt) and oh. My. God. WOW is all I can really say. I’d guestimate that Donna, through exercise, portion control and a hell of a lot of discipline, had managed to lose 90 pounds. Yes – 90. She had successfully and through healthy measures, dropped from a size 18 to a size 8. And she looks fabulous. Not to say that she wasn’t beautiful to begin with; Donna has always had a lovely face, great smile and a caring and giving personality – but with her recent weight loss she has also become happier and more confident in herself, and carries herself with a swagger that I’ve never seen in her.

And I couldn’t be more proud of her.

While in the car sipping our Tim Hortons coffee after an hour of resistance training, Donna confided in me that during her weight loss transition she had lost a number of friends in the process. “What?” I cried out, almost spilling the coffee she had bought me in celebration of surviving day 1 of 6 in weather that is only getting colder as the weeks go by. But as we discussed the various events that had occured, it started to make a sick sort of sense to me – and in turn made us both a little sad.

Donna stated that the friends she had lost “couldn’t handle the weight loss” and the transformation that she was going through. And in a sense I can understand: I’ve encountered a few girls who, after losing a significant amount of weight, have had massive personality changes to go along with the new dress size they’ve managed to fit in to. It’s as if all of a sudden they were no longer the ‘fat funny nice girl’ and therefore felt the need to fight back at the previous injustice they had encountered from men and women who wouldn’t give them the time of day because of their appearance. And that’s all well and good – until that attitude spills over onto the friends who accepted you as you were and loved you then and now.

But with Donna; this is hardly the case. Even when Donna wasn’t as sure of herself as she is now, she always always ALWAYS brought you up as her friend. There wasn’t a day that went by that Donna didn’t tell me that she thought I was beautiful, or gorgeous, or super smart, or talented, or that she was so proud of me, and that I was her inspiration. And this attitude continues on today. As soon as she saw me she complimented my hair, my clothing choice, and my overall appearance and attitude – I would have said the same to her had my jaw not been on the floor in response to how amazing she looked, sounded and the confidence that was spilling out of her pores.

In this case – where a good friend, a person who deserved happiness in every aspect of her life – achieves it, you don’t try to bring her down or remove her from your life. You congratulate her; you compliment her, you let her know that you are SO proud of her achievements because let me tell you: losing weight is NO easy feat. It is one HELL of an accomplishment, and I can’t think of anyone better in my life than my friend Donna to acheive this goal. It has recalled to life her self esteem, kick started her confidence, and brought back the lovely smile that drew me to her in the first place.

I can understand the jealousy; it is hard to watch a friend succeed in the way that Donna did and wonder to yourself what is wrong with you that you can’t follow suit, or why it seems to be so much harder for you than other people. Yeah – that sucks. But that does not give you license to berate or send a back-handed compliment their way. You’re biting the hand that could feed you with inspiration, with knowledge, with helpful hints, or with a smile and a kind word when you’re feeling like crap. A friend like that – who can succeed and do it gracefully – is someone you want to keep in your life, not just throw away out of spite.

Thanks to Donna I musted up the courage to join Jenny Craig to help me achieve my weight loss goals; and for the simplicity of the pre-made meals during my 3rd year (and most busy/hectic year in the program) of nursing. I’ve managed to drop down to 124 (but this week was terrible: I won’t even count it it was so bad – and it’s my period, so weight gain happens during that anyway) and eat more balanced, healthiful, veggie-filled meals with the support of a councilor and friends. I used Donna’s success as a spring board to my own, and that’s really what we all should do.

I just hope that we all can have a friend like Donna, at least once in our lives.


~ by Carrie on November 2, 2007.

20 Responses to “Free Form Friendship”

  1. Congrats on getting to 124 … but you shouldn’t get too much lower, don’t ya think? And congrats to Donna too … quite the weight loss.

    But tell me … what does going from 18 to 8 mean in real language. Ask me to picture a size 8 meand that I am visualizing a dress with the number 8 all over it

    Good weekend

  2. @ George ~ I won’t go any lower than 115 – remember, I am 5’2! I’m a little girl: my BMI states that I should be anywhere between 104-115.

    A size 8… hmm… I’d say around the size of a younger Marilyn Monroe.

  3. […] Postgame Sports Discussion Forum wrote an interesting post today on carrieinthecityHere’s a quick excerpt Last Sunday a friend and I… let’s call her Donna, suited up in our best-worst workout sweats, sweaters, mits, hats and shoes and drove out to Petrie Island for an hour workout in 7 degree Celcius weather. Now I know what you’re thinking: Why the hell would I do this to myself, especially since the previous evening I didn’t get to my bed until 3:00 am due to the fact that I was drunkity drunk drunk (but having a fabulous time, no doubt)? The answer is this: my good friend Donna. Let me elabora […]

  4. Good job on getting to a healthy weight Carrie, that’s wonderful!

    It’s too bad that some people want people around them to reaffirm them, rather than to grow with and challenge them. In spite of how painful that can be it’s always better for those people to show themselves for who they are sooner than later – so you can get them out of your life!

    Glad you’re one of the keepers 😉

  5. I can totally realte I gained about 40 pounds in nursing school, and when I lost weight people “friends” didn’t know what to do with me and since you read my blog you know I am an exercise freak now. That damn nursing school did me in! I was never overweight like that before. Hang in there and your a good friend for supporting Donna and tell her I said – good for her on an amazing accomplishment.

  6. @ Kyla – Thanks girl! And you’re right – it is better for Donna to have seen who those people REALLY were, and she’s much better off with true friends by her side than fair-weather ones.

    @ B – YES THAT DAMN NURSING SCHOOL. It’s killer on your sleep, your weight, your lack of social life… EVERYTHING! And your blog and fitness pieces inspire me as well.

  7. WOW Carrie, I’m speechless. I thank you for your kind words, please know that you were a great inspiration!!
    I hope you are having fun with your Beau in TO! Thinking about ya! See you next Sunday!!! Miss you!

    XoX “Donna”

  8. This post is spot on. It seems that whenever you are doing something for yourself that will make your life better, people do look down upon that especially if they are not following suit. For work I have to do an Annual Learning Plan that has to do with me focusing on something professional or personal for my students that I will focus on for the year. This year’s ALP was much more extensive than previous years. There’s this section where we had to put any courses or learning experiences that we’ve done in the past and one of my teacher friends asked “what are you putting in there” and I told her that I’m putting that I finished my M.Ed and putting down all the rest of the professional development courses that I’d done (there were 5 on top of the Masters — I know I’m a nerd). Anyways when I told her that she gave me this kind of dirty look and sort of rolled her eyes because she hadn’t done as much as I had. The difference is I WANTED to do what I did and she didn’t. So why be upset with me for it? People are weird when it come to things like that.

    You are a great friend!

  9. @ Airam ~ Seriously? Thats just catty… all those accomplishments were EARNED by you (and well done, by the way. That’s pretty damn impressive!) and shouldn’t be scoffed at by anyone regardless of where they stand from the choices they made.

  10. Unfortunately not everyone likes to see their friends succeed. It’s great though that Donna has not let it get her down and has decided to keep exuding her confidence and positive attitude. Sounds like she could be an inspiration to all of us.

  11. Hats off to your friend Donna on her hard work. That’s great for her and I’m happy to see she’s a different person, for the better. You’re a good friend Carrie.

  12. Some of the best advice I have ever received is never to be envious of other people. Just be genuinely happy for them when something good happens and when it is time for them to be happy for you, they will be. 🙂

  13. Ugh. People can be so strange sometimes. I can see how jealousy (however misplaced) can erupt when TWO people are going after the same goal (weight loss, new job, etc), but when people just can’t handle one person making positive changes in their life? What the hell? Who benefits from not acknowledging someone doing something as great as what your friend has done? Good thing she has friends like you to remind her what it’s supposed to be like when you achieve your goals.

  14. @ Carla ~ She IS definately an inspiration and should be seen like that and not some kind of nemesis…

    @ Egan ~ Why thank you! And I’ll be sure to send her more positives from you and everyone else!

  15. @ Valerie ~ Hi! And that is some really great advice. Donna is definately the kind of friend who will always be happy for you, so it’s time her friends returned the favour!

    @ Brandy ~ Right on sista: you said it better than I!

  16. ooo.. my mom joined Weight Watchers and lost alot… I think I might try it for myself. Good luck on the Jenny Craig 🙂

  17. I don’t want a friend LIKE Donna, I want to be Donna.

  18. You have just inspired me to start a diet. It helps me to see people going through the same thing and having success at it.

  19. @ AP ~ Hi! Thank you very much! I’ve heard great things about WW… my roommate is currently on it and she seems to be enjoying the process!

    @ Melissavina ~ Hey girl! Yeah… me too. Well, not 90 pounds less, because then I’d be dead; but otherwise, me too.

    @ Beth ~ Aw…

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