Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tough Love or Bullying?

A lot of you have probably already seen this video or heard this story by now:

We sincerely appreciate Jennifer Livingston utilizing this event in her life as a means to promote anti-bullying. She could've ignored it or just dealt with it privately, but she chose to bring it to the fore-front for a greater cause: to fight bullies, and for that, she deserves a round of applause!

But all of this got our wheels turning, so we wanted to bring it up with you guys. What is considered tough love and what is considered bullying? How fine is that line? We are in no way trying to say that Ms. Livingston's situation wasn't bullying, rather, we got to thinking about our own behavior and whether or not we could be interpreted as bullies!

If you know us personally (or just follow us here or on Facebook and Twitter), you know that we are very assertive people. We don't like to hem-and-haw with folks and we certainly do not beat around the bush. When it comes to our health and fitness coaching, we (and others) often refer to it is "tough love". We typically do not hesitate to call people out when they're making excuses. We like to promote big doses of reality checks, both for ourselves and for others. We don't like to sugar coat (pun!) things. Is that bullying?

Clearly, we hope it is not interpreted that way. Living a balanced, healthy lifestyle has been the greatest gift for the two of us, and yes - we promote it incessantly but it is only because we want as many people as we can reach to feel the same way! We are as supportive and encouraging as we can be to our clients/customers - but if they are starting up the bull-sh*t factory, we will call them out on it.

What are your thoughts on tough love versus bullying?

In Health,

Timothy and Lindsay


  1. Lindsey and Tim,
    I see a major difference between what y'all do and what that man did. From talking with both of you(even though I haven't started yet), it appears to me that you want to share your experiences to help us get healthier. You've both been where we are and want to help us share in your success. On the other hand, this man appears to simply be judging her based on her size without knowing anything about her. He states that she should be setting an example for young people especially girls. So, a woman who is out in the world with a successful career making a life for her or her family who is obviously a self-confident, independant woman is not a good example ?? Really ?? What's our society coming to if that is the case. Obesity is a growing problem for our society and we are fortunate that people like you and Tim are willing to help us along. If either of you were to call me out on being lazy about not getting started, I would accept that. However, if a stranger, who knows nothing about me and what I deal with on a daily basis, said that I was fat and lazy, I would take offense to that. We don't know what she has to deal with on a regular basis. There are many reasons why people become overweight(I can create countless excuses for myself, lol). Honestly, if she stayed that size for the rest of her life but continued to be a good person and productive member of society, so be it. In closing, the encouragement y'all give is great......don't stop !! This man who sent the letter to her should take a close look at himself. While he may be skinny or in shape, I can guarantee that he is not perfect in every way because nobody is. I would be willing to bet that she has other parts of her life in order better than he skills being at the top of the list. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.
    Ed Hearn

    1. Hi Ed! Thanks so much for your feedback. We echo your sentiments about not knowing anything about the individual. It has come out that she is active, works out 3 times a week and even runs some races, and that it is a thyroid condition that impacts her obesity. We try not to assume anything about anyone, rather just wanted to make sure the people we DID know, the people who ARE seeking our help, were aware that we will be tough on them, but that it comes from a good place! "Fighting the good fight" is appropriate. Thanks again and hope to see you soon ;)

  2. This poor lady. That must have hurt!