If you work within a team environment you’ll know it’s not uncommon for colleagues to have a whip-round to celebrate almost any occasion or event – birthdays, births, marriages, even leaving the team – so why not a significant weight loss? Well one team has done just that and when we heard from one of our forum members that his colleagues had bought him a gift to congratulate him on his new bod, we couldn’t wait to find out more, so we asked them a few questions about what they got him and why…
Major weight loss can transform your whole life and represent a new start every bit as much as any of the aforementioned milestones. When his colleagues witnessed the stunning 100lb weight loss of MAN v FAT forum member pisces316 (aka Jeremy, ask him anything on Talk) they felt inspired to recognise his achievement. The only snag was, in this unprecedented situation, they weren’t sure what to get him.
That’s not to say the team weren’t used to the gifting culture – far from it, they tell us, they usually do something about once a month to help the team bond. Unfortunately, if not unexpectedly, these events tended to revolve around food. Eating is, of course, a tried and tested social activity that doesn’t alienate the non-drinkers, non-dancers and non-bowlers on the team. However, Jeremy’s colleague Jeff – the man responsible for organising these slap-up dinners – was understandably concerned that an evening of gastric excess might not be the most prudent way to celebrate weight loss.
Jeff’s eureka moment came when he watched Jeremy heading out to his car and noticed the newly slim man kept having to pull up his trousers1. As you’ll no doubt have guessed from having seen photos of men standing in old trousers that are now far too big for them, when men lose weight, their clothes no longer fit. A new wardrobe doesn’t come cheap, especially when you’re on a long journey – you could end up having to buy a few new outfits every few lbs. The answer was obvious then – Jeremy would need some new clothes to go with his new body.
But Jeff didn’t go at it like a bull in a china shop. He was sensitive to a couple of things that you’ll need to bear in mind if you’re thinking of doing this for a friend or colleague – the first being a question of taste. Most of us can probably count on the fingers of one hand how often we’ve received clothes as a gift and actually liked them. The solution: they would get him a gift card he could use in a number of clothing stores and let him pick out his own new duds. As Jeff put it when he presented Jeremy with the gift, “some new hot clothes for that new hot bod”.
The other thing Jeff was sensitive to was that Jeremy might feel embarrassed to receive such a gift – not only because weight loss is a sensitive subject for many of us, but also because in our society where achievement of any kind is mocked as often as it is celebrated, being singled out to receive a gift for anything is sure to make most of us feel uncomfortable.
Jeff dealt with this problem by being discrete. For a start, he only approached a select few – those he considered close friends of Jeremy – to contribute. This backfired slightly when some of those who weren’t approached took offence, but we still reckon it’s a good idea. If nothing else, as Jeff pointed out, asking everyone to contribute can make a gift feel like an obligation. He also decided to keep the presentation of the gift low-key, asking the manager to call them to a conference room so Jeremy could be given the gift card privately.
What Jeremy ended up with was a not-to-be-sniffed-at $200 gift card to spend at T.J.Maxx2, Marshalls3 and Homegoods4 and a warm, fuzzy feeling at being recognised for his achievement. You can read all about his reaction and how our other forum members reacted to his story here.
Here at MAN v FAT we were massively impressed and, we’re not ashamed to say, more than a little moved by this story, and we think this should set a trend. Let’s acknowledge and reward weight loss like we should; discretely, maybe, but emphatically, certainly – the level of fanfare should obviously suit the personality of the recipient.
We think a clothing gift card might just be the perfect gift for a man who’s lost a lot of weight, but with Christmas coming up, now might be a good time to revisit our list of essential Christmas gifts for men losing weight – especially as it lists a few potential pitfalls.
We’d love to hear your ideas about what kind of gifts might be suitable and appreciated by the newly trim man, so why not let us know in the comments or over in the forum.
1Jeff actually said Jeremy “kept pulling up his pants” but I changed it to trousers so that our British readers could be confident we weren’t talking about underpants.*
*Writing these notes was possibly my most Alan Partridge moment – I should point out that I’m currently reading his new book Nomad and that might have rubbed off on me…