One thing I wasn’t prepared for when I lost my weight was that not everyone jumped for joy the smaller I got. I found this strange at first, I’d been overweight my entire life so why wouldn’t some of my friends and family be happy for me? For the most part they were thrilled, but some, once they realized that I wasn’t repeating an old dieting habit and the weight wasn’t going anywhere but down began to distance themselves from me. They’d say how great I’d look but then I wouldn’t hear from them for a month or more and then those months increased until half a year went by and our friendship noticeably suffered for it. I also had some people not say a single thing which, as many of us know, silence can speak so much louder than words. The more I talked to other people who also lost a significant amount of weight the more I realized I wasn’t the only one who went through this. Some of them completely lost friendships, others their own relationships with partners or family! Some got back-handed compliments and others would sabotage their efforts. Weight loss jealousy is real and the more I thought about it, the more I had to look into a mirror and realized I used to do the same thing!
I remember when I had lost 15lbs over a period of about 2 months and a male friend called me and told me he lost 8lbs in a WEEK! My chest immediately tightened and I felt like a failure, like I wasn’t trying hard enough. I told him that it’s easier for guys to lose weight and completely faked my congrats. When I hung up I was immediately horrified at my reaction, so horrified that I called him back less than an hour later to apologize.
In any situation when you’ve achieved something awesome, there’ll be others out there who’ll pout and stomp their feet. If this happens to you, here are a couple of things to keep in mind when dealing with them:
It’s Not About You
I repeat: It’s not about you.
It has, however, everything to do with them. Their jealousy towards your weight loss is a reflection about how they feel towards themselves. You, your dedication to getting fit and healthy and subsequent results holds a mirror up to them; I’m sure if you’ve felt this way towards someone else you can understand this. You want it but as of yet haven’t been able to achieve it so when you see someone else doing what you want to do and succeeding (or succeeding faster), well that’s just stabbing a steak through your heart and reminding you of your own weight loss failures or lack of willpower.
Sometimes this jealousy goes away on its own. For me, I tried to think of it in terms of inspiration. I hoped that my success would help to supersede their jealous and inspire them to create a healthy lifestyle of their own instead. Luckily for me, anyone who wasn’t inspired got bored of their jealousy when they realized my weight wasn’t going to come back on no matter how hard their wishing and life went on as usual. However, if you want them to stop, telling them that they are indeed jealous and that they should grow up and start eating more salads just isn’t gonna work. If you want to sit down and talk to your friend/loved one about what’s going on, go at it from a place of empathy and understanding. Remember that they’re feeling bad about themselves, that they don’t have the confidence to achieve this goal but also explain that their actions are hurting you and your friendship as a result. It’s quite possible that they don’t realize just how apparent their feelings are and it could open up a great dialogue to help them to start on a healthy lifestyle change themselves, or at least mend the friendship.
You Can’t Control Anyone But Yourself
Although you can act in empathy and understanding towards your friend who is jealous of your weight loss, you can’t stop them from being jealous or feeling bad. If, while you’re trying to have a mature conversation with them they begin to get defensive and freak out, it may be best to stop the conversation for now and come back to it later if they’re willing to. Some people just like to have something to complain about or feel jealous about. It sucks but it happens. If this happens to you, it’s up to you to decide if you want to continue having a relationship with them. You’re better off filling your life with positive, mature people who support and encourage you to be your best than with people who let their jealousies get the best of them and act without regard to your feelings. If this is the case, do your best not to feel bad about it because, again, it’s not your fault and you shouldn’t ever apologize for your own success! You worked hard to achieve what you have and you deserve to celebrate!
Jealousy in weight loss is very common, I know very few people who have never experienced it but what do you do when you realize that YOU are that jealous person? When you’re the one turning a bit greener every time you look at yourself in the mirror? Next week I’ll give you the inside scoop on how you can turn your jealousy into a one-way ticket to weight loss success!
Photo Credit: Woman’s Day