You’ve made the decision to lose weight and you feel good about yourself. But your positive frame of mind is thwarted by a surprising lack of enthusiasm from others in your life – be it your partner, friends or family. Here, we explore why some people react negatively to your weight loss…
In a perfect world, we would all applaud the successes of others and not feel threatened in any way. Unfortunately, in reality, we sometimes reflect our own failures or feelings of inadequacy on to those closest to us.
Fear, shame, jealousy… these can all be incredibly destructive emotions. And, if left unchecked, they can affect our relationships dramatically.
When you lose weight, people around you will applaud you for your weight loss. However, sometimes they can react negatively to your success, saying things like, ‘You look too thin’, or ‘I miss the old you’, which can make you feel upset or rejected.
‘What you need to remember is that their negative reactions aren’t about you – it’s about them,’ explains Mandy Cassidy, LighterLife’s psychology expert. ‘Their negativity is a projection of their own feelings of jealousy, fear, inadequacy or shame.
‘Your LighterLife success may also serve as a reminder to others of their own failed attempts at weight loss.’
If you’re losing weight and your partner is being distant, for example, it may be because they’re scared that if you lose weight part of you will change.
Could they be feeling threatened by your new shape? Think that now you have your new figure, you’ll also be looking for a new partner to go with it? You may be getting far more attention from others and your spouse may be starting to feel insecure about your relationship, and fear losing you.
‘Firstly, you need to listen to their feelings and concerns,’ explains Mandy. ‘Ask them what’s worrying them, and before you give your opinions, listen and see if your partner can express their full concerns first.
‘Maybe try and put yourself in their shoes – how you’d feel if it was them changing. Once they’ve given their reasons, then talk to them and put their worries around your relationship to rest.’
If your friends are being distant, or making negative comments about your weight loss, it’s probably because they’re jealous or unsure how to handle how your relationship is changing.
If you’ve always been the biggest person in your circle of friends, and you’ve lost weight, someone could be taking your place as ‘the fat one’, and they probably don’t like it!
You may be speaking up for yourself more and be less willing to take the back seat or be the butt of the jokes. Your friends may say things like, ‘You’ve changed’ or ‘You’re not as fun as you used to be’. They’re probably used to you being the one they could have some control over because of your insecurities.
Before you joined LighterLife, they may also have justified their own weight by thinking, ‘At least I’m thinner than them’, relying on you as a safety net.
‘Don’t let hurtful comments get to you,’ says Mandy. ‘Ask yourself, just because my friend said that, does it mean it’s true?
‘Look at all the other comments you’ve had and see how that one comment balances up. You may have had 10 comments saying you look great and one saying you look awful. Why are you paying attention to one negative comment? It’s an example of crooked thinking.’
Mandy continues: ‘Ask yourself, do you really want to continue to be as close to that friend? Are they the person you thought they were? If so, why has your weight loss affected your friendship?
‘They may be finding it hard to support you right now because your success has reminded them of their own failures in life, and they’re therefore unfairly taking it out on you.
‘If things don’t improve, then maybe you should consider hanging out with people who value you and boost you, rather than people who put you down.’