Losing weight is hard enough, keeping it off even harder. But people looking down on you because you managed to do it, may be the hardest to stomach.
From Funny Reactions…
I just read a story by Diane Carbonell, a wonderful woman who 14 years ago lost a whopping 158 lbs and succeeded in keeping them off. Diane there mainly writes about a study done at the University of Hawaii, that showed that the stigma of being fat stays with people even after they lost weight, but what really got me was her opening paragraph:
After I lost weight, I not only lost about 25 inches off my waist and 150 pounds off my frame, but I also lost a best friend and gained a bunch of self-confidence.
That made me think back: how did people react to my weight loss four years ago? After I went from 196 lbs (89 kg) to 163 lbs (74 kg), I had many positive reactions, yet one or the other was not so much supportive. One that I vividly remember is the one by our mechanic, who I know for years, is immensely strong, but carries a liberal helping of extra poundage himself. He also likes to announce things very loudly, including “I gotta take a dump”.
My new slim me one day came to his workshop to drop off my car for a check, he saw me and said, loud enough for the whole place to hear it, “what the hell is up with you, are you sick”, in a clearly envious manner. I replied with what was the truth: that I had realized I had been unhappy with myself and decided to change it.
Not very funny so far, I know, but hold on. Because when a couple of days later I came to pick my car up, he took me aside, and, this time very quietly, asked: “how did you do it?”
…To The Rather Vile
One not funny at all came from a friend of my girlfriend. A woman who, I can’t put it any differently, was back then very fat and probably still is, had tried tons of diets and ready explanations why none of them worked for her. As she got wind of me wanting to lose weight, right at the beginning of what in the end took me four months, she was at hand with about what I had to do and what not. As I this time had my own plan worked out and seeing that her own advice apparently hadn’t work for her, I tried to stay friendly, but ignored her advice.
Two months later, half time for me, having lost about 17 of what was to become 36 lbs, her tune changed. Viciously. Where originally she was liberal with telling me what and what not to eat, she now told me why diets won’t work, how I will gain it all back and that losing weight isn’t that healthy anyway.
The final straw for her was when my girlfriend at some point decided to drop a couple of pounds as well and me, two months after having finished my weight loss endeavor, being able to keep my weight stable. She dropped off all contact, but not before telling my girlfriend that she was flaunting her new weight. My girlfriend hadn’t even discussed having lost weight with her.
In my opinion, people like her are poisonous and not true friends. Because they behave, and I don’t know if crabs really do that, like crabs in a bucket: when one of them has almost managed to climb out, another will pull it back down – if I can’t have it, you won’t either. A real friend will be supportive of you. A real friend can and should be critical of you from time to time, but his criticism should be constructive. Because real friends want to see you succeed and support you.
We could go on explaining why people you consider as friends behave destructively, and one explanation may be that your failures make them feel better in comparison, but that is a moot point. If they have that mindset, they weren’t your friends from the very beginning.
If you succeed at improving yourself, may that be through dropping weight or whatever else, and you lose friendships over it, then don’t consider it a loss. See it as the great continental divide between your real friends and the pretenders.