Do you fear that friends or family may treat you differently or reject you if are successful at losing weight?
Social aspects of weight loss can present obstacles for women. After Oprah’s much publicized slim fast diet, she received many letters from overweight fans who believed she had abandoned them by getting skinny. On her new Court TV talk show, Star Jones recently interviewed a women whose family stopped talking to her after her gastric bypass and significant drop in her weight.
There’s also a love/hate relationship many women have with the concept of a ‘skinny bitch,’ as evidenced by the popularity of the so-called ‘tough-love’, in-your-face, profanity-ridden diet book with the same name. Women hate all the pressure to be ‘skinny,’ and so it’s easy to call a thin women a ‘skinny bitch’. Yet, at the same time, many women would love to BE that ‘skinny bitch.’
Over the years as I have lost weight, I’ve heard family members and friend make certain comments that have made me uncomfortable. For instance, when I politely declined to join others in a late night snack, a relative said, “why can’t you eat like a normal person?” Another time, a friend said, ‘C’mon…share my dessert with me – it’s not going to kill you.’
These are some situations that you may find yourself in when you when you follow a successful weight loss program or achieve a healthy eating lifestyle. Some people may unconsciously be negative and jealous of your success, especially if they are having difficulty themselves, or your weight loss threatens how they perceive themselves. Some husbands, for example, may try to sabotage their wives out of fear their successful weight loss will make them more attractive to other men, or that they will want to leave the marriage.
It is important to be open about your needs for support and to set boundaries. Ask friends and family to allow you to make your own choices and to avoid discussing your weight/health with others, especially at social gatherings.
In the end, you can’t change others, but you can change yourself. But if you stay true to yourself, keep a positive attitude, and express specific ways in which you need support, you can make losing weight easier for yourself and for the others around you.