Are They Jealous of Your New Body?
Why friends and family may not be thrilled with your weight loss -- and what to do about it
You've given up most of those high-calorie foods you used to love. Exercised
every day, even when you didn't feel like it. And finally, it's all paying off:
You're edging toward your weight loss goal -- and looking pretty terrific!
At the same time, you've encountered what seems like a surprising lack of
enthusiasm from some of your family and friends -- maybe even your partner --
about your new look.
As unusual as this may seem, experts say it's actually quite common to
receive some unexpected reactions when you dramatically change your
"Human beings are hard-wired to resist change, so it's not uncommon to
encounter some resistance whenever change occurs," says John McGrail, a Los
Angeles clinical hypnotherapist and behavior expert.
Complicating matters further: When we accomplish a goal -- particularly
something as difficult as losing weight -- it may serve to remind friends and
family of their own failed attempts. That, too, can spark a negative
"In some ways, your weight loss becomes a symbol of their inability to
accomplish their goals, so they may begin to act resentful -- or even mean --
oftentimes without even realizing they are doing so," says Christian Holle,
PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at William Patterson University in
If their goals happened to also involve weight loss, the resentment
(especially from friends) can be doubly strong.
"You may find that they are suddenly excluding you from activities,
saying mean things, taunting you about your new body or even your new clothes
-- all born of resentment about not being able to achieve their own weight loss
goals," says Warren Huberman, PhD, a psychologist who often counsels
patients in conjunction with the New York University Program for Surgical
What's more, Huberman says, when you experience that resentment, it's not
uncommon to have a "knee-jerk reaction" yourself and to pull away in
anger and hurt. But this is the last thing you want to do.
"You have to think about how you would feel in a similar situation, or
maybe how you felt when others lost weight and you couldn't," Huberman
says. "Try to put yourself in the place of the person who didn't win the
lottery, so to speak, and you'll see that the resentment is all about them and
not about you."