You’d assume that your best friend would be the ideal person to share your weight struggles and trials with. For some people this is true, for others it is not. I fell into the second category, where my “best friend” turned out to be the best person to share my struggles with, but not the best person to share my successes with. We had been friends since we were both young married women, and always shared the ups and downs of married life and life with children. She watched me balloon up from an average size to a morbidly obese woman in a matter of 3 years. She was there when I tried every diet known to man, and failed miserably at each one. She was also there when I finally got started losing weight.
Getting started on my weight loss plan involved some preparation. I had to rid the house of trigger foods, plan my exercise program and practice eating the proper portions. I also hunted through old photo albums, and as a visual incentive of my goal, taped an old picture of my thinner self on the refrigerator. One day, while at my house, she commented, “You don’t really think you can be that thin again do you?” I looked at her and said, “Well, I’m sure going to try.” She made a face, and went on with her previous conversation. I thought about her comment the whole rest of the day. I wondered why she would say that, and what her motives were. I eventually decided that she didn’t mean anything by it, and went on with the process of losing weight. At 50 pounds there wasn’t a big difference, but by 100 pounds the difference in my appearance was startling and surprising to those who saw me. Everywhere I went people would embarrass me with their effusive comments, and often times, my friend was with me.
As I got thinner and more fit, my friend’s comments to me became more pointed and mean spirited. I felt such confusion. We had been friends for so long – why was she acting like this? When I finally started changing my lifestyle that last time I deliberately choose to only tell her and my husband. I didn’t want to tout to the world the fact that I was once again trying to get healthy. I choose to share my struggles with her and she wasn’t being supportive. It just didn’t seem fair. In the past, I may have let her disapproval of me throw me off track, and I probably would have turned to food when hurtful comments were said. This time, I was strong enough within myself to realize the problem was hers, not mine. I didn’t let her own personal issues cloud my goals and objectives, and in some ways her attitude made me a stronger person.
When I finally lost the 150 pounds she was the one person who never said, “Good job.” It was hurtful and painful, and even though we struggled on with our friendship for several more years, we eventually drifted apart. That experience taught me a lesson. Don’t assume that your friends will be happy for you as you change your lifestyle and get healthy. Looking back, I assume she was jealous, although she was a normal size herself. Perhaps she liked the “fat Diane” better than the “thin Diane.” I share this story to make you aware of the fact that people in your life who you are close to may not be comfortable with a new and different you. I was the same person I had always been inside, but with some added self confidence. As you journey through your weight loss experience don’t be upset if you hear comments that aren’t supportive and encouraging. Try to do as I did – take the comments with a “grain of salt” and keep moving forward towards your set goal. Don’t turn to food for comfort if your friend doesn’t support you – look within yourself to find the strength to continue on.
Have you ever been surprised by other people’s reactions to the new you? Diane