The question: I recently lost 30 pounds, but my friends are not being supportive. In fact, sometimes I think they are trying to sabotage my success by encouraging me to go out for dinner and drinks and skip my workouts. Any suggestions on what I should say and do?
The answer: First, take a moment to be proud of yourself! Try not to let your friend's reactions detract from your sense of accomplishment. I know, easier said than done, but remember: Adopting a healthier lifestyle is for you, not them.
Plus, their lack of support is most likely not about you, but a manifestation of their own insecurities. Your new lifestyle demonstrates to them that change is possible. If they are insecure, instead of simply being happy for you they – possibly unconsciously – can only focus on their own perceived failures. Your friends may perceive your lifestyle changes, and your enthusiasm for sustaining those changes, as a judgment of their life choices, even though you don't intend to make them feel judged.
In addition, keep in mind that weight loss affects more than the number on the scale. Your lifestyle has most likely shifted to facilitate the weight loss. If you were always the friend who could be counted on to binge on bad food or to party, it may be hard for your friends to learn to interact with the new you.
Give them some time and, most importantly, communicate with them. Tell them how you feel. Silence never helps relationships.
Hopefully your friends will learn to appreciate the new you. Who knows, maybe your healthy habits will rub off on them. But be prepared for an alternative scenario: You may grow out of current friendships. The bonus is that leaves room for new, more supportive people in your life.
Trainer's tip: Even if your friends start to be supportive, remember that the most supportive friends in the world can't be expected to care about the minutia of your exercise and nutrition regime. Make friends at the gym and talk about fitness with them. I try and save most of my race details for my triathlete buddies. This way, my non-triathlete friends don't grow bored of me and my sport.
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.