Open Feedback Dialog

Nov - Dec 2012
The Newsletter for Bariatric Patient Education and Motivation

Are Your Friends Guilty of Weight Loss Envy?

By Monica Ganz, PhD

As you get closer to your ideal weight, many of your friends may become envious of your weight loss success. I know this first-hand from my own painful experiences.


You see, I started out my weight loss journey at 520 pounds, with a lot of friends who wished me luck. Everyone was excited for me at the beginning. As I started losing weight, people were showering me with kind compliments. But soon, I also noticed that I was losing relationships as fast as I was losing weight.


As I started to think about how my friends no longer wanted to go out with me, I was saddened. I became really depressed. Here I was doing something to better myself—and my 'so called friends' were running away. These were my eating buddies. My friends that understood me, I thought. I shared my deepest darkest secrets about eating and food with them.


Then, one day I went out to lunch with one of my 'skinny' friends. WOW, was that a wakeup call. There we sat and I heard her for the first time in my life say, the following things… “I wonder how many calories are in this?… I can’t eat that much… look over at that person’s plate. That’s enough to feed four people!” I was amazed at what she was saying.


Then it hit me: do I sound like that now? I thought about it long and hard. I dropped my head in shame. No wonder my friends don’t want to go out with me. I was eating my ten to twelve bites and then saying that I was stuffed, or saying that was way too much food. I never liked eating with 'skinnies' before my surgery, in fact, I hated it. But I had turned into one without even realizing. In the past, they made me feel guilty for eating anything. No wonder my friends didn’t want to go out with me.


But, as I stand back and look at the situation now, I am sure there was also a certain amount of envy on the part of my friends and family. I was doing something that we all had talked about a million times, losing weight. But, I was actually doing it. They were just watching it. I can imagine for them it’s like being a spectator at a professional sporting event, a little envious of those who are getting all the accolades and recognition.


I’ve learned the hard way that people don't want to hear intimate and constant details of your weight loss success—even people who care about you very much. This can remind them that they are still sitting on the sidelines or bench when they want to be out on the field.