These people cheered you on throughout your weight loss journey, but now your friends and family could be sabotaging your efforts
Your friends and family have cheered you on throughout your weight loss journey. They’ve complimented you, joined you at spin class, and maybe even made a point to put crudités and hummus on their Super Bowl party menu just for you. Yet no matter how much they really, truly want to be supportive of your healthier lifestyle, they’re going to do and say things that aren’t always positive or helpful.
Your fans love the New You, but frankly, they’re not quite sure what to do with you. So it’s important to redefine these relationships and set good boundaries, however, because it can be hard to resist their subtle pressures and slip back into sabotaging behaviors. (And watch out for these 7-Zero Calorie Factors That Derail Weight Loss.)
Here’s how to manage the worst offenders.
You won’t eat Mom’s chicken parmesan anymore? We’re not going to Family Spaghetti Night after pre-K soccer like we always do? You’re running 5Ks now? Your family members may have the hardest time handling your new habits, preferences, and hobbies because they’ve been relating to you in certain ways for years, and they’re going to feel confused when you no longer want to share a giant bag of kettle corn while watching The Voice.
Stay true to yourself and keep everyone in their comfort zones by modifying favorite traditions. Ask your mom to make healthier versions of her dishes for you—or suggest lightening up the family recipe together. Create new rituals, such as Family DIY Taco Night (offer lettuce leaves as well as taco shells). They’ll eventually adjust. In the meantime, ignore the pushback and go do your thing.
If you’ve dropped a few pounds, you’re probably feeling better about your appearance. Maybe you’re dressing in tighter-fitting clothes or wearing your yoga outfits with a little more confidence. New haircut? Check. Ditto lipstick. Even the most secure man can get a little rattled. After all, if he thinks you look great, he knows other men are probably thinking the same thing. He could be wondering if you’re going to expand your social life and be less available for him. And if he has a few pounds to lose himself, his insecurity may be at an all-time high.
You should take all the credit for your new, healthier body. But there’s no harm in bringing him into the experience. Ask him to go shopping with you and help you pick out a dress that he thinks is sexy. Flirt with him. Don’t mention his extra weight, but do share your healthy, delicious meals with him, rather than preparing a delicious recipe for you and leaving him to rifle through the fridge for frozen hot wings.
Had a hard week at work? Broke up with your boyfriend? You and your pal have spent many nights soothing each other’s woes with nachos, mojitos, and peanut butter brownie pies. Well, no one likes to eat and drink alone, and your friend’s going to be upset when her partner in caloric crime doesn’t want to go hog wild during next Friday’s happy hour.
You don’t have to share a pitcher of sugary sangria to still be her friend. Pick places where you can order sensibly, or suggest activities that don’t involve calorie bombs. Get a pedicure together. Go on a hike together. Take a spin class. If she’s a real friend, she’ll appreciate your creative ideas without getting defensive about her unhealthy habits. (Besides, Post-Work Workouts Are the New Happy Hour.)
Women are attractive at all sizes. But if you’ve been heavy for some time, you might have unwittingly accepted the role as the “less-pretty” sister or friend. Maybe your counterpart still expects you to play her funny, non-threatening wing woman to men at parties. Or maybe during shopping trips, she’s gotten into the habit of handing you an XL sweater, saying, “This would look good on you.” She might not even be aware of the million little ways she’s been mildly insulting you over the years.
Don’t compete. Strike up a conversation with men on your own. Thank her for her shopping advice and pick the size that fits you. Develop your own sense of self as a social equal, and calmly assert yourself. Hopefully, over time, she’ll get used to a relationship with more equal footing.
Ridiculous, we know, but your married friend might get jealous of you talking to her husband. Of course, you know you’re not trying to steal her man. But if you’re feeling more confident and dressing sexier, you might be sending out a confident vibe that he’s innocently responding to. If your friend isn’t feeling good about herself, she might get a little miffed when her man starts raving, “Doesn’t Jen look amazing?”
Look, insecurity doesn’t make sense, and can get the best of us. So it doesn’t hurt to go out of your way to reassure her. Include her in any conversations with her husband. When you greet them as a couple, hug her first. If her husband compliments you, acknowledge her by saying, “Thanks, Becky gives me great style tips.” If the tension persists, you might want to celebrate the New You by making new friends. (Or, try these tips on How to Heal a Broken Friendship.)