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negative change of perception by others

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:25 AM   #1
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Unhappy negative change of perception by others

I am not sure if this belongs here or in another area, but we'll try it here!

Ok, I have a couple of friends at work and we were all overweight. This past September one of my friends and I decided to make some changes to our food choices and to start exercising. We were similar in size. I have been really motivated and the weight has come off pretty consistent. My friend has been doing very good as well. She is a little laid back and hasn't lost as fast as I have. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think she is doing an amazing job, and I am very proud of her. I just wanted to let you all know how this starts. The third friend was smaller than the both of us when we first started, but not anymore. She always says she wants to lose weight, but she's not willing to make any lifestyle changes, and that is ok too. You have to be in the right mindset to want to lose weight. I just want her to be happy whatever she does. I think she is great the way she is.

Now we used to always joke around and say that we were the "fat a** club". There is a story behind that, but this is already too wordy! We took humor in our weight. We all used to laugh and kid around about how we all shouldn't stand in one spot because the floor might give way. It was all fun and games until we started loosing weight.

Now that I have lost some weight, one of the ladies has taken some of our jokes out of context and as if they were directed only towards her. This is absolutely not the case. Once I found out that she was upset, I apologized profusely and told her that I in no way intended those jokes as something serious. It has destroyed our friendship. Keep in mind, she still makes jokes and it's ok.

Have any of you experienced something similar? I am not even close to skinny. I don't care how much anyone weighs. I did not loose this weight with the intentions of making anyone feel insecure about themselves. I have noticed I have to be careful about what I say now just because I am a different weight, and I don't think that is fair.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:34 AM   #2
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I did in what I refer to as my "previous life" -- that's before I gained all this weight. I had just lost about 100 pounds, and most of my friends were thrilled for me and very supportive. But I lost a couple of friends who were as overweight as I was but who hadn't been able to shed the pounds.

Like you, I didn't care what weight they were as long as they were happy with themselves. But, one of them just flat out told me that she felt like I thought I was better than her now. Not true, and when I asked for examples of behavior that would lead her to think that, she couldn't come up with any.

We ended up parting ways for several years. Unfortunately, I gained all the weight back and some more. She got back in touch with me once I was fat again. I'm friends with her, but I also imagine that we'll go through the same routine over again once the weight loss begins to show. I am determined to change my life.

If you want this girl to remain in your life, about all you can do is remain the same. Maybe drop the fat jokes as they've obviously become a sore point. I imagine she's afraid that if you become the appropriate weight that you'll drop her.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:36 AM   #3
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I'm 218lbs and when I talk about a 'fat' issue , where as I used to get the oh yea I hear you sister, I now get the well I'm much busier than you are I can't lose the weight like you did I'm not that much of a princess to spend that much time on myself, thats just to paraphrase the general response I get. Its like they seem to think I am attacking them when I say something like 'Yeah its so much easier to walk up the hill to the store now that I'm lighter ' or "i'm so glad they carry that dress in a 11/12 I have been wanting one like that for a while but was too heavy" . Very general things like that. Maybe they feel I'm rubbing it in their face? I get really torn to pieces if I say something like 'my health is much better now that my weight is lower' cause apparently I'm now saying fat people are ALL unhealthy O.o
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:52 AM   #4
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" But, one of them just flat out told me that she felt like I thought I was better than her now. Not true, and when I asked for examples of behavior that would lead her to think that, she couldn't come up with any."

Betsy2013- Thank you so much for your insight. My friend has been treating me crummy for the past two months because of all this, and what you wrote is the fist thing she told me. It took her a month to come up with something I did to make her feel that way, and the things she mentioned were taken way out of context. Ever since I found out I hurt her feelings I have been extra conscious about what I am saying, and I try to tell her something positive about herself every day I see her.

CherryQuinn- You are doing an amazing job!!! I know what you mean about the comments people make not that we are working to get healthy. It's hard because you want to be able to share your accomplishments with your friends, but they turn them around in a negative way. It hurts me that my friends can't be more supportive. They are too worried that I am trying to cut them down instead of sharing my victory. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has experienced this negativity on my weight loss journey. Let me rephrase that. I am sorry you have had to experience those negative attitudes as well, but I felt like I was just a terrible person. I don't want to ever hurt anyone or make anyone feel bad about themselves. I just wanted to share something with my friends that was really important to me.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:18 AM   #5
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I think there are a couple of issues at play here. First, you and your friends have lost the bond of obesity. You cannot all sit down with a big ol' bowl of ice cream and enjoy it. Those who are losing or have lost weight will probably not indulge to the same degree, and it puts a degree of separation between you and them.

Additionally, with the lose of the excess weight, you'll probably indulge yourself in other things that you did not enjoy while fat -- i.e., clothes shopping, exercising, and perhaps even more social activities.

And sad to say, despite their acceptance of being fat, I honestly doubt that there are too many fat people who truly choose to be fat. They have accepted it, but probably harbor some jealousy toward your weight loss.

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Old 01-05-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Quack Addict View Post
I think there are a couple of issues at play here. First, you and your friends have lost the bond of obesity. You cannot all sit down with a big ol' bowl of ice cream and enjoy it. Those who are losing or have lost weight will probably not indulge to the same degree, and it puts a degree of separation between you and them.
I think that this is very insightful, and it kind of reminds me of quitting smoking. When I quit smoking and made having healthy lungs a priority, I found myself spending time with an entirely different group of friends than I did before.

You've done the right thing by your friend. It isn't reasonable for her to expect you to walk around eggshells for her benefit. There's nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments or focusing on health, and there's nothing wrong with making light of your own situation.

As long as you aren't outright rubbing your success as opposed to her non-success in her face, it's her problem, not yours.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by betsy2013 View Post
I did in what I refer to as my "previous life" -- that's before I gained all this weight. I had just lost about 100 pounds, and most of my friends were thrilled for me and very supportive. But I lost a couple of friends who were as overweight as I was but who hadn't been able to shed the pounds.

Like you, I didn't care what weight they were as long as they were happy with themselves. But, one of them just flat out told me that she felt like I thought I was better than her now. Not true, and when I asked for examples of behavior that would lead her to think that, she couldn't come up with any.
^ This. I lost two friends who had been skinny as girls, then gained some weight as adults, and then gained more in the last 2 years. I've dropped about 50lbs, and they are so angry. Our conversations we so awkward that we stopped speaking altogether - after 20 years of friendship. It's hard when people seem to be angry at something you have worked so hard for. It's not like my friends tried and couldn't do it - they were just mad that I was able to.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #8
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I think people do this when they aren't able to make changes in their own lives. You can put me down all day long. Say whatever you want. Make fun of my workouts, make fun of how I eat, it doesn't matter - I still lost 40 pounds and you didn't. It won't make the 40 you'd like to lose magically disappear and it doesn't make the 40 I did lose magically re-appear. But it is so much easier to put others down than it is to lift yourself up.

It's a shame but until these people realize the harsh words and hurt feelings don't change anything, it's going to be a sore issue and you should try to keep from giving it any thought.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:19 PM   #9
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" But, one of them just flat out told me that she felt like I thought I was better than her now. Not true, and when I asked for examples of behavior that would lead her to think that, she couldn't come up with any."

Betsy2013- Thank you so much for your insight. My friend has been treating me crummy for the past two months because of all this, and what you wrote is the fist thing she told me. It took her a month to come up with something I did to make her feel that way, and the things she mentioned were taken way out of context. Ever since I found out I hurt her feelings I have been extra conscious about what I am saying, and I try to tell her something positive about herself every day I see her.

CherryQuinn- You are doing an amazing job!!! I know what you mean about the comments people make not that we are working to get healthy. It's hard because you want to be able to share your accomplishments with your friends, but they turn them around in a negative way. It hurts me that my friends can't be more supportive. They are too worried that I am trying to cut them down instead of sharing my victory. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has experienced this negativity on my weight loss journey. Let me rephrase that. I am sorry you have had to experience those negative attitudes as well, but I felt like I was just a terrible person. I don't want to ever hurt anyone or make anyone feel bad about themselves. I just wanted to share something with my friends that was really important to me.
Thanks. We're definetly not the only ones dealing with this. As life changes so do those who are in it. You're not a bad person. We're just happy with what we have achieved and theres no shame in that.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:22 PM   #10
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I've lost a few friends that are bigger than me simply by saying I had lost ten lbs and not sharing in their nacho commiseration.

It hurt..but I'm more important than staying unhealthy for unhealthy relationships. I think that the people that leave you, leave you for a reason, and most of the time, it's not you. It's them. Enjoy your new life and where that's headed. Maybe they'll come back around, maybe not.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
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I can't thank everyone enough for all the support I've received here. I could not have made it as far as I have without your support. It means the world to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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Unfortunately, such things happen. It doesn't matter that you don't intend to hurt people, that you're not 'rubbing it in', that you're taking extra steps no to hurt their feelings, even: in the end, it all amounts to the fact that "you losing weight = people getting confronted with their own failures." Even though it was neither your intention nor anything to do with your behaviour, people in general don't like having their metaphorical noses put into the metaphorical crap. Some won't be bothered with it, or not show it, of course; but some others will be reminded of how THEY couldn't do it (...or couldn't even bother with actually trying!).
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:44 PM   #13
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I think there are a couple of issues at play here. First, you and your friends have lost the bond of obesity. You cannot all sit down with a big ol' bowl of ice cream and enjoy it. Those who are losing or have lost weight will probably not indulge to the same degree, and it puts a degree of separation between you and them.
Yes this.

Do you have anything in common with this woman other than the fact that you were both overweight? If not, you've just removed your common connection to her.

I haven't lost any friends throughout all of this, but I have other things in common with my friends besides weight. While I did remove a connection with some of my friends, I still have commonalities with them in other ways. I also created common interests with other friends who were into healthy food!

My friendships are otherwise the same because our relationship didn't focus on food, weight, etc. I'm just smaller now.

I can't say everything went smoothly. I did get into some conflicts with friends who just wanted me to go along with certain eating plans, but everyone has seemed to move past that now.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:56 AM   #14
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I have noticed I have to be careful about what I say now just because I am a different weight, and I don't think that is fair.
Well done on the weight lost, you are doing fantastically well.

I think that you will have to be a bit more careful about what you say. I'm a lesbian and there are lots of jokes and general ribbing that I'd find totally amusing from another gay woman that would really annoy me, if I heard from a straight person. The intent of the straight person might be exactly the same as that of the gay person but they haven't walked in my shoes, so I don't think that they have the same right to make these jokes.

However, I think that most of us who have lost significant amounts of weight always or at least for a very long time still perceive ourselves to be 'fat girls' but we have to accept that what's in our head and what other folks can see, doesn't match up. While you're not an obvious member of the overweight club, you need to be mindful of the feeling of others.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:18 PM   #15
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You may lose "eating buddies" but you won't lose tried-and-true friends - they, even if they feel jealous of your success losing weight, will stick by you and cheer you on.

I do think at 5'8 and 168 (down from 221 - AWESOME) your "license" to make fat jokes is long gone, except for select situations with other people whose minds are still catching up to their bodies.
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