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Old 08-07-2011, 01:55 PM   #1  
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Default Annoying Friend

I have a friend who is really weird about my weight loss attempts. I don't talk about it a lot, but last time I saw her we were trying to figure out a place to go get lunch and she suggested a really junky place where it would have been really difficult for me to find something I could eat without too much damage. I casually said I was trying to watch what I was eating and let's go someplace else. She insisted that I was being ridiculous and that I didn't need to watch what I was eating, I just needed to be more like her- stop buying junk food to keep around the house and prepare more meals at home.

I bit my tongue, but she is 6 inches shorter than me and 2 sizes bigger. Not only that, but her kitchen is FULL of junk, and just because you baked that cake yourself doesn't mean it's low-calorie. I cook dinner almost every night for my husband and I, and she eats out a lot and eats a lot of pre-prepared food when she is at home. Before when we've gone out to lunch, if I order anything less than the giant, double-decker cheeseburger with bacon and guacamole that she's having, she says something like, "Oh, wow, you're making me feel bad, you're ordering such a healthy meal." I think part of it is she doesn't even know what a "healthy meal" is, because sometimes I would have ordered something very unhealthy, it was just fish or chicken.

Anyway, while we were having this conversation about her weight loss advice, she had asked me if I wanted a cup of tea. I had said, "sure" and she brought me out a cup of hot, whole milk with a teabag floating in it that must have also contained at least 1/4 c. of sugar. She had one, too, and has often told me that she loves "tea" though we usually don't meet at her house so I hadn't ever experienced what she meant by this before. After I took the first sip and realized what it was, I didn't even know what to do. I wasn't trying to make a big deal out of anything, but the thought of consuming ALL those calories just to be polite seemed really stupid. I ended up drinking about half of it very slowly and managed to discard the rest when she wasn't looking. Still, it felt wasteful, I didn't even like it, and I felt like she was trying to prove a point.

I think part of the problem is that she feels defensive about it, since she is not watching what she eats and I am, but I really try not to talk about this kind of thing around her or any of my friends because it makes me uncomfortable, and I have never said anything to suggest that she should try and lose weight. Plus, we can go to just about any restaurant and I can find something reasonable and not even have anyone notice that I'm eating low calorie. Grilled chicken and veggies? Salad with dressing on the side? I'm not picky. That's how I got fat in the first place!

I guess I just wonder if ya'll have similar experiences with friends trying to sabotage you, talk you out of becoming healthy, or poo-pooing you, and if so, how do you handle it? She really is a nice person and a good friend, but just this one issue is really making me feel distant from her.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:18 PM   #2  
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My sister is like that. When I lived near her and she knew I was losing weight she'd always suggest dinner at the worst places, or make comments on the healthy food I'd eat.

I think some people who are overweight, who are watching a friend or family member try to lose weight feel insecure or even guilty about their own bad choices. I think they're really trying to convince themselve that the bad choices are ok. If someone else is eating it too then they don't feel as self consious and bad about eating it themselve.

Some overweight people just aren't ready to loss weight or aren't willing to even try. We all know it's hard. They don't want to stay fat while their friends get skinny. It's human nature unfortunately. When my sister acts the way she does around me when I'm losing weight, and she's frankly gained it, I know it's because of her own insecurities.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:24 PM   #3  
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Not friends but coworkers. Of course, I'm very selective about who I keep company with, which is probably why I haven't had problems with friends.

I have a coworker who ALWAYS makes comments about me not eating crap restaurant food with them on Fridays. (I'm sorry, but even semi-healthy restaurant food has way more calories than the same food made at home. O'Charleys salads have close to 1,000 calories without dressing! That's INSANE!) She's made comments about how "all this deprivation is going to backfire" on me, even though I totally indulge in chocolate cravings (just with low-calorie puddings instead of my usual 6 pack of Little Debbie mini donuts). Instead of saying I make her feel bad for choosing healthy foods for lunch, she goes on and on for 20 minutes about how delicious her sandwich and fries are.

I will say, though, that friends aren't constantly thinking about what's going on with us. My friend Amy knows all about my weight loss efforts. I text her my weight every weigh-in morning. She knows that I avoid restaurants most of the time and try to go to the gym daily. Even she asked me if I wanted her to bake some high-calorie brownies/cookies/cakes for our upcoming road trip. She wasn't being insensitive. She just didn't realize that no way could I indulge in that kind of stuff while I'm in the thick of this. (I did let her know that I hope to be maintaining by Christmas and would love some of her treats then. )

Heck, even my husband, who sees me going through this every single day, suggests going out to eat to places where I've been known to overeat. He just doesn't understand how difficult it is to change habits that got me where I am.

Point is, maybe your friend doesn't realize you're limiting yourself to a certain number of calories each day. Maybe she doesn't even realize how many calories are in each cup of tea that she loves to drink every day. (My friend Amy - who is a skinny mini - certainly didn't realize how many calories were in the food we regularly eat when we go eat. Most people don't know.)

If you want to continue this friendship without going crazy, you have to believe that she has good intentions and is just not aware of what she's doing. In Amy's case, I told her I couldn't have the treats because I couldn't count the calories but that I would splurge on dinner with her. If she asks if you want a cup of tea, politely say no and say, "But some water would be GREAT!" I couldn't tell my coworker, who said that about depriving myself, "Huh, that whole non-deprivation thing must be working out really great for you!" (I would guess she weighs 300+ pounds and isn't even trying to lose.) Instead, I said, "I eat chocolate for breakfast every morning. Those Special K protein bars I eat are chocolate." She said, "Oh..." and walked away. Maybe when your friend comes up with some unsolicited advice about cooking more at home, you say, "That's exactly what I'm trying to do. Maybe we should get together for dinner at my house next time we hang out." Or you ask for some recipes. Or you say, "Really, my problem is sweets. I cook dinner at home every night, but I can't say no to sweets!" (Or whatever your vice is.)

It's like you said, she probably doesn't know what healthy is. Some people think cooking at home is healthy, but they have no clue how many calories are in the food they're eating at home. They just assume "home cooked = healthy." You don't want to handle it the way I handle my coworker... Mostly avoiding her as much as possible. (We don't see eye to eye on anything, and I don't need to be friends with coworkers.) Hope some of this helps!
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:27 PM   #4  
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I think in a way it's like if you were an alcoholic and you had drinking friends. Once you are in recovery and sober you don't have much in common with the old crowd anymore.

I have had experiences with "food friends" like that. Once you are on the road to good health you realize that all you really did with that person was eat together and they are using your bad food choices to justify their own indulgence. Once you are no longer indulging then they need to reign you in with sabotage.

Healthy weight loss leads to a lot of new self-knowledge and awareness. You could address the issue with your friend but I bet she would become extremely defensive. If it were me, and I wanted to maintain the friendship, I would talk to her but I would be prepared to know that this friendship may not last.

Good luck - it's sometimes a really tough situation to be in.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:45 PM   #5  
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I'm sorry that you're going through this. I can't say I've had the same experiences, as many of the people in my life have at one point or another had to diet. The only vague criticism I got was from my best friend, who will occasionally say I don't need to lose weight. But she never says it vindictively; I know she's just trying to say something nice.

I think you are absolutely making her feel guilty about her choices. You're trying to lose weight, while she's shorter and heavier than you, and doesn't give a damn. So in order to justify her choices, she probably tells herself things like, 'My friend is really restrictive, and that's not healthy. I don't want to be like that, do I?' She makes up excuses, most likely, to differentiate between your behaviors, to justify hers and make yours seem less wise.

I also agree that she probably doesn't even know how many calories are in the tea. When I was younger (I don't know her age, but I'm saying, as a point of reference, before I started being aware of my food), I had no idea how many calories were in my food, or what a serving size looked like. Although I knew I must have been doing SOMETHING wrong to be overweight... it boggles the mind that it doesn't occur to her that she has this problem.

If the behavior persists, tell her how you feel about her criticism. Normally, I would tell you to just stop talking about it in front of her, but it seems that you're not really volunteering anything. Remember, when you talk about how you feel, to use phrases such as 'I feel', instead of sentences that start with 'You'. Things that sound like accusations will only make her more defensive (and she is already quite defensive, from the sound of it), and she'll shut you out.

Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:47 PM   #6  
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What a bummer. I had a similar experience with some of my old co-workers. A handful of us in the office decided to do a "Biggest Loser" type of competition and we made it known that for any office lunches, we preferred to go somewhere relatively healthy (ie Panera Bread). Everyone was supportive, with the exception of one lady, who was also overweight (and chose not to participate in our group). Anyway, it seemed like she would do her best to sabotage the weight-loss efforts. She would bring in donuts, cakes, etc. and then made me feel guilty for not partaking. She would pick on me when we'd go to lunch together because I'd order salad instead of a huge bacon cheeseburger ("rabbit food" as she called it). It made me miserable and to a certain degree, I felt peer-pressured to break my diet.

Now, I'm a few years older, and for me, if a friend isn't willing to support your healthy choices, they're not really a true friend. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. She may be feeling that she's being left behind now that you are making different food choices, but that is her issue, not yours. I'm not saying she's not a good friend in other respects, but maybe it would be better for you to just find new food-friends. Maybe your friendship with her can be adjusted so that food is not involved.

Good luck!! I totally hear you on that problem, and hopefully if you talk to her about it in a non-confrontational way, she'll respect your choices and give you less flack for it. Maybe you could also inspire her into making healthier choices with you.
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:54 PM   #7  
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I'm very surprised about the tea incident. I would have thought it was polite to ask whether you take sugar before making the tea. (Or maybe that's because I'm English and tea is such a big thing here!)

Sorry to say, I agree with the others who've said that she really isn't being a good friend to you.
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:55 PM   #8  
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Seriously? This might sound harsh, but if she's being this ridiculous about what you're trying to do, you may just have to stop going out to eat with her or going to her house altogether. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to totally end the friendship or whatever...just adjust things so you're not so often "at her mercy" when it comes to food.

I have a friend like that too, and that's what I had to do. I simply do not go out to eat with her anymore. If we're out someplace and she suggests going somewhere to eat, I'll just say that I already have something prepared at home so I can't let it go to waste. Or I'll simply say, "I don't feel like going out to eat tonight", because if I went along with her every time she ate out, I'd be eating out every single day.

So yeah. You can't control the way she is, but you certainly can control the amount of exposure you have to her. And, to be perfectly frank, it doesn't sound like you'd be missing out on much by limiting your contact with her.
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:58 PM   #9  
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Stand up for yourself. Next time she says, "don't keep junk in your house, like me" when she keeps a lot herself, let her know. In the Bible it says something like "Don't point out the dust in my eyes when you have a plank of wood in yours" -I don't know the exact quote, but you get the meaning--

I know you care about her, or this wouldn't be a problem, so talk to her, and like I said, stand up for yourself
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:40 PM   #10  
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Originally Posted by Lucky72 View Post
I think in a way it's like if you were an alcoholic and you had drinking friends. Once you are in recovery and sober you don't have much in common with the old crowd anymore.

Couldn't have said it better! A lot of people bond over food. It's a staple in a lot of social encounters. So, I think the fact that you are speaking up and thinking about your meal ahead of time, so you're not tempted is awesome!

I know that something I wouldn't normally eat due to unhealthiness, I will have if I'm with a friend. A lot of the guilt goes away when you're in company. Your friend probably feels this way. She wasn't lying when she said it made it her feel guilty.

Perhaps you should subtly support her because it sounds like she's in a haze of denial. Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:23 PM   #11  
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Eek. Sorry she's not "getting it".

The tea situation has me thinking that she is just off in her own world of denial.

I'm not saying we have to go about "saving" this woman or anything, but in her mind she's doing all these wonderful, healthy things... turns out if she actually wrote down how many calories were in her cup of tea that she might find out she's not quite the picture of health that she thinks she is.

In any case, not the point. Her life. She gets to drink tea any way she wants.

However, you making healthier choices might be forcing her to take a look at her usual meals in a different light. You're not eating better to make her feel bad, and you'd never stop her from having the biggest burger on the menu, but she's still comparing. It's natural to compare, especially when one friend makes a change.

If this friendship is about more than food (and it seems like it is from your post) then find things to do that have NOTHING to do with food. Avoid going out to eat. Or if you're going for coffee/tea, get to a coffee shop where they'll ask you how you want your drink.

If the friendship is worth it to you, you'll find a way around this little snag while still being able to make the best choices for yourself without the commentary. Some months down the road, she'll likely notice just how your healthy choices have affected your life for the better.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:38 PM   #12  
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Originally Posted by georgeshair View Post
I'm very surprised about the tea incident. I would have thought it was polite to ask whether you take sugar before making the tea. (Or maybe that's because I'm English and tea is such a big thing here!)

Sorry to say, I agree with the others who've said that she really isn't being a good friend to you.
I agree! I've always let guests fix their own tea or coffee the way they like it. I even offer them sugar (which I don't use myself), sweeteners, and milk or cream. I don't understand why she would make it for you without asking you what you want in it, or not want in it, as the case may be. Tea is a big thing in my family, too.

I think you have some really good advice. Maybe next time, you pick the place to eat, if you decide to eat out. Or, maybe you could invite her over to your place. Being a good hostess might show her how to be one herself.

Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:44 PM   #13  
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Yah, the only reason I had accepted the tea is because I assumed hot water and teabag was what I would be getting. To be more clear, it was actually chai, which I guess is more traditionally served pre-sweetened and lactosed.

I think many of you are right and it has a lot to do with not really knowing much about calories and feeling defensive about not "dieting". I like the idea of making our get-togethers less about food- I think that would probably make BOTH of us more comfortable!
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:27 AM   #14  
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In some ways, it's normal to feel left out when a friend starts to make changes. When my two sisters started losing weight but I wasn't ready to, my internal voice cried out, "Don't leave me behind!" I was very happy for their success because I knew how hard they had worked on it, but I felt left out. Nevertheless, I would never try to discourage them either overtly or covertly (as it seems your friend is doing). I squelched my feelings and encouraged them.
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:30 PM   #15  
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For some reason this made me think about my BFF. She was always a think girl! I mean one of those super thin girls, but definitely not a bean pole she was thin and curvy. In HS she used to wear a bandana as a belt.
We went away to college together and she started to put on her freshman 15 and she was mortified! She started dieting and lamenting how she had to takje off weight. Now I was a good 60 lbs heavier than her even after her weight gain, so when she would say anything negative about her weight I would take it personally thinking that if she considered her new size 7 frame FAT then she considered my size 12 to be absolutely hideous.
Once I even remember snapping at her why dont you shut up? if youre fat what am I a buffalo? She said no you look great and your 4 inches taller than me.
I look back now and feel ashamed because what did her weight loss or her feelings about HER body have to do with me anyway?
So I say all of that to say that I think your friend may feel personally offended that you are trying to lose weight because she may feel like you are looking at her and thinking how fat she is.
I suggest that you tell her how important your weight loss journey is to you and let her know that you won't be eating the junk you ate in the past. If she's a good friend I'm sure she'll come around.
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