Weight Loss Success: How To Deal With Spiteful “Friends”

CoachMel Weight Loss Tips 19 Comments

One of my readers recently told me about her personal experience with a “friend” after she lost a significant amount of weight:

I am saddened by the small-mindedness of some people. I was very suprised to experience weight loss prejudice though. When I had lost 14lbs, I was very happy to achieve that milestone. I had spent years suffering from a low body image, so after losing weight and improving my fitness, I was much more confident. I didn’t see myself as ‘there’ as I was still four stone off goal. Buf that first 14lb is special to me.

A so called friend responded by sending me a message reminding me that that I was still much bigger than her. She went on to write loads of nasty things online about me being full of myself, yet had nothing to celebrate yet. The final straw was when she told me that mutual friends said a lot of nasty things about me behind my back. When I asked them they denied it – and I believe them.

Of course, I was not going to let a spiteful, lying nasty little girl stop me, and I have gone on to continue losing weight, exercising and working to my goal. I’m very happy with each loss. But, the potential for damage could have been there.

I don’t understand her behaviour. She’s a very high achiever herself, so I don’t understand why she resents others achieving. She is so in love with her own body it is unreal – she never misses a chance to promote how wonderful she thinks her body is. I hope that one day you write an article on dealing with spiteful people after weightloss.

My first thoughts after reading that comment was, “With friends like that, who needs enemies,” right? Phew!

Secondly, congratulations to my lovely reader for losing so much weight, and not letting such a spiteful attitude get her down, or halt her progress.

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Amazing job!

When you lose a lot of weight, you’re over-the-moon and you feel like you could do anything. Unfortunately, sometimes this success brings with it some unexpected difficulties.

Among those difficulties you may have to deal with people who resent your success, just like my reader’s experience above.

This can be one of the most hurtful and challenging situations you’ll have to face in your entire weight loss journey.

While you can’t control other people’s words and actions, you certainly can take steps to protect yourself, and your peace of mind.

5 Ways to Deal With Spiteful “Friends”

1. Don’t Take it Personally

When people react negatively towards you after you’ve achieved success in any area of life, it’s usually related to feelings of jealousy, or insecurity on their part.

They may see you as a threat, or they may fear that you won’t be the same person now that you’ve lost the weight.

Your success may also be in contrast with their own lifestyle struggles.

It’s important to realize that some people are critical simply because that’s what they’re used to, and that’s the way they relate to the world. Keep in mind that their behavior is often more to do with their feelings toward themselves, rather than their feelings about you.

2. Don’t Get Involved in Confrontations

Don’t let other people drag you into a verbal confrontation regarding your weight loss. Be confident enough in yourself to let go of any negative things they may say.

Often they are simply looking for a reaction from you. Don’t give them one. You know the truth, sometimes you just have to be satisfied with that.

If you must respond, keep it positive. Negative people usually hate to hear positive comments, and it often ends the conversation rather quickly.

3. Spend Time With Like-Minded People

Supportive people will be such a blessing to you, and really can help you to maintain your motivation for lifestyle change.

Spending time with like-minded friends can also give you the strength and confidence to deal with people who are spiteful of your success. And, it’s always good to have others around you who understand and can relate to what you’re going through.

4. Keep Your Distance

If certain people persist in reacting negatively towards you, sometimes the best option is to limit the amount of time you spend with them.

Remember, don’t let others drag you down.

You can discreetly make yourself unavailable for get-togethers where you know you will face unwanted criticism. Instead, spend time with those people who accept the new you, and make you feel happy and welcomed.

5. Maintain Your Focus

Sometimes it can be tempting to revert back to your previous ways simply to fit in with your old friends, or to relieve the pressure and criticism.

It may even feel like losing weight wasn’t worthwhile after all. But, whatever you do, stay the course.

Losing weight is a milestone you should be happy about, and it comes with enormous health and social benefits long-term. Remember, you must see the “bigger picture” in all of this.

Don’t let others deter you from your new goals and lifestyle. Weight loss is something you ultimately have to do for yourself, not for others.

Though it can be very challenging to deal with negative comments as a result of your weight loss, keep in mind that the criticism won’t last.

Many people are very resistant to any form of change, and it may take them awhile to learn how to accept and deal with the new you. Chances are that in time they will get used to your new look and the negativity will disappear.

Avoid destructive thinking. Improper negative thoughts sink people. A ship can sail around the world many, many times, but just let enough water get into the ship and it will sink. Just so with the human mind. Let enough negative thoughts or improper thoughts get into the human mind, and the person sinks just like a ship ~ Alfred A Montapert

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Comments 19

  1. Warren

    You go girl. I lost 110 lbs and I don’t care what anyone thinks. People love to attack other people. Trust me I know this.


  2. Armen

    First of all, congratulations to the reader. Well done!

    Second, this is great advice! I’m one of those ‘thick skin’ types, but if you’re not like that you need to know how to walk away from such shallow people.

  3. John W. Zimmer

    Hi Melanie,

    My wife had similar experiences when she lost a few pounds. One girlfriend kept mentioning how good she looked but then did not want my wife to come over when her boyfriend was there.

    I’ve seen this a few times although as a guy (don’t know if I am immune) I have not experienced it.

    1. Melanie

      Hi John,
      Yes, it’s a case of “handbags ten paces” with us women!!! Oh, perhaps that is a British saying, lol and you won’t get it??? 🙂

  4. Peter Stockwell

    This is the tall poppy syndrome. There are those who hate other people to succeed. My pet hate is people who say to me ‘Of course, you don’t have to worry about your weight.’ The reason I am slimmer than they are is because I exercise and eat the right food – but they imply that what is hard for them is easy for me. Best to ignore the lot of them.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Peter,
      Yes, I totally know what you mean. For most people who are “thin”, keeping trim and fit is hard work, or at the very least, they have to make a conscious effort to maintain it.

  5. Bulk

    Wow. I can believe some people. I don’t really know anyone like that but what i have a hard time with is ‘enabler’ friends lol. Friends who tell you it’s okay to ignore your diet or not to commit to it religiously and before you know it you’re totally off track from your diet. Sigh.

    1. Melanie

      Yes, I totally know what you mean. I don’t think they mean any harm, but it can be hard to resist their prompts, and as you say it really can get you off track quickly. I’ve written about how to say no to food pushers in the recently 🙂

  6. Vicki

    Thank you so much for posting this. This all happened a while back and now time has passed, I realise that despite her slim frame, she maybe has some issues too. In my eyes, that did not make her negativity okay and I have cut all contact with her some months ago. This may seem like an extreme reaction but I am making amazing changes to my life and overcoming something that made me very unhappy and I don’t need that negativity. I have friends and people in my life who can move forward with me. They continue the journey. I am not stepping back down because she can’t.

    I have lost 29 lbs so far, around halfway to goal. I have also signed up for a half marathon in September. Until recently, even dreaming about it was totally unrealistic. I still cannot decide if I am brave or crazy to do that.

    I so identify with food pushers. I have lost weight slowly as I can resist anything except temptation:)

    1. Melanie

      Hi Vicki,
      You are brave… that is absolutely amazing. What an wonderful transformation. Thank you so much for your comment. I’d love to hear how you get on in your marathon, please do keep in touch 🙂

  7. Vicki

    Sadly at the moment I am on an enforced fitness break:( For a few weeks, my fitness has got worse and worse and every training session saw my performance get worse rather than better. Last week I was in despair as my running training reached the same levels as in week one. A friend sent me a link and I realised she is right – overtraining. I fitted into the symptoms – decreased performance, lack of motivation, sleep problems, irritabilty. So, it is a one week recovery break and then a week of gentle exercise before I ease back into it….

    1. Melanie

      Hi Vicki,
      How are you feeling now? What a great friend you have to notice, too, that’s so helpful. I hope you are well on your way to recovery. Perhaps I should write an article on overtraining.

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