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Dealing With Negative People

Have you changed your lifestyle from one of sloth and gluttony to one of exercise and healthy eating and lost a lot of weight in the process? Built some muscle, dropped several inches from the waist? I’ll bet you’re feeling great! But does it sometimes seem as though you’re surrounded by negative people, who take every opportunity to comment on your physique and tell you that you’re too thin? Are you copping lectures on overdoing the exercise, or hearing things like “for God’s sake, EAT something, will you?”

Unfortunately, this is a very common experience amongst those who lose weight. There are a whole lot of possible reasons why people act this way, and yes, it may be that they really are concerned and honestly think that you’re in imminent danger of starving to death. But it may be something else entirely…

The “knockers” may be jealous, uncomfortable about their own bodies, and seeing you achieving what they "can't" makes them feel bad. Or they may simply have a weird idea about what's healthy as far as body composition goes...most people do!

They also may be afraid - afraid that your personality will change as well as your appearance, and that you won’t want to associate with them any more. Or that you will try to force them to change too, which can be pretty scary to somebody who’s simply not ready to switch to healthy eating and exercise. Or that they'll look fat next to you…OK, so that's a really shallow one, but it's possible.

It could be that they feel that the dynamics of your relationship have changed. If you’re no longer the fat one, or the lazy one, then exactly where do you fit in now? And where does it leave them? It’s quite possible that they have no conscious thoughts along these lines, but unconsciously there’s a lot going on and they feel uncomfortable about it. And what about those relationships that have always revolved around food and/or alcohol? If you’re not eating crap any more, and you don’t drink, then how and where will your social interactions with these people take place?

Sometimes it's hard to understand why people behave the way they do, but in my experience it's rarely purely out of concern. THEY may think it is, but look beneath the surface and you may be surprised at what you find.

The answer is complicated. Obviously you could seek out some new friends who have similar interests to you – those with whom you can go to the gym, or play a sport, or just talk about the things that interest you. But no doubt you have a number of old friends, not to mention relatives, who you’re not about to dump. With these people, you need to make them understand that you’re following a healthy program and explain to them just what your goals are. Show them what an underweight person looks like – I’m sure you can find some pictures on the internet. Let them see just how much food you eat – it may surprise them. And above all, make it clear that you’re not about to go back to your old ways and regain the weight, so they may as well stop bugging you about it.

The bottom line is, as long as you're sure that you are not underweight and/or overdoing the exercise, stop worrying about what everyone else thinks or says. It's really THEIR problem, not yours, so try to see it that way.

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