Are they jealous of your new body?
After working hard and focusing on your health, you are excited to reach your goal weight. Congratulations! Most people are genuinely happy for you, but you notice that certain friends and loved ones act less than enthusiastic. Are they jealous of your new body? It’s important to recognize jealousy and not let other people’s envy interfere with your healthy new lifestyle.
If you have lost weight, then the answer is probably yes. The jealousy over your weight loss might be subtle. or it might become a focal point of open hostility. Jealousy can damage relationships and cause you to lose focus on maintaining your healthy weight.
You might notice signs that someone is jealous of your weight loss.
- Friends who don’t celebrate your success. When you announce you've reached a weight loss milestone, a friend who doesn't congratulate you might be feeling too jealous to celebrate your success.
- Insecure partner. In a study of couples, when one partner lost weight, the relationship often suffered. Your weight loss might make your partner feel jealous and insecure.
- Friends withdrawing from you. If a friend is struggling with their weight, they might see your success as a painful reminder of their own perceived diet failures. This might lead to them avoiding you.
- Outright criticism. One of the most obvious and often damaging ways jealousy shows up is with unkind and critical words. Someone jealous of your weight loss might criticize your methods (“your diet was unhealthy”), your looks (“you have more wrinkles now that you have less fat”), and even forecast your future failure (“everyone regains, you will too”). This kind of negativity is unhealthy for you and your relationship.
Why do people get jealous of your weight loss?
You are so thrilled with your weight loss, and you might naturally expect that your friends and family will be equally happy. When it becomes clear they're jealous of your new body, you might feel confused, alone, and even angry. Why do people feel jealous of your weight loss?
When you lose weight, you can trigger jealousy in others for a variety of reasons. Two major causes of jealousy are:
Envy. They want what you have. People are most likely to feel jealous over something they think is very important in life. If your friend values thinness and you now weigh less than they do, it could trigger jealousy. If they value attention in social situations, they might be jealous of the increased attention you are receiving.
Insecurity. Your success can highlight your friend's frustrations with their own body, health, and weight. They may have found it easy to ignore being overweight when you were larger than them. Now that you’ve lost the extra pounds, they feel like their own weight problems are much more obvious.
What to do if people are jealous of your weight loss
If someone in your life is jealous of your weight loss, you can do things to protect both your health and your relationship with the other person.
- Exercise empathy. Jealousy is a natural human emotion and one that often comes from a place of hurting. Take a moment to reflect on your words and actions and make sure you aren’t inadvertently adding to someone else’s hurt by making a big deal about your own success.
- Compliment them. Take the focus off weight and compliment something you sincerely admire about them.
- Avoid sounding arrogant. You deserve to celebrate your success and be proud of what you've achieved, but be careful that you don’t cross the line to arrogance. Bragging about your weight loss can make other people upset and invite negativity.
- Talk openly. Have an honest conversation. Be prepared to listen more than you speak, and don’t negate their feelings. If someone can openly share what’s on their mind, often the feelings of jealousy will dissipate.
- Let it go. You cannot control what others feel, so focus instead on what you can control.
- Consider counseling. If the jealous person is your spouse, consider counseling. Marital struggles after significant weight loss are common. The greater the weight loss, the greater chance your relationship will change as a result.
- Stay focused on self-care. Don’t lose sight of the reasons you worked hard to lose weight in the first place.
Recognize that jealousy from others is a common companion to successful weight loss. Give yourself a high-five for your success and keep focused on your wellness goals.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
BMC Obesity: "Understanding the psychosocial impact of weight loss following bariatric surgery: a qualitative study."
Frontiers in Psychology: "The Evolutionary Psychology of Envy and Jealousy."
Health Communication: "Weighty Dynamics: Exploring Couples' Perception of Post-Weight Loss Interaction."
Jama Surgery: "Associations of Bariatric Surgery With Changes in Interpersonal Relationship Status: Results from 2 Swedish Cohort Studies."
Obesity Action Community: "How to Deal with Jealousy of Loved Ones after You Have Lost Weight."
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