Relationships and Weight Loss - Lean on Me When You're Not Strong
The right friends can help you through the biggest challenges in your life – including making healthy changes and losing weight. However, the wrong friends aren't just nonsupporting – they can actually make it more difficult for you to lose weight.
Identifying Toxic Friends
Toxic friends can negatively impact your weight loss goals in a number of ways and there several types of toxic friends.
The “Misery Loves Company” Friend. If you have friends who also struggle with their weight then you may find them particularly toxic to your own weight loss. You may think that they could understand since they're in the same situation, but in fact it can be threatening to watch someone go through changes you know you should be making yourself.
The “Negative Nancy” Friend. The cold hard truth is that weight loss requires dedication and hard work. There will be challenges. We all know this, but what most of us also know is that the benefits are well worth the costs. Not Negative Nancy though – for this type of friend, any minor problem is a huge issue and a reason to stop what you're doing. Don't be swayed.
The “Condescendingly Supportive” Friend. One of the most frustrating types of toxic friends is the one who has thought you needed to lose weight for a long time – and makes sure you know about it! While they may just be trying to help, their “support” can often feel like an insult and can be very discouraging.
The “Green With Envy” Friend. Some friends are simply jealous. They see their friend not just looking better but feeling stronger too and they are overcome with envy. This can be ugly to watch but happens all too frequently.
What to Do About Toxic Friends
So what's a person supposed to do? Surely it's not reasonable to end a relationship just because the person is toxic to health goals? Well, maybe not – but maybe you should. There are three steps to take to decide if it's time to end a toxic friendship.
Step One – Look at your part in it. Sure, we'd all like to think that if someone is acting negatively it's because they're doing something wrong. But remember that it takes two to tango. If you're having trouble with a friend due to your new lifestyle, ask yourself if you've changed more than your eating habits. For example, are you not making time for your friend the way you used to? There may be simple steps you can take to improve the relationship on your end.
Step Two – Open Up the Lines of Communication. Be honest with your friend – but don't be accusatory. Instead of saying, “Why are you always so negative!” simply say, “Sometimes I take your comments negatively and it makes it harder for me to stay on track. Can we leave certain topics alone?” There's nothing wrong with asking for the type of relationship you're comfortable with.
Step Three – Cut and Run. If steps one and two don't work then it's likely time to cut and
run. The simple truth is that if you make yourself vulnerable, tell your friend
how their comments and attitude make you feel, and they are unwilling to do
anything about it, then this is likely not a friendship worth keeping. A real
friend will make you feel safe and will help you reach your goals – not prevent
them from being realized. You can utilize all of the best diets available, but if you do not have the support you need, success might be difficult.