Every woman who’s ever tried to lose an ounce of weight has had this happen. I’m sure of it.
Stepping on the scales every week feels like watching grass grow. Progress is slow. Will it ever change?
You give yourself a virtual pat on the back for sticking to your plan and pep talk your way through the rest of your morning.
Baby steps. Baby steps.
“I”m doing just fine,” you silently remind yourself.
And, you were. Until you ran into her–the friend who was always a little overweight. Only now she’s not.
In fact, she’s downright skinny.
You wouldn’t have recognized her from behind. She accomplished your dream, and quickly! She “got” the better body. She succeeded while you wonder if you ever will. You smile and say, “You look so great!” But, on the inside, you feel a little jealous. You wonder . . .can I really do it too? Will this ever happen for me? You battle feelings of discouragement.
When Their Dreams Come True. . . and Yours are Still Just Dreams
Of course this scenario could just as easily be, “When your friend gets the guy” or “When your friend gets pregnant first” or “When your friend gets the promotion.” Right? We all have hopes and dreams for our lives that others will, undoubtedly, get to accomplish first. Just like getting engaged, having a baby, or landing a new job. . .weight loss can change a person. Sometimes if a friend loses a considerable amount of weight, it could even alter her personality. Many times this is positive and healthy. But, occasionally the new found confidence leads to an increase in self-focus that makes the friend almost unbearable to be around.
Bottom line: If you do have a friend who loses weight while you’re still trying to get there–the only response you can control is your own!
There’s no need to be down on yourself, discouraged, or disheartened just because a friend did something you hope to do too. Rather, it’s important to keep the truth in mind as you discipline your thoughts to not compare!
**If you’re married you can replace ‘friend’ for spouse. Every married woman that has ever been on a couples diet knows that her husband will likely lose the weight (what seems like) 10x as fast with (what seems like) half as much effort!
Three Things to Remember When Your Friend Loses the Weight
First: Weight Loss Doesn’t Gain You More Value.
Remember, your value is not determined by that number on the scales. It’s not a bad thing to want to lose some weight, especially if your doctor has asked you to or you know it would benefit your health. But, your worth does not depend on it. If you need to lose weight to feel valuable, you’ll put way too much pressure on yourself to make your diet succeed–and likely, feel crushed and give up. It’s much better to understand what weight loss really gives you if you’re overweight–a healthier body. It doesn’t give you more value. It doesn’t make you more worthy of love. Neither does it make you more acceptable. You are loved beyond what you measure. And, that love–God’s love–won’t change if the number on the scale drops or rises.
Your friend may need you to help her remember this. Sometimes, when friends lose weight, they expect everything in their lives to change. You may be the best person to help your friend remember that she was valuable before and is still valuable now. Help her know that even if she gains some weight back, she’s still loved.
Second: Weight Loss Never Made Anyone’s Life Perfect.
Next, it’s important to remind yourself that thin doesn’t mean problem free. Or that “thinner” doesn’t equal “fewer problems.” Sometimes, in our hearts, those of us who struggle with our weight tend to make an idol out of thinness. We easily believe a bunch of lies, such as, “thin people have a better life than I do.” But, that’s not true. We all have areas of struggle–no matter our weight. Model thin women still wrestle insecurity. Women voted the “most beautiful in the world” wearing size 0’s, still experience the heartbreak of infidelity and betrayal. Swimsuit models get fired, lose friends, and wonder if they are good enough–just the same as you and I do. When we place too much of our focus on weight, when we make thinness an idol, that’s when we’re most tempted to become frustrated or disheartened by a friend’s success in this arena. But, when we can see weight loss for what it really is–just something you can do to make your body healthier–it loses its position as “ultimately” important and the competition can cease.
Sometimes friends who lose weight go in search of a “better” life to match their “better” bodies. Sadly, I’ve watched this happen a few times. Be ready, if asked, to remind your friend that a skinny body won’t instantly transform her marriage or career. Sometimes, women try to get a better body because they believe it will help their husband’s struggle with lust or porn. If this is at issue, it’s important to know that his struggle won’t change when his wife loses weight.
Third: Weight Loss Isn’t Magic.
I fall for weight loss gimmicks because I believe there’s got to be an easier way to lose the pounds than just watching what I eat and exercising. Now, granted, for some of us with health issues (I have Hashimoto’s autoimmune disorder), even the cleanest diet and regular exercise won’t budge the scales. But, outside of health issues working against you, the biggest key to weight loss is listening to your body, eating well–only what you need for fuel, and being active a few times a week. I think it’s funny how, as a culture, we all follow the diet and exercise trends like a group of blind sheep. In 1993 we were all doing Tae Bo and eating zero grams of fat each day. Seven years later, we were only eating bacon and riding spin bikes. Add a decade and we were avoiding all white foods while doing Yoga. Add another decade and everyone’s gone Paleo and going to Cross Fit.
We follow the crowd to the next best diet and the next best exercise routine because we believe the “next one” will be “the one.” We’re looking for the magic fix–the one program that solves our weight problem forever. The only problem is, no such thing exists. Every weight loss program requires endurance, discipline, and commitment. If there really was a magic “zap you skinny” machine, we’d all know about it and have already paid the 8 easy payments of $19.95 to get one!
But, there’s not.
So, when a friend loses the weight, congratulate her on her achievement and realize that you can do it too. She hasn’t won a contest. No one’s “beat” anyone. We’re all just on individual health journeys. Comparing them is futile.
What do you think? How have you responded when a friend loses the weight?
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