Friend—or Weight Loss Saboteur?
Former Fat Girl Lisa Delaney on dealing with toxic relationships when losing weight.
DEAR FORMER FAT GIRL: I have a “friend” who is very critical of others and is always sizing other people up and making fun of them. I recently told her that I had eating issues and wanted to lose weight—and then, all of a sudden she lost 20 lbs. She makes a point to eat in front of me to show me that she isn’t starving herself and can eat whatever she wants. When we go out she will offer to buy cupcakes or cookies, foods that I already told her I don’t want to eat. I’ll politely decline, and then she will buy me one anyway. Why is she trying to sabotage me? What do I do about it?—Jamie
DEAR JAMIE: Wow. That’s "Mean Girls"-mean. That’s Sue Sylvester-sinister. That’s Wicked Witch of the West-like. I'm appalled that your "friend" would so blatantly try to tempt you into eating things you don't want to eat, so unabashedly hold you back from the kind of life you want to have.
Now that I’ve picked myself up from the floor … It's really telling to me that you put the word friend in quotes in your letter–it seems you are already seriously doubting this woman's value as a friend to you. It sounds like she might not be the best person to spend your time with as you try to make healthy changes and stay positive about taking steps toward losing weight. Her criticism and ridicule of others is a sign that she can't be trusted to have your best interests in mind–chances are, she is trash talking about you behind your back as well.
I speak from experience about this: I tend to be a trusting person and want everyone to like me (as many of us Fat Girls do), and therefore I don't always make the best choices in friends. I am often oblivious to the fact that a friend is competitive with me until some kind of major thing happens. I've had to "break up" with friends after finally figuring out after several years (yes, I am dense!) that they do not really want the best for me.
But there's the thing: Don’t waste your time trying to figure her out. It doesn't matter what her reasons are–the end result is that your relationship is toxic. You need to distance yourself from this person, and really think about the people in your life who want you to succeed, and spend your time with them. Sometimes it's difficult to let go of long-term friendships, but sometimes we stay in friendships because they’re habits, not because they are truly adding to your enjoyment and experience of life. You are trying to change, and the best friends will support that and be your friends regardless of what you go through and how it all turns out. This is a good time to reevaluate all of your relationships and make sure they build you up, rather than tear you down.