Attention, fatties- if you stay fat, no one will love you, but if you lose weight, your friends will hate you.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the lifestyle change necessary to embark on a fitness or weight loss regimen can be alienating for those closest to you. One woman garnered the ire of her granddaughter when her fitness regimen meant that she stopped having time to drive her to school and the girl was forced to walk the 2.5 miles herself. Another lamented losing a friendship that involved a lot of cooking and eating. Another recalled sensing that her coworkers were jealous of her newfound health and fitness after she changed her lifestyle.
Meeting a weight loss or fitness goal, especially a significant one, often shifts the dynamics of your interpersonal relationships. Friends say you're different, and that they have to get used to the new you. Your wife is suddenly more affectionate, and you wonder why you waited a decade to drop that beer belly.
A dramatic change in lifestyle will likely impact one's interpersonal relationships; anyone who has attempted to dedicate themselves to anything that takes a large time commitment is going to have to give up something- work, friends, or sleep. When I decided to start training for a marathon last summer, I found myself having to turn down dozens of invitations to parties, and eventually people stopped asking me to hang out on Friday nights.
That being said, spending time around someone who has devoted all of their spare time to losing weight can be intolerable, especially if all they want to talk about is how their pants are totally too big on them now and how awesome their butt looks. In some ways, weight loss can lead to an uptick in self-worth that can lead to some insufferable self-absorption and borderline vanity. If someone's working on a fitness goal- say they're training for a triathlon- they may become similarly absorbed in their goals. I'm only a few weeks in to my push to the October marathon, and I'm already finding myself unable to find anything else to talk about besides running-
"How are you today, Erin?"
"Just fine, except I have a five mile interval workout later, and I'm hoping to run four X:XX mile splits with a 400 meter break between them. I'm nervous because my shin's been bothering me and the last thing I need are shin splints. I started doing these foot exercises again to strengthen this tendon that can cause shin pain if it's too weak, but I'm not sure if it's working. Also I think my left second toenail is going to fall off. I can't get a pedicure for the rest of summer. Ha ha!"
(other person walks away.)
I'm fully in support of people taking care of themselves and following their doctor's advice when it comes to what's best for their health, but significant lifestyle changes will obviously cause significant changes in what you have to talk about with other people.
The Detroit Free Press article suggests readers sit down and talk to loved ones about impending lifestyle changes and how they might effect the relationship, but I think the solution's much simpler than a long, drawn out conversation. Are you going to have less free time? Schedule a date to watch a movie or TV show or talk on the phone once a week. Do you spend time around your friends in cooking/eating situations? Cook/eat healthy food! Are people jealous of your weight loss? Fuck 'em. Who would want to be friends with someone that mentally small that they can't be happy for a healthy lifestyle change?
How about you, readers? Have any of you experienced a change in friendship as a result of you or a friend changing their lifestyle to include more exercise?
Even Close Relationships Can Falter if One Loses Weight [Detroit Free Press]