The Unexpected Negative Fallout From Losing Weight

In the midst of all the good things that happened when I lost 158 pounds, there were some unforeseen and very unfortunate consequences, or “fallout”  from my experience.

One of the most surprising and upsetting things that happened was when my supposed best friend could not handle my weight loss and turned mean and nasty. (Although I have to say now looking back 15 years, there was some meanness and nastiness going on before the weight loss as well.)

Another unexpected fallout from my weight loss was that I sometimes felt isolated when I was at a party or other social situation and the only foods there were foods I did not eat. I got a lot of pressure from well-meaning friends who told me that “just one piece won’t hurt.” While they may have been right, one piece would have hurt me emotionally.

On another emotional level, I had to work hard at learning what life looked like as the thinner Diane. I had surrounded myself with a cocoon of fat for a decade, and shedding that cocoon took a lot of emotional work. Some was freeing, but some was painful.

Even my very patient, loving husband was confused when I told him that I was going to exercise at least six days a week and probably seven. He told me later that he had to adjust to the new, “committed” Diane. He said that although he knew it was good that I was exercising, he also wondered if I was taking things too far.

Physically there was some fallout as well, because losing more than half of your starting weight leaves some undesirable side effects in terms of loose skin and muscle tone. And no, I will not post pictures, just in case you were thinking of asking. 🙂

So, I experienced three different types of fallout from my weight loss efforts.

Social

Physical

Emotional

I don’t share this to make you depressed, but so that you will be aware of the possibility of fallout as you work through your weight loss experience and complete your journey.

Fortunately, the joy I felt at losing weight did overshadow some of the negatives that came along with my weight loss. And I honestly believe that those negative experiences made me stronger in the long run because I had to learn to handle the negative emotions alongside the positive ones, which is real life.

Do you ever think about the fallout from weight loss? Ever had an unexpected negative comment or situation? Diane

47 thoughts on “The Unexpected Negative Fallout From Losing Weight

  1. Laura says:

    I have always respected you for how you dealt with these issues. I have only lost 30 lbs and have a long way to go, and I do wonder about these issues as well. I will be interested to read what others post in reply to this posting.

  2. HappinessSavouredHot says:

    It’s still totally worth it despite those issues. 🙂

    One of the big factors to my success was a supportive husband, who’s been in charge of bedtimes pretty much every night of the week while I’m pumping iron at the gym. When you get started on such an endeavour you need to surround yourself with people who will be understanding and positive

    But unfortunately some will feel threatened by the change.

    I only got one negative comment, from an obese couple who told me I was too skinny (at 5’6”, 130 pounds and 17 % body fat… seriously?!?)

  3. blackhuff says:

    Me and my husband had and still do have some occasional fall outs since I lost the weight and started by being really committed towards being healthy in all aspects of my life.

  4. Marc says:

    Yes…when I previously lost weight, all I got were negative comments about how awful I looked from my two fat sisters. They said I looked like a cancer survivor that was too thin and I needed to gain 40 pounds back to look healthy. I was down to 185 pounds back then.

  5. Lori says:

    Some fallout. I think too many people assume that once you lose weight, all is happy and well with the world. Unfortunately – everything is the same, you are just thinner. So, working on accepting who I was during the entire time of weight loss made it much easier to be happier.

  6. Gwen says:

    It’s amazing how even just approaching ‘not obese’ category, and people start calling you skinny….and get close to ‘normal’ weight, and people start worrying about you becoming anorexic. Seriously.

    I agree it’s hardest around companions (family or friends)…at restaurants, but more at celebratory events. Chips and dips, cakes, etc…everyone wants company (eating them.)

    My arms are the worst physical spot re the weight loss; the forearms get pretty dimpled like an orange…but better that than the obesity and ill health. I’m lucky in the gut department; my waist responds very nicely, esp. considering my age. 🙂

    Thanks for saying it like it is, Diane!

  7. Lisa says:

    I had similar experiences. I lost a few friends as well. That hurt. I also had to deal with the opinions of others. Suddenly people were analyzing my body. While the compliments were nice, it was sometimes uncomfortable.

    The internal struggles were harder for me. I was always fearful that I’d gain it all back, I felt like I had to be super strong with my calorie counting and exercise and yet other people didn’t. I agree with you that it’s isolating.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      The internal struggles are real aren’t they Lisa? Plus, for many people that lose weight, those internal struggles are unexpected. The isolation is something that I think needs to be addressed more frequently in the weight loss world.

  8. Babbalou says:

    I only lost 30 pounds but lost a friend during the process, it seemed she was always trying to undercut my efforts and it just got to be wearying. And I hope no one is offended by my direct words here, but I don’t understand why people accuse someone who is a good 30 pounds or more above a weight that could ever be considered “thin” of going too far with their weight loss. I simply don’t understand it. Do they really really believe, for example, 170 pounds on a 5 ft. 4 woman is thin? Or are they somehow threatened by someone else’s weight loss? Or are they more comfortable when someone is overweight? I have seen this again and again and cannot understand it. I’ve wondered if they are unable to see clearly, in the same way that women with eating disorders can see themselves as fat when they are dangerously underweight or if one of the other factors I’ve mentioned is at play.

    • Janis says:

      I think sometimes it might be a clumsy way of trying to say, “I didn’t think less of you when you were fat.” I don’t know, it’s a weird one. I’m sure it can frequently be passive-aggressive, though.

      • Janis says:

        The easiest tactic, as you say below, is to say nothing. Otherwise it can be hard to know how what you say will be interpreted. “You look GREAT now!” can sound a lot like, “Not like you did before, yuck!” if it’s not said right. Easiest to say nothing — although even that can be fraught, if the person is feeling like they’ve worked hard to get fit and you aren’t noticing. 🙁 Still, best to say nothing, I think — or focus on the person: “Great going; you must feel so much more comfortable without the extra weight.”

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I’m sorry that you and your friend ended up parting ways. It is hard to know what their motives are. I always hesitate to say “jealousy” but I think that, and fear, are two very common reasons for these kinds of reactions.

    • Rachelle says:

      I think guilt is a huge thing! I think a lot of people who make those kinds of comments are actually feeling guilty about their own weight and they have to justify their lack of weight loss by being negative about the success someone else is having.

  9. sam says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I had this issue as well, when I first lost weight not so much people being mean but their resisting my changes, not respecting my “new food choices”. Yes I hear the just one bite wont hurt, you’re taking it too far. Just their fear i’ve learned. But its sad when people you love can’t be excited about the changes as you are.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I will never understand the lack of respect that some people show when it comes to food choices. You are likely right that some of their resistance is based in fear.

  10. L says:

    I have a co-worker who remarks about my weight loss from time to time. It makes me uncomfortable. I vacillate between thinking he thinks I’m losing too quickly, and thinking he thinks I’m not losing quickly enough. The most uncomfortable times come between pant sizes, when my slacks are really too big for me and look baggy, but I’m not really small enough for a smaller size without looking trashy in an office environment. I wish he just wouldn’t say anything. It makes me feel isolated and spotlighted at the same time.

  11. vickie says:

    I think I write some version of this every time I see a post with this topic.

    A big part of the issue is where we set our own boundaries.

    When we first start weight loss, we tend to talk a lot about our process, which gives everyone else the impression that it is OKAY to talk about our food, our exercise, our choices, our bodies.

    It is really better NOT to talk about it, not to give the impression that anyone, anywhere is allowed to comment on our business.

    I know this is hard to do. It is hard to undo if we started out welcoming discussion. But boundaries are really important on so many levels.

  12. Swati says:

    After I lost weight, some people thought I have become too thin and started to worry about my health. They may have meant well but it did upset me. And the loose, excess skin on my stomach really bothers me. I only dreamt of flat, toned abs.

  13. Siobhan says:

    The biggest negative for me really is that it never ends. I don’t just reach the weight I want and then never have to worry about it again.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I know what you are saying Norma, but I think Siobhan was saying that it is sometimes hard to realize that she “will” always have to think about food and exercise choices and that the journey never does end. For me, though, as you said, the constant diligence is absolutely worth the effort because I never want to go back to before.

      • Rachelle says:

        Many years ago, as I tried one diet after another, that idea of it never ending was incredibly hard for me too. But ironically I think the big “ah ha” moment for me, what made this last time stick, was the fact that I decided before I ever started exercising that this was going to be a LIFESTYLE change, not a diet. There would be no end to this new way of eating or exercising, and that was actually kind of freeing and definitely empowering!

  14. Unprocessed says:

    It’s alarming how unhealthy foods and *choices* (making that the responsibility of the eater) pervade our society. At 50 and 53, respectively, my spouse and I decided (after trial and experiencing healing on some issues) to jump into Rip Esselstyn’s program, The Engine 2 diet. We are on day 10. Because we need to protect ourselves in this incubatory period, we haven’t said a word to our own kids! Lol. They are out and married with their own children. Being a homemaker helps me, but spouse has so much negativity at work (blue collar; you can imagine…not putting blue collar industry down, but these guys and gals are en masse, 90% of them overweight). He’s doing great though. We also have said nothing to our sibs (our parents have passed on). About the downfalls….for us, it is definitely the *friends*. But part of that is that now we have less in common, because health and wellness is just not on the minds of those we were close to. So, we understand.

    However, I do feel alone. When I get together with my gf’s, they do the same thing: One portion or piece of this won’t kill you!! And the unbelievable: “I/we don’t think you’re healthy on this plan” has come out. However, they (not that I’ve alot of friends) have all noted I look really good and have seen health benefits in my skin, hair, and energy.

    So….it’s a new journey….more for me than you. We’re sorta swimmin’ against the tide. Hang in there.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      It is swimming against the tide for many of us. Our society supports big food, big portions, and often makes it difficult for us to make healthy choices. Congratulations to you and your spouse on committing to a healthy eating plan and letting nothing or no one stand in your way!

  15. Unprocessed says:

    This should be amended to say :at his job: not putting blue collar industry down, but these guys and gals are en masse, 90% of them overweight

  16. Alli says:

    Physically, I have a lot of excess skin since losing 123 pounds. Even though I know it will never completely go away, having my tummy and arms still so jiggly is a good motivator to keep working to try and firm it up. Emotionally, it’s hard dealing with people who constantly watch what you eat. Telling you that you’re going too far with your lifestyle changes, when you haven’t even reached your goal yet. I suppose it’s a good problem to have! 🙂

  17. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for revealing the negative side of losing weight. I think we all tend to look at before and after pictures of people who have lost weight and think somehow they did it in a way that was perfect and easy and would never apply to us. By getting a dose of reality, like hearing the “negative” of success it helps all of us to stay real, keep going and realise it is a challenging journey.

  18. Fiona Jesse Giffords says:

    The three aspects of fall out in weight loss which you mentioned are true and happen with everyone who wants to lose weight. To tackle all the situations you should be self-determined and self-motivated.

  19. Alejandra @ wishfulshrinking says:

    Absolutely felt this effect. To the point where I would avoid social situations because of what I could eat. I’ve gotten better at it this time around because I’ve mentally prepared myself for everything, whereas I wasn’t ready for it the last time. My husband is extremely supportive, even though I know he sometimes wishes he could bring a pizza in the house. He’s very athletic and fit and has been so happy to join me at my 6-nights-a-week at the gym. Find your support systems, find your inner peace, find yourself.

  20. Tanvee says:

    Hi Diane, I have felt the social and emotional effects..actually I still face them but now I’m more capable of handling such situations..initially I would stress about going out and meeting people because I was not sure about what I would eat or how I would say no. It was and still is difficult for me to share my emotional journey with family, they try to understand and be supportive but sometimes they worry and I think they find it difficult to handle the new me and I get upset if they don’t understand the importance of what I’m doing…

  21. T.N. says:

    I appreciate you bringing this up. I think we tend to see weight-loss as a simple decision followed by a lot of hard work, but overlook some of the social side effects of that decision. Your article reinforces the need for open communication and honest support from those around you. Thank you.

  22. Rachelle says:

    I didn’t have too many negative things happen socially because there were others in my social circle who were taking their own weight loss journey. We were able to support each other, in those otherwise hard social situations, by splitting a dessert or helping to provide healthier alternatives.

    I have had one especially difficult fall out socially though and it has come from a very unexpected source. A sister of mine who claims to be very supportive of my weight loss, and I believe she really is proud of me, consistently attacks my method of losing weight and keeping it off. She does so often and since other people in my family are trying to follow my example her attitude affects them too. It is something that I still have to consciously brace myself to deal with because even after more than a year of maintenance she is very critical of the exercises I use and the eating plan I use. She is constantly telling me, and the others in my family, that she has studied nutrition and therefore she knows that what we are doing (Weight Watchers) is not based on “real, total nutrition” and therefore it cannot be maintained over your lifetime. I believe wholeheartedly that she is wrong. I know that this is my life now and that it will be a lifetime of maintenance. I will NEVER be able to eat the way she does because she literally does not gain weight, ever! Not even when pregnant, and it doesn’t matter how much fat she consumes. My body isn’t built like hers and eating the way she does would quite literally kill me. I know these things, but it still stings every time she says something negative about my new lifestyle. Not only is it difficult because she is my sister, but also because she says something incredibly supportive and uplifting and then basically slaps me in the face with her negativity about my process.

    I don’t know what the long term answer is for such a situation, but for right now I just try to only hear the positive things she says and ignore her negativity.

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