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Why are some women not happy for other women who lose weight?

By June 2, 2010 26 Comments

I get a lot of interesting emails that come to me, but this one really got me thinking.  It is from a woman I don’t know who does a bootcamp out in California.  She has been reading my blog for over a year and wanted to pose an interesting question.  I will share my thoughts a little later in the comments section and will also try to get Abby to do the same.

I know this post with stir up a lot of emotions from many different angles, so I am very curious to hear what you have to say!

Here is the email I received:

So here’s my story: In Jan 2008, I decided to try to lose weight. I was verging on moving up a clothing size (from a 10 to a 12) and although it wasn’t making me happy, I can’t say weight was an “issue” for me and my self-esteem (I’m 5’4″ and I weighed 163 the day I decided to try to lose weight). I started working out and I was doing workout DVDs. I bought used ones, new ones, used weights and started running too.

By spring I had lost 25 lbs and a total of 17 inches off my various body parts. I was surprised that my girlfriends were generally not happy for me. I was even greeted at a family function with family members unhappy that they were now bigger than me. When one friend complimented me on my weight loss, my other friend commented “I liked her better chubby.”

I confided in another friend who had had her own weight loss transformation years before me and she said she had experienced the same thing. I have noticed that when “fit” or “skinny” women join our bootcamp, some of the girls sneer about them and ask outside of class “why are they even there?” I even have had a friend say “I don’t like her–she’s too skinny” about a woman she never even met!! I don’t understand this at all–when I was heavier I loved hearing about other people’s weight loss and it didn’t intimidate me. It inspired me–even if only momentarily at times :). Plus, aren’t we all striving to BE the “skinny chick”?

I started attending a bootcamp out in California this past June, when I had plateaued at a size 8 and about 137 lbs (I was a cardio addict like Abby :).  In December, I was a size 4 and 128lbs and in the best shape of my life (so far). I am training for a triathlon and all of my times have improved because of bootcamp. I do not go to bootcamp to lose weight anymore, although I wouldn’t mind :). I am going to get stronger and more fit. Why is this wrong to some people?

When my friends found out I was training for a triathlon the comment was that I was “trying to make them look bad.” Actually, it has nothing to do with anyone but me and a goal I have set for myself. Why is it that when people tell me I look great or “skinny,” they do it with a glare in their eye? Why do I get sneers and negative comments when I choose a healthy meal or choose to stop drinking after one beer–NOT because I’m worried about my “calories”–but because the healthy food tastes better and the beer makes me feel dehydrated. Do I need to explain myself for all my choices?

Am I doomed because of my gender to just have to deal with this? Can you think of any way to deal with this? As a guy, do you have any thoughts or input after your years of working with women to lose weight? Did Abby experience this? I’m so frustrated. I feel like I have to be a closet skinny person!

So What Do You Have To Say To This Person?