Are They Jealous of Your New Body?

Why friends and family may not be thrilled with your weight loss -- and what to do about it

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

You've given up most of those high-calorie foods you used to love. Exercised every day, even when you didn't feel like it. And finally, it's all paying off: You're edging toward your weight loss goal -- and looking pretty terrific!

At the same time, you've encountered what seems like a surprising lack of enthusiasm from some of your family and friends -- maybe even your partner -- about your new look.

As unusual as this may seem, experts say it's actually quite common to receive some unexpected reactions when you dramatically change your appearance.

"Human beings are hard-wired to resist change, so it's not uncommon to encounter some resistance whenever change occurs," says John McGrail, a Los Angeles clinical hypnotherapist and behavior expert.

Complicating matters further: When we accomplish a goal -- particularly something as difficult as losing weight -- it may serve to remind friends and family of their own failed attempts. That, too, can spark a negative reaction.

"In some ways, your weight loss becomes a symbol of their inability to accomplish their goals, so they may begin to act resentful -- or even mean -- oftentimes without even realizing they are doing so," says Christian Holle, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at William Patterson University in Wayne, N.J.

If their goals happened to also involve weight loss, the resentment (especially from friends) can be doubly strong.