Losing weight isn’t always fun, but most people find it exciting when other people notice their weight loss efforts. The attention, looks, and comments are all rewarding—at first. But after a while, you may start to feel a little weird about the attention. Here’s why you feel that way and how to handle unwanted (and wanted) attention.
I get it that it is awesome to lose weight. I also get it that weight loss often brings with it some unexpected side effects and changes in how people treat you.
For example, the husband of a friend of mine who I knew when I was fat never gave me the time of day. He barely acknowledged I was standing nearby and never initiated a conversation with me. I didn’t really think too much of it at the time because I wasn’t his friend, I was his wife’s friend. All that changed once I lost weight. Suddenly he was engaging, interested in what I was saying, and generally complimentary. I took great offense at this and went out of my way to avoid ever speaking to him.
As you lose weight, people will start to notice the changes in your body shape and appearance. Whether they say anything or not is another matter entirely. Good friends of mine didn’t say much. It was those casual acquaintances who couldn’t stop talking about my weight loss, my newly svelte figure, and how great I looked.
I just wanted them to stop.
You would think that the attention would feel good, but for many people it feels more uncomfortable.
Here are some reasons the attention may make you feel uncomfortable.
You are afraid of gaining it back.
Losing weight is a very public endeavor, especially if you have more than a few pounds to lose. Unfortunately, gaining weight is also very public.
You may be uncomfortable with people noticing your weight loss efforts because you are afraid of regaining the weight you have lost. That was me. I didn’t want people to notice because I had never been able to maintain a weight loss before. What if I couldn’t this time either?
The fix for this is to just accept their compliments and use the fact that everyone notices as an incentive to maintain your weight loss when you reach your final goal.
You don’t like people looking at your body.
A lot of people are uncomfortable when someone spends too much time looking at their body. I know I am.
It’s weird to know that people are looking at you in a way they wouldn’t have if you weighed 50 or 100 pounds more. There can be a sexual aspect to it that may make you feel uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, you can’t make people stop looking at you. What I recommend is to be confident in yourself and your new look and remember that the longer you are at your healthy weight, the less people will notice that you look different from how you used to.
You may feel like you were not appreciative of your old body.
There can be a feeling of betrayal to your old self if you enjoy people complimenting you on how good you look now. You may feel as though you failed by not being happy with yourself at your old weight. Although I understand these feelings, the important thing to remember is that you have done a good thing for your health by shedding unwanted pounds. Because you lost weight doesn’t mean you didn’t appreciate yourself before.
You feel vulnerable because your shield is gone.
Some studies have shown that there is a modest relationship between abuse and being overweight in people who have suffered from various types of emotional trauma and abuse. For some, being overweight is a shield. Your heaviness is insulating and comforting in a way that people who are not overweight don’t understand.
When you are heavy, people tend not to look at you as a sexual being as frequently, you may feel more invisible in groups, and your body weight can feel like a shield against hurt.
That’s how I felt. I did feel somewhat insulated. As I lost weight, I felt more vulnerable. It was an uncomfortable feeling, especially when people exclaimed how great I now looked. It’s important to not let that uncomfortable feeling push you back toward food.
Thank them for their compliment and keep working hard on eating a healthy diet and exercising. Over time, the newness of your weight loss will wear off and you will be more comfortable in your slimmer figure.