Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: Are They Jealous?

Q&A Wednesday: Are They Jealous?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Today’s Q&A is two parts, and serious business:

Q: My family comments all the time on my weight loss (“GIRL! You are really losing that weight!”) , but I don’t see any difference in my body. In fact, the scale certainly doesn’t corroborate this weight loss. Should I assume that my family is putting me on or that they REALLY do see a difference? If they do, how do I graciously accept their compliments when I’m not “comfortable” accepting compliments (yet)?

Now… Unlike my family, I haven’t had one, single, solitary friend comment on my weight loss. Am I to assume that (1) my family is crazy (as I stated above) and there really isn’t any noticeable weight loss or (2) my friends are too embarrassed or maybe even jealous (GASP!) to mention my progress?

My weight loss IS a personal issue and I don’t need folks pointing it out to me in order for me to continue on my path to better health. However, I can’t lie and say that it doesn’t feel good to have people point out your progress and knowing that your hard work is paying off…

So, in short (LOL!):

  1. My family comments on my weight loss, but I don’t see it. How can I graciously accept their compliments even if I’m not “comfortable” accepting them (yet)?
  2. Unlike my family, my friends have yet to comment on my weight loss. Is it that it really isn’t noticeable or could they be too embarrassed or jealous to comment on it?

I believe that the good members of our families are encouraging individuals – they want to see us happy, they want to see us thrive, they want to see us survive. If they think we might be at risk of running back to habits that might prevent us from thriving or surviving, it’s not a far stretch to think they might prematurely compliment us to keep us going.

But why would you look at it that way? Do you not deserve a compliment? Does there have to be some underlying lie behind why family is complimenting you, and friends are not? Why so much focus on external sources of validation, anyway? I mean yeah, they’re nice… but going so far as to question why the comments are coming? What’s really goin’ on?

When it comes to friends, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s hard to watch your friend do what you know you should be doing. It’s also hard to comment on someone else’s weight loss if you know that you, personally, need to be equally focused on your own health. It’s almost like you don’t want to spark the conversation, because you “don’t wanna hear it.” It’s almost as if starting that conversation is something like shining a spotlight in a mirror… because you can’t avoid the light being turned back onto you. So no, I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that they may be embarrassed.

I also want to say that people who would show a sense of jealousy toward a friend making great strides… have questionable character in other ways as well that would turn you off to them. So jealousy, I’m going to hope I’m right by saying “Nah.”

Is it possible for you to be experiencing results that you’re not seeing on the scale? Absolutely. Is it possible for there to be changes going on in your figure that you cannot see? Yes! If you’re building muscle and burning fat at the same time, you’re basically replacing one weighty substance (fat) with another (muscle) and that’s not a change you can easily see on a scale.

However (and this is a big however), you look at you every day. Every day. Every. Day. It is extremely possible to look at you every single day – analyzing, scrutinizing, criticizing, pinching, poking and prodding – and not notice the long-term changes you’ve made in your body. I may not think I look different from a week ago, but if I compare “Me, today” to “Me, 6 weeks ago” I’m going to be blown away. And if you don’t have a “six weeks ago” to look at and compare yourself to, that’s okay – that’s why you put your faith in your fitness.

All of that is to say… I think you’re looking at this all wrong. Take the compliments with a grain of salt, because – as you noted – you can never truly identify whether they’re coming from a good place or not. For me, a polite “Awww, thank you” works fine. I don’t want to turn a convo into an “All about me” type situation, because if people have questions about what you’re doing, they’ll simply ask them. And don’t be offended by people not being able to or choosing to recognize your dopeness because I presume the only person who really needs to remember how awesome you are, at the end of the day… is you. 🙂

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Curvy Jones June 16, 2010 - 11:39 AM

Another great entry today!

One of my Top 5’s (5 goals I’ve set for my journey) is to learn to take a compliment. When someone takes the time to verbalize something like, ‘wow you look great. You’re really losing’, smile and say thank you, because people generally aren’t fake like that. I used to get ANGRY when people would say I’ve lost weight but my scale is showing a big fat -0- lbs lost.

Something I find myself saying a lot is measure measure measure, because I know I will lose inches before scale weight comes of. I’ve dropped 2 sizes but not even 10 lbs. in the last few months. If I was going strictly by the scale, I’d have long been discouraged by now. Pictures, too. They don’t lie, really. They are all the way truthful.

My theory on people who say nothing is: Ain’t nobody lookin’ at you! LOL. Most times my friends are the last to say something because they expect me to look the same. If I don’t say anything, they aren’t usually paying attention. It’s not until the loss is extremely noticeable does it jarr their mental image of me and click that the real me and their mental me don’t match anymore.

Erika June 16, 2010 - 11:08 PM

I agree! For myself, it’s only until I look at photos of myself from months back that I realize that I’m doing what I do for THAT kind of change, not the kind of minor unnoticeable change I might miss over a week’s time. We have to give ourselves time to grow… I think we’re so used to that microwave mentality, that we get discouraged when something doesn’t happen quickly. Doesn’t work that way, lol.

Tracy June 16, 2010 - 1:56 PM

Great response!!

Knowing that I look at myself in the mirror every single day, it’s really hard for me to see things that are changing, unless it’s major. I don’t notice anything different, yet my family points it out to me all the time. Honestly, I’ve never been good with taking compliments. I’m just a shy girl and like you said, I don’t want to turn it into an “All About Me” session.

Erika June 16, 2010 - 11:10 PM

I can be this way, too, but I don’t refer to it as shyness – I call it modesty. I don’t need a conversation to be all about me to know I’m a dope person, and I don’t want to turn people off from complimenting me by overdoing it.. so when it comes time to talk about me, I only offer up answers/responses to what I’m asked/addressed with. At least, that’s my rule of thumb, lol. 🙂

Why aren’t you good at responding to someone acknowledging how awesome you are? *side eye*

Rita June 16, 2010 - 4:11 PM

Right on time, Erika!

I’ve recently found myself dealing with this situation and getting too caught up in the compliments. I havent bothered to step on a scale since beginning my journey to change my lifestyle for fear of getting caught up in the numbers but lo and behold hearing people tell me they can see it was just as bad. It made me lazy and think that “hey, I can rest this week since I’m seeing results” but alas that leads to trouble so now I’m on the path to recovery and realizing that other people’s compliments/insults aren’t relevant. This is me, this is my life, this is my body and I’m the only one that can determine when enough is enough and until I’m healthy then it’s not enough.

Erika June 16, 2010 - 11:11 PM

I’m tellin’ you… I wrote about this a while ago… riding that compliment wave can really suck the motivation right out of you. That’s why I keep it to a simple “thank you” and focus on something else. I don’t want to get soo “comfy” with the compliments that I lose sight of my overall goal. You know?

No “resting!” Gotta get on it! 🙂

Terri May 25, 2011 - 7:55 PM

WOW Rita..That just hit me like a ton of bricks. I too was getting a lot of compliments and am just realizing that as the compliments started coming in…the motivation started slowing down. Thanks for the post and the reminder that being complacent is how I got here in first place!!!

I got to step my game up!!

pixelfish June 16, 2010 - 7:18 PM

I’m having people compliment me on my weight loss too, even though I’ve plateaued for the last two weeks….but my boyfriend pointed out, as did you, that you can stay the same weight but have other bodily changes going on as you convert fat to muscle.

Those little compliments coming right as I’m plateauing are a good reminder that progress has been made and will continue, even if it’s not measurable the same way every time. (Other things I can use to monitor my general healthy while losing weight: Did I meet my nutrition goals? Did I get enough sleep? Am I changing levels on the treadmill? Weight need not be the only metric–and if you have multiple metrics, you can have a lot of smaller achievements instead of waiting on the weight drop.)

Erika June 16, 2010 - 11:12 PM

Yes! Thank you – these are awesome questions, and I agree wholeheartedly. 🙂

Tiffany June 17, 2010 - 12:20 PM

Great post.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Rashaunda May 25, 2011 - 8:00 PM

I donMt think your family is crazy I think they see the comments they make to you is a way to encourage you to keep going cause anybody who has to do it knows it not easy if fact it is very hard and it take a whole lot of good comments along with a whole lot of what ever you have inside yourself to keep the drive to loose the weight espeacially when you step on that scale and nothing seems to be moving but you know you just put in some serious work at the gym or whatever your form of excerise is.

Amelia September 13, 2012 - 1:33 AM

Wow this entry and your comments are spot on! My situation is the opposite whereby friends are commenting on my weight loss (32lbs in 8 months) but close family say nothing, especially my husband who only comments if he thinks I’ve gained!!

Thankfully I am learning that I need to continue believing in myself and believe in my own ability to reach my weight and fitness goals. Thanks for the post 😉

Danielle October 24, 2012 - 3:46 PM

Although, it’s feels good to hear compliments on my weight loss accomplishments from others I depend on my own views and goals….

If I need motivation or confirmation I look at old pictures from one to two years ago and I get an instead boost.

christine June 12, 2013 - 10:22 AM

If this isn’t in the right place please feel free to move it..I’m kinda down today..why are women so hateful to each other?? I exercise and eat right..you don’t..but that’s your choice and I respect it. Since I’ve been getting healthy folks have been shutting me out..smh! Anyone else going thru this??

Erika Nicole Kendall June 12, 2013 - 5:28 PM

We all go through it eventually, mama. It just… happens.

Linda May 31, 2016 - 2:19 AM

Expect the GREEN eyed monster to appear for a lot of reasons. Other people have their own agenda going on about you improving yourself. I found out when I started my weight loss, I got a lot of encouragement. BUT when I started to get to what I consider my ideal, and looking really, really good, (I still got a lot of compliments from most) -although with some I didn’t. I found the ones trying to “Fatten me-up” with their comments or “so called-concerns for my health” had jealousy or some other self-serving agenda going on. People’s true colors start to come out. I started to see through them, and the possible reasons for their sudden concern for my mass (or lack of it (LOL)). I know I look and feel my best-which is great-and some people just didn’t like that. Glad to have found this article so you know you’re not alone in this. People are competitive and if they think you look better than them-they’re thinking NO-YOU DIDN’T! Don’t let those people stop you. I would never tell someone that they are too heavy or that they should eat less. These people are rude, obvious, and so transparent.

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