When People Treat You Differently After Weight Loss

Weight loss can be life changing. Health problems that have been ailing you can get better or disappear. Clothes start fitting better. Exercise gets easier. By changing one aspect of your life, it can feel like more than the weight you lost has been lifted off your shoulders. One change you may not fully anticipate is the difference in how people treat you. These are some of the most common changes to look out for when you’ve lost the weight: 

Suddenly, people are seeing you.

In today’s world, it always feels like people are looking at you. It’s what they do when they see you that makes a difference. After losing weight, you’re likely to notice that more strangers talk to you when you go out. They may suddenly start holding doors and moving out of the way. This newfound attention can be uncomfortable, especially when it’s brand new.  

Everyone’s giving you positive attention.

When you lose your excess weight, you may find yourself with something known as “skinny privilege.” This is what it’s called when you’re treated better due to having a smaller frame. From the grocery store to the doctor’s office, you’ll notice people treating you differently. 

On the flip side, you are equally likely to experience unwanted attention from people around you, especially people who are attracted to you now who may not have been before. The dating pool may open up more, and that often comes with its own challenges.

Friends and family members seem jealous. 

Your loved ones, especially the ones you leaned on for support during your weight loss journey, are likely to give you more attention, both positive and negative. Others who struggle to lose weight may turn from being supportive of your health journey to questioning your intentions with weight loss. People close to you may worry that you’re a new person now that you’ve lost weight. When people tell you these things, they may believe that they’re expressing genuine concern about your health. 

What to Do About These Changes

Even if all the new attention you’re getting is positive on the surface, it can bring up concerns that you may not have had before you lost the weight. You may wonder why everyone is suddenly treating you better or seeing you when, in the past, they’d look the other way. You may wonder when a loved one is going to compliment you on any aspect of your life other than your weight. Having complicated feelings about this newfound attention makes sense. Here are a few ways you can work through these feelings:

Talk to someone you trust. 

This can be tricky, especially if the people you trust and who have supported you along the way are the ones treating you differently. However, they probably don’t realize it. Speaking up can help them realize how it makes you feel before your relationship becomes strained. Finding a support group can also help you process these unexpected changes. 

Give others grace. 

You don’t need to accept bad behavior. However, if people give you well-meaning compliments that aren’t as nice as they sound, or if they mess up when trying to be supportive, remember that they are trying. If it’s someone you trust, gently bring up how their comments made you feel. If it’s a stranger, try to see their perspective, and move on. Living in a world where body size makes such a difference in how people see you can be frustrating, but it’s a reality we all share. 

Celebrate yourself and your success.

You did something many people cannot do — you got rid of your excess weight in order to live a healthier, happier life! Focus on all you’ve done to get where you are today. Remember that, even if things aren’t as rosy as you may have imagined, you’re better off in a healthy body. You made this happen, and you deserve to celebrate! 


Bariatric Support Group

Dr. Hodges highly recommends patients attend monthly support group meetings. The meetings are led by Dr. Collins Hodges, both a licensed clinical psychologist and someone who has had bariatric surgery himself. The support groups are offered on the first Monday of every month from 6:30pm – 7:15pm CST via an online GoToMeeting. The meetings are open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.

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