Weight Loss Changed My Friend (For Better & Worse)
A little weight loss, a lot of change
A lot of things change a lot of people: a promotion, getting close with a celebrity, having money, some weight loss. And sometimes these changes encompass such a big part of them that they start becoming unrecognizable to us after some time.
Sometimes these changes bring out the best in someone; their confidence spikes, they become more themselves and they help others turn things around. Other times, it’s not so great; they can get bossy or demanding or start putting people down. It’s all about how they react to the stimulus—and whether or not the people around them can accept the adjustments.
I knew someone that changed when the weight started to come off. She started to be more outspoken, more involved, friendlier. She started to dress better and go shopping more. Her grades picked up, she put in more effort into everything; she wasn’t afraid to voice out her opinions and call you out on your mistakes.
But every light casts a shadow somewhere, right? And while I took pride in how much she grew up and out, she wasn’t as there to talk to anymore—and it wasn’t always easy to be with her when she was. She was picky, a little self-righteous, somewhat of a know-it-all. It was hard to have conversations with her because when she learned to speak up, part of her forgot how to listen. Maybe it was because her blossoming confirmed that she didn’t really need me to spend all of her time with.
And the truth is I was okay with this. I was fine in the sidelines, watching her live her life as I lived mine. She had other friends with other interests that became her own eventually. I got through college, dated, had my own issues to deal with. Meanwhile, she found work she liked, met even more people she got along with, moved out. We never lost touch, of course, but it was never the same anymore. Part of me started to dread being with her alone because it seemed like we had no shared interests anymore; I started to feel calmer when we would share the dinner table with someone else.
I’m awful for thinking this, even worse for writing it out.
But I spoke with other people that used to be in our circle and they pointed it out: her physical transformation transformed her as a person. And while they couldn’t stand the result, I couldn’t just forget all those years we spent beside each other. I couldn’t leave her or hate or dislike her like they did. There were still moments in our friendship that resembled those tipsy nights we spent in the back of a car as her parents brought me home.
Do I miss my friend pre-fitness and diets? Yes, I do. Do I want her to change back? No. She’s much more herself now than ever and I would never take her away from that. It just isn’t the same because she isn’t. Sometimes it feels like I lost someone and the world threw in someone a little shinier, louder and altogether unfamiliar.
Art Alexandra Lara