Just when I think I might be getting a hang of this IE thing, I run into some major triggers.  Today at my exercise group, a friend said to me, “I have been gone for a few weeks so I haven’t seen you, but I can tell that you’ve lost weight.  You look good.”  In the past, I would have swelled with pride and confidence on the inside and thanked her for noticing my hard work.  However, this time I didn’t say anything like that because inside of pride and confidence, I felt confused, and I am sure that she thought I was ungrateful or something because I simply answered her statement with “Oh,” and then I kept right on exercising.

After her comment, I immediately felt the familiar feeling of pride and confidence well up within me, but they were followed closely on their heels by confusion and dare I admit it, anger.  I was confused because of the feelings I was having and wondering how I should respond/feel now that I am deep in IE.  And, I was angry, not necessarily at my friend, but at the whole situation.  I thought that I was strong enough to take on any triggers without a hitch (talk about pride, huh?) but I am not and it made me angry that I would fall for something like this comment.  I was also angry, seriously ANGRY at society for teaching us that these types of comments are seen as compliments.

My body and weight were perfectly fine and healthy a few weeks ago, when this friend saw me.  Now she thinks I have lost weight, but my weight is simply normalizing, and its true, I have lost weight, but not intentionally.  And I have been trying SO hard to remind myself that this weight I am loosing is part of the normalizing process and that my body is fine at any weight and that I don’t want to feel better about myself just because some weight has come off.  I want to feel good about myself no matter what happens with my weight and I thought I was there, but I guess, I am not.  I still need some TLC with my body.


  1. First off, BIG INTERNET HUG. This is a hard thing to experience and I commend you so much for being thoughtful about it. IE is a journey and battling with these oh so prevalent things that people have been programmed to say to each other makes it hard. And it does make one angry too, doesn’t it?

    Here’s my theory. There are many people out there who are deep in the diet mentality (my mom, being one of them). When she loses weight, she wants everyone to know about it. She thrives on people’s compliments. And so I think that often, friends want to comment on a dieter friend’s weight loss because they want the dieter, who is still in that diet-pride-confidence mentality, to know that they notice. They want to validate their dieter friend, because making your friend feel good and rejoicing in her victories is part of what being a friend is all about.

    So at the end of the day, I think our friends can be a bit misguided in their attempts be good friends to us, if that makes any sense at all.

    All that being said, this happened to me a few months ago and I felt that familiar sensation you described (for me, it’s a little different, because I have actually stabilized at a higher weight than the lower, unmaintanable weight I was at when I started IE). It was uncomfortable, because I thought, hey, I am not supposed to be feeling validated by this. But I was.

    But then I thought about my life, where I was a while ago and where I am now. I was in a deeply unfulfilling, neglectful marriage for several years. I got divorced, and then met someone amazing. I’ve been remarried for 7 months now. I am happier than I’ve ever been. What I didn’t realize is that it changes how other people see you. So many women feel more confident and happy, revitalized even, when they first lose some weight. And I think people just kind of make assumptions sometimes.

    So I told myself, hey. It’s OK to feel like this. I felt like this for so, so long. These things won’t go away overnight, or even over a period of months, when it’s been so ingrained. But what a friend thinks or doesn’t think about how I look regarding my weight is irrelevant, at the end of the day. I’m more than a thing out in the world to be looked at, you know?

    (Sorry about this super long response – I usually get pretty inspired when I come by to visit) 🙂

    • Thanks Lisa for always being here and a part of my journey. I am so grateful that you feel inspired when you come to visit my blog and this time I am truly inspired by your comment. Thank you for the hug and for the little treasures that you have learned from your life. I raise a cheer for your happy marriage now and I hurt that you had such a miserable one the first around.

      I think a lot of my confusion stemmed from feeling validated by the recognition of lost weight even though I didn’t want to feel validated and I was slightly disappointed that I was still feeling validated. Thanks for making that clear to me. But it’s like you said about giving yourself permission to feel that way and then reminding yourself that you aren’t just something to be looked at, that in the end, we are whole packages encompassing more than our looks and even more than who we are in one moment in time. Thank you for reminding me that we have felt that way for SO long that it takes a while to truly change that and even the fact that I had confusion instead of instant pride in weight loss shows that I am making progress, right?!


  2. I think people just see the end result. For instance if you wear makeup, or wear a shirt, or do something they say you look good. A compliment has become how you look not praising the work or effort it takes to do something–even losing weight. There is a study done about children who were told on a test that they were smart verses those who were told that it was obvious that they worked hard when they succeeded. The ones that were told they were smart felt like they had a lot more pressure on the subsequent tests and did more poorly than the ones that were told that they worked hard. I think we secretly wish that people would recognize our efforts not just the end result. Count each thing as a success! You are doing great!

    • What a great study, LK! Thanks for posting it and giving me food for thought as I continue to mull over the experience! Blessings!

  3. awesome post, and lisa is right that it’s ok to feel like this as you transition, and LK i had forgotten about that little study, what a great reminder! it’s true, we want our efforts to be noticed, not just the end result. if only if only 🙂 in the meantime, your writing shows how much better you are beginning to feel about yourself, and that just makes me so happy!

  4. For one of my psych classes in college we had an assignment where, whenever we had the urge to give someone a compliment – we had to give one, but it COULD NOT be about something physical, and it had to be genuine. I remember both finding this assignment hard, and being upset with myself that I found it so hard, that I was so practiced at noticing and commenting on physical things, and so unpracticed at commenting about things that actually matter.

    Now that I work at a residential treatment center, I have gotten VERY used to paying attention to what people do, not how the look -since most girls don’t have the privilege to do their hair or make-up and several struggle with an eating disorder. The change has been huge both at work and in how I interact with others outside of my life. I am ashamed that I have given so much energy to physical appearance, and yet I had no idea I was doing so and that is just as disturbing! I am loving the changes I have incorporated because of work and I hope to keep them permanently. I encourage anyone to try the assignment I was given and how it opens your eyes.

    • ooops, I just realized I already mentioned that class assignment before, oh well. I am excited to hear about all the changes that are going on in your mind and heart. 🙂 After all your searching, it sounds like you have started to find an answer, after all these years. I agree with Lisa, don’t be too hard on yourself, unlearning habits is difficult, especially when we were basically bottle-fed the diet mentality.

      • Thanks for sharing, Leesie. We all know repetition is good for the soul, at least my soul! I think I will have to try that experiment and post about it on my blog at a later date…hmm. Blessings!

  5. Losing weight is SUCH a trigger. When I’ve been feeling really connected with my body and intuitive, and the weight slowly starts to come off, I almost hate it because it puts me back in that dieting mindset. I start thinking – Oh, if Intuitive Eating is causing me to lose weight by eating whatever I want, just think how much MORE I could lose if I just worked out a little more! Or cut out cookies!
    You’re so right. Intuitive eating is not the norm, and if people notice you’ve lost weight, they’ll assume you wouldn’t be anything other than ecstatic to get a comment about it. But, as crazy as it may sound, not everyone is dieting!! Some people might actually be okay with the body they have. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for coming out to my blog and being willing to share your experiences! This one was really hard for me and it feels great to know that I am not alone in feeling this way and that there is hope for the future. Thanks especially for the idea that losing weight makes it that much harder to rid ourselves if the dieting mindset. thats EXACTLY how I feel! Come again soon.


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