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Skinny Problems? People Who Have Successful Loss Weight Secretly Being Sabotaged By Family, Friends

Update Date: Feb 05, 2017 08:01 PM EST

Once obese or overweight people know that besides going through months of changing their unhealthy lifestyle and suffering through rigorous exercise regimens to shed the pounds, successfully losing the weight is just the beginning of their journeys. Keeping the weight off or maintaining the desired weight is as hard as shedding the pounds.

Moreover, a study recently found that people who have successful loss weight are secretly being sabotaged by family, friends, and colleagues thus leading to most people regaining the weight they've just lost.

Researchers from North Carolina State University uncovered a hidden challenge for those who were once obese or overweight. People close to them, their family, friends, and work colleagues, are either consciously or subconsciously undermining their efforts to losing and/or maintaining weight. In addition, the study also found how these once obese or overweight people deal with challenges in navigating interpersonal relationships and keeping the weight off.

According to the study, published in the journal Health Communication, people who were once obese or overweight experience sabotage, criticism, and declines in social support before, during, and after their journey to a better, healthier person. In addition to the challenges faced in shedding the pounds and keep it off, these people must deal with the challenges brought upon by interpersonal relationships.

In order to understand how once obese or overweight people face these challenges, the study conducted a thematic analysis from in-depth interviews of the study participants and through a facework lens. A total of 40 participants, 21 were women while the rest were men, considered themselves formerly overweight or obese but now consider themselves thin at the time of the study. The study reports that the participants' lost a combined average of 76.9 pounds.

The study found that all the participants reported having suffered something called a lean stigma. A lean stigma is a condition or experience were once overweight or obese people are belittled after they've successfully lost weight. What's worse about lean stigma is, most of the people who instigate this are either family members, friends, and/or work colleagues.

The study adds that family, friends, and colleagues of the once overweight or obese people are actually threatened by the successful weight loss of these people and the negative or harsh reactions is just a coping mechanism in the face of the changes in the person.

However, in order to maintain these interpersonal relationships and still maintain their now healthy lifestyle, once overweight or obese people have come up with communication strategies to use in the face of these challenges.

To maintain both interpersonal relationships and their weight, people who were once overweight or obese are proactively sharing or reminding others of the reasons behind their weight loss. This is to help others to "save face" or not feel uncomfortable with their recent weight loss. Furthermore, people who were once overweight or obese conceal how they cope with the changes in their lifestyle like consuming small portions of unhealthy food just to please the in-group or by accepting food but making excuses not to consume it. They even take steps to tell others of their designated cheat days so not to offend their family, friends or colleagues.

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