"My best friend is slightly overweight due to a medical condition, and she's working really hard with her doctor to work on her diet and exercise routine. I'm really proud of her for being so motivated, and I want to help, but now all she talks about is eating healthy and hitting the gym. She only wants to hang out if we go to gym classes together, and she has gotten very judgy of the foods I eat at lunch. I'm not trying to lose weight, but now I feel like I have to keep up with her. It's driving me crazy. What should I do?" - Natalie, 17
It's great that your friend is working so hard to make a big (and really difficult) change in her life, and it sounds wonderful that you're on board to support her. It seems like she's really enthusiastic about tackling her challenges, and is on the right track about asking her friends to hit the gym with her: taking a Zumba class with your friends makes working out feel more like a dance party than a scary workout session, and it can't hurt to join her when you're free to.
But if she's being judgmental about your own food or fitness choices, it's more than okay for you to (politely!) draw the line there. Take efforts to find out where she's coming from, and you'll be able to figure out a solution that works for both of you.
One reason she may be picking on your food choices could be that she feels left out or tempted when you eat foods that she can't have in front of her, so she's lashing out and making you feel like you should stop enjoying them too. If this is the case, find ways to make her feel included in your meals together by working in some of her lunch staples into your own mix, or rotate your schedule around so you're spending lunch time with different friends. You can be there for her in different ways, and if you can't enjoy a slice of pizza without someone guilt-tripping you about it, it's harming your own health and well-being.
Another reason is she may be trying to share her success with you. If your friend is finding that her new routine and meal situation is making her feel healthier, more energized, or stronger, she may want to encourage you to try it yourself. You can give it a shot and try out some of her suggestions, or let her know that while you're proud of everything she's accomplished, your own health requirements are different than hers.
Hopefully she'll realize that you're both working towards the same goals, just with different expressions.
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