Family and friends can become jealous of your (new) fit lifestyle.
Yes. This happens more often than one may think.
When I became a personal trainer, I knew a major part of my duties would be helping clients get to the best mental space possible. I quickly discovered this also meant coaching clients on how to deal with jealous and envious people in their lives. These jealous and envious people could’ve been anyone from a client’s family member, a friend, or even an acquaintance.
In life, people become jealous of other’s success. I like to call them, “salty.” Which simply means people who are negative and/or jealous. In regards to fitness, salty people don’t like it when someone they know is getting in better shape than them. Instead of showing support for a loved one or acquaintance whose creating a healthier life for themselves, salty people do the polar opposite. They’ll be condescending. Give back-handed compliments. Be critical. The (in my opinion) most laughable thing about it is when salty people want to lecture my clients on what they should really be doing to stay fit and healthy. Even though they, themselves, are not even close to being in as good of shape as my clients! Boggles my mind.
I remember the first time I encountered a situation where a client was dealing with jealousy displayed by salty people. It was during my early days of training in LA. My client at the time was doing exceptionally well with their program. Diet was on point. Exercised 3-5 days a week. Made great changes to improve themselves. I was super proud of their accomplishment. Naturally, I assumed anyone associated with them would feel the same. Not so. Although they had plenty of supporters, they had a fair amount of, well, negativos, too.
One day we were in the middle of a training session. My client’s workout was awesome. As always. I noticed they had a worried expression on their face during a break from an exercise. So I asked them what was wrong? They began to tell me about a (supposed) friend, who was telling my client, “You’re doing too much,” and, “You’re getting to involved with this fitness stuff.” I was thrown aloof. Yes. Aloof!
My follow up question to my client was, “Is this friend in decent shape?” Their reply was, “No. Actually, my friend is more on the hefty side. In fact, they eat pretty bad.”
I’m thinking to myself: How does someone who is A) unhealthy and B) out of shape have the audacity to tell my client who’s improved their health and wellness they’re, “doing too much”?
So I asked my client if they’ve received other comments similar to that of this “friend” of theirs. To my surprise, they said, “Yes.” Not just that, but there was a lot more chatter going around about them. Anything from: They were sick. Their marriage was in trouble. They’re trying to get attention. They’re not going to be able to stay in shape. Etc, etc.
I couldn’t believe it. Why would people within my client’s circle be speaking so negatively about them? It didn’t make sense. Again, my client had plenty of support from others. At the same time it was shocking to hear the extent of negativity coming from the salty people.
If you’re in my client’s shoes, or ever find yourself in a similar position, here’s my take on all of this.
Unfortunately, not everyone in your life will be happy for you. Not everyone will cheer you on as you work to become healthier. Not everyone will be glad to see you get leaner, sexier, or feel better about yourself. It’s not that you, personally, are doing anything to offend these people. You know what it is? Some people really struggle with their own self-esteem and have issues with personal accountability. Instead of trying to improve and focus on themselves, they project their insecurities onto you or other people like you. How? They’ll make back-handed compliments. They’ll be snarky. They’ll gossip. They get upset about how you discuss fitness and nutrition more than you used to. Hell. They might even try to avoid you altogether. If that’s the case, leave them be!
I remember working with another client after moving to Las Vegas from LA and it was a very similar situation. Client was doing great with their progress. They had a friend where every time they spoke over the phone, the friend would complain about how dissatisfied they were with their body. So my client would give little suggestions to their friend to push them in the right direction. You know what happened? One day my client’s friend went off the rails. Told my client, “I don’t want to talk about fitness stuff every time we speak! I’m not trying to be like you!” Except it was the friend, not my client who would bring up her weight every time they spoke! Basically, the friend wanted to complain, but not do a damn thing about their dissatisfaction. Which in my opinion shows just how negligent some people can be of themselves. Willingly! And that’s unfortunate.
I know it can feel hurtful when people say sh*tty things about you. Especially if it’s from a family member or someone you considered to be a close friend. Let me tell ya. It happens. If and when it does, understand their issue isn’t with you. It’s with themselves. There’s something deeply rooted within salty people that’s disallowing growth. Whether it’s stubbornness, laziness, etc. They’re the ones who need to figure out how to get past those hurdles. It’s not your responsibility to do that for them.
So what should you ultimately do when someone you know (salty people) act envious of your results from your new, fit lifestyle?
For one, keep moving forward with your health and fitness achievements. You are doing a great service to your mind and body. This may sound strange, but if someone is acting salty or envious of your achievements — take it as a sign of progress. Most people don’t realize how much hard work and dedication it takes to be fit. (Because they’ve hardly tried.) The more successful you become, the more likely you’ll hear negative things being said. It’s unavoidable. At first, it’ll likely rub you the wrong way. As time goes on you’ll learn how to move past it. I cannot stress enough the importance of you focusing on yourself. It might sound harsh, but let the naysayers deal with their own misery. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. All you need to worry about is how you’re going to continue to ascend!