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Advice Needed on Feeling Self-Conscious Around a Super Healthy Friend

Weigh In: I'm Self-Conscious Around My Super Healthy Friend

This reader has a tough situation with a good friend, and could use your thoughtful advice.

Dear Fit,
I've been best friends with someone for over a decade, and within this past year, she's gotten on a major health kick. We're talking meeting with a personal trainer, exercising at least five times a week, buying only organic foods, and not eating a drop of junk. She won't even drink alcohol, not even a glass of wine. I'm really proud of her for being so healthy, but honestly, it's driving me crazy. I feel really insecure around her, not only because she looks so amazingly toned and thin, but because I like to indulge a little every once in a while. I feel like I can't order greasy French fries or enjoy a decadent dessert if we go out to dinner. She won't stay out past 9 pm because she needs to get up early and work out. It sounds stupid, but I feel like her super healthy lifestyle is putting distance between us. It's just not fun to hang out with someone who is so darn strict. I don't want to lose her completely as a friend, so what can I do to make me feel less annoyed and less self-conscious?
—Not-As-Healthy Heather

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GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 5 years
I'm in the camp that says you have the problem, and not your friend. I am a lot like your friend. Personally, I don't care what other people eat. I believe in eating what one likes. I happen to like healthy foods. If other people like less healthy food, that's perfectly fine with me. :) Learn to be comfortable with yourself AROUND your friend. :)
guavajelly guavajelly 5 years
I actually agree with yse. But I say it with love :) I am currently trying to commit to a healthy lifestyle and my friends are not comfortable with my changes. All of a sudden they want to say I am depriving myself of life and that I don't need to lose weight (i'm over 200 lbs). Maybe you need to ask yourself why does it bug you so much, you should be happy she is happy & confident. Put yourself in her shoes, she worked hard to be the person she is now and deserves happiness. She cannot change back because you feel uncomfortable. It is actually quite painful when the people you love want to keep you back whether intentional or not! :) http://fullbodytransformation.wordpress.com/
Zulkey Zulkey 5 years
How about you just enjoy dates that don't involve food? Go for coffee, go to a movie, go for a walk, go get a manicure together? That way you can enjoy your friend and just not worry about that.
ecel4687 ecel4687 5 years
I think you should consider telling her how you feel. Don't just come out with it, but in a more serious conversation, tell her that you feel like you are growing apart and find out if she feels the same way (I bet she does). She may feel a need for control due to some issues in her life, or maybe she's just trying to embrace a new healthy lifestyle full-force. Whatever the reason, I bet that talking about it would help the problem and probably bring you two closer.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 5 years
I think the comments saying you're the one with the problem are a little harsh as well. I can definitely see how it would be annoying that she won't stay out past 9 pm. Considering most people work during the day, when else are you supposed to spend time together? My marathon training class meets every single Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. (meaning I have to get up at 5:00 at the latest), but I'll still stay out with my friends and boyfriend until midnight the night before, just because I'm the one who made the early-morning workout commitment, not them. So while not drinking and eating healthy are her personal choices, it's unfortunate that she won't try and meet you in the middle on other aspects that wouldn't affect her lifestyle change. If I were you, I would just have a talk with her and explain how you feel.
livetolove livetolove 5 years
Honestly, I'd say just ride out the health kick. One thing I had to learn was to ignore those around me and what they were eating/doing. If I feel like having a huge bowl of pasta with a beer, then I'll eat it! If I want a salad and want to go for a long hike, then I'll do that to! It's hard not judge yourself or feel self conscious when someone else orders something healthier than you or doesn't eat as much as you or blah blah but then thing is, you need to be happy with you. Don't pay attention to what she eats or what she does. If you feel like doing something, just do it! You don't want her telling you what to eat and I'm sure she doesn't want to hear it from you. Sometimes when you start out on a health kick you go hardcore at first--remember it takes a lot to establish healthy habits! She might be trying to establish a specific routine for herself and for the most part, who are you to judge her? Likewise, who is she to judge you? Be a friend and be supportive :) and hopefully she'll do the same for you!
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
I'm experiencing this with an old friend as well. We went on a beach vacation together and she ordered a $20 salad with no dressing or cheese at a really nice restaurant! Yes, it's annoying, but I would say stick it out, she's probably using her regimen to control another aspect of her life and needs friends now more than ever. I like the suggestions of making your activities pedicures/walking rather than going out to dinner or happy hour.
TADOW TADOW 5 years
Hey Heather, I also agree the "it's you" comments are not really constructive. Here's my two cents. Please give your friend a little lee way. She's just figuring this thing out. When a person first begins a healthy lifestyle (even if it's been going on for a year) they often need to be very strict in order to learn what to do and develop those healthy habits. Once she feels more comfortable with her will and self control she will loosen up a bit. How much she loosens up totally depends on her. It is understandable that you are uncomfortable. We become friends with people over shared interests and experiences. Once her interests changed it may have been a bit jarring to the foundation of the friendship. For you, to accommodate your friend and still enjoy yourself with her, please try and do activities with her that do not involve eating. Take walks, go shopping, have a spa day. When we go out to eat we like to enjoy ourselves. In this economy eating out can be pretty pricey. It shouldn't be expected that you should have to be uncomfortable when you are spending the money and time to eat out. I wish you the best of luck!
Spectra Spectra 5 years
Hi Heather, I am a lot like your friend, only I DO allow myself a few "treats" here and there. A lot of my friends tell me they feel a little self-conscious about eating junk in front of me because they know I eat very healthy. But I would never judge them for eating anything junky because I know that I eat junk on occasion, too. Maybe your friend allows herself something that she calls a "treat", even if for her that means super-organic dark chocolate once a week or something. If you feel pangs of guilt when you watch her eat, maybe you are judging yourself for eating a bad diet? Just respect that she has her lifestyle and you have yours.
hausfrau hausfrau 5 years
I agree that the "its you" comments are harsh. Your friend is the one who did the 180, not you. That being said it's great that this works for her, but it doesn't have to work for you. Its fun to indulge with a friend (why else do we go with them to the spa, shopping, or get pedis?) so maybe try some of those indulgences instead. But honestly if it were me, I'd probably end up spending less time with her just through incompatibility, who wants to go to bed at 9? But don't worry, I doubt this kick will last forever. Living like that and trying be perfect 100% of the time is no way to live. Truthfully it sounds like it's obsessive and might be a sign of greater food issues.
TiVo TiVo 5 years
Previous, "the problem is you" comments sound a little harsh. I am often on both sides of this. I feel guilty eating junk in front of others, especially when enjoying a few frosty beers. However, I also feel guilty being the healthy one. I don't want to be the jerk rubbing others' faces in my strong willpower. I would recognize that tension can exist on both ends. It's odd at first for both friends, but you'll get more used to it in time. For now,eat and drink what you want, but maybe skip nights on the town for an afternoon picnic more often.
yse yse 5 years
It sounds to me the problem is you, not your friend. I assume you don't indulge at every meal and that you don't hang out with your friend for every meal either, so why not make the ones you have with your friend the ones that are healthy? Either way, chances are, your friend isn't judging you - it's you who are judging yourself. So what if your friend doesn't drink alcohol? Or doesn't stay out late? Why not have a healthy picnic in the park? Or better yet, go for a nice long jog or bike ride together! I agree with the others who said use her as inspiration. You don't have to work out 5x a week and never eat cake again, but I'm sure she'll be happy to share some of her lifestyle with you.
acfreema acfreema 5 years
Hi Heather, I'm a lot like your friend- up early to work out, early bedtime, eating pretty healthy. It works for me, but that doesn't mean I think everyone else in the world should be exactly like me (or your friend). What I want you to know is that your friend is your friend. She isn't judging you because she likes you as a person! She shouldn't want her personal choices to inhibit yours or keep you from having fun. If you want to get a piece of decadent chocolate cake when you two eat out, go for it. Chances are your friend will take a bite or two too.
Valeria-Pestana Valeria-Pestana 5 years
Hi Heather, from my experience this is what I can offer: I used to be like your friend, a super health nut, and every time I'd go out with my friends I'd only order salads and never eat a drop of junk food or dessert. I thought I rocked because of my willpower, but deep down, I felt miserable. You see, when I went out with my friends, they didn't feel at all inhibited by what I ordered, they would ask for popcorn at the movies, or for french fries at the food fair... and at the end, I kind of felt a little jealous of them because they knew how to ENJOY themeselves and I was unable to do that (in fact, one of those friends who isn't a health nut at all - she just practices ballet - was super fit and toned). So I'd say go for it! Order a dessert or a glass of wine next time you go out with your friend. She might judge you at first (like I used to do), but after a few times she'll notice that you can indeed take a break of your strict healty lives without it meaning a disaster, and who knows, maybe she'll join you some day. I hope this helped. Best of luck, Valeria
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