Dear Fiona, I’ve been morbidly obese since I was about 13 but at the age of 28 I’ve finally lost all the weight. I’ve always wanted to be slim but now that I am, I’m not very happy.
My friends don’t treat me the same any more, especially on nights out and I feel they’re ignoring me.
I hate the way men eye me up now whereas before they liked my personality even though I was rarely asked out on dates.
Why after all this effort are things not as I dreamt they would be?
Sadly Slim Girl, Belfast
Dear Sadly Slim Girl,
It's possible that you come into the category of individuals who use food to help them deal with fear.
This fear may be attached to many different things such as the fear of failure or success, the fear of the challenges that may face a person should they lose weight, and the fear of sexuality.
Your weight-gain started around adolescence when you were blossoming into womanhood but weight gain prevented you from being viewed as a sexual being.
There’s also the challenge of having to deal with how others perceive you.
You’re no longer the big girl with the big personality but now an extremely attractive individual with whom your friends may feel they have to compete for male attention.
All these stresses create anxiety and can cause a successful slimmer to eat and gain weight just to avoid them.
It will take time to adjust to people reacting differently to you but it’s important that you deal with this sensibly rather than going back to being obese.