With Friends Like These . . . Dieting with the Enemy!

Lori Boxer
Weight★No★More℠ Diet Center

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Whether it’s 10 pounds or a ton, just watch and see how you’ll be showered with so much fattening food—by people who claim to love you! Why is that? When dieters fall off the wagon, they’re always shocked to think that someone else may have had a hand in their failure. Then it dawns on them: Oh yeah, the apple cake that Mom just baked and set out on the counter, the surprise box of candy from the usually unthoughtful husband, the coworker who left the late-afternoon Krispy Kreme doughnuts on your desk.


“Why is that?” you might ask.


The answer: Diet saboteurs. They’re everywhere


The problem usually starts because you’re in change mode, but your friends and family aren’t. A real friend would rarely intentionally and maliciously undermine your diet. They just do unconscious things to keep the relationship the way it was. A few reasons why they do this are:


  • They feel guilty. Your success makes them more conscience of the fact that they most probably should lose weight too.  But, for many, teasing you back to normal with “you’re doing so well; a little won’t hurt” is often easier. And if it starts an eating frenzy that ends in weight gain, sadly, that’s secretly okay with friends like these. You’ve proven once again that weight loss is impossible; now they can relax and not try.


  • They don’t understand. Other folks (and most often spouses!) who’ve never had a weight problem can’t understand why you don’t go back to eating “normally” now that you’ve lost that weight. And besides, they’ve suffered enough with all the changes around the house, and they want “this” to be over. (You see, it’s about them. Your health and well-being is an inconvenience for them.)


  • They miss the old you . . . or, more specifically, the food experiences you once shared! Food is often how we express love and happiness and good times: Baking cookies for your kids (and of course eating some together). Going to happy hour with co-workers.


You might ask: “How do I politely say, “back off” to those I love?”


The answer: Make friends with the enemy!


To fend off sabotage, whether deliberate or subconscious, there are three classic actions you can take that are likely to pave the way to long-term weight loss.


  1. Start with exercise. It builds muscle, burns calories, reduces stress, and, best of all, creates the positive mood that makes you strong enough to avoid saboteurs. This doesn’t mean you have to go from never exercising to going to the gym every day for 2 hours a day. But, everyone can find time to take a brisk walk a few times a week; or use a tread mill or stationary bike at home or the gym for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Monitor your exercise and food. Plan your workouts and meals . . . in advance, at the beginning of the week, meaning, schedule in the days/times you intend to exercise, and plan your meals and snacks for at least a few days in advance. Then, write down everything else you may eat, if you do so. This will keep you honest, and it may also help you recognize the people and events that do you in. Then you can develop strategies to deal with them.
  3. Create a supportive environment. It’s important to ask for help.  Don’t believe that if (or just because) people love you, they’ll know what to do or how to help you. Not true! Write a “Dear Supporter” letter to those in your life to whom it would best apply and state your needs directly. Whether you write it or say it, be specific. Even those closest to you can’t read your mind. So, for example, if being constantly asked how much weight you’ve lost will drive you to cheat, let people know. If always being invited out for dinner but never having input as to the restaurant/cuisine selection makes it very difficult for you to stay on track, let people know. If you need support when the late-night munchies hit, ask your friend if it’s okay to call.


Unfortunately, there are also some downright vicious saboteurs who consciously work to undermine you. They may pressure you to eat the way they do in order to remain part of a group, not-so-subtly implying that you’re no friend if you don’t. Clearly tell them, “This is not helpful to me.” They can’t deny they’ve heard you, and, if necessary, you may have to avoid them for a while or find less toxic friends. If all else fails, “call a sponsor”—someone you know who will talk you through it.


Finally, there’s the issue of support from your spouse. If you’ve been direct in asking your husband, wife or domestic partner for help but don’t get it, you may need to seek couples’ or family counseling. There’s no getting around it: A poor response from your partner often suggests something else is going on. 


If you’re overweight or obese, you already know all the health benefits of losing weight. Now you have another good reason to do so: You’ll learn who your real friends (and foes) are!

Slimcerely yours℠,

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