Unfortunately, whether intentional or unintentional, family and friends are often your worse enemies when it comes to losing weight. Rather than encouraging you, they often seem intent on derailing you. Common sabotage tactics include:
- Tempting you with food
- Implying you no longer appreciate them if you don’t like the food they’ve prepared
- Complaining about the time you spend exercising
- Saying ‘You don’t look like you’ve lost weight’
- Claiming that ‘Being overweight suits you’
- Suggesting you’re losing too much weight, too quickly
- Predicting you’ll only gain it all back.
Thanks a bunch. But why do they do it? Often, they don’t even realize it’s happening but, deep down, the real reasons is that they themselves feel insecure about their own weight or body image. They don’t want to compete with your potential success, or compare themselves unfavourably with your new, slimmer look. The easiest way to feel better about themselves is to put you down so you end up failing.
Close friends may secretly worry that your weight loss will change who you are and affect your relationship. Or they don’t want to lose their ‘food buddy’ and wonder how to show their love if they can’t supply food for you to gratefully accept. Similarly, your partner may not want you to look more attractive as you slim down in case you run off with someone else.
Perhaps the most difficult saboteurs are those who’ve never had a weight problem themselves and don’t understand why you find it so difficult to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight. They simply don’t realise what you’re going through, or the physical, social and emotional problems you face.
How to overcome your weight loss saboteurs
Don’t take their behaviour personally, or use it as an excuse to fail. Ultimately, you are responsible for what you eat, even when others make things difficult. You may not be able to stop them, but you can take control.
When someone offers food, have a response ready: ‘It looks delicious but I’ve already eaten,’ or ‘Thanks, perhaps I’ll have some later.’
If they keep insisting, try ‘I’m just not hungry.’ If they won’t give up, smile and explain you’re doing really well on your diet and would value their help in seeing things through. Get them involved and they’ll find it less easy to oppose your efforts.
If they keep offering the wrong type of food for your diet, explain how your particular eating plan works. Suggest a few treats or meals they might offer in future that you can enjoy together.
If your relationship used to focus on food, ask them to join you for walks, or for an exercise class instead, as you’d love their company. You can still spend time together without having to eat like before.
Those who love and care about you will support you in your weight loss goals. But if they don’t respond in a helpful way, make new friends at an exercise class, join a healthy cooking class, a slimming club or an online support group.