How many times has this happened to you? You are trying to make good food choice and trying to make positive changes only to have a well meaning family member or friend offer you a rich, creamy dessert that has always been your weakness? Are your friends and family trying to make you fat?
Weight loss “sabotage” can come in many forms. A person may make negative comments towards you such as “you’ll never keep the weight off anyways”. They may offer you second helpings even after you stated that you were no longer hungry. A person may watch everything you eat and make comments criticizing your new way of eating or your method of weight loss. It could come in the form of discouraging you from following your daily exercise routine. However the scenario is played out, it can be very confusing to the person trying to gain control of his or her eating habits. Why would our family members or our friends, the people we turn to for the most support, want to see us fail in our weight loss efforts?
Experts suggest that although YOU are ready to make changes in your life, your spouse, sibling, or close friend may not be. It may be that they feel guilty that you are losing weight and feeling motivated to change your lifestyle and they’re not. Therefore tempting you to “eat like them” will make things “regular” again.
It may be that a friend is afraid that your weight loss will make his or her extra weight seem more noticeable.
Maybe they just miss the “old” you, the one who didn’t worry about eating cookies and didn’t spend time exercising at the gym.
It’s also possible that the person never struggled with weight issues and just doesn’t understand the hard work involved.
Whatever the reason is, it’s important to be armed with strategies to handle these situations.
The following are some suggestions:
*Give them the benefit of the doubt. It may be that your friend just knows how much you enjoy eating French fries and just wants to make you happy, without realizing that it’s an issue for you. It may be that your mother cooked you your favorite comfort food because she equates food with love. Offering food is not always coming from ill intentions.
*It’s o.k. to say “no thank you”. You don’t need to feel obligated to eat nor do you need to feel obligated to give an explanation. You do not need to eat a fattening food just because someone is offering it.
*Another opinion is to accept the food that is offered, but not to eat it. Appreciate the sentiment that the person thought of you and means well and tell them that you’ll save it for when you’re hungry later.
*Share your thoughts with the “saboteurs”. Communicate with them as to what your needs are, especially if you live with them. There should be reasonable guidelines as to what foods are available in your home and how foods are prepared.
*You may need to avoid eating in social situations. Try planning non-food activities with friends or family. Instead of going out to eat, try bowling or ice skating instead.
*Last, but not least, set up a positive support system. Join a Bariatric support group either through your practice or on line. If friends are very negative towards your weight loss efforts, you may need to add a few new friends who are supportive and respect your goals.
Ultimately, what you put in your mouth is up to you. Even though others may tempt you, stay strong! It is your responsibility to make the right food choices and to take control of your body and your health.