“Home made chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen for all to enjoy. Help Yourself!” If you're like me, you get this office email at least once a week. And as soon as it pops into your inbox you can hear the collective sighs of your fellow dieters. Your willpower starts to wane and the resignation sets in. You will have to avoid the kitchen all day, which means you’ll have to go out for lunch - so you might as well just give in to the cookies and scrap the whole diet today. Does this sound familiar?
Do you ever feel like, as soon as you start to really make some progress in your weight loss attempts, your family and friends start encouraging you to go off your diet and your co-workers start acting like they’re in a Betty Crocker bake-off? If so, you’re not alone. And the timing may not be a coincidence. Diet sabotage from friends and family is a common hurdle to overcome in one’s weight loss journey.
Many Forms of Temptation
Cookies in the office, invitations to go out to dinner, someone saying ‘one piece won’t ruin your diet,' or ‘you deserve a treat.' Diet sabotage can come in many forms, from many different loved ones, and it can make you feel guilty for taking care of yourself! But believe it or not, their diet sabotage probably has very little to do with you. Your friends, family members, or co-workers may be struggling with their own weight or eating issues and feel that your success will force them to make changes in their own life. Perhaps they worry that your feelings towards them will change as your appearance changes. Or maybe they prefer to show affection through gifts of food and cannot understand why you'd rather not accept.
Others may have trouble coping with your new role. If you were the person they could always count on to be up for ordering a pizza, going out for wings and beer, or spending a quiet evening in watching movies and eating cookie dough than they may be having a hard time adjusting to your new lifestyle. And they may resent the fact that they’ve lost their “partner in crime.”
If you find that those around you are sabotaging your diet efforts, whether it's intentional or not, be honest and ask them for their support. Explain to them that these changes to your diet and physical activity habits make you feel better and give you more energy. Let them know that when they ask you to out to dinner or encourage you to eat certain foods that it makes it very hard for you to stay on your diet. You might find that they don’t even realize what they’re doing.
This tactic may not work at the office, but you can partner with a co-worker to help keep one another on track. If there are cookies in the kitchen then plan to go in and fix your lunches together and keep one another away from the treats. If you’re comfortable letting several people in the office know that you’re on a diet than do so – you’ll be less likely to indulge in office treats if a knowing eye may be right around the corner.
You may also want to reassure those close to you that you aren’t going to drop them along with the weight. Invite friends and family members to participate in your new activities by taking them to the gym, going on a walk, or having them over for a healthy dinner. Try to be sensitive to how others may interpret your diet talk. They may mistake your excitement about your new lifestyle as an editorial comment on theirs. And if all else fails, you may have to limit the amount of time you spend with that person until things blow over. But be secure in your decision to make healthy changes to your lifestyle because taking care of yourself is a good, no, great thing.
Published On: May 07, 2007