What to Do When Your Family or Friends Try to Sabotage Your Weight Loss

Years ago when I was trying to lose weight I remember when I started having difficulty with some of my friends when was trying to lose weight.  I had a friend that lived in the same apartment building as I did and she would constantly come over with brownies and cakes for me.  The oddest thing about this is that she barely did this very often before I had started losing weight.  Or you are out at a bar and you mention that you are abstaining from alcohol to help with your weight loss and then they order a round of drinks and tell you one drink won’t hurt you.

Friends are not the only ones that can try to sabotage your weight loss but family can as well.  I have clients that complain about family members that roll their eyes when they mention that you are trying to lose weight.  Or they offer bags of chips to you or a candy bar!

A lot of times your family and friends don’t even realize that they sabotaging you.  There could be many reasons why they are behaving this way.  Many are afraid of change. They have been comfortable with how you were before you started losing the weight and may fear that your relationship may change if you complete your goals.  Some friends or family members may worry that if you lose weight you will look better which is a bit of competitiveness that they may not even be aware they have.  Others may feel some guilt about their own behaviors and your behaviors make them confront their own poor behaviors.  If they never have had a weight problem, they sometimes just don’t understand the difficulty that sometimes comes with losing weight.

Here are some tips on how to cope with these situations:

1. Talk to them.  Sometimes speaking to your friends or family members allows them to become aware of their behaviors and how these behaviors are affecting you.  Make sure that you are in a calm mood when you tell your friend or family member how you feel.  Give an example of recent behavior that you felt hurt you.  This conversation will probably be awkward at first but after your friend of family member sits on it for a while, he or she may become more supportive.

2. Ask for support.  Tell your friend you would like support. Most people like to help their family and friends.  This opens the doorway for them to feel less like being attacked for their behavior.

3. Be an adult.  Ultimately, the chose is up to you.  You choose to let peer pressure affect you.   Learn to say no.  You will always run into difficult situations in life that may be difficult to say no to.  Adopting a healthier lifestyle takes perseverance.

4. Take the focus off of food.  If it is too difficult to say no to that margarita, then you may have to forgo activities for a while that tend to lead to bad behavior. Participate in activities that do not revolve around eating or drinking.  Find a class or lesson that both you and your friend may be interested in participating in.

5. Find support elsewhere.  Try to find a friend or support group who is also trying to lose weight that you can be on the same page with.  This will help you to see positive results.

6. Distance yourself for a while.  You may need to distance yourself for a while until you hit your goal and have developed habits that become part of your lifestyle.  You will get stronger with time and develop skills that help cope with people that are not as supportive.  Keep a food and exercise journal and make note of triggers.  Once you have figured out the triggers you can then learn some skills to avoid them.


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