Who Sabotages Your Diet Plans
Money conflicts are common among couples—they may even be the leading cause of fights. But did you know many couples also have fights about food on a daily basis? In fact, the topic sparks so much interest, that a lot are talking about how to keep peace at meals. Who is doing the sabotaging? Spouses, family, friends?
Men and women often have opposing Mars and Venus moments about nutrition, which can lead to tension and arguing in relationships. The sexes are wired differently: For example, men have a biological advantage over women due to their increased muscle mass. Losing and maintaining a healthy weight is easier for guys, and harder for women.
Want to really bring out the worst in people? Try weight loss. Ten pounds or a ton, you’ll be showered with so much fattening food—sabotage by people who claim to love you—that it will send the price of sugar cane and lard futures through the roof.
I’ve seen it happen so many times to many weight loss patients that they start making excuses. They confess they fell off the wagon, I’m ready with my ritual response: “Who did this to you?”
Who Sabotages Your Diet Plans? Spouses/Family/Friends
They’re always shocked to think that someone else may have had a hand in their weight loss failure. Then it dawns on them: Oh yeah, the chocolate cake care package Mom just sent, the surprise candy from the usually unthoughtful husband, the coworker who left the gift-wrapped Oreos on your desk. “Why is that?” they always ask.”Diet saboteurs,” I explain. “They’re everywhere.” In fact, in one survey, 24,000 overweight women reported that weight loss created problems in their relationships that regaining the weight would have resolved.
The problem usually starts because you’re in change mode (and darned happy to be there), but your friends and family aren’t.
Rarely would a real friend malevolently undermine your diet. They just do unconscious things to keep the relationship the way it was. And there are lots of reasons why.
They feel guilty. Your success pricks their conscience, since they may think they should be pursuing weight loss too. But for many, teasing you back to normal with “you’re doing so well; a little won’t hurt” sabotage 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 (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.
They miss the old you. Or more specifically, the food experiences you once shared. Food is often how we express love. Baking cookies for your kids (and of course eating some together). Or going to happy hour with coworkers. When my client Stephanie began progressing, her husband started showing up Friday nights with a big chocolate bar, something they used to enjoy together.
Three classic actions likely to pave the way to long-term weight loss success and fend off sabotage, whether deliberate or subconscious.
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.
2. Monitor your exercise and food. Plan your workouts and meals, and write down every bite. 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. Asking is tricky because we really don’t know how to do it. We tend to believe that if people loved us, they’d know what to do. Not true! Some like it if their husband’s takes their plate away from them when he thinks they had enough. On the other hand, some would secretly eat twice as much if her husband did that. Get a support group, people to be accountable too, people who have the same goals. Try our challenge groups. People doing just what you are. @ https://www.facebook.com/fitatanyagewithdeb
Whether you write it or say it, be specific about your weight loss needs. Even those closest to you can’t read your mind. For instance, if being constantly asked how much you’ve lost will drive you to cheat, let people know. For others, constant checking in may help keep them on track. If you need support when the late-night munchies hit, ask your friend if it’s okay to call.
When it comes to long-term relationships and marriage, men win out there too. Studies have shown that women tend to gain weight when they marry. (Men may gain weight, too, but overall they actually get healthier.) Many women complain that their spouses are sabotaging their healthy eating plans. In one study, more than 70% of women on diets complained that their spouses had interfered.
Here are some of the diet dilemmas women have asked me about, and my suggestions for how to handle them. If you’ve had a similar battle of the sexes over your meals and snacks, chime in below.
The salad vs. steak showdown
The problem: “My husband says salad, stir-fry, soy, and anything healthy is ‘rabbit food.’ He just wants a meat-and-potato-type meal.” Has to have fried food, bread etc..
The solution: Many men don’t find a plant-based diet as satisfying as a juicy, meaty, stick-to-the-ribs meal. What you can do is offer a compromise. Don’t try to get a carnivore hubby to be a vegan, but serve yourself smaller portions of meat and choose the leanest cuts. Pair them with a large salad or lots of steamed veggies. Try a few subtle substitutes: Serve baked and breaded zucchini fries instead of french fries, for example, and try dishes that use lean ground beef or turkey instead of the full-fat stuff.
Sneaky snack sabotage
The problem: “My husband brings home cookies, chips, sodas, and other junk food all the time.”
The solution: Your husband needs to know that the food he brings home isn’t helping your efforts to stick to a healthy diet, and it may be impacting the diets of your children too. While you can’t nag him about his habits, ask him to eat those foods when he’s at work or out for meals, rather than bringing them home.
Look for Part 2 coming soon. Need help contact me and lets chat.
Your Partner in Health,