How to Handle People Who Undermine Your Weight-Loss Goals

It’s a frustrating fact of life that when you’re trying to slim down, the people you should be able to count on for support often become your greatest obstacles. How many times have you heard things like, “Just one piece won’t hurt,” or, “Don’t bother losing weight. You look great!” Whether consciously or subconsciously, people who say these things are sabotaging your diet – or trying to. Almost every dieter finds themselves in a toxic environment sooner or later with people around them doing one or more of the following:

  • Expressing “concern” that your diet isn’t healthy
  • Acting insulted if you decline food they have made
  • Confusing food with love: “You don’t want to have dinner with me anymore?”
  • Making up special rules: “It’s your birthday – live a little!”
  • Tempting you with food by leaving out a dish of candy, bringing doughnuts to the office, and so on

Why do people sabotage dieters?

There are many different reasons people undermine the efforts of dieters. In some instances, a spouse or partner may feel threatened when you lose weight and become more attractive to other people. For others, particularly people who are overweight themselves, they may feel worse about their own problems when they see you solving yours. Competitive friends or co-workers may not want you to seem more successful than them. Parents and friends might want to reassure you that you are beautiful just the way you are to help you feel better about yourself. And you are, of course, but that shouldn’t stop you from making the improvements you want to make!

How to deal with saboteurs

Obesity is an interesting problem. In our society, it’s ostracised, so it’s hard to talk openly about weight loss goals and obstacles. However, you’re going to have to be firm. If a simple “no thanks” won’t suffice or feels rude, then be honest. Say, “No thanks. It looks amazing but I’m trying to lose weight.” If someone persists, you can add, “Maybe later.” They likely won’t remember or notice if later never comes.

Be on the lookout for people who intentionally or unintentionally make your diet harder to follow and be prepared with a response when you’re offered unwanted food or advice. You alone are responsible for your success. Your friends should be supportive – but if they aren’t, find ways to stay the course anyway.


Share Your Thoughts!