Green Eyed Monster
If you have ever tried to lose weight in your life, you are probably familiar with the jealousy that your weight loss provoked in someone that you thought was your friend. Diet sabotage is usually inflicted by people close to us. It’s hard to accept that someone that we love is trying to keep us unhealthy, but it happens every day. Sometimes they don’t want to lose their eating/ drinking/partying buddy but just as often, they are just plain jealous of your success. They do not have the mental toughness to change their habits and they hate that you do. Since you are together a lot, they feel fat and out of control when you are eating healthy.
First ID Diet Sabotage
Unless you learn to see sabotage for what it is, you will fall prey to it every time. As long as you rationalize the saboteur’s behavior, they have got you exactly where they want you, at the buffet. Keeping you fat is a way to control you. The low self-esteem that usually accompanies obesity makes you easily manipulated. People pleasing is the natural default of low self-esteem, so when your “friend” or partner acts disappointed that you won’t join them in Happy Hour alcohol and Hot Wings, it’s easy to cave. If anyone is saying things that make you want to abandon a healthy eating plan, they do not have your best interest in mind. See it for what it is. Don’t rationalize their behavior. Speak up and tell them that you don’t want any empty calories that do nothing for your body except enlarge it. You have just identified sabotage. You must identify it to escape from its influence.
Methods of Diet Sabotage
I will never forget one time about 15 or 20 years ago, I was losing weight. I had started about 40 pounds overweight and had lost 15 or 20. When I saw an obese acquaintance from an old job, she looked at me with a slightly concerned expression on her face and said, “Brenda, are you okay?” When I said “Yes, why?” she strategically smiled ever-so-slightly and with feigned affection said, “Well…you look sick…and you look older. Have you lost some weight?” This is a common tactic of a saboteur, feigned concern for your health. The proper way to deal with that kind of evil is to answer, “Yes! I’m more than okay! I feel great! I finally decided to do something about my weight. You should too.” They will be so taken aback, they will leave you alone for fear of more truth spilling out of your mouth.
A common sabotage tactic of co-workers is to leave food around your workspace. I went to work in a place one time that had a staff bully. She had run off every person who was hired to fill my position for years. She would stop at nothing to get people under her control and if you wouldn’t kowtow to her, she would try to get you fired, just an all-around obnoxious human being. When she realized that she had bitten off more than she could chew when she tried to get rid of me, she began to stalk me for weaknesses to attack. As soon as she realized that I live on a good nutrition program every day, she began to try to undermine me. At first, she left random food in random places where I would see it but pretty soon, she began to target me more closely. At her finest hour, she bought about 6 large bags of gourmet, gluten-free pretzels and laid open bags directly beside my computer day after day. As soon as I saw them. they went into the garbage. After about the third day of this obnoxious behavior, I began taking the pretzels into her office and putting them in her trashcan…with liquid soap squirted all over them after pouring them out of the bag into the bottom of a nasty trashcan. It stopped the behavior. Make an obvious gesture that cannot be ignored to stay firm in your food plan. Since most people hate to waste money like that, this alone may stop their idiocy.
Another tactic that is usually launched by the people closest to you is to buy or create special food, JUST FOR YOU. They believe that if they make such a generous gesture that you will surely give in to their plan to derail you. It may be a birthday cake or a special dinner “just for YOU”! Oh, it’s for you alright. It’s for you to go back to the person that didn’t challenge the status quo. I recently told David that I make some people uncomfortable because I have a strong health initiative. I’m fit and I eat well.
As some of you know, my son has been losing weight. He’s doing quite well at about a 44 pound loss right now. Recently, people tried to get him to eat cookies made with sugar. We eat cookies, protein cookies with NO ADDED SUGAR. He has about 30+ pounds to go before he can even consider maintenance. In other words, he is still obviously overweight. Why on Earth would someone who is supposed to care about him tell him that he’s not overweight and he can eat cookies? Misery loves company. He simply said, “No thanks!” with complete abandon. He was not tempted in the least and it showed. After foregoing sugar for months and reaping the benefits of weight loss and freedom from addiction, the cookies were not appealing. It stunned the saboteurs into silence. Just say, “NO!”
Sometimes people will actively exclude you from parties and celebrations to deliberately make you think that your healthy lifestyle just might not be worth it. This is a common form of diet sabotage that is designed to pull you back into the bucket of crabs. Believe me, when you’re still working a job and working out and burning the midnight oil after they’re in a nursing home, everyone will know who was right. When you discover that you are excluded, go buy some new form-fitting clothes and make sure to wear them the next time you’re going to see that crowd. If they mention that they are going out and don’t invite you, announce that you’re going to the gym to see that special someone that’s helping you with your new lifestyle. Their tacos and margaritas will pale in comparison as they try to hide their belly roll.
They will tell you that most people never keep the weight off. Tell them, “That’s true, so I have to be vigilant about sabotage. It’s amazing how many jealous people will try to undermine you when you’re getting healthy!” They will almost choke on their mocha cream frappe and they won’t use that one again.
A common diet sabotage tactic is to insult you like the former co-worker when she told me I looked older. They will also tell you that you’re not as much fun, you’re grouchy, you don’t “fill out your clothes anymore” (translation: Your boobs are smaller.) and your work is suffering. Tell them that some sacrifices have to be made when you go from a lifestyle that makes you miserable and kills you in the end, to a lifestyle that makes you look better and live longer.
Oftentimes holidays, vacations and special occasions are thought to be an excuse to abandon healthy eating habits. Diet sabotage is at its all-time high during these times. Those closest to you will sometimes be astounded that birthday cake and chocolate Easter eggs still have calories and are STILL not part of your healthy life. When they ask the question, “You don’t eat birthday cake?!? Well…what do you eat?” Tell them with equal awe, “Almost anything else, but I don’t eat birthday cake unless it’s made without sugar.” They will either get angry or ask you how that’s done. You might lose a “friend,” or they just might start making better decisions themselves. Years later, when you’re the healthiest ones in the family and someone at a birthday dinner asks, “Neither of you eat birthday cake?!?”, you will wink at each other and share your secrets of living to be so old, in such good shape.
Lead by example.