Recently I was talking with one of my clients who had fallen off the wagon in the past few weeks. She had worked really hard to get about 40lbs off and was in the best shape of her life.
But over the holidays things began to slip and as we spoke the real truth started to come out.
She was dealing with what I call a “Diet Destroyer”.
What is that you ask? It might be a friend, co-worker, family member or even your spouse who either deliberately or subconsciously starts to sabotage your efforts to be healthy.
Many times it’s so subtle you don’t even know its happening. Perhaps it’s your well meaning co-worker that brings a box of donuts into the office and bring them over to your desk to offer you one before anyone else gets one.
Sometimes is your spouse who knows you love sweets and proceeds to bring home a huge box of chocolates and 2 packages of Oreos “because they love you”.
It doesn’t have to be about food either. Sometimes these saboteurs will try to disrupt your workouts also.
They’ll make comments about you working too hard or when you have a particularly good workout saying: “if you do that again you might get hurt” or belittling your recent personal best 5k time with a comment like “well with all that working out I thought you’d do better”.
And it speaking with the client I came to find out her friend had said to her: “I don’t’ understand why you work out so hard and are trying to lose weight. You’re almost 60 years old you should be taking it easy”.
The client told me the friend that said that to her is about 100lbs overweight and can barely make it up a flight of stairs
So why do they do it?
There are few reasons but there are 3 different types that I have found seem to be the most common.
First there’s the “Don’t Understand” crowd. These are the ones that have never had to deal with a weight problem and don’t realize how difficult it is for someone who does.
They tend to be the “I can eat anything I want and not gain weight” person and figure everyone should be just like them.
Often once you explain things to them they’ll gain an understanding and stop their behavior.
Then there’s the “I liked you the way you were” crowd. Spouses/Significant others tend to fall into this group.
They’re worried that you are looking and feeling so good that they’ll lose you to someone else. Or they feel left out because you’re spending more time at the gym instead of at home with them. I see this one all the time.
I’ve had instances though where the significant others are actively and knowingly sabotaging. I’ve even called some in to meet with me.
Oh for sure they’ll say they support their husband or wife but when I call them out on the things they’ve done… well let’s just say you could hear crickets chirping….
Truthfully this is the toughest group to deal with. First off they are usually someone you love and are close to. Second their fear is so ingrained they can’t and often won’t stop their behavior. If you mention it to them often they’ll get defensive and in the worst cases become even more overt in their behavior.
Finally there are the ones who feel guilty. Simply put you are getting in shape and losing weight and they’re not.
Rather than enjoy your success and ask you how they too can get fit they’ll try to tempt you with food and/or to not workout so they can feel good about their choices to eat crap and sit on the couch all day.
Also by tempting you to fall off the wagon you’ll fit better into their definition of the “normal” person. Aka them.
This is exactly the type of person my client’s friend was.
So what can you do?
For starters you have to realize YOU are the one in control of you.
The diet destroyers can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. You have to make a conscious effort to not get caught up in their behaviors or let it slide track you.
How do you handle these situations? I usually offer 3 options that you can use.