You've likely encountered them in spades along your journey: friends, family, and coworkers who covertly or overtly attempt to sabotage your fat-loss efforts.
One thing's for certain: They inevitably will appear, usually during your weakest, most vulnerable moments.
Save for a few psychologically, um, challenged folks, I don't think most people are evil. Regardless, for whatever deluded or other misguided reasons, those we are closest to ironically make the worst offenders to question, judge, discount, or otherwise diminish our efforts at better health.
See if any of these naysayers or sabotagers sounds familiar. I'm betting you've run into at least a few of them along the way.
1. The "live a little" coworker. Her mantra is "everything in moderation," she swears by her morning sliver of coffee cake, and she's a blatant carb pusher. "I can't imagine life without vanilla crème cake!" she declares during an afternoon office party, making you feel bad for sticking with your sensible apple slices with almond butter and not partaking in your manager's birthday festivities.
2. The manipulating receptionist. Because she struggles with weight, she's determined everyone else must too. She often places her freshly-baked desserts within smelling distance of your cubicle, and she once made a nasty remark about your "puritanical diet efforts" during a girls' night out when you passed over the chili cheese nachos for hummus and crudité.
3. The nutrition-novice neighbor. Because he's taking an online nutrition course, he's suddenly an expert and quite concerned that you're eating too much animal protein, which he insists will "kill you." You're convinced he doesn't like you because you once passed up his soy kale muffins, and lately he's only become worse, chastising you for shopping your supermarket rather than your farmers' market and slipping anti-meat propaganda under your door.
4. The know-it-all sibling. She's been on a point-counting diet for years, and even though she's nowhere near her goal weight, she insists everyone should be on this "flexible" diet. She can't understand why skinny margaritas and 100-calorie snack packs aren't on your (as she calls it) "militant" diet plan, because her diet certainly allows them.
5. The "concerned" parent. You passed up your mom's homemade whole grain bread at dinner, and you wouldn't go anywhere near the Caesar salad she ordered at brunch. Suddenly, Mom's concerned that you're not eating a "balanced" diet and getting your nutrient quota. She even got your dad on the act, giving you quite the guilt trip for not indulging in his favorite deep-dish pepperoni.
6. The passive-aggressive best friend. You've known her for years, and you love her dearly, but ever since you've been losing weight she's become weird. She snickered at your proposal to fit into your high school jeans again, shopping for new clothes is no longer fun with her, and she didn't invite you to her sister's bachelorette dinner because as she condescendingly put it, that new Mexican restaurant offers "too many foods you can't eat."
7. The "you need carbs" personal trainer. "You'll never build muscle when you reduce carbs like that!" she argues. You insist you're eating healthy carbs (sweet potatoes, anyone?), but in her vastly-outdated paradigm you need pasta, whole wheat bread, and even post-exercise chocolate milk or you'll forever be a muscle-less weakling.
So how do you deal with these people? You throw an almond butter-loaded celery stick at them, that's how!
I'm kidding. Dealing with these nuisances, however, is rarely a laughing matter, but armed with these tactics (and deep breathing), you can minimize frustration and anger from these well-intended (okay, maybe not always) folks.
1. Have your ammunition ready. You've written down your mission statement, right? What about your bathroom mirror talk? Certainly you've pasted a picture of your face on the body you really want. (Laugh if you must, but it works.) Being prepared is half the battle for fat loss, and that includes dealing with snarky remarks from jealous coworkers.
2. Don't take it personally. This isn't about you. Ultimately it's about them and their own issues.
3. Don't get defensive. Making comebacks, snappy replies, and other defense tactics will only feed into their agenda and encourage them to continue baiting you on. Be the better person and don't resort to a comment you'll later regret.
4. Keep a sense of humor. Sure, it doesn't seem funny when your best friend makes a hurtful comment or your receptionist embarrasses you in front of a group. But if you can somehow find levity in the situation -- and I admit, this takes some skill -- you can diffuse what could otherwise escalate into a really uncomfortable situation.
5. Remember your health is the most important thing. Remind your friends and family that you want to live a long, healthy life to enjoy time with them. Your real friends will understand, and family will eventually come around to see your perspective. As for your coworkers: Well, how important are they in the bigger picture anyway?
6. Have a heart-to-heart. Find out what's really irking them. Is your best friend secretly jealous you'll snag her boyfriend? Maybe your mom laments for a more youthful time when she felt better about herself. I know that might sound silly, but people harbor resentment over strange things. The only real way to know is to have a conversation and attempt to resolve things.
7. Find support with others. Everyone has those days where the world feels like it's collapsing on their shoulders, and it helps to have an understanding group to provide support. Find others in your area doing your program and begin a support group. A qualified nutritionist or health coach can also help you overcome obstacles, setbacks, and other food frustrations if they arise.
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