08/18/2014 04:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your Weight Loss Frenemies and 5 Strategies to Stop Them


Have you ever tried to lose weight, but felt sabotaged on Day One by frenemies?

A weight-loss frenemy could be our spouse, a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or even our children. We all have at least one. They are persons with whom we have friendly relationships, but they don't always have our best interests at heart. Not because they are bad people, but because our health goals don't align with theirs.

Our closest relationships often influence whether or not we lose or gain weight. Once you've decided to disrupt a comfortable pattern of overindulging, realize it can be upsetting to your non-dieting friends and loved ones who overindulged with you. Weight loss is a hot button issue. Be prepared. It's hard when you're the only one in your house, your office, or your group, who wants to start eating better. A friend can turn frenemy when you upset the relationship scales with your weight loss plan.

Here are five strategies for sticking to your weight-loss resolve when you're alone and on your own:

1. Start by making your statement.
Declaring publicly to eat healthy is the first step to changing your behavior. Goals that are broadcast have a better chance of being recognized by others and attained by ourselves.

Tell your husband, your friends, and your co-workers that you are changing your eating habits. From now on, you will not be indulging during happy hour, the game, or at the movies. Shout it out, and perhaps you'll motivate your sister, boyfriend, or neighbors to join you in losing a few pounds.

Regarding those frenemies, your announcement will help you identify who is going to be supportive and who is not.

2. Expect resistance and just say no.
We all tend to gravitate towards people who are just like us. If you are struggling with your weight, chances are, so are those closest to you. Until now, overindulging has worked just fine for everyone.

Showing more self-control than your family and friends, even if it's simply resolving to make healthy food choices, can increase the chances of relational conflict.

Be prepared to hear statements from frenemy loved ones begging you to take just one bite; to let your hair down for the weekend; reminding you that you're no fun anymore; and questioning if you are now the food police.

To fight back, you must identify your eating triggers -- the people, places, and times that revolve around overeating; and plan ahead to make better choices before encountering each situation.

Tell your wife to quit bringing home junk food that sabotages your efforts. If she won't stop, she's a frenemy. After you've identified your frenemies, even if it is your spouse, try confronting them. Frenemy doesn't have to be a permanent title.

Tell your family you're done with Mexican restaurants because you can't resist the endless bowls of tortilla chips. Just say no to your neighbor who begs you to eat her famous chocolate cake. Or, if she insists, take it and pass it on.

Let your spouse eat that Ben and Jerry's alone -- don't even look in in his or her direction.

3. If you can't say no, recreate at least part of your world.
If bunko, barbecue, and date night leaves you stuffed and bloated, but you enjoy the company, toss out new ideas with friends and family that are not food and alcohol centered. Suggest spending more time being active together -- going on walks, taking yoga classes, riding bikes, hiking, rock climbing, or hitting balls at the driving range. Mix things up and breathe new life into your relationships. Break your social patterns of overindulging.

If your roommate brings home the brownies you both binge on together, talk to her about keeping them in her personal space, outside of the communal spots. Keep temptation out of sight in your own home. If you can't find it or don't see it, you'll be less tempted to eat it. (We keep treats in our garage refrigerator, well out of sight.)

Unfortunately, no one has an unending supply of willpower. If you are struggling, then you will have to avoid the temptations you find irresistible. If you're serious about losing weight and keeping it off, you might need to cut ties with certain situations or overindulging frenemies, at least for a little while, maybe forever.

4. Join a frenemy-free weight-loss community.
You will need the support. Losing weight is basically an individual process. You alone determine what foods go in your mouth. Surrounding yourself with a supportive group can increase your chances for weight loss success. Once in, you'll have friends who will be there to encourage you, hold you accountable, and keep you moving forward when you feel like giving up.

Group support options are plentiful. Regardless if your chosen weight-loss plan is Paleo, vegan, raw, or anything in between, a quick online search will provide many choices, including message boards, Facebook groups, and Meetups. After you've joined a community, pledge to yourself that you'll actively participate in the discussions several days each week.

If you can't find a group you like, convince a few friends to join you, and start your own weight loss support group.

Stay engaged -- there really is support in numbers.

5. Be your own change (and be their inspiration).
Frenemies have the world on their side, because everyday life doesn't always support healthy eating. Success will only happen when we stick to a healthy weight loss plan despite our frenemies and constant temptations. Don't wait for your spouse, your best friend, or the stars to align with you. Positive changes in our own lives may inspire friends and loved ones to do the same. Start eating better today, stick to your path, create change in yourself, and spark a healthier change in those around you.

Have your relationships affected your weight in a healthy or unhealthy way? Share your comments below.

Real insight from a couple that lives it. Learn more about us at and or email Debbie at