Do you have well-meaning family members or friends who say they are there for you, yet they seem to continue to sabotage your weight loss efforts? You know what I mean. They buy things that you don’t want to eat and they leave it right out in the open where you are tempted even though they are fully aware you are dieting.
Or they may encourage you to eat things that you are clearly trying to avoid. And whether you are able to resist the temptation or not, you wonder, “Why would my loved one sabotage my weight loss efforts?”. It can be very frustrating.
Why do family and friends sabotage?
I think there are a couple reasons why our loved ones and friends sabotage our weight loss efforts.
First, I think that perhaps they don’t fully understand how serious you are about changing your lifestyle. Perhaps they have seen you not stick with diets in the past. Or maybe they have seen you lose weight only to gain it back. So it is understandable it may be difficult for them to take you seriously. This can be very frustrated, especially if you are 100% committed to losing weight this time. All you can do is just keep your commitment to yourself and be patient with your family.
Trust that they will see your commitment and turn into an encourager rather than a saboteur. You may want to consider sitting down and having a serious conversation with your loved one. Let them know how important it is to you that they support you with your weight loss efforts. But if you can’t win their support, you need to keep pushing yourself. Don’t let their lack of encouragement give you an excuse to quit.
Show them you mean business by not only losing the weight but by keeping it off. People often expect weight loss to be temporary as many people yo-yo. I know even now, 4 years later, people make comments like, “Wow! I can’t believe you are still thin”.
Another reason why people might sabotage your weight loss efforts is simply that they don’t think. For example, last Christmas my son got me a huge box of imported milk chocolates. He knows I am not eating sugar and he loves seeing me healthy. He really just wanted to surprise me. But, obviously I didn’t want chocolates in my house as a temptation and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings either. So what I did was quietly gave the chocolates to my sister in law who was having a New Years Eve Party. She put them on a platter and they were a huge hit.
My point is that my son would never intentionally try to sabotage my efforts. He simply wanted to give me something that he thought I would love. And the old me would have loved the chocolates.
Another reason to sabotage weight loss is that misery loves company. Unhealthy people enjoy having company when they eat out and make unhealthy choices. When you decide to change, they feel threatened and may even worry they will lose you. They may worry that the one thing that was important between you was food. Now that you are eating differently than them, they may worry that the relationship will be different.
If you have a saboteur in your life, please try to be patient and understand they are responding out of their own fear. All you can do is reassure them that you are still you. You are just turning into a smaller physical person.
Why do we self-sabotage our own weight loss?
I think the biggest reason we self-sabotage is that it takes a while to get used to eating a different way. Actually, I just read that a group of students at the University College London did some research and now believe that it takes the average person 66 days to create a habit rather than the 21 one days that many think. You can read the article below.
The point is, if you are 50 years old and switching to a healthy low carb lifestyle, it will take a while to get used to the changes. And those changes are not only related to the food you eat but also the relationship with food. If you have been thinking one way, it will take a while to change your thoughts.
Another reason we self-sabotage weight loss is that we are fearful of success. Change is always scary even if it is a positive change. When we are overweight it is easy to hide our feelings and emotions within. Being in a new body can be very scary. If you lose weight and get healthy, your entire outlook on life may change. It is scary but worth it.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you may be self-sabotaging your diet and not even be aware of it. I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. For example, let’s say you are trying to change how you eat, yet you end up binging on ice cream at bedtime. Then you ask yourself, “Why did I do that?”. It is frustrating.
But realizing that your crazy mind will play tricks on you will help you can take steps to change your thinking.
Recommended Reading on Self-Sabotage