In a small study conducted by Lynsey K. Romo of North Carolina State University, the negative stigma facing people who are losing or have lost weight is more common than we realize. Forty people (21 women and 19 men) who’ve lost a significant amount of weight have reported that at least one person they know tried to undermine or belittle their weight loss goals.
When a person within a social group chooses to make a lifestyle change, others can sometimes feel a sense of insecurity and attempts to persuade the “changer” to “change back.”
You may have experienced a similar situation. It can be subtle - a sarcastic comment or an eye-roll. In some cases, drastic - by creating an environment that runs counter to what you are trying to accomplish. Listed below are 10 signs of sabotages that can distract your weight loss efforts:
10. Giving your body more attention. When the weight loss becomes noticeable, family and friends may constantly bring up your new shape. If this makes you uncomfortable, shift the attention from your body to your health.
9. Questioning your weight. Being asked about how much you weigh (even if you’ve lost weight) can sometimes make one feel a bit self-conscious. If you are uncomfortable giving out the number on the scale, stress the fact that good health is more important than focusing on weight.
8. Undermining the importance of physical activity. Your lifestyle change requires you to spend time being active, whether it is gardening or working out, but that may mean spending less time with friends and family. If they are feeling left out, try to arrange active dates with them, such as walks or bike rides.
7. Ignoring your progress. Healthy weight loss comes slowly, and it can be frustrating when others don't notice that your jeans aren't as snug, or that you're not as tired when you climb the stairs. Remain positive by focusing on those small changes in your body and in the way you feel.
6. Giving guilt. Unfortunately, some people may be intimidated by your weight loss and will try to make you feel guilty about it by saying that you're losing too much weight. Just assure them that you are the same person you have always been, and treat them the same way you always have.
5. Negative feedback. It can be difficult to stay confident when someone tells you that you can't lose weight. While you cannot control what others say, you cannot control how it affects you either. A person’s opinions can have power over you - only if you allow it.
4. Advice-giving. Others will tell you how they lost weight, about the grapefruit diet they are on, and how the only thing that got the pounds off was a 2-hour spinning class five days a week. Grapefruits does aid in weight loss just as spinning burns calories, but their continual advice is as annoying as your mother telling you how to decorate your house. Explain that everyone’s energy needs are different, and the program you’re on is what works best for you.
3. Food policing. You reach for dessert after dinner only to encounter raised eyebrows. Such a judgmental attitude would encourage you to retaliate by eating even more. Remind others that you’ve made a lifestyle change, which is not the same as a strict diet; which includes dessert once in a while.
2. Food pushing. This is when someone not only eats in front of you, but insist that you have some as well. “It’s just a bite,” they say. Prepare with a plan, says Joyce Hannah, coordinator of the Health and Fitness Assessment Program at Stanford University. Think through what you're going to say ahead of time such as, “No thank you, I am trying to eat healthier,” and practice saying it in front of a mirror.
The number one sabotage that can distract weight-loss is:
1. Snacking in front of you. Simply watching someone eat could trigger unplanned eating. Staying focused on your weight loss goals may keep you from giving in. If you really can't take it, walk away.
Valerie lives in New York. As a health advocate, she shares tips and steps on maximizing nutrition, weight, and fitness goals to help others embrace a healthier lifestyle. She blogs at Halfmile Fitness.