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Sometimes the people in your life can undermine your best get-healthy efforts. Here, how to turn saboteurs into supporters
Obstacle #1: The Former Partner in Crime
Remember that friend who was always up for splitting an entire pizza with the â€œoldâ€ you? She can be your new dietâ€™s worst enemy. â€œWhen you change your habits, your loved ones might feel like life would be easier if you stayed the same,â€ says Marlene Lesson, nutrition director at Structure House, a residential weight-loss facility in Durham, N.C.
To help them adjust, find things you can do together that donâ€™t involve eating â€” for example, go for a walk around the neighborhood instead of chatting over pastries or sitting down to watch TV with a carton of ice cream. Enlist these people in your makeover process so they feel less threatened by the change: Ask them to help you clear out the junk food in the cabinets; join a local gym together; or find a recipe on foodfit.com and make a healthy meal that you can share.
Obstacle #2: The Bad Influence
Everyone knows someone who can eat anything she wants without gaining a pound. So how can you spend time with her and stick to your diet? Go into the risky situation with a plan firmly in place, says Julia Havey, author of The Vice-Busting Diet. â€œYou can say no to the hamburger and order a salad without going into martyr mode if youâ€™ve prepared ahead of time,â€ she explains. â€œYou donâ€™t need to make her feel uncomfortable about her food choices, but you can feel good about your own selections.â€
Obstacle #3: The Food Pusher
Whether itâ€™s a doughnut-toting co-worker or an aunt who is always trying to make you take seconds, some people refuse to take â€œnoâ€ for an answer. â€œWhen you say, â€˜Iâ€™m on a diet,â€™ you open up a dialogue for others to offer their opinion,â€ says Havey.
Instead, she advises keeping quiet: â€œDonâ€™t announce to the world that youâ€™re dieting. If you feel pressured to take a doughnut, you can throw it away when you get to your desk or just excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.â€ Being an active participant can help, too. â€œIf youâ€™re passing out the food and clearing the plates, no one will notice that youâ€™re not eating,â€ she notes.
Obstacle #4: The Questioner
Your husband might think heâ€™s being helpful when he asks, â€œShould you be eating that cookie?â€ But for many dieters, such â€œsupportâ€ makes them want to eat even more!
â€œExplain that you appreciate his efforts, but hearing such â€˜shouldâ€™ talk is frustrating,â€ says Lesson. â€œGive him some different ways that he can be helpful, such as watching the kids while you go for a walk or agreeing to make the swap from regular soda to diet.â€