Nutritionist Claire Turnbull explains the strange truth behind this behaviour.
I hate to break this to you, but someone you know may be sabotaging your health and wellness journey!
This isn’t necessarily deliberate, but I’m really sorry to tell you that it’s incredibly common to find out that someone you know — who’s often someone you know very well — is making it hard for you to stick to your health goals.
How often do you hear these kinds of comments?
“Go on — one slice of cake won’t hurt you!”
“Shall we grab a coffee and maybe a muffin? We deserve to treat ourselves!”
“I’ve just baked your favourite biscuits; you just have to have one.”
“I’ll bring home some chocolate — I think we need it after today!”
These types of remarks can make you feel as if you’re being pulled away from your goals rather than being helped towards them, can’t they?
It’s a terrible truth, but some people, particularly women, tend to undermine others’ weight-loss goals or success. And if you’re really honest with yourself, you may realise you’ve done this to someone yourself.
Why does this happen?
Although the ‘offenders’ can be colleagues, friends or even your partner, they aren’t horrible people — they just find it awfully difficult to watch you successfully lose weight when they haven’t reached the point at which they can do it themselves.
As a result, these people will try, subconsciously and without any malice, to sabotage your weight-loss efforts, expose your weaknesses and encourage you to go off track — simply to make themselves feel better because they’re not ready to change.
At other times, someone says, “I really feel like a glass of wine, but I can’t have one if you’re not drinking”. Sound familiar? Many people feel uncomfortable about having food or drinks they think of as ‘naughty’, or they refuse to indulge in a treat on their own, because doing so makes them feel guilty. Bear in mind that if you join in, you’re only relieving them of their own guilt.
Save your goals from sabotage!
Now, before you dump your best friend or file for divorce, remember that a lot of this stems from the subconscious. They aren’t trying to hurt you; they just haven’t dealt with their own issues, and as harsh as this is going to sound, it’s their problem — not yours.
So what you can do? First, work on your own relationship with food, and establish habits that will help you reach your goals. It’s certainly not your job to alleviate other people’s guilt by damaging your own health; you won’t help anyone.
Ideally, food shouldn’t be a source of guilt. You should be able to enjoy small amounts of wine, cake and chocolate on occasion — and to really enjoy them. So start disregarding the notion that food is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, because when you decide that no food is banned from your diet, you remove its hold over you.