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Are Your Relationships Making You Fat?

5 strategies for dealing with non-dieting loved ones

4. Share the Health continued...

Creating a low-calorie shopping list will also help.

"If you get them used to baked chips instead of fried chips, popcorn instead of cheese doodles, diet soda instead of regular soda, you will be helping everyone -- and if you are tempted to snack, you'll be controlling at least some of the calories and fat," says Mezansky.

But what if you're not the one cooking the meals or doing the shopping?

Anytime you're served high-calorie foods, experts say, eat a little of the most calorie-dense dishes (like lasagna or pizza), and fill the rest of your plate with salad and vegetables. Be sure to skip the high-calorie accoutrements like garlic bread or gravy. The same strategy works when your best friend insists on taking you to lunch at Calorie City.

"If there are only high-calorie foods on the menu, ask your friend to split an entree with you so at least you're eating less," says Restuccia. And insist that next time, you get to pick the restaurant. Then choose one where you know you can order something healthy.

5. Be Reassuring

For some, seeing and smelling forbidden foods can be the ultimate seduction. For others, it matters not so much what their partners eat as what they say.

This is especially true when a loved one hands over that box of chocolates while saying things like, "I like you plump" or, "You're sexier when you're heavy." Experts say such words can often send a dieter over the edge. "Something many overweight people share in common is low self-esteem, and when you already believe you're undesirable, hearing that losing weight will make you even more undesirable can make dieting very difficult," Restuccia tells WebMD.

What should you do if this happens? First, Goodstein says, try to get the bottom of why your partner feels this way. You may find it's really their fears and not their desires they're expressing, he says.

"When one partner begins to lose weight and improve their appearance, the other may feel threatened or scared that this new attractive person won't want them anymore," says Goodstein.

By encouraging the dieter to remain overweight, the partner can exert a form of control -- or at least ensure that the one with the "new" body is less likely to stray.

To get around it, he says, lovingly reassure your partner that your weight loss goals are driven by health, not vanity, and that losing those extra pounds will help ensure a better future for both of you.

"Make certain to explain the serious health risks involved in being overweight, and assure them that sticking to your diet is one way to ensure that you'll be around longer to share the future together," says Mezansky.

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