Are Your Relationships Making You Fat?
5 strategies for dealing with non-dieting loved ones
4. Share the Health
While traditional "diet" foods may not sound appealing to your
partner or family, experts say you can often make the foods that everyone
craves in a more healthful and calorie-conscious way. This not only benefits
you, but everyone you share meals with.
The trick is to learn the art of ingredient substitution.
"Use unflavored, no-fat yogurt in place of mayonnaise in coleslaw or
salad dressing, always use skim milk instead of whole milk, make lasagna with
low-fat cheese instead of whole milk-cheese," says Mezansky. "If you
make the changes gradually over a few weeks' time, your family may not even
notice the difference."
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
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.