Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

Foil Your Friendly Diet Foes

7 strategies to help your diet survive temptations from not-so-supportive friends and loved ones
By
WebMD Feature

You've decided to turn over a new leaf and you're telling everyone about it. You announce proudly that you're committed to your new diet and exercise routines. Your best friend catches your enthusiasm, and suggests you take an aerobics class together.

But not everyone is so supportive. During the family dinner, your mother keeps pressuring you to have some of her homemade desserts, which have always been your weakness. When you ask her to stop, she says you shouldn't deprive yourself.

You can almost hear the buttons being pushed. Something about announcing your intentions to start making healthy choices about diet and exercise seems to bring out both the best and the worst in family members and friends.

As a nutrition specialist for Kaiser Permanente Department of Health Education Services, Bob Wilson has heard it all. He's also lived it: He's lost 250 pounds and kept it off for 30 years.

"Support for positive changes increases the likelihood of it happening," he says. "But people have an image of us, and some will resist our changing."

Some friends and family members, he says, may fear that if you change your habits, YOU will change. Or your new healthy ways may make them feel guilty about their own fitness foibles. Further, food sometimes helps to define relationships with the friend you meet for lattes on weekend mornings, the spouse who shares chips with you on the couch, the mother whose goodies you've always had a soft spot for.

So what should we do to gain the support we need? Here are some tips from Wilson and other experts.

1. Don't make food the focus

First off, Wilson advises renegotiating relationships that revolve around food.

"My grandmother used to fry a pound of bacon and a dozen eggs for me, give me half-gallons of ice cream, and we'd go to all-you-can-eat restaurants together," he tells WebMD. "When I told her I was committed to losing weight, I suggested exploring new ways we could connect.

We found that we both like gardening and going for walks, so that's what we did. She became willing to show that she loved me without using food."

2. Look for support in the right places

Further, experts say, you shouldn't set yourself up by looking for support in the wrong places. Remember that people do things for their own reasons, not for your reasons.

Maybe you have a mental image of your spouse going for walks with you in the evening, like other couples you've seen. He has a right to say "No," and you have a right to do what will make you fit. Walk with a neighbor, take an aerobics class or hire a personal trainer.

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
Woman trying clothes / dress
Assessment
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections