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What If You Are Sabotaging Yourself?

The first step in dealing with diet sabotage, Spangle says, is to recognize it. Your saboteur may want to guard the status quo, keep you under control, or prevent your leaving to find a new life with your new body.

The dieter, too, may be finding power in the status quo and talk him or herself out of dieting. The unknown is always scary. Women, especially, may have self-esteem issues and think they don't deserve to be thin. They need to become braver to shed the cloak of fat that keeps others from seeing them or wanting them.

"Sometimes," Spangle says, "working with a life coach can help the dieter discover how to build strength of this kind."

How to Deal With Diet Saboteurs

"Women tend to take things personally," says Trish Ryan, fitness coach and co-owner of the Bodyworks Group Exercise Studio in Hanover, Massachusetts. "It's harder for women to stick in their heels and say, 'No, I am not drinking wine every day anymore.'"

"Let's face it," Katz says, "we live in a society where we ostracize obesity, even though many people are obese. This makes us reluctant to talk about these issues openly.

"The first thing I tell people is being fat is not their fault," Katz continues. "It's like a polar bear trying to stay cool in the desert. We don't have the body mechanisms to deal with the society in which we find ourselves."

Katz emphasizes that it's OK to spit it out, so to speak. Say, "Mom, I know I am overweight. It doesn't make me a bad person. But I need your help. When I come over, you need to cook more veggies or lean meat."

To a husband, say right out: "Honey, I love you. We have been together 15 years. I am not going anywhere. You are my best friend and I need your help and understanding." (This may or may not be the time to say, "You could afford to drop a few, too.")

To co-workers, you can say, "I am still the same person I always was, but I am carrying excess body weight and want to get rid of it. I won't succeed if you don't help."

If someone persists in offering food, say, "It looks great. Maybe later." Make sure later never comes. They won't notice.

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