Helping Friends Help Me

Several comments on my post about Food Pushers reminded me of some of the best strategies I’ve employed: I don’t often encounter Food Pushers because from day 1 of my weight management efforts I’ve always been upfront with all the people in my life that I won’t be coerced, and that I will be managing my weight and health strictly. All of my friends and most of my coworkers understand and are supportive of my efforts because they know what I’m doing and what I’m up against. In fact, when I started my push to lose the last 100 pounds, I sent an email to everybody on my team at work to explain that I was going to be starting a very strict food program, that I intended to lose a significant amount of weight, and therefore I would appreciate their support. The response was overwhelmingly positive and supportive – people really do want to be helpful when they’re given the chance. By and large, my friends don’t push food on me. They even regularly suggest activities that aren’t food based – going for a hike or a bike ride – instead of going out to dinner.

I needed to make the choice to bring them all into my confidence, even though I tend to be a very private and introverted person, and sharing sensitive matters can be scary. I’ve also found that seeking out eating companions who share the same goals is a worthwhile effort. I know from experience that the times in my life when everybody around me was eating too much and making poor choices, I found it was hard to hold myself aloof, it was easier to think, “But Jane is having a frosty margarita and enchiladas, it can’t be that bad a choice…” The habits of friends and eating companions can be contagious. So when everybody is aware and making the right choices, following the same path is easier.

My husband and I were recently discussing the “dieting + partner matrix.” Basically, I can diet if I’m single – it’s easy because there’s nobody urging food on me and I can control my environment. I can diet if my partner is also dieting, motivated and supportive. I can diet if my partner isn’t dieting but is very supportive, but I can not succeed if my partner is not dieting and is not supportive. I think this also extends to friends – if your friends and the people you spend your time with are supportive and encouraging you will have a better chance to succeed, but if they sabotage your efforts, on purpose or through thoughtlessness, the job is monumental.


4 Responses to “Helping Friends Help Me”

  1. lisalys Says:

    It’s true, people can be amazingly supportive when you give them the chance. Everybody at Monday night sewing got in the habit of descibing everything they ate, no matter what, as “covered in coconut”. :-> And my roommate rejoined WW the day I started the program. We cleaned out the fridge and the cupboards together, and then she only brought in food she knew I wasn’t going to touch. It definitely made things easier!

  2. Mrs. D Says:

    I agree that having a supportive spouse is almost necessary. My husband’s support comes and goes, and it really does make things a lot harder. I think it’s great you’re able to do this together!

    • Laina Says:

      I think my husband’s support comes and goes as well – he doesn’t NEED to be managing his weight all the time like I do, so sometimes he gets “diet fatigue” where he just wants to go out and eat hot dogs and I think there’s a frustration on his part that I’m NEVER going to be on board with that – I can’t just put weight management down and do something else whenever I’m bored with it. It definitely makes it harder, and I have to be a lot stronger when he’s getting to that point. It’s a constant negotiation, especially since he’s a great cook and wants to cook everything but I certainly can’t eat everything.

  3. Michelle Says:

    It helps when your coworkers eat healthy alongside you. I share an office with someone and she is such an incredibly healthy eater and so it motivates me to be the same or at least try to keep up with her. What I’ve found is that I do well the 4-5 days I am at work by packing my lunch and having healthy snacks, a good eating partner, and walking partner too.

    At home, I slack more on the weekends as my husband and kids don’t always want to eat in the same way that I do. Sometimes I am persuaded by what they are eating and sometimes I am strong enough to make my own thing and not be tempted.

    Ultimately, however, if you have a goal in mind and that is to lose weight, you have to be strong and not give into the temptation that may be around you. You know what’s healthy and what’s right and what works so stick to it as much as possible, even when faced with cookies or cakes that may be in the perimeter!

    Good luck all!

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