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.