The other day a member shared her weight loss challenge with the group. She said that there are people, 2 in particular, in her life that are making her mad. We understood her frustration. She described scenarios that are too familiar. There was almost nobody in the meeting who didn’t have a similar frustration.
Losing weight is no picnic. It’s the opposite. It’s doing the hard work, the heavy lifting so to speak, while everybody else is kicking back enjoying life. That’s okay. We accept that and are willing to do the work. It makes us mad when we are doing our best and we have people who also seem to be doing their best to try to stop us from getting to goal.
Here is her story. Yours may be similar.
Be a martyr
I am reducing my weight and that means I’m reducing my calories. A lot of the foods I normally eat and love I cut back on or for a while, I’m avoiding them altogether. It’s not easy but I’m so determined and dedicated to my goal that I’m doing it and I’m not expecting anybody else to cut back just because I am.
Why, then, does the jerk I married decide it’s his spousal duty to “help me” lose weight? Actually most of the time he’s not a jerk, just when it comes to my diet. We eat a nice meal that I prepared that’s actually a huge improvement over when I’m not on a diet. Instead of heating up a frozen pizza, I make a recipe for grilled chicken that he loves. I serve it with a big, fresh salad and grilled root vegetables.
It’s 100 percent better than the normal, no thought, last minute kind of stuff we usually have for dinner, but that doesn’t matter. After he stuffs himself he says, “I’d love a bowl of ice cream for dessert, but I won’t buy ice cream because I know you can’t have it.”
“It would be wrong to eat ice cream in front of you when you’re dieting. I will give up ice cream for you, honey. I’m not going to tempt you by eating ice cream in front of you or even having it in the house.”
He’s going on about ice cream and I’m getting angrier every time he says ice cream. I’m not angry because all of his talk about ice cream is making me crave it. I’m mad because who the hell ever asked him to deprive himself of his precious ice cream?
I want to knock the halo off his blessed head and wipe the superior expression from his clueless face. I am perfectly capable of having ice cream in the house without scooping myself a bowlful. If I wanted ice cream I’m also capable of treating myself to a little ice cream without “blowing my diet.”
While he’s going on about his selfless sacrifice I’d like to remind him that I never demanded nor even asked nicely that he stop buying his precious ice cream. I don’t care if he eats it in front of me. He can eat chips, pizza, cookies, cake, and candy in front of me too. I am responsible for supporting my own weight loss efforts. I never asked him to give up anything and I’m angry that he’s trying to position himself as the martyr.
What’s this? I’ve worked with this woman for 3 years and she’s never had a bowl of candy on her desk. Why now, that I’m successfully losing weight does she have to fill a bowl with the new and delicious caramel m&m candies?
That’s not all she’s doing. She started bringing in cupcakes and leaving them in the break room with “help yourself” notes. If it’s not cupcakes, it’s a pie. Again, this is another new behavior that can only mean one thing. She’s trying to get me to eat this stuff but for what reason, I can’t be sure.
If she were overweight, and my weight loss threatened her, I would understand her not-so-subtle attempts to push food on me. She’s slim; she’s slimmer than I’ll ever be even when I get to goal. My losing weight isn’t going to affect her. She will always look better than I ever will.
Maybe she really feels sorry for me. I am brown-bagging my lunch most days. We used to enjoy eating lunch together at the deli. After I eat my lunch I go for a walk. I know it’s changed the routine we used to have at noon, but this is important to me. The truth is, I like my new routine. I’m eating well, saving money, and the walk is a great way to relieve the stress of my job.
I get it; she misses our old routine, but if she’s trying to make me give up and go back to old ways it’s just making me mad. I’m not sure that’s what’s going on with her, but I really resent the food pushing. She has even followed me into the break room and said, “Have a cupcake. I won’t tell anybody you cheated on your diet.”
Losing weight isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I established a habit a long time ago of eating to assuage my anger. Now I am getting angry and I don’t want to go back into my old “eat until I’m over it” habit. I guess I should thank these people who are making me mad for forcing me to find new ways to handle my anger.
What would or do you do when you have unsupportive people trying to throw up roadblocks to stop you from getting to goal?