Weight loss tips: Five ways we sabotage each other

March 5, 2014 - Psychology


During your weight loss journey there may be times when others try to undermine your hard work and tempt you to stray from your path. Similarly, if you’ve strayed, there could be a tendency to encourage others to do the same.

Achieving your weight loss goals is easier when you have a supportive community by your side to help you through the good and bad days. Unfortunately, when you’re with friends, family or work colleagues, there might be one critical, or persuasive voice that seeks to undermine all your hard work. Arm yourself with these quick-fire comebacks to combat those sneaky saboteurs. And if you are the saboteur, try to recognise the signs and stop yourself.

‘You have to eat this cake, it’s my birthday’
Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation that attempts to force you into doing something you may not want to do. You may feel threatened or worried about falling out with someone if you refuse. It’s important to be firm in this type of situation and make it clear that this is a long-term goal you are working towards; ‘if I stick to this now and get healthier, I’ll be around to celebrate more of your birthdays in future’. Most importantly, say it with a smile to show that their threats don’t have an impact on you.

‘You’ve already broken your diet, now have just have one more’
Sweet treat peddlers can be difficult to manage, as sharing a sugary treat seems kind and we feel rude to refuse. If you are making an effort to lose weight though, ‘just one more’ isn’t helpful to you. Even if you have succumbed to ‘just one biscuit’, that doesn’t mean you then have to finish the packet. Explain to them how well you’ve been doing with your weight loss and why it’s important to you and they’ll see that your refusal is grounded in committed reasoning.

‘Stop bragging, you’re not that thin’
When you start seeing results, you’ll want to shout about it. Sharing your weight loss achievements is all part of encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Those who respond with callous criticism may be jealous, or just pure ignorance. Feel comforted that you’ve made a change for the better. Remember, it isn’t ‘bragging about being thin,’ but making a lifestyle choice that will elongate your life, while improving your happiness and wellbeing. It might help to share any hurtful criticism with your LighterLife group, or trusted friend to put it in perspective.

‘I think you’re too skinny’
Passive aggressive comments such as this can be tense to navigate. Be aware that outsiders can use these phrases to flatter, but it can have the opposite effect. Deal with it head-on, armed with the evidence; ‘actually, I had an unhealthy BMI and now it’s healthy. This is good for me’. You can’t argue with the facts.

‘You’re self obsessed’
The cry of the intimidated, the ‘self-obsessed card,’ is played when others feel threatened, uncertain, or simply spy an opportunity to put you down. Gently explain that you have adjusted your lifestyle to achieve a healthier, fitter future, and that body and mind dedication is imperative. Surround yourself with people who understand your situation, who won’t be tempted to shame you or your motives.

LighterLife weight loss groups are designed to help you lose weight in a friendly and sympathetic environment. Everyone is in the same boat, and many of our counsellors have been on the programme themselves, so we really understand what it takes to get there. If you’d like more information about LighterLife groups, check out