How to beat the diet saboteurs

iStock_000017866043SmallWhether it’s your best friend, your mum, a colleague or your other half, when it comes to their attitude to your weight loss, all may have a hidden agenda and want you to stay your cuddly old self!

According to Dr David L Katz of Yale University School of Medicine, sooner or later most dieters find themselves in ‘a toxic nutritional environment’, with people trying to throw them off course. The reason? Insecurity, says Dr Katz. “If I am fat and you go on a diet, you put me in the uncomfortable position of feeling bad about my own weight,” he says. Or it could be sexual insecurity – as you get thinner, your partner may think you’ll want to find someone else. And work colleagues may start to feel competitive. “If you’re succeeding at something, even losing weight, it makes them look less successful,” says the good doctor.

So here are some top tips about what to do when those saboteurs try to undermine your dieting efforts:

Your best friend says: “Oh go on, one piece of my lemon drizzle cake won’t hurt you…”

She means: “I’m having a piece, and I’m not having you make me feel greedy and guilty!”

What to say: “No, it won’t hurt me and it won’t hurt you to have a piece either. But I’m doing really well on this diet, so I’m going to stick to my guns. And your support really would mean so much to me.”


Your mum says: “But why bother? You never stick to a diet for more than five minutes!”

She means: “Oh, here we go again… mind you, she might just do it this time. And what will I do without my cuddly little girl?”

What to say: “Well, there’s always a first time! Come on Mum – let’s see if I can succeed. And I’ll still be the same old me – just smaller!”


You sister says: “But you’re lovely the way you are!”

She means: Precisely that. And she’s scared that you’ll change!

What to say: “Thanks for that. But, you know, I’m not as happy or healthy as I could be, and I think you’ll agree that it’s best if that changed.”


Your colleagues say: “Well, we’re going for a pizza for Janet’s birthday. But you’re on a diet, so we’ll see you later.”

They mean: “You’re on a diet, we feel threatened, we’re going to make you feel like an outsider.”

What to say: “Oh, that’s fine! I’ll just have a sandwich and get some exercise with a walk.”


Your doom-and-gloom brother-in-law says: “Did you know over 90 per cent of dieters can’t keep the weight off?”

He means: “Well, I’m miserable and have no motivation. So I’m taking you down with me.”

What to say: “Hey, I’ll be the 10 per cent that does!”


Your husband/partner says: “Good grief – you’re the incredible vanishing woman! Aren’t you losing too much, too fast?”

He means: “You look great, but I haven’t had time to adjust. I’m scared I might lose you!”

What to say: “I’m losing at a healthy rate, but thanks for worrying about me (hug). I’m so lucky to have a lovely husband like you. And I’m not the incredible vanishing woman – I’ve no intention of going anywhere!”

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