Your friendships can be your secret weapon when it comes to being happier, fitter and more motivated.
But sometimes it doesn't feel like that.
When you’re offered that second slice of cake (or glass of wine), it can feel like people close to you are conspiring to sabotage your weight loss efforts. WW magazine’s psychologist Honey Langcaster-James reveals how to recognise people’s good intentions and help those close to you support your new healthy habits.
1. Team temptation
These are the fun colleagues who are forever suggesting team lunches and office bake-offs. Pressure from a group can be hard to resist, since you don’t want to alienate yourself from the team. It’s always someone’s birthday or leaving do, so your best intentions can easily get left by the office door. And if you’re at work every day, that can add up to a lot of extra calories.
‘Tell yourself that while the workplace is filled with temptation, it’s still manageable – you just need helpful strategies in place,’ says Honey. ‘Put reminders of your goal and intentions around your desk, and share these with colleagues so that they feel part of your journey and success. If you can’t get them on board, be overt and say: “I’m not coming to lunch today because I’m following a plan and I’m really serious about it.”’
2. The friendly feeder
This friend or relative may not be involved in your weight loss journey and so choosing healthy foods isn’t something she particularly thinks about. She brings delicious treats when she visits because she wants you to enjoy yourself and she loves having fun with you. You may feel awkward refusing, so sometimes you end up slipping and then secretly resenting her. Remember, though, this is most likely because she doesn’t want your relationship to change.
‘Let your friend know as assertively as you can that she’s not helping,’ says Honey. ‘Starting with “You’re such a good friend, and I know you don’t realise, but...” should work. While it may take time for her to get used to the new you, that mustn’t stop you pursuing your goal! Be clear that you would like her to stop offering you things you are avoiding, and don’t feel obliged to accept treats.’
3. Your (secretly vulnerable) partner
You’re normally a great team, and while he or she says you look more amazing every day (and yes, you do!), they may change the subject when you talk about your new healthy lifestyle, or joke about how you’re going to trade them in for a ‘better model’. You may feel secretly disappointed that you don’t seem to have their full support. And their neediness may also make them seem a little unattractive – the very outcome they fear!
‘Try to imagine how you’d feel in your partner’s shoes,’ says Honey. ‘Imagine how they’d be acting if they knew they wouldn’t lose you. So, reassure them that although you are changing, you are not going to end the relationship or look elsewhere. Explain that it’s about you, not about a desire to change other aspects of your life, but don’t give in or go off track to keep them happy.’