One of the keys to successful fat loss is having a sound nutrition plan in place. Without one, your dieting attempts will fail.
However, a sound nutrition plan on its own does not guarantee you success either.
You can have Thee Diet Guru himself give you a nutrition program to follow, but without the correct approach then you will inevitably fail also.
To find the right approach that works for you, you must first lay the foundations. The actual food part is simply the icing on the cake.
The people you associate yourself with can either provide you with a stable foundation upon which to build your diet or else lead you up a rocky road to, ermmm, eating rocky roads in an attempt to sabotage your efforts.
These people can be the making or breaking of your fat loss efforts.
One way to adopt a positive approach is it to find a social support group. Surround yourself with those on the same fat loss mission as you.
Psychological research has found that people can accomplish great things with a positive social support system. If you surround yourself with people who eat well and exercise, you are more likely to do the same.
A group approach can be hugely beneficial, at least in the short-term, while you are coming to grips with establishing new behaviours around food and new eating habits. Recruiting family and friends in your fat loss efforts may also help to keep the weight off in the long-term.
Within your group, you can share recipes, meal and snack ideas, daily tips about what works for you, or even just offer an encouraging “you can do this” and the odd fist pump to keep morale and enthusiasm from dipping.
Being accountable to another person may also be the missing critical factor in your fat loss efforts. Taking personal responsibility for your own actions is of course still important, but sometimes it may not be enough.
Find a friend who has the same goals as you or just one that can hold you accountable. For example, sporadically get them to check your shopping receipts when you least expect it!
Having someone else to monitor your progress may help to prevent motivation from fizzling out and from you falling back into old habits. Being held accountable can help renew motivation day in day out and help you stay focused on your goals.
Likewise, for every person you have supporting your goals, you will also have those who may not want to see you succeed.
Dieting saboteurs, whether it is intentional or not, can prove to be a major obstacle and prevent you from reaching your goals.
Mrs. Doyle, with Cake
A dieting saboteur is synonymous to Mrs. Doyle, except they are armed with cake. Their efforts may be conscious or subconscious, blatant or subtle, but either way they still make your already difficult dieting efforts even more challenging because of a perceived threat your efforts pose to them.
Be it their integrity, their sense of self, or their way of life, saboteurs feel threatened and will do almost anything in their power to decrease your chance of dieting success. The sabotage can take on forms such as jealousy, ignorance, scepticism and superiority.
Do you have an overweight co-worker who always brings in cake, bags of sweets, or packet of biscuits to share around the office and wafts them under your nose? Perhaps she is secretly jealous of your dieting efforts because she knows she should be following suit.
What about your housemate who constantly offers you biscuits with your tea? "Ah go on, have one, just one, are you sure now, ah you will". If you have a weight problem, then chances are you are also an emotional eater, and will find it hard to say no when the biscuits are passed around. Even if you do manage to say no you will have wanted to say yes.
On the other hand there will be those who have no interest in the biscuits. These types are the ignorant saboteurs - they simply cannot understand how difficult it is to refuse food, which is extremely frustrating to those of us that have an inability to resist food.
What about your partner who dismisses your weight loss efforts and says you shouldn’t have let yourself go in the first place? Or says that you looked fine and didn’t need to lose weight. Sceptic saboteurs will undermine your efforts and are unlikely to offer any support. They want you to feel bad about yourself, so they can feel better about themselves. Or perhaps they feel you may become more attractive to others, which could take your attention away from them.
What about your friend who has previously lost weight and constantly compares your efforts and approach to theirs? The superior saboteur may disguise their sabotaging attempts as well-meaning help, yet underneath they are looking for an audience and do not want the spotlight of success moved away from them.
Whichever type of saboteurs you have to deal with, they can all cause havoc with your fat loss efforts, ruin your good intentions, and without you even realising it you will slowly give up on your diet.
So you must learn to recognise these actions of others and more importantly know how to deal with it so you are not at a disadvantage with your diet.
If you feel they will listen, then talk to them. Explain to the saboteur what it is like to struggle with your weight and that wafting freshly baked apple pie under your nose is unhelpful.
Tell them you are trying to eat healthily and that you would prefer if they didn’t offer you anything. It may also help to have some snacks at hand that are conducive towards your goals when such temptations do arise.
Avoid the guilt trip they may also lay on. Trying to make you feel bad by refusing the food is just another ploy. If they really insist on not taking no for an answer then politely take the food, tell them you will eat it later, then either bin it or give it to someone else who will eat it.
Finally, don’t let it get to you, or let paranoia take over. Not everyone will be out to sabotage your efforts, but just be ready for the ones that are.
Thanks for reading,
Karen, your local Nut Coach
[As published in The Herald on 9th March 2015 as part of my weekly nutrition column - Look Good Feel Good]