Eating Psychology

Outta My Face With That Cupcake!

woman holding a pie flipping the bird

Friends, family, and lovers sure can be hell on our diets.

Why? I don’t know, so I a wrote this post to shake out some answers. I started by asking a bunch of friends and family about their thoughts on sabotage by loved ones. Then I did a bit of research. Here are the more common answers:

They equate food with affection/happiness/togetherness/etc.

We base our lives around food. Weddings, birthdays, dates, holidays…and most other days. Eating and thinking about eating takes up an insane amount of our mental energy. It’s so pervasive that hardly anyone even thinks about the stranglehold eating has on us. I sure didn’t until I went on an intermittent fasting kick a few summers ago and realized how much of my life was structured around meals.

And what happens when you first start cleaning up your eating? People will gang up on you, piling on the social pressure as if you single handedly want to destroy Tradition Itself. They will get sad and offended when you turn down a plate of shitty white cake at the office party. Or pass on the fried appetizers. Or skip the pitchers of beer after bowling league and stuff. Like, no one has the right to act dejected because a houseguest simply does not have room for pie after Easter dinner.

But they will.

Guess what though? Pass on the pie and ice cream and yeah, family might give you a little crap…at first.

Truth is, making a healthy choice is damn inspiring to the people around you. They start coming up talking about how they want to quit this bad habit or that one. Or they are the ones passing up dessert at the next holiday hangout. People are crazy. Watch and see.

They were raised this way

baby playing with a messy chocolate cupcake

Most of us learn how to eat from our caretakers. Schools don’t teach nutrition and healthful balanced eating isn’t exactly intuitive. So we carry on the preferences of our parents. This can be good or bad but it’s usually bad. Why? Because your average shopper has faith in dietary ridiculousness like the food pyramid. Or believes that yes, Pop-Tarts are part of a balanced breakfast. School lunches are mostly trash, take-out food equals colon cancer, and sugar may be more addictive than heroin.

It is a vicious cycle with no one to blame.

So what is the solution?

Food education.

Learning to eat right is pretty dang easy and so worth it as millions and millions of people suffer from obesity and numerous food-related diseases. Only by learning to eat healthfully do we realize that we never learned to eat nutritiously. Breaking cycles is good.

Your bae is just way too comfortable in the relationship

The sad and unfortunate fact is that 75% of people who go through a drastic weight loss transformation end up divorced at the end of the process – Dr. Mondo

Did you read the above quote? Can you believe It? 3 out 4 marriages failing because one partner got fit and healthy while the other did not. This is a tragedy because as the dieter is busy getting empowered and rewriting her story, her partner may spin out as his attachment issues flare up. He might bring home a few quarts of your favorite Ben & Jerry’s, or bitch about your gym time, or act out in any number of ways that communicate loud and clear: I am not comfortable with you kicking this much ass.

Here is a great resource for compassionately telling your threatened partner to fuck off and let you do you. But at the end of the day realize that healthy change and positive growth are your natural rights and anyone who makes you feel otherwise needs to step off your shoes and worry about their own selves.

Others find your results threatening

Change is scary. Even so, those who should be supporting your health efforts probably aren’t because they don’t want a positive example of change staring them in the face all day.

Deep down we all know what is good for us and what is not. So what happens when we don’t want to change? We attack the source of whatever is making us feel inadequate.

Let’s face it, we are masters at self-foolery. And as long as no one comes along to ruffle our feathers, we can float through life on a nice big raft of our own self-delusions. Here’s a great quote I found from a blog post titled Subconscious Sabotage: Why Friends and Family Clip Your Wings

If you succeed, that means that they have no excuse for not fixing their faults. It’s easy to be fat and say ‘oh I can’t lose weight’ until your best-fat-friend loses a ton and proves you wrong  – nateliason.com

Maybe they just suck

I read some craziness in Daily Mail about friends (I’m thinking frenemies) not wanting to hang out with dieters because they are “less fun.” This is ugly ostracism at its finest. On one hand it makes sense where these friends are coming from: who wants to feel gross and fat when you’re out with a friend-turned-health-nut? Even so, making a leper of someone working to improve herself is bad form.

Yeah ok, maybe just say whatevs and go find some less toxic friends.

Conclusion

Not everybody likes change. Even when it is your own life people are still gonna bitch. An easy solution is to keep your weight loss plans to yourself as much as possible. A lifestyle change is a big deal. It’s exciting and you want your people to know but you don’t want to hear a bunch of guff either. So what’s a dieter to do? Don’t talk about it, be about it. The cool thing about adopting healthy habits is if you do it quietly and without falter, people will respect it. And they will be asking for advice in no time.

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