Sabotage – just say no

It’s a familiar story – you start a diet or new exercise regime but give up too soon or don’t get the results your want because someone is sabotaging your efforts. They may be the work colleague who brings cakes into the office, the spouse who comes home after work with takeaway or the friend who’s supposed to be going to an exercise class with you but persuades you to go for coffee instead.

Although you may have the best intentions, your willpower isn’t always strong enough for you to resist the temptation. Most of the time these people don’t intend to sabotage your efforts; they are simply unaware of how their behaviour is affecting you. Having a chat with them and explaining your concerns is often enough to bring about a change.

Unfortunately it isn’t always that straightforward. Some people may be sabotaging your new regime because they don’t understand or even feel threatened by the changes you’re making. Perhaps they’re worried that you’ll end up looking better than them. They may be concerned that you’ll drift apart or find a new circle of friends. Family members often resent the time you spend out running or at your exercise class.

So how do you tackle them? Again, it’s important to talk to them and explain what you’re doing and why. Find out why they’re being so negative and offer them reassurance. You could even try involving them. If they experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle themselves, they are far more likely to support you. If all else fails, you may simply have to start saying, “No,” or even distancing yourself from them.

Surround yourself instead with people who will provide you with the support and encouragement you need. Research shows that people who enlist family, friends or colleagues to support them are more successful at managing their weight. Your support network could include professionals such as a personal trainer or dietician as well as friends, family and workmates. Someone who regularly asks about your progress or motivates you when you’re feeling despondent can be a great help while friends who are willing to forego your weekly lunch or night out in exchange for a social occasion that doesn’t involve food will dramatically increase your chances of success.

Even better is finding a training buddy. This will not only encourage you to exercise regularly but will also create accountability and help you stick to your programme. Your buddy may enrol at the gym with you or in an exercise programme. You may arrange to go running or cycling with them or train for an event such as a fun run or your first triathlon. You could even recruit your colleagues for an event such as a local triathlon or 10k run.

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