How to Deal With Diet Saboteurs

Learn how to turn diet saboteurs into diet supporters

By Jean Lawrence
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

"You're doing so great -- you can have one little piece." Or: "C'mon, honey, I like a little meat on my women." Sound familiar? These people, consciously or not, are trying to sabotage your diet.

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and author of The Way to Eat, says sooner or later, you may find yourself in a toxic nutritional environment -- almost all dieters do. Some things that people might say or do to throw you off course:

  • "Fear" for your health. "What's the matter -- you are wasting away. Are you sure you aren't losing too much too fast?" Or: "Are you sure that diet won't raise your cholesterol?"
  • Acting insulted. "You don't like my pot roast all of a sudden? You're too good for my cheesecake?"
  • Mixing up food with love. "You don't come to dinner -- you don't love me anymore."
  • Making you an outsider. Katz says this sometimes happens among co-workers. "You can't eat Mexican because of your diet, so we will see you after we go out."
  • Leaving food around. The big candy dish on the receptionist's desk in an office of dieters. Or: "Here, one doughnut left, want it?" The leftovers from the office party. Or the spouse who keeps dragging half the chips in the store into the house.
  • Creating special food. One husband didn't want to babysit on Overeaters Anonymous night, so made a big dinner each time and told his wife to bring some of her "dieting friends" over.
  • Making up special holiday rules. "It's your birthday -- one piece of cake won't hurt!"
  • Imparting discouraging news. "I am so proud of you for trying this, even though you know that 95% of people fail to keep the weight off." Or: "It's not my business, but don't runners get a lot of injuries?"
  • Volunteering amateur psychoanalysis. "You know, you don't seem to be as funny since you lost weight."