“C’mon. One bite’s not going to hurt you.” “It’s the holidays. Live a little.”
There’s one in every crowd: holiday diet saboteurs. Whether it’s among co-workers, family or friends, they’re out there. And although their intentions might seem harmless enough, they can derail months of someone’s effort to lose weight.
Elizabeth Lindsay, a health educator in Weight Management Services at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wis., offers advice on how people can stay on track with their weight loss goals amid saboteurs during the holiday feasting season.
“Successful weight loss is about successful behavior modification,” Lindsay says. “And because we’re social people, when we change our own behavior, it affects others in some shape or form. So it’s not surprising that people do encounter some ‘push back’ from others when trying to lose weight.”
When caught in a situation where someone is applying food pressure, Lindsay suggests using a stock response, like these:
• “No thanks. I’m already really full.”
• “It looks great. Maybe you could wrap some up for me to take home for later?”
If you know someone on a diet, here are ways to be a food friend rather than a foe:
• Offer to take a walk instead of going out to eat for lunch
• Become a “get healthy” buddy by offering encouragement instead of peer pressure
• When bringing treats to the office or throwing a party, offer low-calorie alternatives
• Ask what you can do to be supportive
For information about Mayo Clinic Health System weight management programs and education groups, or to sign up for a free orientation, call 715-838-6731.