Does this happen to you? You start a diet and find that when you are with your friends that they urge you to eat badly? You have lunch with them and somebody won’t leave you alone as they try to get you to eat a bite of their triple-fried, cheese-filled whatevers? Oh yes, and of course they want you to share a dessert! Do you have friends that are so oblivious or inconsiderate that they try to sabotage your diet? Sometimes it can be harder to diet and execute optimum judgment while trying to be social at the same time. So how do you stay on track while being friendly?
I have fought the friendly sabotage scenario: I remember being in high school in the 70’s and back then, diets were more radical and cockamamie than they are now. One of the diets that we had then was “The Apple Diet” whereby you ate apples and drank apple juice exclusively. I was always trying to drop 5-10 pounds in high school. My “best friend” was thin and could eat anything. She would come over to my house when I was on my apple diet and eat my apples! Now looking back on that, she may have been doing me a favor. “Friends” can derail your best efforts.
More Peer Pressure in the Past
I believe in the 70’s that there was a lot more peer pressure for me because #1, I was not knowledgeable about weight loss and health and didn’t really know what course to take; and #2 in the 70’s, people were thinner than they are now and it wasn’t as big of an issue for most people to diet quite like it is today. If you said you were on a diet, people didn’t take you seriously, especially if you were only 5-10 pounds overweight.
Less Peer Pressure Today?
I would love to hear your comments on this: but I find that there is less peer pressure and peer sabotage in dieting in the new millennium since more people than ever are trying to drop some weight. The biggest pressure we face is the pressure we put on ourselves. For me, there are biggest potential saboteurs are social events: like Super Bowl parties or parties in general. Parties can be potentially boring, so your nervous energy gets played out at the food buffets. This is self-induced pressure, and it is your own resolve and willpower that will get you through these situations.
Turning Peers into Dieting Allies
Today I find, that there is less peer pressure to over eat than ever before! If you are going on a diet, then let people know what you are doing and then they will know what to expect. It was this way in my last office. They knew I was dieting and when people brought in doughnuts, or 300+ calorie bagels not including the cream cheese knew that I would politely decline and no one was offended when I did. No one tried to make me feel bad because I didn’t consume the extra calories.
On the contrary, I think nowadays, if you choose to diet, then people secretly admire your willpower. They like to see you succeed, because it encourages them. At least in an office scenario, most people are desiring to improve their body image and their fitness, so you may even have some unlikely allies in your quest! On my last place of employment, I went from peri-menopause into menopause and the accompanying body changes. My body betrayed me during peri-menopause and I gained weight out of the blue and was dieting and exercising. I got heavier than I have ever been doing the things that previously kept me thin. Through much research and study, I learned how to correct the problem. Over a 4 or 5 year period, I lost 50 pounds! People cheered me on and enjoyed my success. I often got questions on “How do you do it?”. In an office situation, do seek the like-minded on fitness and health and don’t engage in any prolonged conversations by the person’s desk that always has a big bowl of candy; you know there is one of those in every office!
Enlist the Support of Peers for Your Success!
The good news is that today I believe we have it easier in the area of peer pressure. Announce to your circle what you are doing in the way of diet, exercise and healthy living. This is a good thing, because this encourages accountability! They will ask you about your progress and they’ll be there also to razz you if you are tempted to fall off the wagon. Embrace the people around you who are positive and let them help you. When you are able to share your triumphs and temptations with others, you get more support than you might have dreamed. You can stay the course, and you can do it perhaps a little easier like the Beatles’ song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”