Encouraging others can interfere with your weight loss efforts
"Go on, live a little – drink some chocolate"
"You are too rigid", "I baked this myself – please have some?",
"Sure, what damage can a few chips do?" or
"You can't hold out this non-drinking lark too long – sure, what's the fun with that?"
Some of this is very well meaning and loving, but it can sometimes come from a place of jealousy or threat. The main thing is not what motivates you to say it; It depends on our answer.
Sometimes it is our partners or friends who put us under pressure, or work colleagues. Regardless of who says it, remember to see it for what it really is – peer pressure. It can be seriously difficult to stay on track with our weight loss efforts. After all, none of us want to appear difficult, tense, or weird in front of our friends or family so often that we give in even though we have changed our habits and behaviors. In fact, our tastes often change so dramatically that we don't even want the same drink or food, but we still give in to please others (only to regret it later). Isn't it time we were happy?
Like it or not, our colleagues actually have a significant influence on our eating habits. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine included 12,067 people who were followed closely for 32 years from 1971 to 2003. The research found that if our friends were overweight or obese, we were 57 percent more likely to gain weight. Behaviors and social norms can play a role here, for example with the attitude “sure that you are overweight, so what damage it can really be”.
This pressure to adapt starts very young. In children over the age of two, the influence of their peers has been shown to play an important role in food choices and preferences. A study published in Child Development showed that preschoolers adapt their eating habits to the behavior of their peers. If a preschooler with a strong aversion to a vegetable sat with peers who strongly preferred the same vegetable, then it was very likely that the preschooler would change food preferences over time, eventually choosing the vegetable that they initially disliked. Peer pressure can also have a positive effect (see point 5 below!).
6 ways to overcome peer pressure
- Commit to personal responsibility: Not only for your total weight, but also for the specific, everyday decisions that all add up, e.g. For example, making the decision to avoid alcohol by driving to an event or promising to have a healthy, protein-rich meal when everyone around us makes choices about less healthy options at a restaurant. It's about taking responsibility and then not being afraid to stand alone.
- Have realistic goals: When your goal feels too distant or unrealistic, it's far too easy to let good intentions turn your back on “just this once”, but we forget that all of these healthy choices add up over time. Keep your goals close and doable.
- Be confident / practice saying no: I have a friend who does this with the greatest confidence and self-assurance, but who is polite nonetheless. When you ponder an offer, they will sense your ambiguity and try to get you to eat or drink what to expect from you. Practice saying “no thanks” in front of the mirror or in the shower, then do it with a smile. This is part of the "new you" that they need to get used to. It's time to stop worrying, insulting everyone – you can be polite yet firm.
- Do you know your "why": Your motivation is the key. Performing a weight loss program to fit into a bridesmaid dress or look good on your summer vacation can be strong enough to get you through by a certain date, but after that it all falls apart. Find out your "why" by asking deeper questions like "What should my life be like?" And "How would my life be better if I waved a magical wish and had a healthier weight tomorrow?" Read more about your "why".
- Become an influencer: You cannot always surround yourself with healthy people. But don't be afraid to talk to others about healthier behaviors and thought patterns. You may well be inspired by successes you have achieved in terms of discipline and self-control in losing weight.
- Always think ahead: Check out the restaurant menu online before you go and decide what to order in advance. Be one of the first to order and others at the table can follow your healthy choices. Or maybe not – it doesn't matter as long as you stay true to your goals and intentions and don't try to bend over to please others or adjust like you used to.
"Be who you are and say how you feel because those who don't mind and those who care don't mind" – Dr. Seuss
Your success is a threat to some
Many people have tried and failed to achieve what you are trying to achieve. For these people It is hard for them to see that you are successful because it can make them feel like failures. But we all learn from our mistakes and if they were more open and less defensive they could probably see this, but often they cannot due to their own limitations.
For many, it's much easier to justify that healthier diets and exercise are just too difficult, rather than admitting that it is their own lack of drive, motivation, planning, or organization that has led to their failure. In some cases it may actually be because they lack the support so much that we can be of vital help with our coaching support.
Look at that: In this interesting video by author Gretchen Rubin, you will learn how other people influence your habits and how you affect their habits.