Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Sabotaging dieters

Anyone who has ever attempted to lose weight--I would venture to say--had saboteurs. These are people who either consciously or for unconscious reasons try to undermine you.

Some researchers are North Carolina State set out to quantify this phenomenon. Their particular target was the "lean stigma."

The lean stigma is often exhibited by snarky remarks about how many people gain back lost weight or how wimpy it is to try to eat healthily.

They talked to 40 people who reported being overweight but now considered themselves "thin." This was 21 women, 19 men, and they had lost an average of 76 pounds.

All 40 had people in their lives who tried to belittle them or undermine their efforts.,

How would the dieter cope? Communications strategies were suggested,

Help the belittlers save face and not feel uncomfortable. The dieter can, for example, talk about their intentions and rationale. They could also eat smaller portions of unhealthy foods in front of family, accept an unhealthy food but not eat it, or save a "cheat day" for outings with friends.

Dieters should stress that they want more energy or to feel more healthy or to pursue a sport.

Saboteurs say things like:

--Come on, one bite won't kill you.

--Almost everyone gains the weight back--and more.

--You looked fine before (trying to be nice, but discounting the effort).

--You don't want to get too thin at your age.

--You may think this is healthy, but you are not eating enough.

--If you eat too little, the body thinks you are starving and piles the weight on.

--Can you afford surgery for the extra skin?

--I hope this does not mean you want ME to diet.

If you find yourself saying such things--don't.


Jenny Milchman said...

Have you watched the show "This Is Us", Star? It's streaming now--you might want to look for it. There's a character who's experiencing exactly what this post is about. You really nailed it. I hope this post makes people struggling with weight issues feel less alone. It's hard. Every single day.

Star Lawrence said...

Yes, I do watch THIS IS US. I also watch MY BIG FAT FABULOUS LIFE, with anti-body shamer Whitney Thore. Before checking it out, I feared the latter would be like what I call fat porn--My 600 lb Life, Biggest Loser, etc--but it isn't. Whitney has her own issues, she is no paragon of dieting or anything, but she is fighting the good fight. I like it. And her mother is a riot. My own mother always thought less of me for being heavy.