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Support or Sabotage? Part 1

Posted Aug 24 2008 10:04pm
Years ago I had a client who weighed 375 pounds. She bit the bullet, began exercise, started eating healthy foods and lost 15 pounds. Then her mother told her she looked “sickly.” I never saw her again. I am upset about her case to this day, but I’m not angry with my client. Her mother, now—well, I’d like a word or two with that woman.

Family, friends and coworkers are supposed to support us. They are supposed to cheer us on when we give up chips for salad. They are supposed to pat us on the back when we forego a trip to the mall for a weekend hike. Instead, they often undercut our progress:

The Second-Honeymooner

A wife decides to lose 45 pounds, and suddenly her husband starts taking her out to eat every night. He tells her she’s beautiful and he loves her just the way she is. It sounds lovely—a real fantasy, right? All this newfound affection ups both her waist size and her blood pressure.

The Smother Mother

She cooks fried chicken on Sundays and all the sides—and heaven help you if you don’t fill or clean your plate. During any a conflict or crisis a deep-dish casserole is, in her opinion, the sure-fire cure.

The Pro Bono Trainer

He’s read every fitness article in the magazine and seen personal trainers on TV. He tells you to lose weight and is chock-full of advice—when to exercise, what pills to take, how much cabbage soup to eat. On the surface, he sounds like a cheerleader, but soon he becomes a nag. Ignore his advice and he gets huffy, hurt and critical.

The Twisted Sister

“There you go saying you’re going to quit smoking again. Why bother? You never stick to anything.” She’s straightforward, at least, in her sabotage. Scornful, dismissive, downright rude. At least you know exactly where you stand.

What is going on with these people? It’s simple: They see you trying to make a change and it scares them. If his wife loses 50 pounds, she might become attractive and confident—and decide she can lose him as well. If your mother shows love through food, then rejecting her food must mean you don’t love her. You are a mirror for the people around you. They think your choices reflect on them. They don’t mean to hurt you (most of the time)—they just don’t understand that your desire to be healthy, happy and confident will benefit them in the long run, too.

Do you have a saboteur in your life (or saboteuse?) Click on the word "comments" on the lower right below and let us know what they do that makes you nuts.

P.S. to Cindy B: What do you think about going "blogging?" Click on "comments" and let me know if my attempts to modernize help or hurt.
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