How Do I Diet When My Family Isn’t?
Learning to eat less of the high-calorie foods you love isn’t always easy. What can make it even harder: having to stare down those fattening foods at your very own dinner table.
From the spouse who brings you a huge box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day to the mother-in-law who plies you with home-baked goodies to the skinny friend who invites you to uber-fattening lunch dates, the result is much the same. While their intentions may be all good, experts say the results can be all bad for the dieter trying to stick to a healthy eating plan.
“In most cases, tempting a dieter with food or treats they know are forbidden is really an unconscious act on the part of the non-dieter, says Charles Goodstein, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU Medical Center. “Still, when it happens, it can make sticking to your resolve a lot more difficult.”
If this sounds familiar, take heart! Here are five simple strategies to help keep you from falling off the weight loss wagon, even when you’re surrounded by non-dieting friends and loved ones.
- Make a Statement. The best approach is to directly ask your loved ones not to give you food as gifts — and, more important, to eat any calorie-laden food they enjoy themselves when you aren’t around to see, hear, and smell it.
- Keep Temptation Out of Sight. Ask your family to keep it in a cabinet where you don’t normally go for your diet foods.
- Learn the Art of Substitution. Be creative in finding foods that capture the smell and the taste of the tempting treats without the calories.
- Share the Health. While traditional “diet” foods may not sound appealing to your partner or family, experts say you can often make the foods that everyone craves in a more healthful and calorie-conscious way.
- Be Reassuring. Make certain to explain the serious health risks involved in being overweight, and assure them that sticking to your diet is one way to ensure that you’ll be around longer to share the future together.