Poll: Has Anyone Ever Sabotaged Your Weight Loss Efforts?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The holidays are a tough time of year when it comes to weight loss. Holiday parties, baking, and the stress of the season make it easy to get off track. One thing that can help you stay focused and working toward your goals is a strong support system. It's important to have family and friends around you who will celebrate your successes and help pick you up when you fall. But what happens when someone in your life becomes more of a negative influence on your weight loss than a positive one? What do you do?

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my mom's struggles with weight loss. This past weekend we went to a holiday party and a number of her close friends were there. My mom is a very social person and spends a lot of time with her friends. When I saw what everyone was eating and drinking, I could see why it would be hard to for my mom to stay on track with a healthy eating program- given all of the temptations and examples around her. I think she has wonderful, supportive friends, and I don't think they would intentionally be a negative influence. But I also think that if she chose to change, she'd have to go-it alone.

Sometimes we have people in our lives who help sabotage our weight loss efforts without even realizing what they are doing (like my mom's friends). Then there are others who sabotage for different reasons. Sometimes loved ones are afraid of change, so they might feel threatened by the new healthy habits you're developing. Or maybe they are jealous that you are doing something they haven't had the courage to attempt.

If you have someone like this in your life, it's important to recognize their behaviors and develop a plan to manage how much influence they have on yours. Do you feel comfortable talking to this person about what's going on and how they might better support you? If not, can you create a game plan to manage the situation? For instance, if you know your friend is going to suggest your favorite fast food restaurant for dinner, think of a few other options or pick something healthy from the menu ahead of time. Even though it can be stressful, there are ways to successfully deal with weight loss saboteurs.

Has someone close to you ever tried to sabotage your weight loss efforts? How did you handle the situation?

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My mother-in-law get really offended if you dont eat what she puts on the table. I have learned to ignore it & get her talking about something else. Report
Several people! My neighbor and friends, mostly. My mother used to do it, too. Report
Growing up in Wisconsin... well, at least the area that I did, binge drinking alcohol is a sport and every one is an athlete. I know plenty of people who, by national standards, might be considered alcoholics but here it's just a normal part of life. It's not so far as to say they'll get the shakes or have a siezure if they don't get a drink, but regardless... a lot of the people I know (a lot of the same friends who are fairly fit and I get some good exercise with) don't understand or support the fact that... No, I don't want to go out to the bar every night, drink a ton of beer, eat a bunch of greasy drunk-food (macaroni + twice baked potatoe pizza come to mind) and have a big beer belly.

And as someone else already commented, I hear a lot of people saying things about my own weight that are more of an insult than a compliment, About how I could use a sandwhich or meat on my bones etc etc. I feel like if I were living somewhere that ISNT here I'd be a perfectly acceptable weight, but sadly the population where I live is like 75% overweight... on the plus side, at least it's an ego booster when I go out and can feel more confident about myself. On the down side, a lot of stores around here carry sizes that are completely useless for us skinny dudes. I went to get T-Shirts from Walmart the other day, I was lucky enough to find 1 package of Small left. No medium. Other options included plenty of L, XL, 2X, and XXL... ugg Report
I had a friend that kept doing it. We were meant to be losing weight together but she wasn't doing too well so she did everything to sabotage me because I was doing well. In the end I realised that she wasn't a friend (there are other stuff going on between us as well) so I decide to remove her from my life. Report
My boyfriend and coworkers do all the time, but Ive gotten strong enough to avoid their temptations! Report
My wife does it all the time. Sometimes she does it & don't even know it. I tell her & I get how. I don't know how to tell her . I told her straight forward & she don't see it.
My mom is not helping me when it comes to losing weight. I have told her many times that I am going to be cooking for myself so that during the week I can lose weight and eat better. She likes going out to eat, so she always invites me to go. Which I have gotten really good about watching what I'm eating when I eat out.

But she also likes to bring home food for me that I know I should not eat (Cheddar bisquits anyone?) and it is so hard for me to say thanks, but no thanks.

My dad found out last week that he is boarder line diabetic. So he has started to watch what he eats and walking. So he is helping me. Report
I have a friend who successfully lost a LOT of weight, but loves to cook rich foods and bake rich desserts. Since he is watching what he eats, he won't actually eat any of what he cooks, but instead he brings it to my place when he knows that I am struggling with my eating decisions too. He wants to see us eat it, and hear how much we enjoy it. He likes being able to cook tasty treats for his friends, and occasionally take a tiny nibble. Ultimately it IS my decision, I know that. And I guess I HAVE trained him to know that I will always say "yes" to whatever food he offers me. I know I can't make him more sensitive to my dietary needs, so I just need to develop better willpower.

He's definitely the most aggressive "saboteur", but temptation is everywhere. People bring junk food to share at work constantly, and my boyfriend would eat fried chicken everyday if he could. I've gotten pretty good at dealing with those influences, but if I let down my guard for just a second, I end up looking around at all that stuff and justifying it to myself. Report
Not a HUGE, all out attempt, but... I was surprised when my husband returned from his deployment to Kuwait that he remarked I was "skinny" and "bony", too thin. (Believe me, I'm not ~ I'm 5' 7" and weigh 148 lbs.) I thought he'd be happy that I was looking like when we first met at a ski lodge. Yesterday he slipped a huge bag of torilla chips and salsa into our shopping cart and when we got home he said "For you!" I don't eat processes snacks like that anymore. But he enjoys them and that may be what this was all about.

In general, people can be challenging not so much from bad intentions as from their habits. I just don't eat mainstream anymore. It's not a difficult, esoteric way of eating, just perhaps off the grid. Certainly for restaurant food. Report
Sometimes it's a backhanded compliment: "Oh, you've lost weight! Are you sick?" "You're cold because there's nothing left of you..." Those folks can sabotage even though they are well-meaning... Report
Right now, there are two boxes of fresh donuts in the kitchen that I am trying to avoid like the plague. In this house, there is bad food all over. But I don't consider other people to be sabotaging my diet. If anyone does that, I do. Report
My stepfather. He would gripe me out for being too fat, then refused to let me leave the table until I had eaten every bite of what he put on my plate. Report
Oh yes they try, but I've been at this long enough to say NO!, however, that means nothing to some. It used to be my DH and Mother-in-law, now just the MIL. DH is not on this journey, and we like different foods, in the beginning he tried by bringing candy home or would tempt me with a milkshake in the summer. He eventually understood and no longer tempts me that way. But he doesn't get Portion Control. If he dishes up the food, he gives me huge portion, even though he always sees me using the small plates and bowls. I just exchange the plate/bowl for a smaller size before he gets to fill it up. We are more in sync now and we cook a common meat, always veggies, and something on the healthier side to go with it, and he can add whatever he desires. The Mother-in-law just won't stop, no matter how many times I say no thank you, or no. She continues to keep on bringing us bags of candy, and providing desserts on holidays that she thinks I can't resist, despite the fact that I don't touch any of it, I bring my own food and dessert, and hers goes to waste. And when we eat out with her, I eat 1/2 or less of my food and box the rest up, and we have to listen to her over, and over, and over, that I need to eat more and tries to order dessert. I really don't get why people do this, especially when you say NO! With her I believe it's because she's lost and gained so much, but has never kept it off, but this time, I have kept mine off.

Ultimately, it's up to me! Report
No one has purposely sabotaged my weight loss, but I think the choices I make are ultimately my decision. On the other hand, I do think that others can affect your weight loss in different ways. If people aren't supportive, it's hard to keep the motivation to go forward. That doesn't directly sabotage your weight loss, but it does affect how you feel about your progress and may derail your activities. Either way, it is still my choice to stay with my program. Report
Different members of my family, call regularly to go eat Mexican food which is my biggest weakness. Everyone in my family loves Mexican food. If I went every time, I would never be able to lose weight. Report
I due think of my husband and my family (when i see them) sabotage my diet but overall it is me. It is me who has no will power to food sitting in front of me and chooses to eat (usually overeat) the unhealthy foods. Report
My fiance is my saboteur. We've had conversations about how he could support me in my new lifestyle changes, but it always comes back to, "But I don't add THAT much oil/salt/sugar/etc." He's quite the amateur chef, by the way. He may not have a weight problem like I do, but he certainly has cholesterol/blood pressure problems. It's tough living with someone who loves to cook things that are incompatible with my eating style! We've been eating entirely separate meals since I began eating differently. This has been distancing and sad. Not to mention difficult when I'm hungry and tired and he has just prepared a delicious meal... "It's not bad for you! You gotta try this!" Report
Interesting question and interesting comments. :)
It was one of the first thing that I have decided upon when starting with this life style change - it is my change, so it is me who has to make it. People will resist, of course, as we all resist to most of the changes in our lives. But in time they will also adapt to it.
I think people around us are very well capable of understanding several levels of our communication. So, if I say NO and I mean it, they will understand it. True, some of them not so soon, but still. But, if I say NO and then after few attempts from their side I change it into YES I am actually training them into pushing me towards the same old. I myself am teaching them that it only takes some persistence and the answer is going to change from no to yes.
I actually had this conversation with my best friend:
- Would you like some...?
- No, thank you.
- Are you sure? It is delicious!
- Yes, I am sure. I do not want it.
- Mmmmm, it is soooo gooood!
- Great! I still do not want it, thank you.
- What about just a small bite to taste it?
- No, thanks.
- Tiny one?
- No, thanks.
(this goes on for some time)
- Oh, you are so stubborn! One bite will not kill you!
- I agree with you - one bite is not important at all. What I do not understand here is why are you pushing it so hard then. Look, you are my best friend and I love you very much. I know that in the past I would be grateful to you for giving me food but since then I've made some new decisions. It would be great for me and for our friendship if you could either support my new lifestyle or stay neutral about it. Could you do that for me?

We had a great conversation after this. It turned out she hadn't realize my decision was final (frankly, some of my past decisions weren't). Also, she was afraid of how are we continue to hang out. The happy ending - we still have some cocktails once per month but we also started with 30 minutes walks twice per week. How great is that! :) Report
My husband.....he brought home pizza for dinner and then looked at me funny when I had 2 slices.....ummm duh!!! It's pizza! Report
Saboteurs in my life are my male friends ("I like you the way you are!!", "If you lose weight you'll be too skinny!") and my parents. Mom loves to bake and they both cook out of a box alot. So I have to watch my portions and eat healthy meals when I'm not eating with them. Report
My husband. He throws a fit when I want to go to the gym, makes fun of me when I try to work out at home, and is always wanting me to bake cookies and cakes for "him" which he doesn't eat, but I do... Report
YES! However my case is a little different...I have Celiac Disease, and I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whenever there is a party at work, I always bring my own food, and my co-workers always say, "Ohhh this food tastes better. Take a bite, it won't hurt you if you eat just a small bite." I want to throw the food at their face and say, "YES! These food will KILL me. Do you want that on your shoulder forever?" I just say, "no, thank you! I know I am not missing out anything. I enjoy my life and I do intend to live forever this way." This comment makes people speechless, and they leave me alone. Yes, I do hear comments all the time, but I have learned to ignore them, and enjoy my life. Report
HELL YES!! My overbearing 'parents' (my father and my b*** of a sister who, despite being only 3.5 years older than me, likes to boss me around like she's actually my mother!) always sabotage my weight loss. I think its deliberate too, especially with my sister. Every time she sees that I lost a couple of kilos, she tries her best to sabotage it by bringing home crap!! Things like cheese cake, chocolate cake (unfortunately this was my favourite! :'-( ) Boston Buns and other crap. She used to work at the Cheese Cake Shop and now she works at a cafe. She says it's free and was given to her because noone bought it, but this never happens when I haven't lost weight. It only happens when I try my best to lose weight and once I had, she brings home cake after cake after cake after cake........I used to give in to my temptations and eat this sh**, this is why I haven't been able stay below 56kg in about 7 years, but now I'm holding my ground. Now they have moved on to practically FORCING me to eat this sh**! Once my sister went to New Zealand for a week (the best week of my life, btw!) and she brought home a whole box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! Dad called me over and when I saw them I just walked away again. He was like "AREN'T YOU GOING TO HAVE ANY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!" I said "OK!! I will have one then!!" I ended up having 2 over 2 days and I made sure I compensated for them, but still. It also doesn't matter if I explicitly tell my father that I want to make my own light dinner to compensate for unexpected over eating, my sister will still make crap. Last week there was a 2 hour Zumba party at the university gym. It was fun, but afterwards the brought in junkfood. After doing 2 hours of exercise, I couldn't resist and I ended up eating one small chocolate-chip muffin (which fortunately wasn't much bigger than a cup cake) and brownie (which wasn't that big either). It wasn't much, but it meant that I now wasn't able to have anything more than one hard boiled egg and salad if I also wanted to have dessert, and still stay within my calorie range. I came home comfortable in the knowledge that I will be able to make my own dinner that night. The next thing I knew my sister was frying steak!! Now, I have NOTHING against steak, steak is good, but not for that night!!! My sister was staring at me in that creepy, smug way of hers and said to me in a condescending manner "don't you eat steak anymore?" I just ignored the b*** and father answered instead "no, she still eats steak" -sister "it's just she looks so pissed off when she doesn't get her own way!" What a b***!!! If that's not deliberate sabotage, I don't know what is! She knew I over ate that day (coz my father always tells her my business) and that wanted to compensate for it, so she went over her way to ruin it and she still had the nerve to bully me about getting pissed off about it! I'm sure anyone else would be pissed off too! So I went to bed without any dessert and without nearly enough calcium and fiber for the day. Oh! And this morning they tried to make me eat pancakes, despite the fact that I've already eaten breakfast. They said things like "Come on! One won't hurt!" "They’re healthy!" "Just have half of one!" Pancakes are not healthy, dad! I already had my sugar limit for the day (I had a biscuit with my morning coffee and I have a teaspoon of honey with my oats) and I didn't want any more, so I held my ground. My sister then tried to guilt trip me into having some by telling me that I was being difficult. "Good!" I said. If being difficult means not allowing these to freaks to control everything I do, then so be it! Stubbornness is a virtue when you have to be part family like this and it's something I will always use to my advantage! I will not let my family sabotage my weight loss efforts, no matter how hard they try!


I’m pretty sure my sister is a malignant narcissist. If you want to find out more about narcissism, go to these websites…





There’s a lot more out there and there is also a lot of good stuff on youtube too. I wonder if there’s a strong link between narcissism and diet sabotaging…..Hmmmm……

My mom, brother, and best friend! Arg, they just dont understand im trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I became a vegan about two years ago and they just continue to wave meat and sweets in my face. Now I could care less about the meat but I have a KILLER sweet tooth. Im not overwieght or even chubby for that matter but I enjoy being healthy and not putting junk into my body. But no, they have to say " Oh, your skinny enough you can eat this or that". Ive tried to explain to them that its not about being thin or skinny but being healthy! I wish they would support me more. Thats the reason im on spark people, they support me. Report
This has really motivated me, it made me realize all of a sudden, that I am a very social person, and that my fiance is not helping me at all! I know he doesn't mean bad by taking me out to eat all of the time, but eating out can be to blame for the last 20 lbs or so i have gained! Well, that and not exercising or just saying no to the chicken fried steak and yes to the salad! Thinks for this article! I saved it to go back to whenever I might need some inspiration again, or if i'm going to a social event! Report
My co-workers!!! Always want to share their food or send home leftovers with me. I say no and they ask are you sure. Then when I want to work out they say I don't have to. WTH!!! I really think that some people don't want you to succeed! It's ok, I love haters! They make me work harder! That's why I keep losing weight dummies! LOL! :-) Report
I have saboteurs (including myself) such as coworkers/friends who push food toward me but eventually they stop because they cant get any satisfaction out of me saying "no thanks" or "ugh I just ate!" or "maybe later." My family likes to push food in my direction, especially my dad, since we used to want for food, and he wanted for food when he was a child, so it is his way of saying he loves me. I have told him that I like to eat healthy and he gives me this pouty, hurt face. His health is not the best so I encourage him to eat healthfully and exercise as much as possible. My best defense is to fill myself with water or tea and other good, nutritious food that by the time temptation rolls around, I can't think of having even one. Usually I say "not worth it" or "meh" to make that indifference sound in my head, then just turn the corner and walk away. Sometimes when I visit back to where the temptation was, it's all gone and I am proud of avoiding the temptation. :) Report
Like others here I know in my heart of hearts that I sabotage myself - 'one won't hurt' is a downward spiral or 'why not take advantage of the great food in this restaurant and worry about it tomorrow' is another. Nobody pins me down and force feeds me except myself. Report
OMG YES! I have a "friend" who I have had 2 or 3 conversations about my dietary needs (or things that I'd really rather not eat) who seems hell bent on sabotaging my journey. I have even told her how I am pre-diabetic, but she just won't quit. She loves to bake a lot, which isn't the problem. It's the teasing of "oh doesn't that look so good...I know you want it. You should eat it!" And the laughing about how she is the devil of bad food habits. The kicker is that SHE herself was 220lbs and lost the weight, and knows the struggle. WTF?! But I honestly not sure what to do. We have been friends for awhile, but I just want to cut it off and be done with it. For now I'm just going to avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid. Good luck to those who have to deal with this issue. Report
Id have to say my family and myself they are all skinny, one has had surgery on her stomach and lost 300 pounds from it, hates to diet/exiersize and my dad exiersizes as much as i do, and says its because i am a girl that i hold my fat like i do... Report
I am SURROUNDED by those that want to sabotage my efforts to eat right and exercise.
Excessive work hours don't help either.....
Trying to get family and friends to join me on the path to healthy living has not worked.
I choose to do the best I can, exercise at every opportunity, and never give up. Report
After reading what's been posted I'd have to agree that Moi is my biggest enemy when it comes to losing weight.

I never helped that my dh would bring home goodies that I love (like the chips and salsa sitting behind me) or continue to want to eat out at our fave restaraunt. But then I knew that he wasn't forcing me to eat those foods and he does those things because he loves me.

However, this Christmas I think I hounded him enough about a pedometer and wrist weights that he got the hint. Report
i sabotage myself. my friends, family, and boyfriend are actually very supportive. but the "other" me just likes to tell myself i "deserve" to eat what i want (among other mantras). Report
I think we all have negative inforcers in our lives and they don't even mean it. My Mom, Dad and Boyfriend all love to give me sweets because I love them so much. I know they only give them to me because they love me but its hard to not eat them. I think I've finally convinced my boyfriend to slow down with the sweets because I bought a swimsuit that I would really like to wear when we go on vacation so I try it on for him once a week. So he knows how much this means to me so he trys to help me more now. Report
yes my husband and sometimes i think my friends do. Report
Oh, yeah. seen this happen so many times that when I first started with Sparkpeople I did not tell a soul at work for MONTHS, until it was too obvious for people to miss! By then I had enough success and strength in my new habits that NO ONE but me could stop me. And I've realized that was the truth all along. other people only have the power in my life I allow them to have. This seems to annoy some, but you know what? I don't care. It is my health, my responsibility, and my choice! Report
Why do you let anyone sabotage your weight loss? It is your life, and you have the will power to say NO.
My husband knows that I want to lose weight, and he doesn't help much by buying me sweets, because that is how he shows me his love. A lot of men don't know what to buy for their women except for candies. And he knows I hate flowers that are cut. So when he gets me treats that need to be eaten I just put them away in the freezer and take one out every few days to suck on. So it is my responsibility to control myself, no one else's! Report
Just a look in the mirror and I see her. I usually get tired and then think I will feel better if I eat something sweet. I am really trying to sit down and read Spark articles instead of eating something. Report
I am engaged and my fiancee is the best influence; I hope it stays that way. I am very sad that most of the negativity mentioned above is from husbands. Most of my girlfriends are single so we go out a lot while my fiancee is deployed; eating healthy "out" is much harder than eating right at home....and said girlfriends aren't interested in eating healthy at all. I often feel lonesome in my calorie and nutrition logging but validated when the scale moves! Holiday drinking has been a challenge also... Report
In general, I have noticed that saboteurs are people projecting their insecurities. ie: The indulger, it makes them feel ok about eating something they know they shouldn't if you join them. Or the classic, only a little won't hurt. Which quite commonly, only a little can be a slippery slope.

I have found it equally discouraging when you encounter a friend or relative on an "extreme diet." Generally an "extreme dieter" has no plan. They are only interested in extremely eliminating all so called, "Bad " Food. Where this can be discouraging is when they are initially interested to hear that you are cutting back for weight-loss. They draw you in with false support, then they criticize your balanced efforts. ie: If I have a plan to eat this cheesecake, it is ok. Where as they see cheesecake as a weakness. Report
What an important topic. At first glance, I thought, I don't have anyone like that in my life, thank goodness. Then I thought a little more. My kids - at the grocery store and bugging me to get crap food for lunch. My husband who brings home soda and buys pizza a lot (I'm supposed to be off dairy). My friends who we play poker with monthly which involves going out to dinner and drinking alcohol and usually some snacks and desserts. My mom on occasion. But I don't think any of this is intending to sabotage me. It just happens to. Report

My husband has in the past but is good now. I also have a frend who loves to cook and bake. She is no help as you know that she will be offended. Report
My elderly mother in law has lived with us for about the last 5 years. She has a real sweet tooth and eats a lot of stuff ie: candy, cookies, cakes, chips. I don't buy these for my house unless they are for my husbands lunch box. Weight and health they both can eat all that stuff they want and it isn't an issue. I on the other hand have struggled with being overweight all my life. She doesn't understand the temptation that it is for me. I bought her a separate cabinet for all this kind of stuff. That step helped some but it is still walked past many times in the day. My husband thinks i a using it as an excuse but it is a real struggle to avoid open boxes of stuff that i can reach into on a walk by. Report
I don't have people that do sabatage, but I do think I make choices to eat with people instead of having fun with people. I do need to set up situations so I'm not caught in a place with a lot of bad choices. Many people that I'm with don't want to gain weight- so they are pretty conscious about looking at lables and making good choices with food= however there are those temptations that come along. Report
If my boyfriend had it his way, we would have jack in the box and McDonalds for every meal. It's hard to stay on track when you've got someone tempting you with the fattiest foods Report
My daughter does it to everyone. She'll bring pastries or candy to the house. We finally declared my home a junk food free zone with trash it rights. Report
Yes, I've had a former coworker who was pregnant and had self image issues. She was EXTREMELY UNDERweight when she started her pregnancy so as she started gaining due to pregnancy and I started to lose (thanks to exercise and eating right) she immediately began non stop bringing in soda and chips in for me. It took me about a month or two to realize what she was up to! Report
Yes, the biggest problem is my father. He really does everything he can to stop me from losing weight. Starting with bad advices and words that make me feel like I'm killing myself with what I'm doing. And that it's not worth the efforts. When I overeat for one meal he keeps saying: didn't I tell you. You always go back to your overeating habits. I knew you'll never going to make it. You just made these big efforts and exercised a lot and ate bad tasting food for nothing. Now you're back again. He keeps buying high calorie foods. He suggests food all day long so he doesn't give me the chance to forget about it. He insists to cook and cooks high calorie foods. He always forgets to buy me brown rice and sticks with white rice. When I go buy my own food, he keeps saying why did you go shopping. You're too tired. I can do that for you. And whenever I do any sort of thing that gets me moving around the house he insists to do it. Cleaning, washing the dishes, and so on. He never does anything good. When he cleans, the dust is all over the place. But, he just insists. Well, I let him do many things for just ending the headache. But, this time, I'm going to keep exercising and dieting until I reach my goals. When he suggests something I just ignore it and go on. When he gets me high calorie foods, I eat too little amount of it. So, he's not satisfied with that. He sees me losing weight. It's not what he wants. He keeps saying bad words to me everyday about how fat I am and about that I'm eating too much. And when I start a diet he starts to say that I need to eat some more. So that I eat more and fail what I do. He counts everything I eat as if I'm eating money. And when I reduce my food intake he starts to bring me high calorie tasty foods that he knows that I love to eat.
The other problem is my colleagues at work. They really keep me from staying motivated. Their comments are not honest. They make me lose my focus.
But, I insist to do it now. And stay healthy for the rest of my life. Report
oh yes, my sister bought me a 6 pound birthday cake! she does it every chance she can. Report
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