THE BLOG

Fending off 'Flaboteurs': How to Stick to Your Diet and Fitness Guns in the Face of Friendly Fire

12/03/2014 13:24 GMT | Updated 11/05/2014 10:59 BST

When you're clinging on to the ladder of your good intentions by your very fingernails, the last thing you need is someone trying to guilt you into letting go.

"Go on, you can just have a taste..."

"Oh don't be boring, surely you'd rather come to the pub than go to the gym..."

Sound familiar?

When you first embark on healthier lifestyle you're not the only one who needs to make adjustments - those around you have to get used to the new you too. Even though eating a more nutritious diet and exercising regularly are clearly positive changes, you may well come up against resistance from other people and it's important to pre-plan how you'll deal with it.

Challenges can range from people trying to temp you with your favourite sugar-loaded snacks or trying to persuade you to join them in a booze-up, to attempting to make you feel guilty for taking time out to exercise, to disputing your need to make changes. They may even try to discourage you by saying you're unlikely to succeed.

My clients and readers are often shocked by the opposition they face from people who they thought would understand that they've had enough of being dragged down by excess body fat. Even as a fitness trainer/author, I still come up against this kind of resistance myself, but I know how to deal with it nowadays.

What you need to remember is that other people haven't been riding your train of thought. They don't know about all the agonising that's been going on in your head. They are used to seeing and relating to you in certain way, and if you change, they'll have to change the way they see and relate to you. Most people don't like change. They are scared of what it might mean.

Anyway, as they'll probably telly you, they like you just fine the way you are. Which is nice. But it's not them who has to live with your excess fat making them feel crap, is it?

Of course, this is all very complex and often related to their own body issues and personal insecurities. Possibly they'd like to shed some fat too, but are not prepared to take the actions you're taking to make it happen. Or maybe they simply don't realise that their behaviours are making it difficult for you to stick to a plan that is going to improve your life and/or health. Whatever's going on, that's their "stuff" to deal with. Pandering to it won't help them deal with their issues. The kindest thing you can do for both of you is firm up your grip and let them see how much happier you become as you climb closer to your goals.

Here are some (abridged) tips on dealing with unsupportive people from my book, The Fat Burn Revolution:

Get Real

It would be lovely if everyone was wonderfully supportive, encouraging and sensitive to what you need to stick to your plan. But that's not what tends to happen in real life. So it's not what you should generally expect to get. It is very likely that people will try to tempt you with poor food choices.They may well try to talk you into doing other things during your exercise time. And sometimes people will probably attempt to make you feel guilty about the changes you're making. This sort of thing might actually happen less often than you fear, but you should anticipate that it will happen sometimes and plan how you'll deal with it.

Share your Reasons

Explain enthusiastically and in detail what getting leaner and healthier means to you. Go through your [pre-planned] list of reasons for making your changes and talk about how it has already made you feel happier. Let them know you would value their support and lay out in very simple terms what they can do to be supportive. Things that may seem obvious to you may not be so apparent to them, so spell it out. Even if it makes no difference, at least you'll have asked.

Own it

It is totally up to you what you eat. You are an adult and no one can make you eat or drink anything you don't want to. Your body is entirely your own. If you want to exercise to get it into better condition you are completely free to do that. This is nothing less than a fundamental right. Affirming or acting on this right in the midst of unsupportive people can be tough, but sticking to your guns is great training to build up strong "willpower muscles" that will help keep you on course through the inevitable ups and downs life will throw at you in all kinds of future situations.

Be Direct

Take actions/choices that are in-line with your goals and don't invite unhelpful comments from others by intimating that you'd rather be doing anything else. If someone offers you something to eat or drink that you don't want, turn it down politely, but not apologetically. Say something like, "No, thanks" or "Thanks, but I'm not hungry". Do not say, "Oh I really shouldn't" or "I can't I'm on a diet". Even if the food is tempting, you don't have to say it. Use the same principle if someone tries to talk you out of exercising with offers of doing something else instead.

   

Remember, you, and you alone, are the only person who can take action to achieve the fat loss you want.

  

...But anytime you need extra support, it's always available at The Fat Burn Revolution Facebook group.

  

'The Fat Burn Revolution: Boost Your Metabolism and Burn Fat Fast' is available to buy in stores or online now.

  

For more tips and advice from Julia Buckley, visit her Fitness Blog.