16/05/2016 08:25 BST | Updated 17/05/2017 06:12 BST

Are Your Friends Making You Fat?

Losing weight can often feel like a war of attrition.

And one battle you might not expect to end up fighting is the one with your best friends or even your partner.

Because the complicated and controversial truth of the matter is that it's often those closest to you who are keeping you fat.

While we all seemingly strive to stay slim, you don't have to look very hard to find weight-loss detractors. They're all around you and they might not even know it themselves.

But you need to be mindful, and wary, of their motives because it's these very people who are the most likely to throw a huge spanner in your fitness works.

In an ideal world, it's your good pals or spouse who should be the most supportive of your choices.

They're the ones who should be subtly hiding the chocolate biscuits when you pop round for a cup of tea or suggesting you skip the late-night pizza on the way home from the pub.

But in actual fact, they're the ones who'll scupper your well laid plans.

And I can't help but feel this is an overlooked element of dieting which goes on to cause real issues.

So why are our loved ones trying to sabotage us?

It's simple - they feel threatened because you're actively trying to change yourself.

Perhaps they'll begin by telling you they love you just as you are, that you don't need to change because you're already perfect

It's a nice sentiment, but let's be honest, if you've already voiced concerns about your body then you're probably not happy with it.

And then it gets even worse.

Because when you persist in working to reach your goals, your friends and family may even start to poke fun at you and, in the extreme, start arguments about it.

You find yourself in a situation which is, at best, undermining your efforts and at worst, absolutely soul destroying and likely to have you reaching for the comfort of cake as you slip back in to the perpetual vicious circle.

But it's also important to understand they're not usually doing this for any other reason than they're afraid.

Change is scary, especially when it's in someone else whom you're close to, and the longer you've been close to them, the scarier it is.

They may be frightened that the 'new you' will mean the end of your old routine - that you'll no longer want to go out for a Chinese every Thursday night, or that you're spending so long in the gym they never get to see you.

Will those cherished nights in front of Netflix evaporate as you spend more time analysing your Fitbit device?

If that all sounds depressing, what you need to remember is that their criticism or disparaging remarks are all about them, not you.

In my experience, involving them in the process is the best medicine.

Sell them the idea on the benefits they themselves will enjoy: if you're feeling better about yourself and you've lost weight, you'll have more energy, be happier, and most importantly to your partner, feel sexier! All of this is going to benefit the people closest to you.

It's difficult enough embarking on an exercise programme without being told by our nearest and dearest that we'll 'never stick it out or that 'it's futile' because we'll just go back to our old ways once we've achieved what we set out to do.

Think I'm exaggerating? Are you reading this and tutting, 'Well, that would never happen to me...'? Please take note of a recent survey.

This research, conducted on behalf of healthy snack food provider, found that a quarter of Brits will deliberately try to 'sabotage' a friend's diet.

And the most common reason given for doing so was because said friend became 'too boring' while trying to shed excess fat.

A fifth admitted trying to ruin their friends' diets by trying to tempt them out for a drink or dinner.

It's men who are the worst culprits - 39 per cent are willing to sabotage weight loss attempts, compared with just 20 per cent of women.

While one in six overall purposely tempted mates with unhealthy treats and a cruel 7 per cent even tried to persuade them to give up on losing weight altogether.

Just when you thought you didn't have even hurdles to jump through to get your fitness plan on track...