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With the New Year in full swing, it’s a great time to keep pushing through with your resolutions of staying on track with your diet and exercise to make the most of your weight loss success after bariatric surgery. Even though the holidays are over, the temptations of derailing your healthy behaviors do not completely go away. When your goal is to stay on track with a healthy diet or consistent exercise, often your friends or loved ones can become your greatest obstacle. These individuals are referred to as “diet saboteurs.”

So, what is a “diet saboteur?” It could be a loved one, best friend, or coworker—anyone who attempts to undermine the success of your diet and exercise goals. This is often done unintentionally and with no bad intentions, but nevertheless is frustrating and difficult to overcome. You may find yourself having to avoid or deflect comments like “a little bit won’t hurt you” or “you will hurt my feelings if you don’t try it.” Sometimes it may even lead to you ultimately giving into temptations to avoid confrontation or having to explain your weight loss journey. While it is difficult to confront these situations, it is important that you recognize the issue and stick to your weight loss plan!

How do I overcome a “diet saboteur?”

1. Surround yourself with individuals who support you. If you have a “diet saboteur” who is a loved one, address the situation with them and ask them to support your healthy lifestyle changes. Explain your goals and how their encouragement is important for your weight loss journey success. As for friends or coworkers, look for those that will motivate you to be the best, healthiest version of yourself.

2. Be responsible for your choices. Even though it can be difficult, it is important for you to stick to your diet and exercise goals. When confronted by a “diet saboteur,” simply offer a gracious “no thanks.” Be strong with your decision making. After all, you are in charge of your own journey!

3. Let go of the guilt! Just because someone made your favorite cookies for dessert doesn’t mean you have to indulge in them. Let the “saboteur” know you appreciate the gesture. Do not feel guilty for staying on track with your healthy lifestyle. You can always practice portion control as well—allowing yourself to have a bite or two of a dish instead of an entire serving.

4. Start new traditions. Many times gatherings with family or friends are centered on meals or drinks. Suggest alternatives that aren’t food related, like an afternoon hike or bowling to change up the routine. Not only can it help you stay on track with your diet, but also you can explore new adventures with your family and friends!

5. Clear and open discussion is key. Keeping your family and friends informed on your diet and exercise expectations can be very beneficial when looking for their support and encouragement. If you are open with your goals, you may encounter less interference on your healthy behaviors. Your weight loss journey is your own, but support from the individuals in your life makes it easier!

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