Have you ever noticed that every time you go on a diet, your partner starts luring you back in to your comfort eating habits? I call this Significant Other Sabotage (SOS). Why does this phenomenon occur? Do they want you to stay stuck in the cycle of self-sabotage? Yes and no. Here are some common reasons your partner, friends or family members might sabotage your weight loss efforts….
- It is an unconscious effort to keep the status quo. People HATE change. The more you change, the more the people around you want to try to keep things the same. It isn’t conscious most of the time. It is like lobsters in a pot. If you try to cook one lobster, it might be able to escape, but put a couple more in the pot and they will pull the fugitives back down into the boiling water. Humans tend to behave the same way.
- They are afraid you’ll start looking at their behavior. The more we change, the more self-conscious other people in our lives become. If you start exercising, your loved ones become insecure and worried that you will think they are lazy because they aren’t doing the same. If you start eating more healthfully, they worry you will be critical of their eating habits.
- They worry you might leave. This is mostly true of our significant others. This may be an unconscious fear, but it also may be a very conscious, but unspoken fear. If you lose weight and start feeling confident, you might take a hard look at your relationship and decide it isn’t for you. This is terrifying for your partner. Unfortunately, these fears are rarely vocalized
If you notice that your friends or family members don’t encourage your healthy behaviors and openly discourage or sabotage you, address the issue directly, but compassionately. Understand that it isn’t that they don’t care about you, but they are likely operating from a fear based irrational belief system. Particularly if your partner is the saboteur, you might want to consider couples counseling. Start the process before the resentment builds and creates damage to your relationship!