Dr. Fernstrom: Do you have a "food frenemy"?

NBC News 1 month ago

When it comes to losing weight, one basic fact has never changed: good support makes the effort easier and more sustainable.

A “diet buddy” or group support helps many stick to their goals. But there’s a flip side to this concept — “food frenemies”

If you’re fortunate enough to have total support for your healthy living efforts, that’s great! But often, there are people who aim to sabotage — sometimes intentionally — your best efforts, for reasons totally unrelated to you. Food frenemies are those friends or relatives who encourage you (gently or not) to get off track, especially when you are feeling vulnerable.

That’s a lot different from “accidental” sabotage, which happens once — and is often well intentioned. For many people, food is love, and the concept of “rewarding” yourself or others with food is a hard one to break. Once you make those around you aware that food is no longer a reward to you, and you’re trying to stay on track, that problem is solved – unless it’s a food frenemy!

Food frenemies often feel uncomfortable around friends making a healthy eating effort, when they’re not. Sometimes it’s because they feel they should be doing more, that they have no self-control, or are even a “bad person.” And one easy response is to encourage others to get off track, so the pressure is off them.

Raise your awareness, and double your resolve when you’re around those who persistently make suggestions like these:

1. “It’s okay to order whatever you want tonight, you’ve been so good.”

2. “You’ve been working out so hard, you’ve already burned off the extra calories.

3. “I brought your favorite dessert to reward you for your efforts all week.”

In my clinical practice, I’ve heard these and similar comments reported from patients so many times. I particularly recall one woman whose group of “friends” she would often dine with told her “she was no fun at restaurants anymore.” That was because she ordered a salad instead of the onion loaf appetizer and wanted to split one dessert among four people. When she realized why this was happening, she changed her own behavior, and chose non-food activities with that group of women.

Finding the right kind of support is an essential part of any healthy eating plan.

Here are some other solutions:

1. Calmly explain that you appreciate encouragement, and food is okay — but not treat foods. Suggest food gifts like a container of berries, a fancy vinegar or spice.

2. Don’t argue with a “food-pusher." Just because it’s put on your plate, you don’t have to eat it. You can use your own “one bite” rule and stop at that.

3. Meet new people who do not have a focus on food — like in an exercise or art class, or in a book club.

4. Be public about the non-food rewards for your efforts to give other people more ideas — like a manicure, facial, makeup, or concert ticket

Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D. is the NBC News Health Editor. Follow her on Twitter @drfernstrom.

Source link
Read also:
NBC News › 1 week ago
NBC News health editor Dr. Fernstrom, whose mom passed away of breast cancer at 41, shares that every year is "emotionally diffcult" for her to get screened.
NBC News › 3 weeks ago
Fall means pumpkin spice lattes! NBC News health editor Dr. Fernstrom explains how you can ditch the sugar, but keep the same taste you know and love.
NBC News › 2 weeks ago
Just because you hate traditional exercise doesn't mean you can't get in great shape, says NBC News Health editor Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom.
NBC News › 5 days ago
Meatless doesn’t always mean better, according the NBC News health editor Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom.
Business Insider › 0 month ago
The words and phrases you use at work can have a huge impact on how others think of you, and ultimately your ability to succeed. There are quite a few things you might be saying in the office that make you sound less intelligent than you actually are...
The Daily Beast › 3 weeks ago
Pillows are as personal as it gets when it comes to sleeping habits; a pillow can make or break how you sleep. You have to decide what kind of pillow you’re looking for — memory foam, plush, gusseted, high-loft, contour — and then you can find...
Business Insider › Lifestyle › 1 week ago
You won't find a serial number for a Samsung Galaxy S10 on its case — you'll have to go into your phone's software. You can find the serial number in the Settings app by choosing "About phone." You can also find the serial number using your phone...
Business Insider › Finance › 16 hours ago
If you have an Amex card, you're eligible for Amex Offers. Amex Offers are deals for cash back or bonus points when you shop at different retailers, and they vary from cardholder to cardholder. Some Amex cardholders are currently eligible to receive $...
Business Insider › Finance › 1 month ago
If you're using a debit card for everything you buy, you could be missing out on valuable perks and rewards. At the very least, you're putting yourself at greater risk when it comes to fraud. If you like to travel, check out travel rewards credit cards...
Forbes › Finance › 2 weeks ago
“What is vibrational giving?” you may wonder. Before I tell you the answer, I would like you to think back to the last time you helped someone in need. What did you do? How did it feel? Did you expect anything in return?
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google