Spot the Saboteur
November 28, 2014
Lovely Husband and I recently caught up with people we hadn’t seen for quite some time. It was “his side” of “our tribe” with their extended family and friends.
I was looking forward to seeing one relative in particular, mainly because I knew I would be seeing rather less of her than at our last meeting – due to the fact that she is on her own weight loss journey and has managed to lose three stones to date. She has done it using tried and tested weight loss resources methods of eating a balanced healthy diet, taking regular (and impressively vigorous) exercise; allowing herself a treat here and there and in the knowledge that taking it slow and steady will ensure that the weight she loses is less likely to return.
When she arrived at the gathering I was blown away by the difference in her. Not just physically (although she was noticeably more slender; her complexion was clear and her skin was glowing), but the confidence she exuded was something I hadn’t seen from her before. She wasn’t hiding in the kitchen or offering to look after all the under-fives (her strategy for having to avoid people in the past). Instead she was moving and mingling and generally sparkling.
It was when I started a conversation with her that I realised that something was not quite as it seemed. I started chatting to her and her “best friend” who had come along to the “do” as well. I started by saying just how amazing she was looking – at which point her friend chipped in with “well… yes… you haven’t seen her every day have you so it’s bound to look good”. I paused but let it slide thinking I may have just misinterpreted the tone of what she had said.
I carried on by saying that three stones was an impressive feat to which the “friend” said “yes.. but she’s still got a long way to go.. and it’s definitely slowing down now.. isn’t it?”. (she was now staring pointedly at my relative) who was looking a little uncomfortable.
I knew now that I hadn’t misunderstood… I understood perfectly what was going on. So I pressed on letting my relative know just how impressed I was by her achievements and reassuring her that it isn’t a “weight loss sprint” and that slow and steady had my vote.
By now the buffet was ready and we wandered over to help ourselves. I noticed that “the friend” (who, yes, was tall and slender) picked the biggest portions of food she could see and loaded her plate high. My relative and I took smaller plates and we both had little amounts of two or three things… whilst letting my relative know that I was still on my weight loss mission but that a little treat here and there wasn’t a diet-destroyer (… yes I had a small slice of pork pie and a modest serving of coleslaw too).
The three of us stood chatting and then “friend” decided to head to the bar. She asked us both what we would like to drink. As I’m an alcohol-free zone I asked for a lime and soda…. “friend” pressed me to have something alcoholic with a “don’t be boring” quip at which point I pulled the “on medication” card to silence her. My relative decided that her treat would be a vodka with diet coke and off went “friend” to get them.
When she returned my relative took a sip and spluttered. It was apparently quite strong. That was because “friend” had taken it upon herself to order a double. Another sip and my relative said “is that diet coke…?” to which “friend” feigned horror and said “oops.. I knew there was something…”.
By now I had decided that I really didn’t like “friend” at all but decided to stick close just make sure I had my relative’s back. It was a good idea because after ten minutes “friend” sighed dramatically and said “I can’t possibly eat all of this.. you’ll have to help me out” as she shoved the still-loaded plate under the nose of my relative. I took hold of it and said “I’m sure I can find a home for this if you don’t want it….” and dashed off in search of Lovely Husband. I gave him a brief summary of the situation, assured him that the food was perfectly edible, and asked him if he could “rehome it” in any way he saw fit.
I then returned and opened the conversation with “the growing boys have said they’ll help with the food mountain”. I got a grateful smile from my relative but “friend” quipped “there’ll be lots left…” before turning to stare at my relative and continue with “… you were usually the one eating everything in sight ….”. My relative turned bright red so I countered with “nothing wrong with changing bad habits and learning some new ones”… to which “friend” said “yes… but that’s the point…. People always revert to type… (stares at my relative again…) and you DO like your food, don’t you…”.
To onlookers it would have seemed that we were just three people enjoying a catch up and conversation but to those of us who have knowledge of weight-loss saboteurs…. This was a woman on a mission. The “friend” was hell bent on undermining my relative; allowing her no glory from her considerable achievement and doing her damnedest to shake her confidence and resolve. I didn’t know whether to despise her for being so vindictive, or to pity her for being so obviously threatened by the change in my relative.
As we head out on our weight loss road we will encounter many people. Most of them will be supportive and will share our journey with us. However, along the way, you may well find that you encounter those who don’t appear to want you to succeed. They come in many shapes and sizes; they can be family members, relatives, workmates or casual acquaintances. They may well be openly hostile to your weight loss efforts, or, more dangerously, they may appear to be entirely on your side but make strenuous attempts to sabotage your efforts at every possible opportunity.
If you think you may have a “secret saboteur” then stay vigilant. Keep on your toes and it will help keep you on the right track. I have realised that the vast majority of saboteurs give up when they realise that their attempts to thwart your weight loss have no success. I have discovered that as soon as they know that you are strong and resolute, boredom sets in or they search for less challenging “prey”. Safety in numbers is another great way to scare off the saboteur… and if you see a “stealthy saboteur” swinging into action on someone you know.. then why not enjoy the challenge of heading them off at the pass? Having “someone’s back” is never wrong and, trust me, you will doing A Good Thing.
Have a wonderful weight loss weekend.