By Dr. Bo Rosenblat
Chief Physician for Dr. Bo’s Diet
Figuring out your dieting personality can sometimes be a little tricky. Don’t assume that just because your character traits are a certain way that these same qualities translate to your behaviors around food. Uncovering the underlying reasons behind weight gain or stalled weight loss is often the key to getting yourself on track. Sometimes we act as our own worst enemy, inadvertently sabotaging our own success. Here are some common missteps and how you can help save yourself from, well . . . yourself.
The Manic Muncher. If your days are busier than Grand Central Station, you may find yourself short on time as well as food options. Running around all day and grabbing a nibble here and there usually results in weight gain. Grab-and-go foods are usually not the healthiest (think doughnuts and chips), but often they are all that’s available. Now what? If you have time to squeeze in every other person into your day, you can certainly find time for you. You only need a few minutes to pack up some healthy, easy on-the-go snacks. Convenience is essential if your days are a whirlwind of activity. Single-serve, pre-portioned snacks are going to serve you well. A small pack of almonds and an apple is a great afternoon pick-me-up, and a cup of yogurt is a quick on-the-go breakfast. Low-sodium, unprocessed deli meats, hardboiled eggs, and bagged pre-washed lettuce are all quick and easy lunch options. No heating is required, and an insulated lunch bag means no refrigeration either. I recommend keeping an “in case of emergency” stash in your car and office too. Busy as you are, there will be days when you forget yourself, and your emergency stash may just save you from the vending machine.
The Foolish Friend. I’m a big advocate of the buddy system for weight-loss. Sharing the journey with a friend or family member can help keep you motivated and on track. The feeling of camaraderie you get with a friend can be invaluable when changing your diet and your habits. But sometimes jealousy, boredom, or discontent creeps in. Now what? If your partner in crime becomes jealous of your success or even frustrated by your struggles, it can leave you feeling empty. I have seen instances where one person actually hides their accomplishments because they don’t want to offend their friend. If you can no longer be honest with your cohort, then the relationship in this one area should end. Even the best of friends can’t always contain their emotions in the weight-loss arena. Tensions run high and confidence can often run low at points. If the pairing isn’t working for you, split up. Even a temporary break can be healthy. If you’re afraid to be totally honest with your BFF (“I saw that eye roll when I lost 5 pounds”) then just say you need a break from talking about your weight. Taking some quiet time to reflect on your goals and accomplishments is always a good thing. You may even find that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
The People-Pleaser. If you’re the type that simply can’t say no, you are probably going to run into trouble around food. Your too-nice demeanor means that you can’t tell mom you don’t want her pie because you’re dieting. It means you will split dessert when out with a friend for fear of insulting her. And it means that you will likely feel anxious and stressed when faced with these obstacles. If you constantly get derailed because of others, it’s not their fault—it’s yours. Now what? You must actually learn to say no. The art of saying no takes practice, believe it or not. If your natural inclination is the path of least resistance, those around you will inevitably sabotage you, and they likely won’t even know it. First, make yourself clear. If you’re visiting mom for the holidays, let her know in advance that you’ve been watching your weight. When she offers you second helpings, dole out a compliment while gently reminding her about your objective. “Mom, if I don’t stop now, I’m going to devour it all, and that wouldn’t be good for my diet!” might do the trick.
The Big Talker. So you’ve decided to lose weight and get your health in order? That’s great! So you’ve decided to post about this decision on every major social media site? Not so great. The problem here is not about sharing your goals with others, it’s about sharing your goals with everyone, before you’ve even begun. Once you put that information out there, you are setting yourself up for questions and judgment. How many false starts have you had? If you thought posting about your big decision would “force” you to follow through, you’re out of luck. You may not lose weight right away, you may struggle, and now your weight will seem like the topic on your “friends’” minds. Now what? Take comfort in the fact that most people really don’t care. They saw your epic rant about how you’re changing your life, complete with the “before” picture, and they have since moved on. Some people, however, will ask you about your progress. And my best advice is to be honest. Explain that though you have the best of intentions, you’ve struggled. Chances are they have too. Then move on. Get back on the horse and get off Facebook.
Ultimately, you may be your own worst enemy when it comes to your weight. It is important to take a step back from yourself and give an honest assessment of what’s been holding you back. While it’s easier to blame others, it’s far more effective to take ownership and fix what you can.
Dr. Bo Rosenblat is a board-certified medical doctor and chief physician of Dr. Bo’s Diet Center, with office locations in Hewlett and Manhasset. For more information about Dr. Bo’s Diet program, please call 516-284-8248 or visit www.DrBosDiet.com.