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Are Your Friends And Family Sabotaging Your Diet?

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

If there’s a universally acknowledged fact, it’s that starting on a journey to eat better for a healthier lifestyle can be the most difficult thing ever. Especially when it’s not something you’re used to. As with anything daunting and difficult, we tend to turn to our friends and family for their support. But do you know, they might be the very reason why you’re not able to sustain that lifestyle?

Yes, this is exactly what researchers over at the University of Surrey have discovered!

In a study published in the Current Obesity Report, the researchers claimed that friends and family have a huge influence on weight loss attempts and social support, whether negative or positive, plays a huge role in the sustainability of a healthy diet.

After reviewing various existing study findings related to the topic, the researchers were able to conclude that friends and family might (not always intentionally) engage in behaviours that ruin a person’s attempt to lead a healthier lifestyle. This could be because of a number of reasons, from a misplaced sense of positive emotional support to their own body image issues and perceptions.

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The study categorised these people into three groups, creating “a new model of negative social support.”

These included people who sabotage (those who intentionally prevent healthy behaviours), people who are feeders (who overfeed out of love, to avoid food wastage, etc.) and people who collude (who allow you to get away with your excuses to not follow your healthy routine).

Many of us are guilty of unintentionally being all three people mentioned above and have also allowed people in our lives to play these roles too.

But is there a solution to this? Of course, it’s not an unsalvageable situation! Once you’ve identified the pattern, set clear and firm boundaries and try to be more assertive. You should also start holding yourself accountable so that you don’t rely on others’ validation or encouragement for your healthy lifestyle journey.