How Not to Allow Others to Sabotage Your Healthy Lifestyle

This post was a long time coming, it was on the tip of my tongue and only a matter of putting the works into proper context. Now that I feel comfortable and confident enough to convey my thoughts, it is high time that I shared my views with you.

My post was inspired by people I know offline and based on a true account.

healthy lifestyle

The Workplace Scenario

On a daily basis, I am surrounded by women, who are my co-workers. In typical female fashion you can already predict the direction of the conversation from guys to hair, clothes, makeup and most importantly DIET….yes I said the big D, the dread D word my nemesis.

It’s a known fact that women spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance – to look youthful with a desire to be slim (I’m referring to the Western society, as not every culture desires to be slim). The women that I work with are a small number of women and I’m the only one who doesn’t and won’t diet.

Now don’t get me wrong I have hang ups about my appearance like most women do, but when it comes to diet and nutrition I know that leading a lifestyle that is free from processed/chemically induced food and instead eating a large quantity of fruit and vegetables is what keeps my body nourished. While I’m well aware that a faddy diet won’t lead to long term results, I certainly don’t impose my philosophy to everyone that I meet.

Unsolicited Advice

As bizarre as this may sound, it takes a person in a state of unconscious thinking to be receptive to all the holistic changes needed to aid a healthier lifestyle. This explains why I’d never approach a random person and start speaking to them about their eating habits.

For many this is a sensitive subject – a case of in-denial, ashamed or offended at the thought of an outsider dictating to them what they should or shouldn’t consume. For instance, how would you feel if a random stranger, came up to you, in a busy mall, while you’re accompanied by a friend/partner and began to advise you on what to wear? Perhaps their opinion might be welcomed, though, I believe this would be subjective. It’s safe to assume the vast majority of us would be taken aback to say the least.

That’s exactly the same principle I apply with my co-workers, unless they ask I don’t advise. One of my colleagues in particular is a habitual yo-yo dieter and I’m sad to say she fails miserably every time. I have given her advice since she broached the subject first. To me, her reaching out was a clear indication for help, in a subliminal manner.

Of course I facilitated her needs, but for the most part my effort was met with resistance. She asked me for help on several occasions, the irony is that she didn’t heed any of the advice given. There’s only so many times that you can try to help someone unless they help themselves first and foremost.

My Own Observations

Currently, what I’m noticing is how my overweight co-worker’s habit eating have drastically worsened, it’s the worse I’ve ever known it to be, she has completely given up on the idea of eating healthily after a barrage of excuses. Granted she does try every once in a while, but for the most part she’s “comfortable” with being overweight, those were her exact words.

This saddens me to see a person with potential become so complacent or at least putting on a facade and we all know the ramifications of obesity, but to give up before you’ve even tried to fully commit to a lifestyle change is disheartening.

On a positive note, my other female colleagues have started to embrace healthy eating, which I’m pleased about. I sit there and beam as I listen in to their conversation about fitness. In fact it spurs me on and gives me a boost of energy to continue blogging.

I rarely join in their conversations, as the angle of the conversation doesn’t require a second opinion, it’s usually discussing their intentions – plans that they themselves have implemented and merely discussing as a means of sharing their thoughts rather than seeking external information.

Identifying Where the Problem Lies

The co-worker who has given up on healthy eating all together, if I’m completely honest, has steadily become a bad influence on others. As of lately, she has a tendency to purposely purchase unhealthy snacks and entice the others, myself included to join her on a binge in junk food and even buy things like chocolate and cakes without their blessing and toss them on the desk.

Chocolate cake with a cherry on top

The ultimate seduction:Chocolate cake: Image by John Kasawa

My observations had got me thinking about people who are surrounded by what I call “feeders”. They come in two forms; the actively apathetic feeder who purposely tries to sabotage your healthy lifestyle or the “passive feeder” who unknowingly brings you down to their level.

If you’re the type of person who struggles to lose weight or eat wholesome food then the quicker you identity the aforementioned the better. Feeders – apathetic or passive both have the same objective and that is to hinder your goal. It will take some meticulous analysis to identify who these people are and how to deal with the issue as effectively as possible.

Positive Mental Attitude Is the Key

I know how difficult it is to resist temptation, when trying to take positive steps to move in the right direction to become a healthier person is challenging within itself. The key is to have a positive mindset, supportive people and tap into a behavioural change. All of these things mentioned won’t happen overnight BUT will can happen if you’re determined and realistic about making some tangible changes.

The point of this article is not to chastise my co-worker for her lack of motivation and regard of others who want to become healthy, but to rather make you aware of your own surroundings and how to overcome any obstacles on your road to being a fit and healthy individual.

It won’t be easy, you will meet people who won’t have any regard for your goal/vision, some will knowingly try to circumvent your plight while others will subconsciously waylaid you. Watch out for the traits which I highlighted in my true account at work and resistant the urge to fall into a bottomless pit with them.

I shall be posting a follow up article where I will be providing you with tips/guidelines on how to deal with feeders or people who attempt to sabotage your healthy lifestyle. This post serves as an introduction or should I say warm up.

In the meantime, have you ever experienced someone trying to sabotage your efforts? If so, how do you deal with the problem at hand?


That Girl cooks healthy

Charlene has a degree in public health and is certified in holistic health

Charlene has a degree in public health and is certified in holistic health. She is passionate about cooking and her mission is to change and empower people to eat wholesome food made from scratch.

Check out her other recipes at That Girl Cooks Healthy

Follow her on twitter and Facebook.

18 thoughts on “How Not to Allow Others to Sabotage Your Healthy Lifestyle

  1. Feeder!! Brilliant! What a great post and it is so true what you say. It is all down to individual choices and being fully happy with them without that nigglingness. Hahhaha this is great 😀

  2. I love everything about this post. We are all guilty of sabotage sometimes, but if it’s constant and negatively influencing others for a long time than that’s when it’s a problem. I also really loved how I could sense how passionate you are about healthy living and about people! Great things are happening here!! 🙂

  3. Regarding sabotage – yes. I’m the innocent victim. My husband is the innocent villain. That chocolate cake looks like something he would bring home. It disgusts me at the pit of my stomach. The frosting is made with lard or Crisco. My trick for avoiding what I know is unhealthy is to think disgusting thoughts about it. Pretty soon, the disgusting thoughts pop up on their own.

  4. Great article….I’m in a situation where I have to continually defend my nutrition choices to a family member, and at times it can be tough but, as they say “what doesn’t kill you etc…..”

  5. This article totally resonates with me. I’m long self-employed, but back in the days when I worked in an office, as a healthy eater I was scrutinized constantly. Women half my age and twice my size would say, “Someday I’ll have a body like you — just watch!” Yet they continued ordering take-out for lunch. If someone saw me eating a lot of pineapple, they’d criticize, “You’re going to eat all that?!” But no one bat an eye at the man who ate three slices of pizza for lunch — every day.
    I was even accused of having bulimia because I ate a lot and stayed thin. Looking back, I should have gotten that person in trouble for harassment. It’s common sense that all calories aren’t created equal and you can have a lot more salad and fresh fruit/vegetables than Mexican or Chinese take-out! If I was eating all day, it was because my metabolism was working right and I was fueling my body! It’s a sad way to live when people just don’t get it.
    Keep up the great work, this was an awesome read! 🙂

    • Thank you Maryanne. I’m sorry to hear you endured a similar experience, at least you no longer have to work in such a pressurizing environment. I experienced the same type of comments, just the other day my director made a comment about me nibbling on unsalted cashew nuts. Anyone would believe I was eating a processed hot dog. I’m the healthiest person at my job, yet the most ridiculed until one of my colleagues wants to go on a “diet”.

  6. The American diet, a pressing influence, as if food is the one-size-fits-all solution to a problem or addiction…well, food addiction is real, and heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S. More like a one-size-fits-all problem than a solution.

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