Support or Saboteur?

Keep the Friends; Lose the Weight
How to Stay on Pritikin No Matter What They Say!

When you leave Pritikin, you are one of the fortunate few who know the facts on weight loss and good health. At first, this new knowledge, the progress you made during your stay here, and your enthusiasm will be enough to keep you on track despite temptations. But it’s not only the availability of unhealthy choices that can make the transition home difficult to maintain.

Friends and family can be supports or saboteurs in your efforts to “eat Pritikin”. These days, everyone considers themselves an expert on nutrition and diet, because of the constant media buzz about the latest study or fad diet. When you’re dining out, people will take the opportunity to comment on your new eating habits, and to offer their advice on and opinions about them. Often well intended, these discussions can nonetheless derail your best efforts at change, especially in settings where you can see, smell, and order the foods that tempt you.

Here are some tips to make eating out, dinner parties, or family holidays, easy on your weight loss progress and on your relationships:

  • Don’t Explain Too Much:

    If someone negatively comments on what you’re eating (or not eating), don’t launch into a detailed account of your stay at Pritikin and your new eating habits. Examples:

    • -If they say; “Is that all you’re eating”, you could respond, “I ate a late lunch; I’m not that hungry now
    • -If they say: “Potatoes are fattening”, you might say, the fiber fills me up.
  • When all else fails, fake agreement:

    Sometimes, people are invested in being right. Let’s say you order your salad dry, and your friend says, “You should have olive oil; it’s good for your heart”. Perhaps you tried to explain about calorie density, but s/he keeps insisting that you’re making a mistake. A brief “Perhaps I am”, delivered calmly with a nonchalant shrug will end the conversation, lower your stress, allow you to get on with the meal, and avoid an argument. It will also keep your eating habits from being the center of attention, a real advantage when you want healthy eating to be a routine part of your life, not a cause of internal or interpersonal tension!

  • Say Yes, to a “dollop”, then play:

    People are funny when it comes to their cooking. No matter how assertively you refuse a serving, some hosts (including beloved family members), insist, “Just try a little. A taste won’t hurt you”. At this time, it might be easiest just to say yes, then move the food around your plate (you may remember this strategy from childhood!). For some people, or with certain foods, you might not want to do this. For example, if you have a psychological addiction to sugar, and you accept a sliver of cake, you may not be able to resist it, and may set yourself up for some serious over-eating. If this is the case, you might want to try the next strategy.

  • Plead Allergies or Illness:

    Tell your host that you found out you may be borderline diabetic or have high trigylcerides or have a gluten or wheat allergy. This gives you permission to refuse, and you can always add a little more authority to the statement by adding, “My doctor said not to DARE touch sugar”

  • Position Yourself as Eccentric:

    If you can carry it off, and have a good sense of humor, make light of the situation at your expense with a comment like: “Oh you know me, one month I only eat ice cream, the next month cabbage soup. This is my current strategy; we’ll see how it goes”!

  • Stay Connected to Pritikin through the Web Site:

    When you leave Pritikin, people who know about the wonderful Pritikin life style no longer surround you. It’s not unusual to feel alone or different or even to begin to question your healthy choices without the group support and daily education you experience here. If that happens you may be vulnerable to the influence of others. When that happens, it’s important to get another “fix” of good sound advice from the experts at Pritikin and from fellow guests. Plug into our web site, and feel connected. You’ll get all the inspiration and advice you need from people who understand!

When someone’s really interested in your new way of eating or compliments the “new you”, congratulations, you’ve found another source of support. Tell them about your experience at Pritikin, or even gift them a copy of the “Pritikin Edge”.

This week think about any social challenges that could undermine your efforts to eat healthfully. Because I am a strong believer in the power of the written word, I’d like you to list these situations. Next to each one, write down your typical reaction or response. If you’re satisfied with how you cope, that’s great!  If not, think of an a new behavior that will help you to stick to your program and to enjoy your dining companions.

Have a good week,
Susan Grober

Health Resort

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