“Do not be misled. Bad association spoils useful habits.” These words, written by the Apostle Paul in a letter to the Corinthians, were not penned in the context of diet – but they could have been. The people you surround yourself with – your network – will be critical in ensuring that your diet is a success. Hang out with negative people – those who are not on board with your goals, who show little interest in bettering themselves, and who are not displaying balance in their own lives – and all of your hard work and ‘useful habits’ will likely be spoiled.
This is especially important in the first three months of your weight management plan. During this initial period, you are learning new behaviors. Nothing is habitual yet. so you are in real danger of reverting back to your old, comfortable ways. There is always the risk that you will indulge in self-sabotaging behavior that will hold you back. The support of your friends will therefore be critical – yet your friends themselves could be the ones holding you back.
It’s not that your friends mean to interfere with your diet. They usually mean well when they serve up an extra helping of pasta or insist that you have a cream ensconced muffin with your coffee. They’ll tell you that you’ve got to have some balance in life – and, anyway, you’ll work it off the next time you jump on the treadmill. But can’t they see how hard you’re working to make changes in your dietary habits? Why do they insist on making it so much harder for you to stay on the straight and narrow?
The answer lies in the very process that you are working so hard to bring about – change.
That’s the whole point of your weight management program. You want to change. But your friends, unless they have jumped on board with you, don’t. They’re quite happy with the status quo – in fact they like it. They can easily feel uncomfortable about your new and ‘abnormal’ behavior. They seem to have some innate need to bring you back to ‘normal.’ Perhaps they feel guilty that they don’t have the will to do what you’re doing. They may miss ‘the old you’ – the one that was able to indulge with them in the excesses of life. So, perhaps subconsciously, they engage in behavior designed to bring you back to them.