If you have ever been on a diet, you have probably experienced the interesting phenomena known to many as the “diet saboteur.” Maybe it’s your mom who insists that “you can have a piece of my pie…you should reward yourself…you’ve done so good.” It could be your best friend who brings a bag of chocolates to your scrapbooking crop even though she knows you are committed to your new way of life. Many times it’s our husband or significant other bringing home a little treat for the two of you, buying you chocolates for Valentine’s day, or filling up your pantry with foods he knows are triggers for you. Whatever package they come in, they can spell disaster for someone who is trying to make healthy changes in their life.
For me, my prime saboteur has been my husband. Over the years I think I’ve been in denial about it. Why would he want to sabotage me? He can’t like me this way right? Later in our marriage it did make more sense, but at the time I don’t think it was something he did intentionally. I say that, but I don’t know that I believe it. There have been times when he’s admitted to feeling awful for not supporting me in the past so some part of him must have been aware of what he was doing. Since we have “separated” (we still live together for the sake of our son and remain good friends) I have a little distance and I can see that, intentional or not, the subtle sabotage continues.
A few months ago when I injured my knee, I realized just how close to completely disabled I was. My activity level plummeted even more and I became seriously weak. I’m still just now getting my strength back. When I realized how close I was to being bedridden, I told him that I was going to go back on my fasting diet until I lost enough weight to stand on my own without any pain. About 2 hours later, he baked a cake. I’ve had my first week of CHEAT FREE dieting in a long damn time and I come down to find he bought an extra supreme croissant at Jack in the Box waiting for me. I use my new found willpower and head to the pantry for cheerios and find Cocoa bloody Pebbles; the heroin of morning breakfast cereals!!! He NEVER buys stuff like that and THIS week I find it in the pantry? It can’t be a coincidence. But seriously, what the hell? Does he want me to end up bed bound, with a lifetime of wiping my ass to look forward to? (Just for the record, he has NEVER had to wipe my ass and I will take a bottle full of valium before I ever get that bad.)
I don’t know, maybe he’s torn himself. I know he cares about me. He worries about me and I know he’s also concerned about being “saddled” with me or even faced with the challenge of raising our son without me should I die. On one hand, I think he does want me to lose weight. We’ve talked and he’s told me that he misses the person I was when we were dating. I was cute and funny and loved being out and doing things. I often had to drag him out of the house. However, part of him must still feel threatened by my weight loss. Maybe it’s because he knows that if I lose the weight it might be harder to explain to his family why we are still getting divorced at some point? I think right now, they all assume it was my weight that killed our marriage and while that may have had something to do with it, it wasn’t the main reason. The truth is, I was never enough for him, thin or fat, and losing weight isn’t going to change that.
Who knows? All I know is that I finally seem to have enough of my own strength, at least for today, to resist temptation no matter where it comes from. I made my bowl of cheerios this morning, watched him eat that last supreme croissant followed by a bowl of cocoa pebbles right in front of me. I felt victorious!
As an aside: I want to say that my ex is a great guy. At the moment he is cleaning up the breakfast dishes because he knows I can’t really stand there and do it myself just yet, but he’s flawed just like I am; like we all are I suppose. This fact just makes dealing with the obvious diet sabotage even more difficult because I don’t want to “attack” him about it.
How do you handle the diet saboteurs in your life?
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