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Maybe I'm just cynical.

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Old 08-06-2010, 01:26 PM   #1
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Default Maybe I'm just cynical.

Hi guys. I have had this thought bothering me for some time and would like some perspective.

I have a best friend I've known since middle school. She is a social butterfly and can get along with virtually anyone. She is also very, very slim. She's never weighed more than 115 --give or take-- in her entire life and would often step on my scale in my room, sometimes complaining about any upward shift in her weight. She's short, so her weight is perfectly healthy. She has called herself fat. I, on the other hand, have never known a skinny day in my life and weigh close to 250.

I understand everyone is on their own path. Her comments about her own weight are not what trouble me.

Here is my problem: she knows I'm trying to lose weight. I try not to discuss my efforts with her all that much because I know it can be tiresome. I would rather talk to someone who could relate. So I rarely mention it since she's supposedly aware---and the sad thing is-- I almost have to wonder if she even remembers. Ideally I would prefer not to have to mention it at all but here's the reason I have to sometimes remind her: she's ALWAYS, always offering me junk food. And she acts disappointed if I don't divulge in her offerings. I am very polite about it and just say "oh I'm full, or no thank you" and it's becoming a bit annoying after a while quite honestly. When I decline politely she pouts. I just don't get it. She's a sharp person and is well aware of her surroundings, having to have taken care of herself since she was very young because of family issues and is currently working hard to achieve manager-status at her job. So she's not the type of person you would expect to be oblivious to her actions. I really don't think she's trying to sabotage me, I think she's just a thin person who doesn't understand how hard it is to try to lose a substantial amount of weight and that eating even one bad food will just derail the whole thing. She's knows me. I've told her I'm an all-or-nothing type personality.

Can anyone relate to this in any way with a friend or family member?
Thank you all for reading my little rant, I hope I didn't come off as annoying.. I'm just confused, lol.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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Weight loss is such a hard issue with friends, if both aren't trying and they don't weigh relatively the same. I've got a great friend who is overweight like me but has no interest in losing weight, and I think she feels threatened that I'm trying. So, we don't talk about it. When I was thinner (but still overweight) I had a friend in the 300+ category and I always felt stupid if I griped about being 180 because I felt like she was thinking I was judging her or something.

I do think you should have a candid conversation with your friend and say something like, "Look- I appreciate that you are thinking of me and making a kind offer. However, as you know, I'm trying to lose weight and those types of snacks on on my never-to-be-eaten list. I would truly appreciate it if you didn't offer snacks like that to me." It's going to be uncomfortable, but I think it needs to be said.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:14 PM   #3
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Another issue may be that she worries that your friendship dynamic will change. People sort of get into "roles" in relationships, and maybe she's unsure how your friendship will look as you get thinner and healthier--maybe she's insecure that you will still be her friend. Maybe she sees you as "safe" now but a potential competitor for attention or something as you get thinner. Hard to know, but maybe letting her know that your friendship doesn't depend on either of your sizes would be good. And I don't have a good idea on how to do that subtly, sorry, but perhaps others will. :-)
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:22 PM   #4
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Wait a minute... If you don't want to eat the food she offers, her feelings get hurt??

So, suppose she were offering heroin. And her feelings got hurt if you refused....

See, it's all about her, not about you. She's got a kind of odd mindset about it. Most people will offer food to be polite, maybe even more than once, but if someone says No, I just don't want it, most people will take that as an answer and it's no big deal.

I wouldn't be so quick to say it's not sabotage. You have been the "fat friend" and she's the "skinny friend." It may be that unconsciously she's being made uncomfortable by the thought that you might change. I'm not saying she's doing it on purpose--but she could be doing it unconsciously.

Don't be angrily confrontive with her, but do take the next opportunity to get things out in the open. When she offers you the french fries or whatever, say, "No, I'm going to pass." When she gets all pouty, ask her why she's pouting. That will start the conversation. And you do need to tell her in a kind way that it's not helpful for her to bring you fast food, because you are trying to get healthy and lose some weight. 'Nuff said! And then you can see how she reacts.

Good luck!
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:26 PM   #5
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Let her know that you are rejecting the food and not her.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:28 PM   #6
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I wouldn't show her this post - that's kind of passive aggressive in my opinion, I would just state your observation outright and remind her as many times as you have to, for it to sink in "You may not realize it, but you push food on me quite regularly, and rather aggressively, and if I decline, you seem disappointed or even angry at me. You do understand that my food choices area important to me, and that my refusal of food isn't meant as an insult to you, don't you?"

Food gifts are so ingrained in our culture and subcultures, that it can be difficult to express love and caring without them. It's ingrained so deeply that it can become subconscious. A person will know they shouldn't be offended, but will be anyway - just because, well just because.

I even find myself sometimes pushing foods at my own parties, and I have to remind myself that food is only one part of the party. People eating is not the only sign that they're enjoying themselves.

Even being aware doesn't make me exempt. I fall into patterns, because they're the ones I grew up with, and because they're patterns I still see around me every day. You celebrate and show love and affection through food because... well because that's just the way things are.

The only thing that can change it (in my experience) is talking about it openly and repeatedly. Hinting doesn't work. Asking once doesn't work. It's a habit, and habits are difficult to change, because they become almost unconscious.

If you ever accept her food offers, that can reinforce the behavior so you have to be strong all of the time. Or if you sometimes accept because she sometimes offers foods that can fit into your plan, then you have to reward those times specifically making sure that she knows WHY you're accepting sometimes.

Rather than "I'm not hungry," I think you'll have more sucess if you give her a more specific answer that encourages her not to make the offer again at a later time (if she's not hungry, I'll offer again later). "No thank you, I find that I feel better when I don't eat chocolate." or even joking "You're pushing food again," in a silly voice (and not so silly if she keeps it up).

Being upfront, bluntly honest, and consistent is the only shot you've got. If she gets upset, you can be kind, but firm "I'm sorry this upsets you, but it's very important to me."

Eventually it will sink in, if you're consistent and firm, but if you sometimes give in, or sometimes reinforce her behavior in other ways, it can actually get worse. I don't think there's anything you can do to avoide it being an issue until she "unlearns" behavior that has become automatic for her.

It's like any bad habit, a lot harder to unlearn than it was to learn.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:28 PM   #7
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I used to have this same exact problem with my best friend, before she moved. She was overweight as well, but was not trying to diet, and didn't really care about losing weight. She would offer me Mountain Dew and cupcakes and all this stuff that she knew I loved.

She continued to do this until I uhm....basically blew up at her one day. I told her that she knew I was trying to lose weight and that she should know better. She pretty much quit after that. She would still offer me things every once in a while, but would correct herself. She seemed to forget, and was really just trying to be polite.

Like Dee said, you could have a talk with her, like I did but a bit more calmly and politely. heheh. ^ ^;;
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:15 PM   #8
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Thank you, guys! You've all given me great advice and I will remember to take my stance next time around and be more direct.

Kaplods-- You're right, I don't think I'll be showing her the post, and in fact i'll edit that bit out. I did think in retrospect it wouldn't be the best idea. I just feel so cheesy telling her my drama with food addiction.

oli-- i'm glad you two are still friends XD
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
I'm not saying she's doing it on purpose--but she could be doing it unconsciously.

Don't be angrily confrontive with her, but do take the next opportunity to get things out in the open. When she offers you the french fries or whatever, say, "No, I'm going to pass." When she gets all pouty, ask her why she's pouting. That will start the conversation. And you do need to tell her in a kind way that it's not helpful for her to bring you fast food, because you are trying to get healthy and lose some weight. 'Nuff said! And then you can see how she reacts.

Good luck!
Jay
I agree, it probably is a subconscious thing.
I also agree with it changing the dynamics of your friendship.

One of my best friends is very overweight and isn't trying to lose weight, and it can be hard to be around them (her and her family) because they eat (junk) constantly.
I have another overweight friend (not as big as me, but in the 200's), and she is always eating crap and complaining about being unable to lose weight... that can be hard too, because sometimes I just want to say "Then stop sucking down a large Starbucks flavored drink twice a day or don't complain!" LOL. I'm not really entitled to say that I guess, because I'm fat, which is why I'm probably a "safe" person for her to complain to, however, I never complain/ed about being fat...

My roomate is average size and she offers me junk sometimes, but she's not aware that I am losing weight, so I can't really blame her LOL.
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misoi View Post
Kaplods-- You're right, I don't think I'll be showing her the post, and in fact i'll edit that bit out. I did think in retrospect it wouldn't be the best idea. I just feel so cheesy telling her my drama with food addiction.
You don't have to bring in any drama - you don't even have to disclose your food addiction or any other information. It's "ok" to ask her not to push food, for no other reason than you find it annoying. "Do you realize you're pushing food on me, and you get upset if I don't eat it. Why do you do that? Why is it so important for me to eat the food you want me to, whether or not I want or need it?"

You can give her any reason that you want to (truthful or not), but I would avoid reasons that only "postpone" the issue, leaving the door open for her to keep asking.

"No Thank you," and "I'm not hungry, right now" both leave the door open for future offers. Even "I'm dieting," often is seen as temporary in people's minds (at least I've never met anyone who has stopped offering when I've stated it as a reason for declining).

And really it's not all that odd an assumption. Sometimes I do get annoyed when people offer everyone else in the room a piece of cake and don't offer me one (even if the person knows I'm going to decline). There are all sorts of social "rules" that we all have for ourselves and others, and some of them don't make sense. Some of them we even know don't make sense, but we still have them.

I'm just saying that if you do want her to stop, you've got to be clear on that matter. You can ask her to stop without giving her a reason. You can ask her to stop offering ever, or you can ask her to stop "repeat" offers and pushing. Ask her to accept a "no" and be done with it. -

My personal "rule," that I tell friends/family is that it's ok for them to offer if they wish to, but ask them to accept my "no" graciously - and likewise to accept my "yes" without analyzing it. The only thing I hate more than food pushing is for someone to offer food and then when I accept ask "are you sure? or remind me that I'm dieting. When it has happened, I ask "why on earth did you offer it to me, if you didn't want me to accept?" and if they say "I was just being polite, I answer "making the choice for me isn't polite. I'm in charge of what I eat, when, and why."

You don't owe her a reason, or even the truth (unless you're morally opposed to white lies). If you want to claim an allergy or a health condition (like diabetes) or a vague doctor's recommendation... or for that matter, the unvarnished truth, that's all entirely up to you. Just avoid explanations that leave it inclear about your desires/expectation for future food-pushing opportunities. If you want to close that door, you've got to be very clear about it (and it still might not work, but leaving the door open definitely isn't going to).
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #11
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If you want to claim an allergy or a health condition (like diabetes) or a vague doctor's recommendation...
This actually is a GREAT suggestion. I hadn't thought about it until now but my diet that I'm on was actually prescribed to me by my doctor, so when I tell people that my doctor says I can't have some sort of food, they drop it. If I just said I was on a diet, they probably would ask more questions or continue to offer food. They don't ask questions when I tell them "my doctor said..." probably because of the fact that they automatically know my health issues with my doc are private.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:48 AM   #12
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I had a situation very similar to this the last time I was losing weight. I spent a lot of time studying with one of my best friends (very active and slim), and whenever there were chocolates around, she would offer them. Whenever I would decline, she would try to further tempt me, or leave it there "just in case".

I think there are many possible reasons that our friends act this way. I think one reason is that it's difficult to watch a bigger person making healthier choices (maybe makes them feel a little guilty that they are indulging). I think another reason is that people like to push boundaries - you have established a new line, and she's trying to figure out how she can cross it.

I think the psychology behind our food culture is very complex, and not always simple sabotage.
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