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Dieting While Living with Someone Who Isn't?

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Old 10-22-2012, 12:01 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Dieting While Living with Someone Who Isn't?

If this thread is in the wrong forum, the mods can move it. ♥ And if there's a similar thread like this somewhere else, I couldn't find it, but if someone knows, feel free to show me the way to it!

I live with a relative who doesn't want to diet like I am. She eats pretty much what she wants, and will sometimes make food for the both of us (which is SO HARD for me because her food is so delicious and bad for me, I can almost never resist).

But I'm coming to a point where I'm steadily making changes and changing my diet, and it's proving difficult. She becomes passive aggressive about what I choose to eat (when I'm actually stepping back and thinking about my eating), and will sometimes take foods that I want to use for my own cooking and use them to make meals that she thinks we'll BOTH like.

While it's sweet of her to cook for me, the things she makes are not beneficial for my health, and heck... she's using my food!

But when I approach her about this, she gets very offensive. Suddenly, it becomes an argument where she's thinking I'm attacking her eating choices, when I'm not; I'm just asking her to stop making me meals and stop using food that was for me.

It also doesn't help one bit that when she's out shopping for herself, she does the same thing of buying items that she thinks we'll both like. Such as... chips, soda, chocolate, fast food, lots of carbs and fatty foods. I've asked her not to do this, and she clearly doesn't take me seriously.

I can't blame it all on her, though. I fall for those goodies over and over because, well... I'm addicted to them, and they're my binge foods of choice. I don't think she realizes this, but I think my succumbing doesn't help her in taking me seriously. *sigh*

So... how do others deal with this? Leave me your thoughts. ♥

Last edited by kdke : 10-22-2012 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:12 AM   #2
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Hmmmm WHY do our family's "love us with food" OR try to SABATOGE us ?

Next time if your strong enough DO NOT eat any of the foods she prepared you don't want. OR insist she reimburse you for the foods you intended for something else if she's using the food you bought. You might have to really FIRM & put your foot down not that you want to hurt her feelings BUT she isn't taking yours into consideration... is she ? I have an area in the cabinet my hubby KNOWS these are MY foods DO NOT TOUCH HANDS OFF !

This is a tough one ...anyone else ?
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:23 AM   #3
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Well, have you clearly communicated that some food is yours and some is communal? I'd personally just buy more and not stress it, or label everything very clearly.
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:05 AM   #4
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It's hard living with someone who doesn't eat healthfully, but one thing I've had to realize living in a house that used to not eat so healthfully and being in a relationship with someone who doesn't is that: 1) I am responsible for my own food choices; nobody forces me to eat something I don't want to, and 2) The world will not bend to my dietary needs.

If anything you're going against the norm trying to eat healthy and it's difficult and people will get defensive. I don't bend to the whims and feelings of others though; I don't tolerate many sweets anymore (in fact I never WAS much of a sweets person, but I caved to the feelings of others—no more, I'm done) so I will yell at someone who constantly offers me things I don't want.

Another thing you need to realize is that you cannot force someone to change their eating habits unless they're your young child and thus you are the one providing them food. Just as it's annoying to have unhealthy food pushed in your direction, it's annoying when someone pushes healthy food to one who isn't ready to make the change. It's difficult watching someone you care about not make the right choices, but consider that actions speak much more loudly than words. My family has made incredible progress toward health and I never said anything to them; I just lost a lot of weight.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:04 AM   #5
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I live with my husband (who is actually trying to gain weight, because he's too thin) and our two toddlers. I solve the issue by doing the food shopping and cooking in our house. He's supportive and it's usually just a matter of me actually sticking to my healthy eating plan, but sometimes it's tough. When I was at the gym on Friday, he baked a pumpkin pie! My husband is NOT a baker, so it really surprised me, but I can't get upset because he is 30 years old and deserves to eat pie if he wants to. I resisted it all weekend, and had a tiny piece yesterday, which I worked into my calories for the day.

I realize that your situation is different. I would have a sit down and explain that while you are not trying to govern her food choices, you're unhappy with your current weight/state of health and need to choose healthy foods for youself. Ask her again to please stop buying food for you (or making unhealthy meals using your ingredients) but if she continues, you're going to have to be strong. I have a hunch that continues to do these things because you always give in. If you stick to your guns and show her that you will not give in, she may stop. *Hugs* that must be difficult.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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My husband and I had a similar problem (before he began trying to lose weight too), he would bring me high-calorie food to "cheer me up..."

But it really was because I was sending mixed messages. I'd tell him not to make me high-cal food and not to bring junk food home... but if he brought it home or prepared it for himself and didn't offer me any, I would sulk, and when he did bring me food, I WOULD eat it and I would feel better and be nicer to him.

High carb food was my heroine, and while I told hubby with my voice not to bring me these foods, I also made it very difficult for him not to, because I would often be very difficult to live with until he brought me what I wanted.

It took a very long time for us to work out and stick to a fair food agreement, because I WANTED what he was eating, whether I admitted it to myself or not, and I felt cheated that he got to eat it and I didn't, so I would set myself and him up to fail.

I'm not saying you're doing this to the degree I was, but by giving in, you are telling your relative that you don't really mean what you say. You're asking her to be at least partially in charge of your eating (not with your words, but with your actions).

We're taught from an early age to express love with food - and this is true in most cultures, and it can be very difficult for people to unlearn this - even the dieter. Because hubby and I both equated food with love, when he hate food I couldn't have without offering it to me too, I would feel that he didn't love me but if he let me eat it, I also felt he didn't love and respect me... it was a no win situation for us both, and when people face a no win situation they fall into patterns that they're used to (hubby offering and making me food, and me eating it).

It may be a very long, hard road to a compromise, especially if your words are saying one thing and your actions are saying another (another universal of human communication - if a person's words say one thing and nonverbal communication/actions say another, it is the nonverbal communication that will be taken more seriously).

That's going to be the hardest thing for you - getting your nonverbal communication in line with your words. You have to be firm in your own convictions. Don't eat the food that you know isn't in line with your health goals. No matter how much you want it. No matter how much you think it will hurt her not to.

You may even have to consider not eating together until you can exert more control. If you don't eat what she brings home or makes for you, she probably will eventually stop (but even if she doesn't, you'll be learning how to say no, not only to your relative but to your own desires for the food).

It may not be much consolation, but even if your relative were dieting, you might not have any more comfortable relationship with food. My husband and I are both dieting, but we can't eat together very often, because our food choices are still different enough that we end up having very similar problems (I want what you're eating. I want you to offer me what you're eating. I don't want you to offer me what you're eating. Why can't you just eat exactly like me whether you want to or need to or not, and then we wouldn't have any problems).

I suspect that even if you were on the SAME food plan, you'ld still have problems (how could you eat the last x, y, or z - even if it's communal food or food you bought, you should have asked me if I wanted that before you ate the last one).

I really think that calorie restriction actually MAKES us more possessive and emotional about food. I think it's our biochemistry's way of getting us to eat normally - whatever our normal is. It takes a long time to get used to eating differently.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:31 AM   #7
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I too live with DH who wants to gain weight. He eats brown rice and meat most dinners. We usually end up cooking our own meals and share some of the dishes. I will cook the vegetables. If I don't he will not eat any. I may have a half cup of the rice or I make quinoa. If he makes dinner for me, which he sometimes does, he now knows to limit the oil and so forth. He will even tell me to the tee how much oil he used etc. Sometimes he makes me chicken for example. But I realize our situation is different.

I used to live with my sister though so I can relate. If it were me I would explain to my friend over a cup of tea or whatever about my eating plan. I would then say I really appreciate that she wants to help by making me meals. However with my new plan I am having certain foods. I will make my own meals and invite her to have a meal with you that you made. I would budget so you buy your own food and you may have a pool of money for things you share like spices or mustard etc. You might try posting your menu on the fridge and your shopping list. Make it big so she sees it. This may help. You may have to have your own shelves in the fridge and cupboards. If she still makes you food then you have to stand up for yourself and not eat it. You can say "I explained to you that I am eating my own food plan, no thanks". Because if she still does this it is not love, it is malice. If this continues I suggest you ask yourself do I want to live with someone who has malice towards me.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:38 AM   #8
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I would pull her aside at a convenient time and simply explain to her in a nice way that you've started a diet and will need to change your eating habits. It would be helpful if she would make it as easy as possible on you when buying and bringing foods into the house. I personally have trigger foods that I have my wife "hide" so I won't be tempted to just grab in a weak moment because it's there. Or at the least you could have her put her "bad" foods in her own cabinet that you never go into. Hopefully she'll be supportive if you explain this in the right way, but you need to be up front and center about it so she'll see that it's a major issue with you.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:58 PM   #9
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My mom and I had the same dilemma when I was living with her. She consistently told me I needed to lose weight but when I tried it seemed like she was working against me. She would make my favorite foods, buy me chips and bring me ice cream. How do you say no to your come when she comes to your door with a bowl of ice cream? I tried and failed at changing my ways several hundred times. I used to blame my mom but as I grew up I came to understand that she never stuffed the food in my mouth. I simply just gave in to my cravings easily, I didn`t have enough self control or will power.

After I came to terms with the fact that this was in fact my problem it was easier to make a plan to help myself. I talked to her and explained my plan so she knew what was going on. She stopped having to make me dinner, in fact I offered to make her dinner a couple nights a week. This guaranteed that I would eat well those nights and get to spend time with her. The other nights I made my own food and ate alone. My mom cleared out a cupboard just for me so I didn`t have to look through all the junk food and be tempted to steal a bite.

It took about a month before I stopped craving junk food for the most part. After that I found it easier to control myself around foods that would usually make me cheat. My mom still hide my trigger foods just in case I had a weak moment but once she realized I was serious she was very supportive. I think it takes a lot for people to change there mind set about you. I bet your friend makes you careless choices because she knows you like them and wants to make your happy. She probably doesn't realize that she is sabotaging your efforts.

Honestly, I think I would take the direct approach and explain everything to her point blank. Let her know you are serious about making these changes in your life and she will probably change her tune and start supporting you.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:16 PM   #10
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My kids and I live with my parents and my daughter and I are the only two trying to lose weight. My mom is the world's worst about buying junk food and offering it to me or my daughter and saying "it doesn't hurt to cheat every now and then". I have been serious about losing weight and can resist most temptations, but my daughter can't. I've talked to my mom and she says she'll try not to but eventually she does. I guess it's how she expresses love and that's how come I've been fat all my life. My friends loved coming to my house because there was always homemade sweets. She made something new every day. I don't really have any advice as I'm kind of in the same boat.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:22 PM   #11
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I agree, it makes it so much harder and the kids can eat all the stuff that we can't!!
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdke View Post

"She becomes passive aggressive about what I choose to eat"

"she's using my food!

But when I approach her about this, she gets very offensive. Suddenly, it becomes an argument where she's thinking I'm attacking her eating choices, when I'm not; I'm just asking her to stop making me meals and stop using food that was for me."
These are the things I noticed. Yes, she is entitled to eat however she wants because she isn't on a diet. But she should respect your wishes -- without getting all defensive when you approach her about it.

I would try one more time to be diplomatic and say something like:

"Its very sweet of you to cook for me when you are cooking for yourself. Your are a wonderful cook and the things you make are great. HOWEVER, I am starting a diet plan with particular restrictions and I can't eat the things I have eaten in the past. I am not suggesting that you change the things you eat, nor that you make anything special for me. All that I ask is that you respect my wishes and I will take care of doing my own cooking for myself. Its very tough for me to have the will power to stay on my diet, so -- while I greatly appreciate the gesture -- I implore you not to buy me anything or cook me anything that will tempt me to deviate from my diet."

That's about as nicely as I could word it. Honestly, given the fact that she has gotten offensive before and turned your conversation into an argument, I wouldn't waste too much more of your time trying to explain it to her again and again. If she gets offended by it, so be it. You did all you can do. From then on I would have no hesitation about being blunt and just tell her to stop cooking with your food and stop buying you anything to eat. Period.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Well, have you clearly communicated that some food is yours and some is communal? I'd personally just buy more and not stress it, or label everything very clearly.
yeap.
even for my Husband, I am very clear about what I will eat and when I will eat.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:31 PM   #14
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Thanks, everyone, for the amazing advice and wisdom. ♥

I've actually found a shopping list online that perfectly fits the diet I'm trying to follow, and I've tried to talk to my relative again about what I need and want.

This time around, she seemed all right with it. I followed a bit more to joefla70's format of explanation. lol The topic of me getting up on her diet came up again, but I told her that it wasn't about her food, but about mine. She can eat whatever she wants (and I've never told her how to eat in the past), but I'd like to do the same.

She respected this, but made a passive comment about me being possessive. lol Yes, I am possessive of the food that I bought. I'm such a bad person.

I didn't say that last part to her, but it was certainly going through my head. It was much too sarcastic anyway. It would've started an argument of a different kind.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:53 AM   #15
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I can understand. What worked for me and my boyfriend was I didn't say anything; I just made healthy choices over and over again. Over time, my boyfriend didn't fuss over my eating habits and even shifted his habits to mine. But it took a long time. Old habits die hard. That's what I think is happening here.
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