“Sabotagers”, Assumptions, and Why You Should Never Make Them! May 13, 2013 Australia, weight management I’ve had an interesting weekend which has reminded me yet again, that you should never make assumptions. Are you guilty of this ever? I almost exclusively live by this motto, and know that more often than not, the assumptions we make are not going to be correct, and ultimately can leave us looking or feeling like the unreasonable person. Every persons mind works slightly differently, and it is important to remind ourselves of this, so as not to assume the worst. Think about when someone acts as what in the dietary world we refer to as a “sabotager”, the person who you feel tries to place pressure on you to eat that extra piece of dessert, or add that extra item onto your dinner plate from the table; The person who questions why you don’t want to add the extra calories to your meal, or implies that you are on a diet (and that this is a negative), as though you should be embarrassed? Have you got this person (or people) in mind? Dessert- feel pressured to consume some even when you don’t want any? The assumption at this point is that they are trying to make you feel uncomfortable, that their goals are focused on you. However if we take a step back for a moment, typically these peoples actions are more reflective of their current situation or how they are feeling about their own food choices, body shape, or simply life in general (although not always, as otherwise that too would be an assumption). Sadly, the reality is, most people are focused more intently on themselves. Here is where the opportunity to actually ask the person why they are saying what they are saying is important. As a personal example, I have a grandmother who for years on end would always try to force food onto my plate, would tell me I look skinny (with what felt, based on an assumption, like a negative tone), and would constantly say “are you on a diet?”. I would repeatedly respond by saying “I definitely eat, I am within the healthy weight range, I will take the food when I am hungry”. Huge family meals where my plate used to always get a “hawk eye” from my grandmother, checking what was going on it! This cycle repeated for years on end, until finally one day I decided to ask my grandmother why it was she was always making comments at me. She did not outrightly proclaim that she wanted help, but in her own words, which I understood, she gave me an opening to offer to assist her with her diet. From this conversation, she took me up on my offer to do a pantry and fridge makeover for my grandfather and herself; They took on my advice, and she lost a significant amount of weight that allowed her to feel more confident within herself, manage effectively her blood sugar levels (which previously had been high), and all in all, feel like she had her diet under control again too. Grandparents took on quite a lot of advice and started to reap the health and physical benefits (at 91 they are pretty good for making changes!) Once this occured, her tune changed with me, she no longer tried to force feed me, would tell me her friends and her thought I looked healthy and beautiful, and would say “I trust you, you will take the food if you want it”. Hearing this from a Jewish grandmother is like hearing a teacher tell their naughtiest child “I trust you to stay put and do your work in the classroom if I leave the room”…basically…it’s unheard of! Happy grandparents = nice for everyone! End result, if there is someone that you feel is constantly trying to hinder your success when making healthy lifestyle choices, take a step back for a moment, and remind yourself of a couple of things. 1. Why are they doing this? Why would they actually care if you are 2kg heavier or lighter..does it effect their life (honestly)? Is it possible that their actions are more reflective of how they are feeling within themselves rather than of anything to do with you and your behaviour? …and then, ask them. 2. If they are a person that you genuinely would like “on side”, offer to assist them (irrespective of if they take you up on the offer immediately..or ever for that matter!), at least by putting it out there, they can see that you are not acting “competitively” with them, but rather, your goals are for yourself, and they are welcome to join. This will shift the focus as well, which will assist in balancing what otherwise could potentially feel like a power battle within the room. 3. Remind yourself that you are ultimately responsible for yourself. Continue to walk the steps of life that leave you feeling proud and respectable within yourself at the end of the day. Host a dinner party and include others in your healthy way of life! Try not to make assumptions; As you can see, if I lived by the assumption that my grandmothers comments about my weight or food choices were a direct reflection on me, I could have ended up feeling very rattled, disheartened and negative about my food choices and how she is perceiving me. However, by taking a step back, and realising that maybe, just maybe, there are other reasons why someone may act or say the things they do, and giving them the opportunity to express this (such as having the conversation with my grandmother, and giving her the opportunity to take me up on my offer to assist her and get her the results she wanted for herself), I was able to clarify the situation, get everyone on side, and now not have the cyclical unpleasant conversation each week when I see her. Think about if you have any of these people in your life, or whether you make assumptions that ultimately could be holding you back? After many years, the family is onside when it comes to preparing healthy dinners for everyone to consume together, and everyone appears to feel good about looking after themselves and are more supportive of others doing so as well. After many years, the family is onside when it comes to preparing healthy dinners for everyone to consume together, and everyone appears to feel good about looking after themselves and are more supportive of others doing so as well. After many years, the family is onside when it comes to preparing healthy dinners for everyone to consume together, and everyone appears to feel good about looking after themselves and are more supportive of others doing so as well. I know this post was a little different, but I figure it is just as important a part of our lives, and living as best we can, as knowing how many cups of greens we should be having a day (which I can come back to in my next post if you like!). I hope this has left you with something to think about and action, For now, The Travelling Dietitian x ps- If this type of information around food patterns and psychology is of interest, I would suggest you check out my book The Clean Separation which covers it in a lot more depth. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.