It happens to everyone. You start to make progress, you feel good about the changes you’ve made, and then — your closest loved ones will attempt to sabotage your fitness efforts. Let’s take a look at why this happens.
Photo by Stéfan
There are as many sabotage cliches as there are fitness quotes: “I liked you the way you were before,” “you’re just wasting your time” or “come on, what’s the harm in having pizza once in a while?”
Does your family hate you? Probably. But that’s not what is motivating them in this instance. Instead, they’re just being human; there are both physiological and psychological reasons behind their passive-aggression.
The first reason is due to a psychological called cognitive dissonance, which happens when we have multiple conflicting desires. Prolific weight loss coach Adam Gilbert explains it here:
For example, a smoker could rationalize their behaviour by believing that few people get sick from smoking, it only happens to people who smoke more than they do, if smoking doesn’t kill them something else will, they will quit next year, it’s too expensive to quit, or they only live once and they deserve to smoke. In essence, they either need to take action (quit smoking and get whatever help they need) or they need to make themselves feel better by rationalizing their smoking — which is what most people do).
One of the ways that your closest kin smooth over their cognitive dissonance is by attempting to sabotage your goals. Their love for you, in fact, might be the underlying reason behind their actions. A relatively new study from from The Oxford Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
confirms that the reason loved ones can be especially critical about your life changes is that they are simply projecting their own insecurities.
What does this mean for you? If you start a weight loss program, be prepared for a little pushback from those closest to you. The most helpful thing that you can do is to brush off their negativity by realising that it’s only because they are human, and humans are silly creatures. If they didn’t love you so much, they probably wouldn’t care so much about your efforts.
Why Our Friends and Family are Sabotaging Us [My Body Tutor]