One of the first things you deal with when you are making a shift in your lifestyle is saboteurs. Sometimes well meaning, sometimes down right evil, these are the people who make those sneaky little comments about the big ideas you’re trying to uphold. And my four year old is one of them!

The other day, I was rushing around, with the kid in tow, trying to get through my errands and back home in time to call a client. It was WAY past lunch; we were both starving; and I was very cranky. The kid is a trooper and was behaving better than I was. I snagged a bag of chips and had some trail mix in the car figuring that would be just enough to get both of us through the rest of our errands.

The kid says, “Mommy, we’re not supposed to eat chips. You said junk food is bad”

You little snot! How dare you talk back to me like that. Give me a break! These were the thoughts running like lightening through my head in about the space of a second and a half. In the very next second, I realized she was 100% right.

Taking a deep breath, I eventually responded, “You’re right! Let’s throw these out and find a better snack!”

Doesn’t it just suck when you’re own kids remind you when your actions don’t line up with your words?

I realized something big here: Those Diet Saboteurs and their not-so-helpful side comments CAN BE actually helpful! All it takes is a little mindset shift.

We all have those friends, family, and kids with questionable motivation when they do and say things that sabotage our diets. Dieting is hard enough without other people participating in it. It really sucks to have to defend ourselves to them when they undermine our efforts to take back control of our lives and get healthy.

I deal with it all the time. People will point out when I’m eating something that’s not raw or not organic. My first reaction is always to go with a not-so-polite “F YOU.” Next come the excuses: “I just didn’t have the time,” “I’m on the run,” “For god sakes, I just wanted a piece of cake!” And you know how that goes, right? Then, what I’m left with is: “You know, you’re right, this is not what I really want to be eating right now,” and I get that creeping sense of guilt and shame.

UGH! Does any of this sound familiar?

Now, some people are actually being helpful. But some people, you know it’s true, are being intentionally hurtful. Ever heard any of these from your favorite saboteur?

Snide Comments About Dieting

Fad diets don’t work.

90% of people who go on diets lose weight for a little while but then gain it back.

 You? Do Atkins?! You hate meat!

Snide comments suck; they can be hurtful, and they can really cut at your enthusiasm and have a lasting impression on your motivation…if you let them.

I suggest you flip the snide comments in your head. Instead of assuming that they’re trying to be mean or cut you down, consider that maybe they’re just trying to be helpful. Maybe they really do have your best interests at heart, and maybe they really are looking out for you. Could it be that they know you better than you do and they’re right? That someone who hates meat shouldn’t try Atkins; that maybe another diet out there would work better for your eating habits?

Here’s what I would say to the Snide Comment Saboteur:

You know what? Thanks for reminding me and trying to help me make better choices.

You’ve acknowledged their friendship and concern without abandoning your desire to be healthier. Do a little more research, and find the diet that WILL work for you! I promise you, it exists!

The Guilty Pleasure Saboteur

Oh, come on, you can have just one, right? It won’t kill you to skip your diet for one night. We’re celebrating!

Their argument makes sense: How could ONE brownie, glass of wine, hamburger ruin your diet? You’re strong; you can jump right back on that horse tomorrow.

Well, I had that candy bar, and I didn’t put on any more weight. I’ll just eat fewer calories tomorrow.

Ever play this game with yourself? But will you? This argument IS the reason that 90% of diets fail. The point of dieting is to change your habits, not just eat X number of calories in a day. If you don’t stick to the new habits you are trying to form, they will never replace the old ones. One allowance tonight becomes another allowance days from now, and, before you know it, you’ve undone your habit changing progress and gained two of the pounds you lost…plus another two.

Here’s what I would say to the Guilty Pleasure Saboteur:

Oh, I could have one and thanks a lot for offering, but I am making a different choice tonight. Thanks!

Not only have you spared yourself the calories and breaking the new habit, you have won a mental challenge. Doesn’t that feel good?! Especially when those jeans you were just starting to wear again are still zipping up?

The Diet Expert  

Oh, I did that diet, and it didn’t work for me.

We ALL have that friend—who has bought every single diet book while it was still on The New York Times bestseller list, has every DVD and motivational tape ever made for this and that diet. Her bookshelves are lined with celebrities who have a diet for you.

The truth is that every BODY is different. Therefore, every diet is not going to work for every body.
@HayleyHobson (Click to Tweet!)

Some of us actually do better eating more grains and veggies than meat. Some of us are better doing more cardio than strength training. Some of us really need the structure of a weekly meeting and a written out meal plan. Some of us need someone to do the shopping for us. We’re all so different! That’s what makes us so beautiful. Just because Paleo didn’t work for your cousin doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. You just have to find what your body responds to. And then stick to it!

Here’s what I would say:

Wow, sorry to hear that! But, you know, I really like most of the food options they recommend on this diet, so I think I’m going to give it a shot and see if I can stick to it.

Bottom line: don’t let anyone talk you out of being a healthier you. It’s your precious life. Make the most of every day and every opportunity to get healthy.

The trick here is not to let it get under your skin. What are the most irritating saboteur comments you’ve heard, and how do you deal with them? 

XO, Hayley

Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

*Image courtesy of Carolyn Coles.