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Weighing In: "I Don't Associate the Word Fun With Diet"

How many of us have been victims of the "dieting" friend... here is what a hope to be a humorous look at what it is to be on the outside looking in.

I am someone who loves spending time with my friends. I enjoy all kinds of people, and can hang out with just about anyone … unless you are dieting. Sorry, I’ve been there, done that. 

I know it is so important to eat healthy and exercise, but I just can’t bring myself to throw my support behind a friend who is dieting. Maybe if I had a friend who was extremely obese and truly needed support, but to my friends, who like me, can stand to shed a few pounds... I’m sorry, I just can’t handle the inevitable guilt that goes along with hanging out with a “dieter.” 

You know, the one who comes to your home and goes through your kitchen, checking all your labels… giving you that judgmental look as if you have crossed some kind of ethical line by having a box of ring dings in the cabinet.  The one who orders a salad with no dressing after you’ve ordered a bacon double cheeseburger with fries. No thank you, I have enough on my plate (pardon the pun), to deal with.

I decided to write about this topic because recently several women in my office have joined Weight Watchers. Having a “dieter” in your inner circle, when you are not one, can be a big downer. Especially for someone like me who loves to eat. 

If you have never been around a dieter” you may wonder how and why this would (or should) even affect me.  Anyone reading this article, who knows, has known, or is themselves dieting, is well aware of the fact that dieting always becomes a team effort. For whatever reason, the dieter needs to share their experience with all those around them. There is no “suffering in silence” here. Like it or not, when someone close to you is dieting, you are subjected to hearing about every morsel that passes their lips… and your own.

When the ladies in the office were discussing the “do’s and don’ts” of the diet, my heart sank as I realized there were several on lookers who were being sucked in.  Several committed themselves to joining the group. They saw it as a fun way to lose weight. Not me.  I don’t associate the word fun with diet. 

While I could certainly stand to drop a few pounds, I prefer a less harsh approach.  Baby step. Parking a little further away from an entrance so I get some exercise. Cutting back on my portion size or using a low fat whipped cream on my ice-cream. I admit that this approach hasn’t been hugely successful, but I am not one who can count calories, track what I eat, or eat a vegetable without dipping it into ranch dressing. I am weak, I am the mother who drains her kid’s water bottle while watching them from the sidelines… it really can get hot sitting in the hot sun for such a long period of time, and I have very little self control. 

In addition to being freakishly aware of what they (the dieter) is eating, it is inevitable that the tables be turned and suddenly anything you decide to eat becomes fair game. 

The other day at the office I was minding my own business, eating a small bag of Doritos, and one of “them”  came over and grabbed the bag out of my hands and said, “Let figure out how many points this bag is worth.”  Do I look like I want to know how many point are in the bag!?  Seriously, ignorance
can be bliss, and in this case I prefer to remain oblivious.  

Weight Watchers has some sort of calculator that you use to figure out how many points are in everything you eat. I sat there in horror as everyone became obsessed with the calculator and figuring out points for all the food in the room. It was like a game for them, for me it was a scary, horrible game. How could this be happening? Just last week we were all sharing French fries and pizza for lunch!  Things were good, I really felt like I was fitting in, and now this!!  One of the women has said she will make several of the “official” recipes and bring them to the office. 

Oh happy day! 

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Meri March 01, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Respectfully, it sounds like your problem isn't dieting co-workers, it is co-workers behaving badly. If someone grabbed the bag of Doritos out of my hand I would grab it right back, and if I nicked her with my fingernail a bit I would be unashamed. If she just wanted to find out what the points were for a bag of Doritos, she could just look it up on the Weight Watchers website like any other food product. Instead she was rude and owes you an apology. I am on Weight Watchers and I love the current incarnation of the points program, but it is none of my business what anyone besides myself and my toddler put in their mouth (and usually with him, the answer is crayons...zero points, btw ;-) If I want to share some of my WW recipes with my co-workers I don't go on and on about points, etc, I simply bake or cook something nice and I share. I wouldn't worry too much about the situation. The one thing I have learned from years of being on and off diets is that the people who make the biggest deal out of a diet don't last very long. Before long your co-workers will be joining you in pizza and french fries again!
Karen Salemi March 02, 2012 at 02:50 PM
LOL Meri! I think your analysis is spot on and those dieters aren't likely to last long. Karen, it does sound like your co-workers need a lesson in manners. I have never been on a diet but I do have strong eating preferences. If I were eating around you I would eat what I want to and enjoy it and let you do the same.
Karen, I share your sentiments about "diets" , unless they are strict dietary restrictions related to specific health reasons, gluten sodium, cholesterol, if we all just eat better,sensibly, in moderation, I think we would be a happier and healthier society. of course, some nutrition education is always a good thing. But deprivation, while it may help you get into that little black dress for a special occasion, always seems to have a flip side - the weight eventually comes back on, and the diet industry then sells us another get thin quick solution to satisfy our demand for instant gratification for shedding pounds overnight. Excess anything, even exercise, has it's down side, injury to joints, ankles, etc...variety is the spice of life, eh? Anytime you want to hang out and snack with abandon, call me!
Karen Douty March 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Thanks ladies, glad you can understand my frustration. I actually really like my co-workers, honestly, their passion is admirable, just need them to bring it down a notch. :)

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