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Social Support, Sabotage, & Assertiveness
By Lawrence Feinstein, PhD
Our eating habits are influenced by those around us. For example, how and what others eat and whether they offer us food will influence our own behaviors.
The people around us are part of our environment. Practicing environmental control therefore includes working with those around us to have them support our weight management efforts, or at least not to hinder them.
Types of support:
Many people mistake advice for support. The most effective way to communicate support is to let others know that we hear what they are saying; the most difficult thing to communicate is that understanding.
Intentions: sometimes the interaction feels unhelpful even though the person was intending to be helpful; e.g., someone offering advice or checking up on your diet while you don't want them to.
Types of sabotage:
Responses to sabotage, e.g., spouse bringing problem food into the house, insisting that you go out for dinner or prepare food for family and you don't want to:
During the fast: explain that the fast is time limited, that it is important to your medical health that you maintain the fast down to goal weight and that the longer you maintain the fast, the faster you will be able to eat again. Invite him/her to attend the groups.
During maintenance: explain that now that you have significantly reduced your risk of heart attack, cancer, and premature death, and feel better about yourself, you would like to keep it that way, and that you would appreciate his/her help. Then discuss specific ways for him/her to help.
Communication and Support:
Assertiveness and Confrontation:
a) skills in how to communicate and negotiate effectively; some examples:
b) willingness to do so: may involve tolerating temporary conflict and coping with fear of rejection
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