Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

What Not to Say to Someone Trying to Lose Weight: And how to respond when said to you….

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

I offer some thoughts on supporting each other, assertive dieting techniques and more in my recent “Thin From Within” blog at Psychology Today.



Holiday Damage Control: It’s That Time Again

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

 Maybe you’ve worked really hard to lose weight this year.  Maybe you’ve started eating better, no matter what your weight.  Maybe it’s been on-again/off-again, but you’re pushing for more “on-again”.  No matter what, this is the “perfect storm” season for backtracking:  lots of tempting food, everywhere.  Stress, family pressures, too much to do.   More alcohol, less sleep.  Routines out of whack.   It’s hard to avoid setback, yet so rewarding when setback’s at least minimized.  January 1st comes soon and hard enough without 10 pounds to lose.

To help you through, check out these links, to the Eat Sanely holiday archives  (note especially “The Joys of Just Maintaining“), and to our favorite help-you-through-the-holidays articles from.   Some of this support hones specifically on the holiday overloads; some can serve you well all year long. (more…)


It Takes a Village—or a Buddy, Coach, or Team: Using others to get slim

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

A version of this article appeared at
We take for granted that other people influence our health, for better and for worse.  Think about it:  we know that we share germs, and that we stress each other out.  We know that love and support help us heal, and even live longer.  We give and take advice on health….mostly.   For many of us, despite all this, become lone rangers when it comes to losing weight.

The support of others, though, often spells the difference between losing weight and not, between keeping it off and not.  Studies throughout the past decade have reached this conclusion.  And while Judith Beck, Ph.D. talked extensively about using a “diet coach” in her 2007 book, a new book by Miriam Nelson and Jennifer Ackerman builds an entire weight loss plan around supportive relationships.   To cement the idea even more firmly in our public conscience, Dr. Oz (in his Real Age newsletter) recently headlined “Lose Weight With the Buddy System”. (more…)


SPEAK UP TO KEEP WEIGHT DOWN: For the Holidays and Beyond

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

 As we near the holiday season—and its inevitable challenges to sane eating and weight control—I’m highlighting the importance of speaking up.  For stating your needs and preferences becomes especially important in the holiday push to join in, avoid making waves, and keep others happy.   It’s not that joining in and making others happy is bad.  It can lead to the abandonment of self-care, though, and of course to regained weight.  And for this we often end up feeling pretty unhappy ourselves.

Speaking up can prove hard at times, perhaps especially in this season.   I offer here some quick reading resources to help you get through these weeks feeling good about how you’ve cared for yourself, with some emphasis on the “speaking up” part.

 Eat Sanely blogposts:
11/23/09 (“The Best Holiday Gift:  No Weight Gain”)
12/22/09 (“The Joys of ‘Just Maintaining’”)
Click on “Older Entries”, below

Thin From Within blogpost: 
11/4/10 (“Assertiveness and Eating Better:  Speaking Up to Manage Your Weight”)

Other articles: 
“Avoiding the Holiday Spread,” Suzette Glasner-Edwards, O the Oprah Magazine, 12/08

“4 Ways to Put Your Diet First,” Suzette Glasner-Edwards,, 11/08

“Caring for Yourself at Thanksgiving,” A.F. Hutchinson,, 11/08


DIET BUDDIES: When Two is Best

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Watching your weight, you rarely think that two is better than one.   While one might be the better portion size, however, two can prevail when you’re thinking teamwork and support.  Research indeed suggests that people do best losing and keeping weight off with the support of another person.  I’ve written before about help in the quest for healthy weight (for starters, click on the “Coaching” tab above).  I was recently asked specifically about how two friends can most effectively become “diet buddies” for each other.

A diet buddy team works together so that each can meet a similar goal.  Maybe both want to get and stay on the South Beach diet.  Or maybe each person has a specific weight target in mind.  Maybe the two share a desire to overhaul their eating habits in small but consistent ways, or in broad sweeping strokes.   Working together, the pair gains strength against cravings, fatigue, discouragement, or confusion.   We’re less likely to mess up when we know someone else counts on us.  We’re also more likely to do what’s good for us with the encouragement and problem-solving help of another. (more…)


Emotional Overeating: Returning to those questions

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Back in February and March, I blogged on topics related to emotional overeating, including the question of how addiction factors in.  I share some further thoughts on this issue at “Thin From Within” this week.  Read at


FOR BETTER OR WORSE: Marriage, Weight, and Sane Eating

Friday, June 18th, 2010

People in relationships, and married people especially, gain much more weight over time than singles.  The reasons for this are many and complicated.  I’ve written about some of these issues during the past two weeks at my Psychology Today blog, “Thin From Within” (   The other side of this phenomenon, though, paints a more positive picture for those with mates.  And that is that people do tend to reach their goals more effectively with the support of others.

 You can find more specifics about the benefits of having a helper on the Eat Sanely site (click on “Coaching”, above, and then on “Research Confirms Coaching Works”).   In sum:  the right kind of help and support can mean the difference between continued frustration in your diet efforts and success in changing habits for good.

How can a mate be an effective supporter?  The answer to this question will vary from person to person.   Discussing what would help you with (more…)


EMOTIONAL EATING Part 3: Soothing the Soul, Not Making Waves, and Other Uses of Overeating

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

While it may be hard to stop, it’s usually not so hard to see “stress eating” in operation.  A lot of emotional eating, though, hides in plain sight.  You might not always see the connection between what you’re feeling and how you’re eating.  

If you’re asking the question, “Why can’t I get myself to eat the way I want to?” , you can suspect emotional eating (though even this gets complicated these days, with foods “engineered” to make us want more).  It starts so very easily:  eating is one of our most fundamental human activities.  We can’t live without it.  We’re wired to like it very much, and to seek it out.  We associate it with being cared for and comfortable.  It doesn’t take much for food to start easing problems other than hunger.   

Food is especially good at soothing and distracting us.  It may distract us from bad feelings or critical thoughts about ourselves.  It serves well, too, to quiet disturbing emotions that might feel dangerous to approach—doubts about a relationship, for instance, or anger at someone we love.   Overeating can keep these kinds of feelings from surfacing—and save us from having to speak up or confront daunting situations.  Also, overeating, and then worrying about it, can replace other kinds of worries, ones that might prove way more upsetting.  Conversely, through overeating we can beat ourselves up when we feel guilty, mad at ourselves, or undeserving of good things.  (more…)



Thursday, December 10th, 2009

For many of us, going to work means structure and routine and therefore easier sane eating. However, this is often not true in the month of December—when it can seem like everyone feels obliged to bring cookies, candy, their famous holiday torte, their gift tins of chocolate and sugared nuts. Then there’s also the holiday lunch buffet, and maybe the after-hours office party, too.

Some of this is fun, but some of it indeed feels obligatory. And the hard-to-resist food really adds up. While an occasional treat is fine, daily platefuls can throw eating and weight off track for weeks or even months to come. I know that many do worry about all those cookies, and try to resist, but not always successfully.

To minimize the pull of those treats, talk to coworkers who you know share your healthy eating goals, or a desire to keep weight off. Maybe you can create some solutions together. Maybe you can suggest limits on how much or how many days a week treats come to work. Maybe you can ask people to keep their goodies at home, or at least out of common view. Or maybe you can simply support each other in keeping to your own limits.

Here are some other ideas: (more…)