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Weight Control and Friends

Many countries celebrated Friendship Day on August 4. The UN celebrates Friendship Day on July 30.
We like to celebrate friendship – everyday! 
Forward this email to a friend who could use the SP weight loss appointment. Better yet, buddy up, and come to the appointment together!

I suppose that everyone has a different amount and “closeness” of friends. Personally, for me this is an age related phenomenon. When I was in high school and college, I had many friends, in medical school less so, and in the married/having children phase of my life, even less amount of friends. The reason is pretty clear: when building your own family and professional life there is simply less time to engage with other people. However, later in life, when the children are grown and (finally) out of the house and perhaps the professional life has been scaled back a bit, there is once again more time to cultivate and nurture friendships.There have been and always will be different levels of friendship as well. Most everyone has one person that he/she will consider as “my best friend” and there are a few others that will be considered “close” friends. Then, at a different level are people that we call “friends” yet we do not know them as well, see them as much, open up to them similar to our close friends etc. Back in 1983, the Ad Council for drunk driving came out with a very successful advertising campaign: “Friends do not let friends drive drunk.” This slogan has stuck around for decades and it basically implores people to not allow their friends/family that have been drinking alcohol to get in their cars to drive home. It is not unusual for the drinker to profess “I am okay to drive” when in fact, he/she is impaired and could cause great harm to him/herself and others. Stepping up, taking the keys away and declaring there is no way you will allow the person to get behind the wheel could be a life saving act.
Turning to the weight control arena, an analogous, but more difficult situation exists: Friends should not let friends eat/drink poorly. Why is the weight situation different than the alcohol situation? Driving drunk could kill someone on the immediate basis whereas the eating excessively can only hurt the affected person and will not happen immediately. How appropriate would it be to see an obese friend about ready to chomp down on a double burger and fries, go up to that person and say: “I will not let you do this”. Good chance that the person will not consider you a friend anymore. Social graces will pretty much prevent friends from reprimanding/admonishing friends about detrimental eating.Perhaps the action item that can be done as a friend: Do not facilitate/encourage/enable your overweight/obese friends to “break” their journey. I have many patients tell me that their “friends” will often push high caloric foods on them during social situations. “Oh, come on, you can cheat sometimes”…”You look GREAT…you are getting too skinny…you can eat this.” …”Let’s share the dessert.”
If you are on a long term weight control journey, ask for your friends’ help along the way. When invited to a friend’s house for dinner, ask what is being prepared and if the main dish is not at all compatible with the plan, your friend will be more than happy to offer up something more conducive for you. Preempt sabotaging by your friends by asking, in advance, for them to respect your weight control journey and they can help by NOT pushing food and alcohol on you.
True friends will bend over backwards to help you control weight. Those that do not are either the jealous sort or are truly not your friend.


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