When you take on any difficult task it’s nice to have a strong support system behind you. For someone trying to lose weight – it’s imperative. You need the people closest to you to be on board because they will likely have to make some sacrifices… like throwing out all the junk food in the house. They also need to be prepared to see you go through some changes… physically and emotionally… and it can be hard to see someone you love change (even if it’s good change). Having family and friends who want the best for you no matter what – is a true blessing.

But sadly there are people who don’t necessarily want to see you succeed. These can be family members, friends, co-workers… no one’s exempt. Whether they realize it or not – they see your efforts at improving yourself as a direct challenge to their self-esteem.

Have you ever seen a bunch of crabs in a bucket? Some will try to climb out… and it seems that right as they’re about to succeed – another crab will pull them back down to the bottom. If they can’t escape then no one can! This is called Crab Mentality – and it’s a very human behavior as well. The people who exhibit this behavior will undermine your weight loss efforts in order to feel good about themselves. As if your success diminishes their worth.

I’ve definitely had a few crabs in my life… I call them diet saboteurs. One particularly bold saboteur was actually a really good friend of mine from when I lived in San Francisco. We were having lunch and I was trying to lose my pregnancy weight. She ordered all the things I wasn’t having… drinks, fries, dessert… and she would constantly offer me bites or wave the food in front of me & say “don’t you wish you could have some of this?” She thought it was the funniest thing, but it wasn’t funny to me. It was a hard truth to realize my good friend didn’t want me to succeed.

Thankfully this go-around I have an amazing support group. My family and close friends are my biggest cheerleaders. They want me to be happy and healthy – and they constantly encourage me to keep going. They are also rock stars at noticing little changes in me and making sure that I notice them in myself. It’s pretty cool.

On your weight loss journey – I think it’s important to keep a sharp eye out for anyone who might try to undermine your efforts (and don’t be surprised if it’s someone very close to you who should want you to succeed). But also balance that out by recognizing & appreciating the amazing support team you have rooting you on to bigger and better things!


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Dr. Angela Tran