SWINDON-based personal trainer and fitness writer RONNY TERRY returns to the Advertiser in his occasional online blog

IF you’ve ever tried to diet and have failed miserably, you’ve probably been pretty hard on yourself.

After all, you’re the making the decisions, so it’s only natural to point the finger of blame at yourself.

Well, your fingers did dial the number for that takeaway.

Your mouth did utter ‘yes’ when asked the question, ‘cake?’

And you’re the one that requested a large glass instead of a small (yes, wine does come in small too).

There simply is no hiding the fact that if you want to want to be in control of your weight, you’re going to have to shoulder some of the blame.

But what if, on reflection, you’re not the problem after all?

Maybe you have been doing all the right things, but other forces have been interfering.

Well, like it or not, not everyone is happy about your desire to shed some poundage, in fact, some may be making things harder for you – on purpose.

Who on earth would do such a thing?

Well, they’re called diet saboteurs, and there’s no escaping them.

They are at your work.

On your Facebook.

They may even be in your home.

But don’t worry, because today I’m going to help you identify three of the most common ‘Friends Who Like to Feed’ and then show you how to sort them out.

1: Bake-Off Barbara

If you’ve ever spent time in an office, you’ve probably seen more cakes than Excel spreadsheets and know more than one person who thinks they’re Mr. Kipling.

Inspired by celebrity chefs, this domestic goddess isn’t happy unless she’s got her pinny on, squeezing as many calories as possible into her ‘slightly better than shop-bought’ creations.

And nothing is more likely to disrupt your day of ‘being good’ than a tray of cakes being passed around the office like a dodgy cigarette at a reggae festival, with the added pressure of everyone seeing if you take one or not.

Decline, and you’ll be told instantly how thin you are and that ‘one won’t hurt'. Accept, well then that’s half the day’s calorie allowance done in two minutes with a dollop of guilt for afters.

The reality is, cakes are now as synonymous with the workplace as photocopied butt cheeks at the office Xmas party – and you need a plan to deal with this.

• Firstly, get in the habit of saying ‘no'.

If you’re always on the fence then you’ll always be offered, and it’s just a matter of time until you say ‘go on then'. 

• Take some ‘healthy’ snacks in as an alternative. Let’s not pretend carrot sticks will suffice in this situation, so find something tasty, but calorie friendly.

• Let others around you know that you are ‘trying to be healthy’ so they at least have a chance to support you.

• Don’t say, ‘diet'. Never say, ‘diet'. They’ll give you the monolog on how you don’t need to (like they should decide for you). And then you’ll have one.

If push comes to shove, tell Bake-Off Babs, that while you appreciate her domestic skills, you have a food problem, and you don’t see her passing roll-ups to the ex-smokers.

That should do it.

2: Feeder Fred

There’s nothing nicer than someone telling you they love you for who you are on the inside (that’s not coming from personal experience btw). But sometimes what’s on the outside – excess body fat - can get you down.

There’s a tendency for couples to get ‘too comfortable’ when the honeymoon period wears off, as they swap Romeo and Juliet for Netflix and Dominoes.

While males often seem happy to parade their newly-formed paunches as trophies, ladies aren't quite so keen to publicly celebrate an increase in bingo-wing girth.

Fred is worried that if you trim down some Hollywood A-lister will get wind of it, waltz through the door and whisk you away.

That or you’ll suddenly not want to sit in your jim-jams watching Love Island with a takeaway anymore.

So there may be a reluctance to show support if the thought of change scares them.

Assuming you’d like this relationship to continue into the next season of your favourite show, there are a few things you can do get Feeder Fred on side.

• Explain how serious you are about reaching your goals so there can be no misunderstandings later on. You’ll be committing yourself to these results too.

• Ease your way into these diet and lifestyle changes so that the transition will be easier – for both of you.

• Help them understand that being ‘healthy’ doesn’t involve eating rabbit food, banning booze or running a marathon.

As a last resort, point out that overweight people have affairs too - in fact, some prefer things that way - so if they don’t buckle up, you’re heading to Macdonald's after downloading Tinder.

Job done.

3: Your BFF (Big Fake Friend)

Although opposites are said to attract, we tend to have friends who like similar things to ourselves. It’s often why we bond in the first place.

While your real friends will try and help you succeed at whatever you do, some of your squad don’t react well when they see others trying to better themselves. It makes them feel insecure.

(I bet you’ve already thought of their name).

Disguised as ‘banter,' this pretend friend often throws around ambiguous comments about your size, weight, and food, followed by the most insincere ‘I didn’t mean it like that'. Or, make out they are so hard done by since you’ve ‘changed’ and are now ‘boring’ because you don’t go out five nights a week.

Over time, these people will frustrate you, damage your confidence and ruin any attempts to lose weight.

While there’s no need to change your phone number and start the unfriending process just yet, you need to set up your social environment so it doesn’t interfere with the new, healthy you.

• Distance yourself from these people, one-by-one, while you build up your confidence and benefit from the reduction in drama.

• Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by their input as it’s what keeps them going. They’ll soon get bored if you stand firm.

• Surround yourself with positive people who understand the journey you are trying to embark on and are willing to help.

If all else fails, look at the state of this country - there’s never been a better time to emigrate.

Summing up

All jokes aside, getting in shape requires change, and although you may be ready, others around you may not.

Some may be oblivious to how they aren’t helping, while others may just find the whole thing uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, there are also a few people who prefer you bigger so they look thinner.

Your job is to open up to the ones closest to you and declare how important a healthy lifestyle is to you.

And then back it all up with your actions.

If you’re constantly going from one diet to the next and not sticking to anything then can you blame others for not taking you completely seriously?

Put in the effort and reap the rewards of increased self-confidence and the support of those who matter.

The rest of them, well who cares, this is all about you for a change.

For a fresh approach to weight loss, plus recipes, workouts and more banter, visit swindonweightloss.com