Wednesday, March 5, 2008


The subject of sabotage came up while talking with a friend. Now, I think most of us have been guilty of this in regards to food with friends, family or co-workers. Co-workers probably get the worst of it because it doesn't seem so personal, unless you are the target. How many times have we taken "treats" to work? Donuts, bagels, M&M's, etc.. But if you are a person that has lost weight or is currently on a diet and someone brings your favorite food....what's that all about?

Well, it's all about insecruities...isn't it?

The other day I was at work and co-worker brought in leftover birthday cake. It wasn't specifically for any one person, she just wanted to get it out of the house....and she didn't want to throw it away, (that's another blog post!). Well, birthday cake icing is pretty tempting for me and I asked another fellow co-worker if she was going to be able to resist. She said yes, she would resist, and I said, "Well, you might be a stronger woman than me!" But then she said to me...."Oh, go ahead, have a piece." WHAT! She was actually encouraging me? I guess I was so surprised because she is a friend I've talked intimately with about losing weight...she herself has over 100 pounds to lose.

After my initial surprise I immediately thought, "oh....she's feeling insecure. But I wonder why? Because I've been nothing but supportive of her. That's too, I'm really surprised."

At this point I made a decision to never take crappy food to work. And to never encourage anyone, dieting or not, to eat something they don't want to.

Life is good. Food is good, but we don't have to eat all of it!


Franz Snideman said...

So true Tracy! Food is good...but too often we have no will power and develop crappy habits which lead to a crappy body!

Food can become an doubt!

Your life is a testimony on how one can conquer the food demons!

Congrat's on your attitude and victorious lifestyle!!

Anonymous said...

I look at work food as a dumping ground. Whenever we get stuff that *I* don't want, I send my hubby to work with the leftovers. I never thought about me harming other people, but your point is well taken, if I'm dumping it, why dump it on other people and not just dump it in the trash?

Tracy Reifkind said...


I think most of us have plenty of willpower...maybe not when food is concerned, but I think it comes down to a desire to change.

Changing crappy habits seems like it takes too much time and bad people feel that way, because once you make a little effort it gets easier and easier the more you do it.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I love how you used the term "dumping ground" because it sounds so harsh...and that's how I feel the disregard for other peoples health is. I know no one puts a gun to anyone's head, but why participate? How does that make us better?

Do unto others.....

Jennifer said...

I work in an emergency department where the EMS ambulance crew is housed down the hall. People bring in food ALL the time, especially stuff they don't want to keep in the house. and sometimes people bring in "treats" becuase they love their coworkers so much. SOoo I am often in the same situation. As I am resisting, people often actually TAUNT me with what they are choosing to eat. I don't necessarily think there is any malice intended. I really think they believe "just this one" won't hurt me. What they don't understand is that that "one" will turn into none being left for them because I've eaten the whole thing. Good for you for sticking it out.

Ariel said...

Hi Tracy,
I read your post today and just wanted to point out something you might have missed in your interchange with your co-worker. You asked this co-worker, whom you mention later is 100 pounds overweight, if she "was going to be able to resist" that cake. By asking her that type of loaded question, you are in a way assuming that she WON'T be able to as since she is so overweight, clearly she DOES NOT resist on a regular basis. You have a good heart and this comment probably came out without much thought, but your co-worker took this as a competitive challenge! Hence her offering YOU a piece of cake. She was probably wondering who really would be able to resist since you were implying that she is weak and unable to resist. This probably stung her a bit. Was it your place to ask her about what she would or wouldn't eat?

I have noticed that when people are overweight, the whole world talks openly about their body and appetite as if it were public property. She will heal herself when she sees herself not as someone who has to answer to others for what she eats and does not eat, but as someone who "owns herself".

You mention that she "must be feeling insecure" but you put her in a really awkward position by asking her about her own business, namely her appetite and food decisions. No one likes the food police. You are already a great example of someone who took responsibility for her life and actions. Your living it out, day by day, will speak more to her than any questions about what she eats.
Best wishes to you!

Diana said...

Nice post! I mentioned a couple of other nasty "S" words in mine!
Thanks for the call-have a great day!

JWC said...

Wow, excellent post! The whole food/social thing can be such a loaded gun.
I think that most people don't even realize it when they are attempting to sabotage another person, and I have totally allowed people to sabotage my efforts to move in a positive direction in the past.
This also wakes me up to the fact that I need to stop and think how my words and actions concerning this subject might affect others.

Great "food" for thought (sorry, couldn't help myself:)

Tracy Reifkind said...


I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I wanted to write "on a whim", and many times that will be a much shorter version of all that I'm thinking....for times sake. I am interested in focusing on more than just workout routines and recipes, so alot of times the short, quick posts are just food for thought.

I had about 10 minutes to write something yesterday, as I am just as busy as anybody else, and I realized when I was writing the condensed/out of context conversation, that exactly your point could be questioned.

The rest of the story,

This co worker and I have had many converstaions about eating and about food, she knows my experiences, and I hers. I hate when people bring crappy food to pawn off on everyone else, and I was was asking her the question so I could support her in making a better choice....and maybe I was needing a little support myself, not to imply or take for granted that she would indulge. Basically, I was interested in where her level of strength and resistance was, and I shared where my strength and resistance was by acknowledging that she may be a stronger woman than me at that point. So, after my confession about feeling a bit weak for birthday cake icing, I was surprised when she encouraged me to indulge when she herself recognized that it was something better to pass on.

I could only wonder if she was feeling discouraged in the fact that what she is doing, as far as her eating, is not working, so she didn't want what I'm doing to work for me....

My feelings are not that of judgement, for I know, from conversations with this particular person, that we both have suffered from the same type of eating habits. I have no judgements about her because of her size or weight, only support and encouragement to know that she, like all of us, can chose to experience good health, however one defines that as.

I still don't feel as if I've explained enough, but that's all I have for now.

Ciao Bella said...

Hi Tracy!

I read your blog in a similar light to that of Ariel.

I know that when some people are looking to me to help keep them "good", I challenge them in hopes that they learn to listen to their own voice. If they "know" they "shouln't" have the item, they will be better off strengthening their inner talk instead of seeking the answer outside of themself. I know that I am guilty of asking others for "permission" to indulge in something that I know does not fit into my program.

That's for being so candid!

fawn said...

Sabotage seams to be a universal problem... I would have to say the treats left at work is the number one diet problem for my clients! Damn all those treats to hell!

Ariel said...

Hi Tracy!
Please forgive me if I've come across in the wrong way about this topic. I did not think that you were 'wrong' or judgmental in regards to your co-worker, I was just thinking that she has put this issue outside of her herself. She thinks that somehow that cake and 'resisting' it are the battle. I think that the battle is much simpler than that and the cake is just a symptom. But she engaged in making YOU part of her avoidance of responsibility and then turned around and acted as a stumbling block, probably without batting an eye. I was just thinking that when we engage too much with others about weight loss, nutrition, and fitness goals, if that person is not ready to do something about it, they are going to react as your co-worker did.

I mean, Mark did not feed you everyday when you were losing weight, right? You ultimately had to make the decision to follow through on your commitment to yourself and you did! He might have acted as a sounding board (at your initiation it sounds like) from time to time but he didn't get overly enmeshed in your choices because you would have hated that! I think it is scary for an overweight person, who believes the lie that they can't change, to face someone who did it. But ultimately, she will have to make those decisions herself or they will never last.

Best wishes!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I welcome comments that require more dialogue and clarification...that's part of what this is about.

However, you did accuse me (and I apologize that "accuse" is a much stronger word than I mean), of "assuming" she didn't have willpower or she was "weak" because of her size...isn't that being judgemental? I just wanted to try and put the situation back in context.

What is the "simple" battle you are referring to?

Also, I am the last person to talk about diet AND exercise, unless specifically and directly asked. No one likes a know-it-all, and I believe, and will always be the first person to say to anyone, that everyone ALREADY knows how to lose weight. Everyone knows exactly what they are doing to gain weight and/or stay fat.

More to say....I feel a blog post coming on!

Ariel said...

Hi Tracy,
I am sorry if you feel "accused" but I only responded to what you claimed you said to your co-worker. I study language and human interaction for a living and when you ask someone if they "will be able to resist" something, you ARE suggesting that they won't be able to resist, otherwise why ask such a thing? I mean, if you really thought she WOULD resist, you would never have brought it up. If you were really only concerned about whether or not YOU would resist, then why ask HER a questions about HER capabilities in this area.

You said on March 6th that you were "trying to put the situation back in context" but the only context you are viewing it from is your own. What about your co-workers' perspective on your words? Have you asked her? You seemed quick to paint your co-worker in a poor light, saying that she was attempting to 'sabotage" your efforts at self control. This seems very one-sided to me and not really fair given what you claimed you said to her. However I think that women do this to each other all the day. We spend much time in talk about diet and exercise and it can really backfire.

Sorry for being so straight forward, but I think that you are not being honest with yourself about your role in your interactions with your co-worker and if your aim is in any way to be a positive influence on those around you, what you say does matter, as much as your actions.

JWC said...

I don't see that at all... It was a simple, good natured question. I think they call that "banter" and I think you are reading way too much into it.

Franklin said...

Great post Tracy!

There is another type of "dumping ground" syndrome that is very prevalent at my office where a number of co-workers will go out to a local grocery store and bring back sushi or sandwiches for themselves along with high caloric treats for public consumption.

During the holidays for weeks on end there would always be something "yummy" out in kitchen to munch on.

I no longer participate and my co-workers have been great in respecting my wishes. Occasionaly I will get a light hearted taunt for one of my former favorites treats but it is all in jest. As each day goes by where I pass up the treats I look at it as another day's will training challenge.

I don't get bothered by it anymore and now look

Tracy Reifkind said...


By wanting to put it back in context, of course I was referring to MY context, that's where I come from....I cannot assume other peoples thoughts. And I did ask my co-worker about her feelings about the situation...she didn't remember her feelings at the time. I didn't feel a need to take it any further....and I may change the way I communicate in the future.

Being honest with myself and being unaware are two different made me more aware...thank you.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I'm afraid that I too get caught up in what I call "a constant state of perpetual overthinking"!

And thank you for getting the real point of this post, which is to look at our own participation in passive aggressive sabotage.

Tracy Reifkind said...


Now that I see things a little differently I can change them. And one by one, maybe, we all can support eachother.

Ariel said...

Hi Tracy,
I can't agree with Jenny that this is "banter" because I've seen these same interactions in my own office place, and there always seem to be fallout.

But upward and onward. You are an amazing example of someone who did what few doctors, etc. think can be done and you encourage and inspire people through your example. Have you considered contacting the National Weight Control Registry? Dr. James Hill and Dr. Rena King collect information about individuals such as yourself who have succesfully lost and maintained their weight for at least one year. Your kettlebell and nutritional expertise would be well used in their research to help other people who might believe they cannot do it.
You rock Tracy!
All the best,

Tracy Reifkind said...


I have given thought to contacting numerous magazine and TV shows about my story, but I haven't made it priority....I don't know why. Sometimes I think that what I've done is no big deal.

But feel free to contact the NWCR on my behalf, lol.