Four Ways to Wipe out Weight Rivalries
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Four Ways to Wipe out Weight Rivalries

Dieting with a little help from your friends.

Is a diet coming between you and a friend? Try these four smart strategies to bridge the gap.

1. Don't keep your feelings secret.

Although you may worry about alienating your friend, experts insist that voicing your thoughts in a considerate way is better than ignoring them. "Sharing your feelings is the road map for remaining intimate and supportive," says Beth Weinstock, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in body-image issues in Narberth, Pennsylvania.

2. Don't be critical.

If a friend trusts you enough to tell you that she's not happy with her looks, refrain from giving unsolicited advice or criticizing, says Gianine Rosenblum, Ph.D., a psychologist who specializes in body-image research and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. "Struggles with body image reflect a woman's deepest pain."

3. Don't get angry if a friend seems to be trying to sabotage your diet.

Is she encouraging you to have another cookie or brownie? She may not be aware of it, and it may be due to fear on her part. "If one person changes her body and, more important, her lifestyle, the other woman may try to bring her back to her old behaviors because what's familiar feels safer," explains Rosenblum.

4. Lean on each other for support.

"Literature on weight loss backs up the importance of role models and encouragement," says Rosenblum. Adds Weinstock: "Bonding is not just about eating together and commiserating about weight. It's found in joint problem solving -- in sharing ideas on how to maintain self-control when you're keeping high-calorie food in the house for the kids."