Cupcake Saboteurs

One of the girls I work with found out I love cupcakes. She has been making me cupcakes for every occasion. I’m having a hard time resisting, ok let me just say, yes, I eat them. I love cupcakes (sad).” 

It’s a common occurrence with people that I train that once they make changes in their lifestyle and begin transforming their bodies they suddenly find themselves inundated with “gifts” in the form of sugary baked goods or offers to come join in with alcohol and crap-food laden lunches. These generally come from co-workers or people in their social sphere who don’t quite qualify as real friends. 

People in any sort of group will subconsciously form themselves into a hierarchy. This hierarchy will be based primarily along lines of socioeconomic dominance. 

Physical attractiveness plays a strong role in ones placement along this hierarchy, especially for females. This is along the social side of the socioeconomic spectrum. Think back to high school, when simplistic hierarchies played themselves out in a microcosm. The most popular girls were generally the most physically attractive. 

Particularly with women, when one begins the process of physically transforming into a fit, sexier body, it can create a backlash amongst the other members of your social world. 

Two main things are happening. 

First, the stagnant people around you will get a distinctly uncomfortable feeling when they see someone displaying a level of discipline that they are incapable of themselves (at least in that moment) in order to attain a goal that you both share.

Very few people are completely satisfied with their bodies and their health, so it is safe to assume that when you take action to improve yours, you are working towards something that those around you would like to have as well. 

Suppose a woman sees your body improving and decides that rather than support you in your goals she will start bringing you cupcakes. This woman almost certainly wishes that she has a better body herself but does not live a lifestyle that will create that for her. This triggers something called cognitive dissonance. Essentially, her actions aren’t matching up with her values and that’s uncomfortable. 

It’s impossible for a person like this to tell herself that it’s too hard to work out and eat well when she sees you doing exactly that. Rather than change her behavior or accept that she is less capable of change than someone else, she will sabotage you so that she can solidify her position that diet and exercise “doesn’t work” and that all people eat and live the same way that she does. If she succeeds, she can feel comfortable with her excuses to herself and feel socially accepted. 

Few people measure themselves by their own standards. The vast majority decides what standards to hold to by mimicking what they see others do. The people who try to sabotage you are measuring themselves by the standards that you set for your own life. They don’t create their own standards; they are mere reflections of the few originals around them. 

Why else would it matter to another person whether or not you ate a cupcake? What investment do they have in it? They are using your actions as a measure for their own and do not want you living to a standard that they aren’t meeting themselves. So they hope that you will fall down in the same ways that they have so that living in your reflection is easy for them. 

Secondly, the other women in your social circle see their place in the hierarchy being upset. A woman who suddenly attains a sexier body will bump her peers a notch down on the ladder, since they aren’t going anywhere themselves. This will be perceived, subconsciously at least, as a source of diminished respect and attention for the newly displaced. Even if this is not consciously acknowledged, it can manifest itself in passive aggressive behavior like subtle sabotage. 

A true friend will understand that you are disciplining yourself towards a worthwhile goal, understand that the achievement of another cannot diminish-and in fact is more likely to add quality to-their own life, and encourage your efforts. A strong person will want to be around other strong people, not drag down those around him or her in order to wallow in the effortless company of mediocrity.

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