With all the emphasis on health these days, you’d think your buddies would be supporting your low-sugar, low-carb journey with bells on. But the hard, cold truth is that even some of your closest friends may become your frenemies when it comes to your new diet. You may find yourself in a one-way rivalry—directed at you, and manifested as disregard for the changes you are making if not attempted derailment. Not only will your new way of eating be seen as too ‘extreme’ for these friends, but they will likely treat the situation as if you’ve put up a frivolous boundary.

For example, your low-sugar frenemies may chide you in public for making wise food decisions. They may roll their eyes when you pass on eating things you like. Noting you have built up resistance to temptation, they will likely try to cajole you into breaking your diet, acting like a parent to a kid who is a picky eater—saying “oh come on, just try some,” “have one little bite,” etc. You in turn, may get tempted to break your diet just to demonstrate that you do so, and to get them off your back. Don’t do it! Wait until it’s your idea to eat those carbs and don’t let their adult equivalent of a ‘double dare’ derail you. You’ll be mad at yourself later for caving in without even enjoying the carbs because you consumed them just to prove a point.

It’s almost as if these folks can’t bear eating that pint of ice cream on their own. In fact, I think this is exactly and literally the case. I’ve noticed that both the harshest critics of my diet, and those who try to feed me a spoonful of something overly sweet are the same ones who are often on—or think they should be on—diets to lose weight. I’ve come to believe that when you show restraint in moments when they do not have it, it’s an uncomfortable reflection for them. They may feel you are judging them. I am guessing it’s probably worse if you’re someone who was known to consume whatever you wanted all the time (I can relate): these folks knew you as an adventurous eater and they are assured if you’re the old, reliable you with the same habits. Even more confusing than not receiving support from your friends is the fact that low-sugar frenemies are often conflicted. Some of mine make fun of my food choices even as they seek my input on a healthier diet, or give me unsolicited reports on their progress on cutting back on sugar as if I am their unofficial taskmaster. Talk about all over the place!

In contrast, you may find that strangers who happen to notice your food choices may ask you questions and advice and genuinely appreciate your progress. This is where to spend your energy on encouragement. It won’t be wasted! And with strangers like these, you may think: who needs low-sugar frenemies?