Feeders & Enablers

Have You A Feeder or Enabler Hindering Your Weight Loss Efforts?

Do you have an enabler or feeder in your life? If you struggle with your weight they can be detrimental to any weight loss efforts.


An enabler is a partner, family member or friend who subconsciously encourages or enables a person’s bad eating habits. It’s generally done out of love or affection for the person and is not meant in a malicious way. An enabler for example will go to the chip shop on their way home from work for the person. Will bring home an extra bar of chocolate to someone on a diet because they are having one themselves and think it would be rude not to. Will suggest going to the pub instead of the gym as the person trying to lose weight had a bad day at work etc. Some enablers however can do this maliciously, as by buying the person that bag of chips or 6 pack of beer, means they get to have the same too.

My mother was sometimes an enabler and I can remember one occasion ringing her from my bedroom – while she was downstairs to collect a fast food delivery from the front door and bring it up to me. We lived in a small house; it’s utterly outrageous, when I think of it now. Unbelievably lazy and really embarrassing to admit, I hope I had the flu or something at the time, but don’t remember. Funny now looking back though! Anything she did was out of love and I have absolutely no one to blame but myself for being overweight. I didn’t become really overweight until I was probably 19.

If you’re looking to lose weight it is vital that you identify any enablers in your life and explain to them that you need their help and support to succeed. This may involve arguments further down the line but hopefully they understand.


A feeder is a usually a partner, sometimes a family member or occasionally a close friend that consciously or subconsciously feeds someone’s bad habits.  This is done by literally providing the food or by constant negative comments or actions, which will force the overweight person to emotionally eat. A feeder is very dangerous and is not doing it out of love – it is all about controlling the other person.

A very extreme example is one of those people you see on TV that is so overweight that they are bed ridden, they have a feeder in their lives for sure… Someone providing the thousands and thousands of calories they eat everyday and washing and “caring” for them etc.

A feeder usually has very low self-esteem, needs to be in control and may have many other issues. They try to ensure their partner, family member or close friend becomes completely reliant on them. A person looking to lose weight cannot succeed with a feeder in their lives.

I used to think feeders were rare but I’m seeing signs of them more and more. Maybe its because I’m getting better at identifying them, by chatting with clients? It’s usually a male partner or mother and is a form of abuse or bullying in my opinion but is not something I would ever bring up with a client, way out of my remit…

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author: Andy Kenny