A support network helps you accomplish your goals, but without that support, can you still succeed? Friends and family members have their faults. Sometimes hurtful things are said, or unhealthy temptations are put in your path. Here are 8 ways to overcome support barriers, and reach your fitness goals.
Do it for the right reasons.
Lose weight for yourself, not for others. Yes, you might be improving your health so you can be a better mother or grandfather, but achieving weight loss requires that you make yourself a priority. You are making these changes to be a better you. If you lose weight to please a partner, your healthy changes are rooted in negativity. When you fail to get the reaction you expect from the person you are trying to please, you will revert back to old habits.
Overcome negative comments.
You might be criticized for your weight loss methods, or accused of being selfish for taking time to exercise. Don’t absorb these comments, or allow them to negatively influence your own positive self-talk. According to Lissa Rankin, M.D., if weight loss is driven by negative self-talk and self-hatred, it becomes punishment. Ask the person why they choose to say these things and talk it out. Get to the real reason for these words. You may find it stems from jealousy, fear, or genuine concern.
Understand that the negative comments from a loved one may be due to jealousy. Perhaps your spouse worries he will lose the old you or he feels threatened by your newfound confidence. A friend may be jealous of the time you spend exercising, or she may miss your talks while sharing high-calorie treats. Address these concerns and ensure others that you are changing, but you are changing for the better. You will be a better partner and friend due to your new lifestyle. Create new, healthy activities to do together.
Channel the hurt and anger.
Comments and actions can be hurtful, which leads to stress and anger. Don’t let it drive you to overeating and other unhealthy habits. Journaling is a good way to express your feelings so that you can reflect on your thoughts, and be better prepared to address the issue. Exercise reduces stress, and there is nothing like a tough workout to clear your head. Let go of grudges and focus your energy on making positive changes in your life.
Decline the invitation.
Research shows that people-pleasers feel pressure to eat in social situations even when they are not hungry. It is difficult for these individuals to say no for fear of making another person uncomfortable. Loved ones may offer unhealthy foods, invite you to eat out often, or bring unhealthy foods into the house. If you are a people-pleaser you will likely find it more difficult to say no. Learn to politely decline offers, and realize this does not make you a bad person. Find non-food activities you can do with these friends.
Negative comments may get you down from time to time. Address your feelings, and then move on. Focus on evaluating your progress to stay motivated. Set short-term goals so you are always accomplishing something (e.g., eating an extra vegetable per day or dropping a pant size). Avoid depending on others to keep you motivated. It is good to have support but, with or without it, you are strong enough to reach your goals.
Take a close look at your words and actions.
Are you saying one thing to those around you and doing something else? Loved ones may be frustrated because you claim you want to lose weight, and then don’t take the steps to do so. This can then lead to you feeling that they don’t support you. Don’t accept negative or hurtful comments, but be honest with yourself and recognize what it takes to reach your goals. If you are more consistent, their support may be also.
Create the support you need.
According to clinical psychologist Terese Weinstein Katz, Ph.D., having another person to call on for support gives us strength, makes us accountable, provides encouragement, and offers inspiration. You may need to find support from somewhere besides your family and friends. This is why community support groups, such as the MyFoodDiary forum, are so important. It is comforting to engage with those who are on the same journey.