Normally, my monthly motivating message is aimed at the person going through the lifestyle change. But today, I thought I would give a shout out to everyone else, because you all play an integral part in that person’s success. How?
By following the right formula, eat less/move more, weight loss can happen. But if we’re interested in long-lasting change, the key lies in the individual’s ability to stick to this formula. And this is where support steps in.
Know this: lifestyle change isn’t easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a quick fix. Re-wiring habits that have been ingrained for years, decades even, takes dedication, consistency and a whole lot of support through the process.
Now, the degree of support needed will depend on the individual. Some are more independent and just need the occasional pat on the back while others need constant reassurance that what they’re doing is the right thing. In either case, they might not tell you, but they are counting on you to be their personal cheerleader.
Here is how to provide weight loss support, the right way:
As the spouse or partner
The idea is simple; Don’t let them go at it alone.
- Learn about their goal, their motivation and the changes they need to make to get there.
- Stay up-to-date with their progress.
- Commit to changing your habits, too. It’s difficult to succeed when two separate meals or grocery runs need to be made. The entire household should follow-through with the new lifestyle change.
- Don’t be a tempter! Avoid indulging next to your partner.
- Catch them before they fall: are they about to skip their workout? Are they too tired to cook and about to order-in? Why not head to the gym with them or suggest to double team the meal prep instead.
- As they reach their goals, participate in offering non-food rewards; new sports gear, a massage or a new book instead of a celebratory meal.
- Most importantly: be vocal about how proud you are.
As the friend
Because we turn to our friends for support, reassurance and a good time…
- Avoid comments that may be perceived as judgmental or peer pressure-ish. i.e : “That’s all you’re eating???” or “Oh just eat it, what’s the big deal“
- Instead, compliment them and be up-front when they’ve inspired you: “You look awesome/great/fabulous/like a million bucks” or “What you’re doing is amazing, you’ve inspired me to do the same.“
- Join them as a workout buddy or suggest activity-dates: Go for a walk around town, plan a run or a hike or suggest joining a new workout class together.
As the family member
Having the family over for supper? The idea here is to accommodate in a way so that everyone can enjoy.
- Include vegetables with every course; appetizers, entrées, mains and sides
- Keep a water pitcher at the table (flat or sparkling with lemon) as a possible beverage choice
- Don’t be offended or question the requested portion size. Also, avoid refilling their plates/beverages or pressuring them into having seconds unless they ask.
- Serve a fruit platter at the end of the meal along with dessert, giving them the option in case they are too timid to ask.
As the co-worker
Since we sometimes spend more time with co-workers than most people mentioned above….
- Avoid indulging in vending machine runs or in the cafeteria junk-food with your co-worker present. Instead, join the healthy lunch-bag movement, too!
- Be active together, take brisk walks over lunch or during breaks
- Keep an eye out for these bad habits: your co-worker is eating at their desk or has been skipping breaks/snacks. This can eventually de-rail their success so have them join you for lunch and make it a point to take your breaks together.
Are you someone’s personal cheerleader? How do you offer someone support? What kind of support has worked for you in the past?