Health and Fitness

Community Support and Weight Loss

When embarking on a dramatic lifestyle change – such as your weight loss journey – your initial reaction might be to tell everyone you know or you also check out stuff like You’d like the cheerleading, and you’d like the accountability. While this can be a helpful tactic, it can also backfire easily. We’re all familiar with the parent who sneaks in snarky comments like “Hm, I’ve heard THAT one before” or the friend who tries to sabotage you with gifts of your favorite junk food. Here are a couple of things to consider when deciding who to solicit for support, and who to keep in the dark – at least till you’re off and running.

  1. How fragile do YOU feel about this process? Weight loss can be a sensitive issue. If that’s the case for you, you may want to hold off on letting others know until you are secure in your routine. If people notice you’re consuming less, or differently, you can deflect their questioning with a simple “I’m trying to make healthier choices”. Next, turn the conversation to what’s on THEIR plate, or ask them details about what they’ve been eating. Most people love to talk about themselves and they won’t notice that you’ve sidestepped their query.
  2. Who’s been helpful in the past? If you take an honest look at your community, you’ll be able to identify those you can count on and those you can count on to be passive-aggressive. I know you’ve always wished that your brother could be the kind, protective older sibling of your dreams, but he’s not going to change into that overnight if he’s been known to refer to you as “Pudgeroo”. In contrast, the cousin who’s always had an empathic ear and a kind word for you might be a great ally in this process. If you decide to let her know of your plans, be sure to fill her in on some concrete ways she can support you, i.e. creating non-food oriented visits, asking about how your weight loss is going, not asking about how it’s going, etc.
  3. Now is not the time to process with the snakes. You’ve decided this is it, this is the time when you are going to create serious life change for yourself, and you want to share it with everyone so that they know what a powerful mission you are on. Well, if someone has been a snake in the past, they will probably be a snake in the future. Rather than sitting them down and asking for their support, realize that you are an independent adult, you can do it yourself, and rather than tell them, you’ll show them.

Create your own community. Your immediate family and friends may not be able to relate to your journey, or it may hit too close to home for them to be objective and kind. This is why it’s crucial to find a community of others who have a similar goal, whether it’s in the blogosphere, a gym, or the basement of a church.