Being beautiful is everyone’s dream. Beauty lies not only in the external appearance but also in a healthy mind and body. Family and friends play a larger role in life than we realize. Research shows that dieters are more likely to change their ways if they feel they have the support of a family member or a close friend, which can make a big difference in their life. Here are some steps on how to support your loved one who is trying hard to lose weight:-
- Step 1: Ask your loved one whom you wish to support: What level of support he/she would want from you? Ask him/her if he/she wants you to give general encouragement or wants a bit more active support.
- Step 2: Provide support and encouragement: Be loving, caring and respect his/her goals. A person who has made a commitment for a weight loss program is ready to take on the challenge of losing weight. Acknowledge all that has taken place and support his/her efforts, as he/she is trying hard to do something that is difficult and thus needs your positive reinforcement and encouragement. Tell him/her “great job” when he/she loses a pound or improves in his/her diet or exercise and tell him/her “way to go!” when he/she drops a size. In case he/she tells you how hard it is or blames his/her luck, tell him/her “you can do it”. Remind him/her to stay focused.
- Step 3: Comment and focus on the positives: Notice his/her small successes and make it a point to compliment him/her when you see a positive change. Talking about weight gain or dieting mistakes does not serve any purpose other than ‘nagging’. If he/she has lost a few pounds and you can notice it, comment on it with a smile. Be specific about what he/she has achieved. Tell him/her that you can see the hard work paying off and what he/she is doing is working. Also, you should speak out less when He/She goes off his/her diet. He/she are probably already feeling guilty hence this happens, so please do not make him/her feel guiltier. If he/she is angry on himself/ herself for cheating, just tell him/her that tomorrow is another day. This kind of acknowledgement encourages, supports and helps your family member to overcome self-blame.
- Step 4: Never nag or criticize your family member about his/her weight: Don’t give constant reminders about weight, diet or exercise, as your reminders would be perceived as harassment. He/ she are aware of all the negatives and this would lead to resentment, rebellion and emotional eating. Instead, ask him/her what you can do to help. Don’t dwell on his/her failures.
- Step 5: Offer a listening ear: When he/she is in a bad mood, listen to him/her. Some people like to talk things out, and may ask for your advice. The key is to listen carefully and offer emotional support. Try to understand any emotional issues that affect his/her habits, like stress or overwork.
- Step 6: Participate in lifestyle changes: A healthy lifestyle benefits everyone, so be a role model: walk or exercise together. Exercise is an important part of a successful weight loss program. Find an activity that both of you enjoy and commit to doing it daily. Exercising with your loved one is an effective way to show your support.
- Step 7: Set a good example and avoid sabotage: Sabotage is not always a conscious choice or a purposeful act, so it is important to always be careful of your thoughts and actions. It can be difficult for someone who is trying to lose weight to be surrounded by foods that he/she is not supposed to eat. Stop eating forbidden foods around your loved one. Keep sweets, high-fat, unhealthy or empty calorie foods out of your house. Do not stock your kitchen with such foods if you live together or do not eat these foods while dining with your loved one. Watch what portions you serve at meals. Try to be fair and reasonable and keep in mind that your family member’s needs are unique. Once you understand what he/she needs, you will be able to compromise and adapt to his/her behaviour. If he/she feels needed, he/she will become part of your team. In conclusion, remember that the key to successful weight loss depends on a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained over time. Your support will play an important role in helping your family member develop and maintain that lifestyle!