How Friends and Family Can Help You Reach Your Goal
By Barb Brathwaite, RN MSN CS
Deep, deep down, we all want to be supported, listened to and encouraged. We want these things and yet we often lack the one thing that we need to make it happen: being surrounded by the right people. This sounds simple enough but there’s much more to consider—especially for anyone who is facing a life-altering challenge like losing and maintaining weight.
The wrong people can sabotage your progress in life. Based on that, we must be cautious about whom we surround ourselves. That’s why connecting with trusted friends and family during your weight loss journey is invaluable. They can provide encouragement, inspiration, praise, support, and respect. To get you started, here are some ways that surrounding yourself with the right people can keep you on track with your goals.
Encouragement: Supportive people will encourage you and listen to your fears and feelings. Attending support groups can be a strong motivation to stick with your weight loss goals. Listening to the journey of others helps provide reassurance and encouragement.
Pay attention to positive feedback by others. It confirms that the results of all your hard work are starting to pay off. But remember, the attention from others does not last. You have to learn to affirm yourself.
Choose friends who are interested in healthy living. Ask your friends to help you make healthy food choices when going out to eat – instead of enticing you to go off your food plan.
Reach out to others when you have the urge to overeat. Not only will the distraction of calling on a friend decrease the urge but they may talk you out of it and provide encouragement.
Plan exercise dates and set fitness goals with a buddy. Having someone to share your goals will help you achieve them. And it makes it more fun.
Reinforcement: Family and friends see you regularly and can reinforce positive changes. Surround yourself with people that are also committed to a healthy lifestyle. Creating a supportive, nurturing environment will help strengthen resolve. If you have toxic people in your life, do not associate with them. Assert your mindset and take care of yourself. Negative people will affect your mental health and weight loss success.
Inspiration: Share ideas with others. It’s easy to get bored, so keep things interesting by exchanging healthy recipes, workout ideas, health magazines, and fitness apps. Cooking, shopping, exercising together can be very validating and fun and help keep you on track.
Accountability: Being involved in support groups helps ensure you stay on the right track. Connecting with others involved in weight loss provides information, understanding and accountability. We may fall off the track occasionally but those who are involved and connected with others can get back on track faster—and stay there longer.
Sharing your daily food journal with someone else helps hold you responsible for your goals simply by knowing someone else is reading the list of foods you consumed that day.
Celebration: Celebrate your milestones with friends and family. When you reach a goal go out and celebrate. Treat yourself to a non-food activity such as a good old fashioned bowling day, miniature golf, a movie, or a ‘pamper me’ spa day. You deserve to celebrate your accomplishments.