Creating Buy In
By Natalie Suttmoeller, RN BSN CCRN CBN
"I have ruined my own life with food; what on earth have I done to my family?" Anonymous bariatric patient.
I often hear patients make comments after losing weight about how they never realized the extent of damage they have caused themselves and their family, as a result of their inactive lifestyle and eating habits. It is human nature, after one loses a significant amount of weight, to observe the eating habits and lifestyles of those around us. As we lose weight we look at our children, spouses and support people and make mental notes on how they carry their weight, eat and live. Often we find that our closest support people live in the very same boat that we did prior to losing weight. Our friends and family, realizing or not, have often not taken the necessary steps in controlling this portion of their lives, experiencing much of the same frustration that we have had in the past. In that moment of clarity, they realize that their behaviors have in some ways negatively affected the people they love and care for the most. While the normal knee jerk response is to clean out the pantry, stop the fast food, and drag everyone outside for a walk every night, it isn’t always the best received or desired.
Weight loss is a process that involves a significant commitment to stay with it and build new habits for life. While not everyone is going to be supportive in your endeavors, it is important to get those around you involved early in the process. While your behaviors and lifestyle are going to change, your family and support systems will not. Knowledge is power not only to you but also your support. Be open, informative, and sensitive to your support system and families. Don’t be surprised if you find resistance in your closest circles, especially with your children. The distance from the couch to the pavement after school can sometimes be a pretty long walk. The more people you keep in the loop regarding your new way of living, the more likely you are to have the necessary support and buy in when you need it the most.