Losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy. Sure, certain things may seem simple on paper. Skip the pizza and beer and trade up for a salad with water. If we were robots we could just tinker with the programming to reach our desired result.
One look at the latest numbers from the CDC should tell you it’s not that easy in practice. Over one-third of Americans is obese and that number seems to be moving up. So if you’re having a hard time, you’re not alone.
Even if you were 100% committed to losing weight and staying healthy, chances are good that you may encounter resistance from someone in your family or social circle. Many times this comes from their own inability to lose weight, but even if this resistance isn’t intentional it can derail your weight loss efforts if you aren’t prepared for it.
Why it happens
There are many reasons why your loved ones may not be as supportive as you would expect them to be. These reasons range from well-intentioned, to downright toxic. Thankfully, most people fall into the former category.
One possible reason is that families or groups tend to treat going out to eat or bringing home donuts as a reward, or an act of love.
We’re all familiar with the stereotypical mother or grandmother who won’t let you leave the table until you finish all of her delicious cooking. Maybe you have someone in your life who wants to innocently keep you well-fed. They may be doing it out of love, but it’s important for you to set boundaries so that your clean eating plan won’t skid off the rails.
Beyond wanting to keep you well-fed, they can be fearful of change. If you drastically change in one area that might mean that you will become a different person in other areas, areas that might affect them. What if they have nothing in common with you anymore?
If they appear to be upset about of the changes you are marking you can have an honest conversation about what has prompted you to need to make these changes: a need for better health, a health scare, comments from your kids, a desire to be happier, more productive, and to live longer.
Make sure that they understand that you are not changing as a person, you are just making your health a priority and that you want to live a long time to share more happy moments with them. If you frame it like this, then your deciding to say no to more food is not a rejection of their love, but instead a display of how important they are to you.
The Dark Side of Diet Saboteurs
It’s important to point out that most people want to be supportive and caring in the face of a friend or family member’s decision to improve their health.
However, either consciously or subconsciously, it is possible that feelings of jealousy may come to the surface.
When you were overeating and overweight you made it comfortable for others around you to avoid dealing with their own weight issues. But once you start to adopt a healthier lifestyle, your friends can no longer use your failures at weight loss to stay comfortably uncomfortable (overweight).
When a friend of family member feels threatened by your weight loss, they might to pull you back to your old patterns by making remarks that make you doubt yourself and your new path. Beware of things said, such as:
- “You seem different now that you’ve lost weight.”
- “I am not sure I like the new you.”
- “You think you’re better than the rest of us.”
- Jealousy may not show up this way. Instead, jealousy may cause a desire to tempt you with calorie-dense food. Hopefully, you won’t have this problem in your social circle, but it’s something you should be aware of and protect yourself against.
Here are some tips for dealing with saboteurs:
- Try not to talk about the way you eat with friends who might be jealous. That way the topic won’t even come up. If they bring it up, try to change the topic so you don’t become the focal point of the conversation.
- Don’t be boastful or proud about your weight loss. Be grateful and humble instead. Talk about the wonderful help you’ve gotten from friends, family, or whatever program is helping you to lose the weight.
- If all else fails you may decide that you need to limit access to toxic people. It is unfortunate, but if these kind of people are negative about your healthy life choices then they will most likely be negative other areas too.
Healthy Eating In The Home
The most challenging thing to deal with when changing your eating habits is the resistance of those who live under your roof.
If you’re like most people you don’t want to take this journey alone. You want your spouse and children to upgrade their health along with you.
Of course, you should state your case to your spouse, and explain why your healthy choices could could have a positive effect on them and your kids. However, if they don’t want to join you on this journey by changing their habits, as well, you will have to decide if weight loss is important enough to you that you are willing to push forward even when you see your husband or kids eating cookies and pizza.
If you choose to improve your life by improving your health, even with when faced with unsupportive household, here are few tips to help you brave the storm:
Communication Is Key
Are you noticing a pattern? I’ve said earlier in the article that laying down ground rules is crucial. It’s even more important when it comes to those you’ll be seeing on a daily basis in your household.
Sit down with your family and explain your dietary changes and your desired goals. Let them know WHY you are doing what you are doing. Hopefully, this will help them be supportive even if they aren’t walking the same dietary path.
Here’s an interesting way to build some teamwork into your weight loss journey. Create a reward that you and your partner or your entire family can enjoy once a particular goal is reached.
For example, If you want to lose 10 pounds make the reward for that going to the zoo or having a weekend out-of-town. While it would wonderful if you’re family decided to eat healthier with you it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if they choose not too.
Get Outside Support
It’s close to impossible to lose weight without a whole lot of support. The best kind of support will be from those who are also working on a weight loss goal. Community with others who are trying to better themselves is essential. Take advantage of online forms of support like the Heal Your Hunger Community, a community of people who are committed to overcoming emotional eating, through the 10 Weeks to Freedom from Emotional Eating program.
Hopefully, these strategies will help you reach your weight loss goals. Temptation can be difficult to deal with, especially for an emotional eater. If you’d like to find out if you are an emotional eater, and what steps you can take to finally lose those excess pounds for good you can take my test here.