Weight Loss Article - Getting Family Support
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a
piece of the continent, a part of the main…"
John Donne (1572-1631)
In the context of dieting, things would be much simpler if
the contrary to the above quote was true. If we could live in perfect
isolation from the outer world to quietly fulfill our potential,
then we could escape the inevitable comments that only tug at our
But the very nature of man is different...we enjoy community. We
live with our families and we love them. And aside from those rare
moments when they drive us crazy, we don't like being apart from
So how can you begin to change your eating behavior without getting
on the wrong side of your loved ones? Instead of trying to force
your new program upon them, try and gradually win them over to your
cause through a position of support. Explain that while you don't
expect them to eat the way you do, you are asking for their support
and understanding over the next twelve weeks.
How do I involve children without forcing them?
Let's begin with the pre-adolescents - under or around 14 years
of age. First, let us state that the last thing you want to do is
put a child on a diet without the approval of a health professional.
Their caloric and nutrition requirements are different from ours
and these weight loss programs are intended for adults and older
All you want out of your child at this stage is their support. Most
will do this simply because they are oblivious to your own eating
habits and could really care less. Others will simply need to be
told that you have different needs and that you are trying to eat
healthier than you did before. Many children will want to mimic
you and improve their eating habits as well.
Adolescents will require special attention so don't despair
if you can't get through to them. At one time or another, we were
once all teenagers and most of us remember just how isolated we
wanted to be from anything our parents were doing. Dealing with
teenagers isn't easy and when it comes to nutritious eating, it's
often downright impossible.
Hopefully they'll end up catching on to some of your good eating
habits, but don't be insistent with them about going on the program.
You can certainly follow the program's meal suggestions as a blueprint
for healthier eating, but don't force them to participate. To most
teenagers, junk food is a totally viable food group, so don't try
and eradicate junk food from their diet unless they have indicated
their desire to do so.
We don't mean to imply that teens are like wild animals impossible
to control, although many people have told us just how accurate
this analogy is. On the contrary, we have found that many teens
will actually want to participate with you and the bonding mechanism
that this joint effort produces is both therapeutic and motivational.
The best advice? Talk to your teen about what you are doing and
encourage them to support you. Make it clear that the decision to
participate in the program is 100% up to them, but you are asking
for their support. You may be pleasantly surprised.
What if someone wants to go on the program with me?
Great! We often find that family members will decide to adopt
a weight loss program's philosophy after they see it being done
successfully and without inconvenience. Right from the initial sign
of interest, involve them in every aspect of the program. Have them
read the manual…perhaps one chapter at a time as you progress from
week to week. After all, there is no reason to read about week five
if you have yet to complete week two. Too much reading can overload
the senses and it will only reduce the level of comprehension.
What if nobody wants to join me on the program?
While most of your family will not want to participate initially,
you will probably notice an increased interest once they see that
you can eat tasty foods throughout the day and still reach your
target weight. And once they begin to notice the difference the
weight loss program has made in your mood, energy level, weight
and figure, their interest will be piqued. In the rare instance
when despite all efforts no one wants to participate in the program,
still ask for their support. As time passes, they may decide to
join you along the way.
When embarking on the journey alone, it can be made more or less
difficult based on your disposition. Aside from your own doubts
and fears, the biggest hurdle you may have to overcome is the sting
of comments made from those in your sphere of influence.
Don't think that it's a matter of malicious intent when someone
inquires about or challenges your commitment to the program. Our
society, just like the human body, lives in constant homeostasis
(maintaining a constant equilibrium). It fights change, especially
if it's a sudden change, because it's destabilizing and perceived
As you progress through the program, your mood, outlook, weight,
figure and energy level will all improve, and you can expect to
be confronted with well-intended advice from your family
and circle of friends. Sometimes, they may contradict your efforts
and challenge the very philosophy behind your eating habits. Chalk
these comments up to a lack of understanding. After all, before
starting the program and seeing the results, you were probably of
the same mindset!
To build and improve your circle of support, talk to your family,
true friends and perhaps close office colleagues before or soon
after you start the program. Tell them about your plans, ask for
their support, and if you'd like, ask them to do you the favor of
not feeling sorry for you or teasing you about your efforts. By
asking for their encouragement in advance, it is highly improbable
that they will refuse to give it to you. In most cases, they will
become an ally in your plan.
Whether you comprise a couple or a family, the support of others
in your life can do wonders for your potential. Even if your boyfriend,
girlfriend, companion, husband or wife doesn't need to slim down
or bulk up, he or she can still participate by providing you with
the verbal and emotional support you need. Who cares how many diets
you've tried and failed…this only demonstrates your determination
and your commitment to improving yourself. Some people just give
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