Today, I figured I'd take the bull by the horns and get right into it with something that I've been asked about, lately. I've had a few people ask me how they can help a friend, significant other, or co-worker to lose weight....so that's where we start, today.
Let me start by saying that nobody will lose weight unless they want to. It's more about getting the person to want to try and make the effort before you can help them. By preaching and nagging - you're only going to turn them off, and possibly rebell against your ideas for them.
For some people, the thought of trying to lose weight is daunting. It's too much work. It's too time consuming. In their mind, they can't do the activities that are required or don't feel like they can change their eating habits. This is where you, dear friend, lover or co-worker, can step in.
Losing weight is hard. Losing weight takes time. I should know, it's taken me over a year to drop 60lbs...yes, I could have done better but I struggled, too.
It's so unfair that it can take a matter of 2 days to gain 5lbs yet it could take 2 months to remove it. Not really a fair trade off... but it's reality.
So, how can you help someone that you think needs some guidance to understand that the hard work is worth it? Wow, good question....let me know when you have the answer. In my personal opinion, the best way to help someone is by being a good role model. By showing them that you were able to do it, or are doing it can send waves of motivation. By offering to be there to help and show support - without nagging - can do the same.
I came up with a few ideas for anyone that has a friend, lover, or co-worker that thinks could benefit from losing some weight - in the kindest, most caring of ways.
Share your successes, in a nice way. Let's face it, no one likes a bragger. Especially a person that may be having emotional problems attached to their weight. If they constantly hear you going on and on about how much weight you've lost and how amazing you now look - they may end up resenting you. So, how can you do it in a nice way? Make it sound rewarding. When making comments, say things like "I had no idea that I would feel so energetic now that I'm working out a little", "It's taken some time, but I'm so glad I stuck to my goals to get into some new clothes", "I'm so glad that I started eating healthier foods, they actually taste better and have saved me some money" and "Who knew that I would actually enjoy exercising?" By making it sound like you're enjoying the effort, and praising yourself with unexpected rewards (such as more energy or a little extra money in your pocket), it may perk their interest.
Offer to be a support, anonymously. Walking up to a person that you want to help and saying "Can I help you lose weight?" may send you down a road of disaster. It's hard for people to admit that they need help. It's even harder if that person is scared of change or their abilities to do what's required to lose weight. There are a few ways that you can offer to be a support system, without the person even realizing it. Making comments like "I wish I had someone that would work out with me, it would be so much more fun" or "I would love to have a get together at my house, one night, with a few people to share some of my healthy recipes with". By throwing the indirect offers out there, you may get a positive response. Not guaranteed - but better than saying "You need to lose weight, I want to help".
Share your struggles. Sometimes, a person that wants to lose weight is intimidated with skinnier people or their own turmoil with their weight. Sometimes, it just takes hearing that they are not the only one that has those emotions and feelings to open up a door. Sharing your own personal struggles could be a benefit to someone who's in a similar situation. Maybe it's discussing emotional eating, maybe it's discussing your fear of working out, maybe it's discussing the fear that was associated with eating unknown healthy foods....any struggle could be the connector they need.
Don't Push, Pull. At the end of the day, if you try and force somebody into doing something that they're not interested in doing then you are wasting your time. Yes, it may be hard watching someone that you love or care for become more and more unhealthy - but it's their life. Take me, for example. I tried losing weight - kind of - for 10 years. I tried, meaning I looked for quick fixes, miracle diets, etc. When I learned how much work was actually involved with getting weight off and keeping it off - I failed many times. It took me finally realizing that I wanted to lose weight for ME not for anyone else. Sure, I want to be a good role model to my kids, I want to be able to show my students that it's better to be active and healthy - but I really want to feel good about myself, feel sexy, like the person looking back at me in the mirror. My final moment of changing revelation happened when I saw someone that I cared about had lost weight - she looked fantastic - and I wanted that. She never mentioned to me that I should try losing weight -she did it, I wanted to do it too. Easy as that. Will it be that way for you? Probably not...you can't make someone magically change their feelings. Don't try and push someone to do something they're not ready to do...help by pulling them in to the amazing results you're having - and maybe, just maybe, they might be interested enough to ask for help.
Tomorrow, I start breaking down the hard work that is involved for people that are wanting to lose weight - but are struggling. First stop? Food logging!!
Till next time. ;)
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