Who do you consider your emotional support for weight loss?
Who Is Part of Your Support System?
Anyone who is willing to help in any way can be part of your support system. Consider...
Adult immediate family. Significant others and any other adult in your household can impact what you eat at home and how much activity you get.
Your children. Children tend to be great at being your conscience. If you ask them to specifically, they can reliably point out when you reach for a soda instead of water or when you sit down during active play time. Give your children age-appropriate information about your DPP journey and give them age-appropriate tasks to help you hit your goals.
Friends. Friends can be there in good and bad times, and can be a sounding board for ideas.
Colleagues. If you are working full-time, you could be spending 40 hours a week at work, and possibly with the same colleagues. Take advantage of them!
Like-minded people. Do you see anyone at your gym or in your neighborhood who is clearly trying to lose weight or pursue fitness? Ask if they want to be part of your support system, and remember that you will support them, too.
Forums. You may feel less judgement from people on online forums or be more comfortable asking even the most bizarre-seeming questions (although you will soon realize that there are no bad questions!). Plus, you can often find people online at any time of day or night when you may need them.
Who Is NOT Part of Your Support System?
Ideally, everyone you know will support you in your healthy choices and weight loss journey. In reality, that may not happen. Some people in your life might not be helpful along the way. Some may even sabotage your efforts, whether or not intentionally. It is important to accept that some people will not support you.
A person is not part of your support system if she or he…
Doubts your ability to meet your goals.
Puts pressure on you to skip workouts or choose unhealthy foods.
Insists on keeping trigger foods in your home where you can easily see and access them.
Makes negative comments about you, your weight, or your choices.
Will not agree to meet you for a walk or coffee instead of a restaurant meal if you do not feel that you can eat healthily at that restaurant.
Some of these people may eventually support you. Others may never do so. You cannot waste energy worrying about them. They can drag you down.
How Your Support System Can Work for You
Now that you have a strong support system, how can it help? These are some ways you can get your system to work for you.
Increase accountability. Tell people about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. A work friend can remind you to take a walk at lunch time, your spouse will know if you have been skipping your morning workouts, and your kids will sound the alarm if you sneak their snacks after saying you would not. The more details you tell, the more people can hold you accountable.
Overcome obstacles. You will have setbacks, but encouragement can increase your chances of sticking to the plan even when the going gets tough. Your support system can also help you troubleshoot any problems that you are encountering, such as a weight loss plateau or not being able to get in enough time to cook healthy.
Increase motivation. When you have a whole team of people who care about you and believe you can do it, you may realize that they are right. That can make you work harder towards your goals for your supporters and for yourself.
Remove temptations. Anyone can help you maintain a clean eating environment. People you live with could agree to limit the amount of fast food and junk food at home, and friends could agree to meet at a mall or park instead of a restaurant, or not to order shareable appetizers and desserts if you do go to a restaurant.
Push yourself. You may not realize how much your body is capable of until your everyday workout partner does a breakthrough workout and you realize that you can do the same. Pushing yourself a little harder can increase your confidence, improve mood, and up your motivation.
Increase confidence. Do not forget that you may be offering support, too. When you confidently guide others, you may project that confidence onto yourself and tell yourself to make the right choices.
Save time. Some people can support you by freeing up some time so you can cook a healthy meal or get in some physical activity. For example, a friend or parent may be willing to shuttle the children around after school to give you an extra few minutes to dedicate to your health.
Increase the fun factor. When is weight loss fun? When you are losing weight amidst your closest friends and family. Turn boring walks into relationship-building chats, turn healthy eating into cooking parties with healthy recipes as the focus, and turn family TV time into dance parties.
Take on the world. You and your supporters are a team against any doubters who may be in your world. Let your support system drown out their doubting voices, whether they are saying that you cannot do it, should not do it, or anything else that can drag you down. Instead, your supporters can drown out any negativity or doubts.
A support system can make weight loss easier and faster. Maybe more importantly, your support system can make your healthy lifestyle sustainable for the long term by making your healthy changes more fun and an indispensable part of life. As Lark DPP coaches you around healthy choices to prevent diabetes, you can get more from your efforts by building a strong support system.