A supporter can:
- be a family member, friend, co-worker, person in a support group, or you.
- offer encouragement, a compliment, a caring word or ear, respect for your wishes, or whatever you need to be successful.
- convert them into supporters, if possible
- deal with them in a way that does not compromise your weight management efforts.
Obtaining Support from Others
Determine what support you would like to have. For Example:
- Ask yourself, "What kind of support would help make weight management easier for me?"
- Select someone who is able to provide this support. Not everyone will be able to help you — including some of your closest friends and family. A person who has been supportive or there for you in the past may be a good starting point.
- Clarify in your mind what you want this person to do for you. Do you want them to go shopping with you for new clothes? Give you a periodic pep-talk? Be a sympathetic listener?
- Ask for what you want. Explain that you'd like this person's help. Then state what it is that you want and why it is important to you.
- Listen to the person's response. If they are happy to help, great. If they are willing to help, but have some special needs of their own that need to be considered, work out a compromise. If for some reason, this person is unable to provide the support you need, you may need to consider asking someone else.
- If you:
- receive the support you asked for, be sure to let the person know how much you appreciated it!
- do not receive the support you requested, check with the person to see where the problem lies and if it can be resolved.
- Consider joining a support group. This can be a source of support that may be available to you. If not, you can start one yourself.
- Surf the Internet to find a weight management support system that meets your needs.
Dealing with a Saboteur
Sabotage — especially from loved ones or friends — hurts and can be demoralizing. This lack of support can take many forms, but usually includes some sort of "change-back-to-the-way-you-were-before-you-started-losing weight" message.
Suggestions for dealing with sabotage include:
- Become aware of any unsupportive comments or behaviors that a person may say or do and how the comments or behaviors make you feel.
- Try to convert the person into a supporter if they are important to you.
- describe the comments or behaviors that you find to be unsupportive and how they make you feel.
- share with the person what they could do to be supportive of your weight management efforts.
- If you cannot speak with this person for some reason, you can:
- ignore their behavior or comments
- respond to their actions in a manner that makes you feel comfortable and is supportive of your weight management efforts (e.g. saying, "No thank you" when food is offered; taking the food, but only taking a taste.)
- temporarily staying away from this person.
Supportive people may not always be around to offer support at the exact moment when you may need it. Sometimes YOU may need to be the source of your support.
Some suggestions for doing this are:
- Recognize your positives. If you are not aware of all the things you do each day to manage your eating and activity, keep a journal or a list for at least one day. Every time you do something (e.g. buy the food you need, refrain from buying a food you have difficulty controlling, go for a 10-minute walk), write it down. You'll be surprised at how long the list really is!
- Give yourself credit (and a well deserved pat on the back) for:
- the many things you do each day to manage your eating and activity.
- each time you have to fight with yourself to do something that is difficult for you (e.g. dealing with a stressful situation without eating) — and WIN!
- Allow yourself to feel good about all that you are doing for yourself.
- Say the things to yourself that you would want a friend or supportive family member to say to you.
- what words of encouragement would you want to hear?
- what kind of a pep talk would be most helpful?
- Become aware of some of the unsupportive comments you may say to yourself and their impact on you.
(This is called self-talk). If necessary, jot a few of them down. Take a look at what you've written and ask yourself:
- how do each of these comments make me feel?
- when I feel this way, what happens to my eating or activity behavior?
- Challenge any unsupportive self-talk . Whenever you notice that you are talking to yourself in an unsupportive manner (e.g. putting yourself down, beating yourself up), STOP. Ask yourself: Is this what I would say to a friend about whom I care a great deal? If not, what would I say if I wanted to be supportive of him/her? Then say those words to yourself.
- Reward yourself periodically for making changes in your eating, activity and lifestyle. Examples of non-food rewards might include tickets to a concert, the theater, or a movie, a weekend of golf or a weekend trip to a resort spa that includes hiking, etc.