We rely on our friends and family for so much every day. We rely on them to help us, to give us advice and to support us throughout every life decision we make. This is why when they are in need of support, the decent thing to do is to return the favor to them. One life journey that millions of Americans go on every day is a weight loss journey. Despite knowing all the health risks that being overweight can bring, we as a nation are more obese than ever before. Therefore, you probably have someone close to you who is overweight or obese. Even if you don’t, you probably know someone who is looking to overhaul their personal fitness and transform their body in one way or the other. Facing a personal weight or fitness challenge alone can be very scary – mainly because it’s down to that person and that person alone to change their lives. But if you know someone who is fighting their own weight battle at the moment, there is actually a lot of support you can give them.
Think carefully about what you say
A lot of people can get incredibly down about their weight, to the point that it can make them depressed and insecure. Bear this in mind when talking to your friend about their weight loss journey. There are some terms that you might not take offence to as a skinny person, but some that they may feel attacked by if you should use them. It is important to be a cheerleader, not a coach. If you think their food looks gross, who are you to tell them that? It’s their food, and you are not obliged to eat it. Don’t remind them of any goals they didn’t end up achieving – chances are, they’re aware of that already. Embarking on a weight loss programme can often be fraught with emotions, so it’s important that you remain as supportive as possible.
Offer advice if you think it’s appropriate
It’s very important to never lecture your friend about weight loss, healthy eating and fitness. After all, a programme that worked for you may not necessarily work for them. We are all completely different shapes and sizes and you also need to take into account things such as intolerance and food choices (such as veganism). But, if you think you can offer a pearl of wisdom that could actually make a difference, go ahead and tell them! Maybe you think that orlistat for weight loss could help them, or you think they need to up their protein intake. Whatever it is, make sure you deliver the message in a calm and friendly manner – and let them know they can take the advice or leave it.
Be willing to be part of the journey with them
If you thought you had food cravings before, then just wait until you’re on a weight loss programme. Your loved one will see temptation at every corner, especially if they are overcoming a serious problem like food addiction or emotional eating. Don’t be ignorant to this and certainly, don’t flaunt your ability to eat unhealthy food in front of them. If you book to go out for dinner, think wisely about where would fit into their diet plan. A pizza place or a burger restaurant probably isn’t the best idea. Plus, sometimes it can only take one bad meal to push people off the waggon, and then they find themselves back where they started. If you don’t want to find yourself held responsible for your loved one’s failure, book somewhere that will work for both of you. Somewhere that serves salads, pasta dishes and meat and fish will generally have something on the menu that both of you will like. You can also help them stick with their plan by helping to provide incentives for good behaviour. Obviously, make sure they’re not food related! Spend money that you would have spent on food together going out to get your nails done. Or, if you know they’ve had a tough week, bring them flowers so that they know you’re still rooting for them. You can also get more involved by actually doing the programme with them, to some extent. If you’re a keen runner, why not invite your friend along for your morning jog? This could have benefits for both parties, as studies show that when you train with a friend you are more likely to put greater effort in. If you’re by their side the whole time, you can be sure that they’ll get to where they want to be.