Do you ever have a hard time talking with friends, family, and co-workers about your weight loss efforts? I know I did.
When I first began gaining weight, I freely discussed all my vain attempts to lose weight and laughed at myself when I once again failed. Well, I laughed on the outside, but felt very frustrated on the inside.
Once I gained 100 more pounds, I found myself still laughing at my weight-loss failures on the outside, but feeling more and more unhappy with myself on the inside. I had friends who asked me if I was dieting even when I wasn’t, and other friends who didn’t seem to care one way or the other. I shared my latest diet plan with whoever asked, but stopped telling everyone I ran into that I was once again on Weight Watchers or trying another plan.
I became more and more embarrassed at my failures. Eventually I denied I was trying to lose weight, even when I really was. On my final attempt, I decided to tell no one except John and a few close friends. I was so tired of failing and so tired of explaining that I had once again “fallen off the weight loss wagon.”
As I began to lose enough weight for people to notice, I had to start sharing some of what I was doing because people just wouldn’t let it go. At that point, I also got some “push-back” from people who thought they knew better than I did how to lose weight.
I thought I’d share some of the common scenarios that happened to me and how I handled them in the hopes that you will find some encouragement and maybe some tips on how to talk with other people about your own weight loss efforts.
1. Don’t feel ashamed or be embarrassed.
You are doing the best thing for your body and for your health by trying to get to a healthy weight. If someone gently teases you for eating a salad instead of loaded tacos at the Mexican buffet, just ignore them. If your friend says you are “wasting time” by going to the gym, just smile politely and go on about your business. You don’t have to explain yourself and you don’t need to feel ashamed.
2. Don’t let a lack of family support get you down.
You may find that your immediate family isn’t keen on your new lifestyle, but don’t let that stop you. Stay positive and show them that you are getting the whole family healthier by preparing healthier meals and teaching everyone about the benefits of healthy eating. Find your support in other arenas if you don’t get it at home. (You’d be surprised how often lack of support at home is a problem.)
3. Don’t buy into a guilt trip.
Sometimes well-meaning friends and family can try to make you feel guilty for skipping dessert or exercising before meeting them for coffee. You need to stay strong and not change your plan because they are trying to make you feel guilty. I found that I had to actually tell people sometimes, “I’m sorry if my not eating dessert makes you uncomfortable, but this is what I need to do to get healthy.” That puts the guilt back on them.
4. Be upfront with your needs. This can be very uncomfortable, but there are times when you need to just tell it like it is. If you are traveling to visit friends or family, tell them you are following a new healthy eating plan and arrange to go to the grocery store when you get to your destination to get the foods you need. When I would say this to my extended family, they usually whipped out a notebook and asked me what foods I wanted. They often want to help but don’t know how. If they aren’t willing to help, take charge and do it yourself.
5. Be your own best advocate. You are your own best advocate. No one else can lose weight for you or make food choices for you. Say “no” when you need to, thank those who support you, and stay firm in your desire to get to a healthy weight. You’d be surprised how many people you can positively influence both directly and indirectly.
How are you at talking about your weight loss efforts? Do you ever have to “get tough” with the people in your life when it comes to staying on your plan? Diane