Tuesday, May 07, 2013
I attended a function recently and was happy to see a friend that moved to a southern suburb about 3 years ago. She didn't recognize me. It made me realize through HER eyes the great change that has occurred in my life. When others around us notice our change they often ask us to help them get started on their own journey. Sometimes it's a friend or coworker. It might be a family member or neighbor. They see our success and desire to make progress themselves.
Of course we are delighted to share the knowledge we have gained on the journey. We might share sparkpeople.com with them, invite them to walk with us, take them to the gym on a guest pass, share recipes and food finds. We might even offer to hold each other accountable in some way. We can share a lot of helpful information gained from experience.
BUT... No matter how much information we have to share we CAN'T do the work for them. We can't climb on the exercise bike or go for a 2 mile run in their place. Likewise, we can't eat for them. As much as we want them to enjoy the same success it is ultimately a personal journey they must make.
What CAN you do?
You can invite them to join you on a walk or play an active sport. You can invite them over for a healthy dinner. You can model healthy eating by suggesting a restaurant where you can look up nutritional information and stay in range. You can tell them about your healthy food finds. You can suggest recipe swaps to lighten up their meals. You can praise them for success they have. These are things you CAN do but again, you can't do the work for them.
It is important to remember that each individual has a unique "course" to "Health & Fitness". We don't all take the same roads or drive in the same size car or even at the same speed. Some will have seasons in a detour (planned or unplanned). Some will go back home and have to begin the journey all over. As a supportive friend/family member you can continue to MODEL healthy eating and exercise and when they are ready to join you - smile and say "Let's go!"
Be sure that your friend/family member knows that your feelings for them are not conditional upon weight loss. Let them know you will support them in any way you can but ultimately your relationship is rock solid no matter what they weigh.
Lastly, when they stumble (and we all do) don't give up on them! Just keep offering that hand up and a smile. We need ALL the support we can get on this journey.