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How to Tell Others about Your Weight Loss Goals

Get Support Where You Need it Most
  -- By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
You want to change your life and improve your health. So you joined SparkPeople, which is a great step, and started a healthy nutrition and fitness plan. Whether you're looking to drop a few pounds, eat more vegetables, or get in shape, you'll eventually want to share your goals with your friends and loved ones.

Yeah, yeah, we know. Talking to your family, roommates, and even your co-workers about tough subjects can be more uncomfortable than a colonoscopy. But your spouse or partner, children, and even your parents and siblings need to know what's going on in your life. And you might find out that they're very eager to help you reach your goals, too. But you'll never know how they'll react if you don't talk to them!

If you're nervous about sharing your goals with others, start by talking to a close friend. Is there someone in your life who has successfully lost weight or gotten in shape? Talk to her (or him) about your feelings. Ask her if she had similar feelings and how she shared her goals with others.

Here are some do's and don'ts about sharing your health and weight-loss goals with your family. Once again, congratulations on your commitment to improving your life. Your family wants what's best for you, and you'll likely find out that they're willing to help you reach your goals. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go ask your family if they have a few minutes to chat.

Sample Letter to Family and Friends
Here's a sample letter to show your family. Rewrite it in your own words if you wish, and deliver it however you'd like—via email, face-to-face, or through the mail.

Dear (Kids/Hubby/Wife/Partner/Friend),

I have committed to making some big changes. I'm trying to eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and live a healthy life. It hasn't been easy, but I'm taking these commitments seriously, and I would appreciate any help you can offer.

Be honest with me. I am overweight, and I want to lose weight safely and slowly. Listen to me and offer me advice, but please don't minimize the problem.

Stop lecturing me. Talk to me like you care about me, but please don't yell at me, nag me, or criticize me for wanting to change for the better.

Let me be in control. It's my choice. No one besides me can decide how much weight I'll lose, how I'll do it, or whether I want to lose it in the first place.

Don't monitor my food. Don't tell me I don't need a second helping or such a large portion. It only makes me feel bad about myself, which sometimes leads me to overeat.

Be there for me. Support me, encourage me, and compliment me. I want your help finding affordable ways to exercise and I'd like more healthful foods in the house. Better yet, start eating better and exercising alongside me! I want us all to live long, healthy, happy lives.

Don't exclude me. Don't make me the black sheep because I'm eating differently. Instead of focusing on me, try to get the entire family to take small steps to eat better. Don't make fun of me because I'm overweight or trying to lose weight.

Love me. Tell me that you love me regardless of what the scale says. Tell me I'm smart, beautiful/handsome, successful, loveable and talented at any weight. I need to hear it.

Be patient with me. Losing weight doesn't happen overnight. I want to commit to good habits and that takes time, patience, and sometimes more than one try.

Be realistic. I might never be as skinny as you or others might want me to be. But I will be a happier, healthier—and yes, lighter—me.

Thanks for listening, and please take this advice to heart.

Love,

Your name

Editor's Note: These tips come from the SparkPeople experts and the book "Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight and Keep It Off--and What They Wish Their Parents Knew" by Anne M. Fletcher.