How to Get the Support You Need to SucceedGet Your Friends, Family and Fellow SparkPeople on Board
-- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer
You wake up to your husband preparing a platter of fruit and a slice of whole wheat toast for breakfast. Your wife always has a healthy dinner—lean protein and fresh veggies—ready at 6 o’clock. Your co-workers have teamed up to start a healthy lunch club. You have countless friends ready to work out at a moment’s notice. A personal trainer is programmed into the speed dial on your cell phone. Encouragement abounds. This is a healthy living utopia.
If you find support is a little bit harder to come by, you’re pretty normal. However, lacking spousal and friendly support can become quite detrimental to your weight-loss plans—if you let it. A good support system is a vital element to reaching your goals. So what can you do to ensure that you are surrounded by social support?
Start with your partner. Sit him down and explain the importance of your new goals; encourage her to join you on your healthy journey. If you are lucky, your favorite person will jump on board to support you, not to police your actions and make you feel bad if you slip up. Rather, your partner should share in the excitement of your progress and encourage you when the going gets tough.
If, however, your spouse and family complain about the new healthy meals you are eating and scoff at the idea of a walk after dinner, you might be on your own. In this case, you’ll have to lead by example. When your family sees how much progress you are making, they will be inspired. Don’t let an unsupportive spouse sabotage your dieting goals. Just because he or she wants double portions at dinner doesn’t mean that you have to give in… you just might have to look elsewhere for support.
Friends make a great support system. Consider discussing your goals, needs, and plans with a close friend. An encouraging buddy may set up a workout schedule with you and pass on that fatty dessert after dinner. If none of your friends are helping you strive towards your goals, try meeting them for a walk at a local park a few times each week. Encourage them to attend and show up yourself every time. Even if just one friend comes, you’ll have a workout buddy that will make things easier—even if just for one day. Hopefully, they’ll see your progress and want to be involved. Once the word gets out that you are staying consistent with your workouts, going to the park no matter what, they’ll come around. Another way to get support from friends is to start hosting healthy dinner parties, where everyone brings vegetables, fruits, or lean proteins, or simply share healthy recipes with one another.<pagebreak>
What happens if neither your partner nor your friends are supportive of your goals? You shouldn’t give up! Consider going to weekly classes at your gym. Often, the same people come every week, so you’ll be able to make friends who will hold you accountable for attending class too. Having classes scheduled at specific times will motivate you more to get to the gym than if you just want to hop on the treadmill sometime during the week. Ask some people in the class if they want to go lift weights once the class is over, or even meet up the next day for another workout.
Check out support groups in your area. There are often groups of both men and women who meet on a weekly basis to discuss their progress, roadblocks, and tips for success. In this context, you’ll also be able to give support to others, which helps you feel needed and important. You’ll be able to build relationships that branch outside of the support meetings—a healthy dinner club or Sunday afternoon tennis group might emerge!
Support yourself by keeping a journal. Whether you write down your thoughts and progress on a weekly or daily basis, you’ll have a visual just how far you’ve come. You can look back to past entries where you’ve seen success and use it as motivation for a tough week. Of course, some weeks will be good and some weeks will be a little bit harder. But by keeping a journal, you’ll be able to see an overall trend of progress. It will help you realize which workouts and food choices worked best for you and which ones didn’t. Record everything from your weight or inches lost to thoughts about how your body feels after a particularly difficult workout. Consistent journaling is a great motivator and will make goals much more attainable.
- Take advantage of SparkPeople's supportive Community! The Message Boards give you access to THOUSANDS of other members and the SparkPeople experts. Others out there have similar goals and experiences as you do. Search the SparkPages to find someone to share the journey with. Jump into a challenge for that extra boost to get things rolling with the help of other people. Join a SparkTeam with similar interests, or start your own blog (on your SparkPage) to share your thoughts, hiccups and successes. Everyone in our community is here to help (and also to receive the support that you can provide)!