Motivation Articles

How to Tell Others about Your Weight Loss Goals

Get Support Where You Need it Most

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.
  • Don't be embarrassed or ashamed. The decision to eat better and exercise more is a smart one. You should be proud of yourself for deciding to change your life. Ignore your son if he tells you that you're "weird and gross" when you're sweaty after running. Tell your husband to be quiet when he mocks you for eating broccoli instead of fries. Your family is going to make fun of you—in some households, it's practically their jobs. (Chances are, you tease them about some things, too.) If you're feeling especially brave, you might even be able to explain your goals and get them on board!
  • Don't get discouraged. You can keep exercising and choosing healthy foods, even if your family isn't 100% keen on the idea. Show them you're serious, and they'll be more likely to support you (by learning to cook healthful food or budgeting to purchase some workout equipment). Just make sure you're safe and reasonable in your exercise and nutrition plans.
  • Don't feel guilty. If you're the only person in your family who's trying to change, that's OK. Maybe you'll serve as a role model for them. Your commitment to exercise and healthy eating will positively influence those around you. Wanting to change your body and your life is not a judgment on your family's eating or exercise habits. It's about making your own life better. In this case, it's OK to be selfish.
  • Do drop hints. If you're not ready to talk to your family about your weight-loss plan, then just start bringing up the idea of making small changes. Forgo the popcorn when you go the movies with your husband. If he asks, tell him you're full from lunch or dinner. Ask your wife to buy low-fat yogurt, carrots or skim milk. If she asks why, say you just like those foods. Tell your teens you're going for a walk, and if they ask, just say you need some air.
  • Do start small. Skip the cheese and mayo on your burger, have fewer tater tots, and get a single scoop of ice cream instead of two. Grab an apple instead of chips; have water instead of soda. These small steps will make a big difference—and your family might soon notice how healthy you look and happy you are.
  • Don't keep it to yourself. You may feel embarrassed about exercising or choosing healthier foods, but there is no reason to be. In fact, you can be an example to others, or even enlist your friends and family to help you reach your goals. Soon enough, you'll feel ready to share your goals with your family and friends.
  • Don't get carried away. As a parent, you have a responsibility to be a good role model to your children. If you are constantly on crash diets or relying on unhealthy methods to lose weight, your children will believe that's the way to get healthy. When they see you give up on your "diet" and revert to your old habits, they'll think losing weight is a hopeless cause. Tell them you want to be "sensible" and "responsible" about exercise and food. Then show them you can stick with a plan. (If your kids are 13-17, introduce them to SparkTeens.)
  • Do show them your plan. You're probably using the tools on SparkPeople to reach your goals. Show your family that you can track your foods and plan workouts using the site. When they see that the food and exercise plans are created by professionals, they'll be more likely to believe that you're serious. Show them the exercise videos and demos, the Fitness Maps, and the SparkTeams. Once they see how much fun you're having, they might want to join in!
  • Do write it down. If you don't feel comfortable talking to your family, try writing down your feelings. (Find a sample letter at the end of this article.) Whether it's via e-mail, instant messenger or a handwritten letter, you can still communicate your goals to your family. If you want to face your family in person, try making an outline or jotting down a few notes. It will make it easier for you to stay on topic and deliver all your key points. Continued ›
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

Member Comments

  • This is a great article! Just what I needed.

    Family and friends may mean well, but sometimes their kindly meant words hurt more than if they's said nothing at all. - 5/7/2013 9:33:32 AM
  • I LOVE this article. Thank you for posting it...thank you, thank you, thank you!!! When I told my mom I was trying to lose weight, every time I call her she asks "Well how much have you lost?" If I tell her I haven't lost any this week, she asks me "Why not? You must not be trying." That type of support I DON'T need!!! Same way with my husband, BUT, with him I just tell him "I didn't gain all this weight overnight and I sure can't lose it overnight after all Rome wasn't built in a day." Usually that shuts him up for awhile.

    Now that I have something to go by to guide me in telling them, instead of getting frustrated, maybe I can make them understand. Thanks again for this post. - 12/8/2012 12:06:31 PM
  • I have been at or near goal for over 6 years, but my family will still make comments about where we eat out such as..."Can't go there, there's nothing Mom would eat." While I do really appreciate the acknowledgement of my changed habits, I can almost always find something either on or off the menu that will satisfy me. I wish I could say this in a way to derail comments in the future. - 10/21/2012 3:32:40 PM
  • I have been at or near goal for over 6 years, but my family will still make comments about where we eat out such as..."Can't go there, there's nothing Mom would eat." While I do really appreciate the acknowledgement of my changed habits, I can almost always find something either on or off the menu that will satisfy me. I wish I could say this in a way to derail comments in the future. - 10/21/2012 3:32:39 PM
  • I guess I've been very fortunate in the fact that I have many friends and family members who I feel very comfortable talking with regarding my weight loss. Some of them also want to lose weight and I've been able to encourage them through sharing my goals. Some of them do not want to lose weight but cheer me on in my efforts. And all have been very supportive and encouraging, and quick to tell me when they see the results of my efforts, making me feel very good about the struggle, and motivating me to continue trying! - 8/9/2012 8:53:37 AM
  • This will be a helpful key to my success! - 6/7/2012 12:19:35 PM
  • My partner, who is very supportive, often asks me how he can help, what he should say, etc. I have saved this article to share with him later when I'm at home. This will also be helpful in dealing with my family (who live in a neighboring state) as they just don't "get" it (even though they should as most of them are also overweight or obese), and my friends who have never had weight issues, as they don't have any idea what kind of struggle, commitment, and huge life change this is. Thanks for the tips! - 2/6/2012 10:49:43 AM
  • My husband has a weird sense of humor and would always taunt me about my weight, lack of working out and so forth. This really discouraged me from trying to do my best for me - I felt it was for no use.
    Well this time I changed things around and made gradual adjustments in our eating, how I prepare things and where we go when we go out, but I never said I was on a diet. He liked the changes and appreciated the healthier version of food, too.
    After I went to the doctor 2 weeks ago, I told him that I had lost 9 pounds over the past month and he was actually excited! He got behind me and is following the same nutrition plan (other than larger servings).
    I appreciate the support and no joking, and I give him sincere thanks when he notices something different - like my pants falling off or sagging all over. Family support is crucial! - 9/22/2011 11:07:08 PM
  • JAY75REY
    This article is food for thought. Like other commentators, I've seen a mixed bag when sharing goals and asking for support from those closest to me. I recently shared with my boss, who is also doing a diet (though hers is a little extreme IMHO). We both agreed to empty our candy jars on the desk and take away that temptation. That was cool.
    DH hasn' t always been supportive because he doesn't come on board and wants to eat out constantly. Also he gets negative and hopeless about his own weight problems so he sends these vibes toward me. BUT at the moment he and I are working on it together and I think we'll have success. I'm seeing signs of motivation in him.
    I rarely tell anyone about my diabetes because I hate being lectured and monitored by others: "you're eating that! that's so bad" etc.
    - 7/10/2011 7:54:43 PM
  • I admire the desire to want to include others but this seems like a "perfect world" scenario to me. I would LOVE to have been able to tell people when we started but I seriously couldn't handle the eyes rolls or body language of " mean AGAIN!?" The best way to prove your commitment is to just do it and let people say something to you and come to SP or similar sites so you can get support from like minded people because a lot of times your declaration of a healthier lifestyle can make many people resentful. It shines a spotlight on their unhealthy habits whether you mean it to or not and if they're not ready to change or think things will change, a big time attitude can emerge. Been there and done that. :-( - 7/10/2011 7:20:29 PM
  • Sometimes our "loved ones" are toxic people, frequently making critical or demeaning comments. In that case, why give them more ammunition by declaring our health/weight loss goals? The support of people who really care about your well-being is wonderful. Having people tell you it won't work or you won't follow through is non-productive. Been there, not going back. - 7/10/2011 12:15:59 PM
  • "I am 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."
    Great words, I'm printing them as a little poster to be one of my visual aids! - 7/10/2011 1:42:42 AM
  • There's a problem with this style of goal setting though: people who say they're going to do something and then get lots of positive feedback get buzzed on the happy glow of "I'm doing something and getting recognition" and don't actually follow through. People who don't share goals are more likely to work at them, because the only warm fuzzies they get are from success.

    There's an interesting TED talk by Derek Sivers about it. - 10/21/2010 12:26:14 AM
  • I agree with SMY3THE. There's no need to get other people involved. I'm just doing this for me. I'm not accountable to anyone else. - 4/24/2010 4:51:25 AM
  • This was a great article...but it made me SO thankful for the support my family and friends have given me as I begin this journey.. - 1/27/2010 6:42:01 PM

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