Motivation Articles

How to Tell Others About Your Weight-Loss Goals

Get Support Where You Need it Most

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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.
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.

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Member Comments

  • If your family isn't being emotionally supportive, writing a letter isn't going to make any difference. I wish this article had more practical advice for dealing with family members who are against you losing weight. It's really hard to deal with! Gathering the weird, ignorant family around and delivering an impassioned speech is only going to get me laughed at, and provide another opportunity to belittle me! It's better to learn to motivate yourself, and moderate your food intake yourself, no matter what others say.
  • good morning my name is pinkonyx on my journey i hd the sleeve i went from 282.4 to 173.6 i began in 2014 and im stalled my goal is 150 or less i need a baratric menu plan help help
  • REDBIRD7933
  • I really like this article! Getting loved ones on board is really awesome- not necessary, but awesome.

    My husband has been super supportive on my journey and he's told me so many times that he's proud of my commitment to following through on my goals. My daughter tells everyone that I work out at the gym, and it's really validating to see other people happy for me also.

    What worked for me is that I asked my husband to help me when I need a push- like on nights where I don't really feeeeeeel like working out, he'll say "why's that?" and if I can justify it to myself (rest day, feeling blah, etcetc) then that's it. But most of the time I don't have an actual reason and I head to the gym. He also helps on the other side when I NEED to take a rest day and just really want to work out.

    There are some people I regret telling about my weightloss goals, they just don't understand? But it's easy enough to redirect conversations and ignore it.
  • If you require this level of approval/validati
    on, you'll never be very successful at anything you try to do.
    Fundamental concept: develop internal resources, tell people "NO" (regularly and with impunity), and most importantly, stop caring so much about what everyone else thinks.
  • I am happy to share my weight loss programs and will share at every opportunity.I had lost a LOT of weight from 320 down to 130 for 18 years and was still a size 4-6 . Everyone wanted to know if I had surgery or found the magic pill.Since I am a senior. Last year I had 4 surgeries in 4 weeks and this winter another.Steroids and other medication played havoc with my weight and I blew up to 178.0 so back to basics for me. I follow Low carb the Atkins way. It is not for everyone but has been the only plan that worked for me. Just this past week I lost 6.4 pounds and I am not hungry.THERE IS a PLAN for everyone and they ALL WORK as long as you stay on it. Find one that works for you and fits your life style. You HAVE to be able to be happy while living on any plan. It is not about losing. That is easy. It is about maintaining the loss :)
  • I have a housemate who thinks about and wants food constantly. I have to cook for the housemate. She claims to be hard of hearing, but if I "tip toe" in the kitchen to make myself something nutritious to eat, she asks, "What are you doing?" "What are you making?" "Can I have some?" "Will you make me some?" Instead of "her" fending for herself foodwise, I end of having to make her a mammoth of food. I do not want to be around all of the food she expects. How do I tell her to fix her own food in a way that she won't say I "hurt" her feelings? Am I making sense? Thank you!
  • ETHELMERZ
    Best to keep it to yourself. Seriously! Avoid useless comments.
  • Super lame article. I don't feel like it is something to make sure to shove in everyone's face. And I guarantee they don't want to hear t either. What's better than watching someone lose weight? Watching them gain it all back.
  • I'll share my goals & plans on Spark but that's about it. Friends & family would be um....less than supportive. I envy people for whom this article would help. I'm just thankful online resources are here for an online support group!
  • MAX10IE
    I am getting mixed comments from family and friends as to my wanting to loose weight. Fortunately I am not looking to loose a significant amount, but get back to the weight I want to be and my doctor said would be better for my height. Unfortunately friends that are over weight make comments as to wishing I was as small as you are now....I would die to be as slim as you!! Of course I am the one who sees the scale!! And not only I but also my endocrinologist agrees... I have diabetes and really have to watch what I eat, which can be a challenge. I am more conscious as to veggies and fresh foods which help. But, do need other people who are in this same position and can give some encouragement in that area... Anyone who can send encouraging words of wisdom would be helpful. Max10ie

    See if this is at all helpful.

    It was on mom's email.

    Dad.or that weight!!
  • ETHELMERZ
    I do better at weight loss without constantly talking about it to people. In fact, large amounts of congratulations for weight loss has always set me back. It is far easier to deal with it alone, so your spouse or friends won't hound you at every meal, commenting on your every food choice. That becomes nagging, and nagging helps No one!
  • I take issue with blaming other people for one's success or failures. Own your progress or lacking of progress. When one relies on the support of others for success, when the support stops so does the success.
  • I'm married to my saboteur, and it's been a long hard struggle to face it that he is not going to change. I can only change me, and the way I react to the negative noise around me. I've lost 70 pounds, and I am a changed person - I like me better because I think I'm a better person for not trying to change other people. 8-)
  • 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.

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.



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