Motivation Articles

How to Tell Others about Your Weight Loss Goals

Get Support Where You Need it Most

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.


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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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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