Motivation Articles

How to Get the Support You Need to Succeed

Get Your Friends, Family and Fellow SparkPeople on Board

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.

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)!
Just because you don’t have the support at home doesn’t mean that you should give up on your goals. The support is there; you just might have to seek it out a little bit more.

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Member Comments

  • I have no support system at home. But I actually find just sitting and reading all my spark mail everyday, charting my food, and reading the Spark People blogs a very good support system. I read something daily that gives me new ideas or motivates me to keep moving forward.
  • I am working with my physician twice weekly. She is a great support and very encouraging. I also rely on Sparkspeople. My son is getting married April 24th and my parents will be there. I need strength to be around them as they have harped on my weight since I was 14. I'm now 64 and they still are very critical of my weight and that I am not in a high earning field of caring for the elderly. I feel their criticism is more motivated on their own egos, feeling embarrassed of me. My son is not ashamed of me and has asked me to officiate the simple wedding for close family only. I have not seen or spoken to his father in 12 years. I am fortifying myself with daily prayers and meditation to build my strength. Criticism lies behind my emotional eating so I must be prepared. I am pre-planning meals as best I can and will take some safe things to eat with me.
  • As a matter of fact, I find the whole Sparkpeople entity a support "partner". I am motivated by hearing other peoples' stories, as well as receiving support from my personal friends. They are cheering me on to getting healthier. It certainly can make you hesitate before picking up something to eat that you don't need, or motivate you to take a walk. Today, as I am feeling a bit better from the Bell's palsy, I am going to walk to the movies (0.5 miles) and back. I have to claw my way back to longer walks. But I will.
  • I have no support system but find I do not need one. All my motivation comes from within me, so I support myself. Who else can you really rely on, anyway? My wife is ok with my weight loss but unconcerned - I was fat when we met, so she does not really care if I lose weight or not.
  • thank you for your article. sometimes I feel very alone in this journey my husband and my close friends are not supportive. But, I can support myself I can and will be a strong person I know spark people are in this journey too
  • i so enjoy learning!
    learning to make mysef responsible for my actions is freeing others/situations and causing me to become aware.
  • I love these articles! This article, specifically, is amazing! My boyfriend is very supportive. But as supportive as he is, it's fantastic to have the support from my fellow peers at this website that knows exactly what I am going through, so I think I'm going to take advantage of this website starting this year. I am going to take advantage of the message boards, look through different spark pages, and start posting blogs on here again...because I think having the support from all of you would extremely help me on my journey more than anything :)
  • After reading a lot of these articles, even if you don't have many people to support you for some, YOU GOT THIS and CAN DO THIS because ultimately no one can do the work and lose the weight for you but YOU. That being said, it's going to be a great day so let's get motivated and moving! I like to prepare my snacks for the day (healthy ones) ahead of time and plan my meals plus walking at least 15 min after every meal helps.That's doable to me. I like to work out to the videos on here with weights 3x a week too and really has helped keep my blood sugar under control.
    Because I have lost and gained weight so many times before, I didn't think my family cared or was being to supportive. But since I've lost over 100 pounds, they've changed their attitude and I have too. I still have a long way to go, but when I feel like I need a little more support than they are giving me, I go find it. This is day one on my small changes challenge, “Tell someone my goals”! I’m not just telling someone, I’m telling all my Facebook friends.
  • DCOOK13
    Unfortunately, I am married to a narcissist who makes everything all about him. This makes it very difficult to obtain the support that I need.
  • Read the article, while I thought in the best of all worlds the article made sense, but back to reality. No support here, no friends and no relatives. Oh well, there's still me. I can do it on my own.
  • Why are most of the articles written to assume only women read them?
  • ok. that was depressing
  • My husband is - has been - supportive for 20 + years. Friends are not the issue at all- I bring food I can eat to gatherings. Our main problemis finding a balance - which has developed is that my husbands does Atkins low carb, which is also high fat. If he had his way I would join him in this - a lot of info he has read says I would do well. My problem is that I have a hard time making the jump. For a while, I frequently prepare both his low carb meals and snacks and my heart healthy meals - keeping a busy household cooking wise. And I do end up eating some of his higher fat low carb meals on special occasions sometimes - like wedding anniversary., Thanksgiving,etc He knows this is harder for me, but is supportive. I think the main problem is more like eating out - for his needs and mine.
  • I think I finally found a friend who will support me on this this. We text back and forth about our diet and exercise. Now we have a challenge against each other.

About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

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