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.
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About The Author

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

Member Comments

  • I have a neighbor that I do a great deal of stuff with...We mainly work on our properties, mowing, cutting trees, burning in our burn pits. She however is not competitive and doesn't comprehend the need for speed when we ride bikes! Hence, when I ride or walk with her, it isn't a fit walk or run for me! I need to push when I workout. But, any movement is exercise too! - 11/10/2014 10:30:23 AM
  • I'm on a couple boards and teams on SP - 9/27/2013 6:07:07 PM
    Find a Spark team with people of like interests and backgrounds. They can be a tremendous support and encouragement for you. - 9/26/2013 9:30:15 AM
  • Great article. My hubby can drop weight much faster than me. I get jealous but don't let it stop me. My son the same way. Him and I started together and he has lost more weight than me. But I love coming here to get support from others. Thanks - 9/26/2013 7:59:49 AM
  • It is so hard because I don't have a good support from my family or friends. I can't get any of my family to go work out with me. My mom and my one brother buys food that I can't eat. It is in the house and it is very hard to stay away from it. I'm having a hard time losing the weight. I'm plateauing and my weight has been staying the same. It is very hard. I feel like I can"t do this anymore and I feel like I have no way out. Like I'm stuck and I have nobody to talk too. - 7/8/2013 12:18:29 PM
  • I found it important to actively seek out fitness-minded friends. Besides the obvious places like the gym and weight-loss groups, I also found it helpful to join a hiking club (or other fitness-related community organizations), become involved in work-sponsored "wellness" activities, and initiating conversations with people I didn't know well, such as in church, the neighborhood, or the job, who were obviously losing weight, so we could get acquainted and encourage each other. The more you hang out with active, fitness-minded people, the more it rubs off. - 5/12/2013 11:42:13 AM
  • I guess it is normal for husbands to lose weight and trim down a lot quicker than wives. I have the same problem. My daughter and I were joking around about how all my husband has to do to lose weight is cut out mayonnaise. - 9/27/2012 10:26:17 AM
  • The SP community is the best support ever! Folks, you are #1! - 9/27/2012 8:24:32 AM
  • I havea fab husband who supports me but he ends losing weight and getting fitter than me ....It sometimes makes me feel negative about myself.on a bad day. I guess I need to focus on myself and make every day a good day.... - 6/19/2012 4:42:15 AM
  • Jettagirl33 - I have a husband that is even worse - I get NO support from him on any level. He has diabetes, COPD, refuses to listen and eats everything that is bad for him
    So like you, I come here for support.
    Flo - 9/29/2011 11:13:31 AM
  • I use the support of all of the people that walk round the block when i do. Who would be there to say hello to them if i didn't get out and go.I notice if one of them is missing and i know they notice if i am too. we don't even know each other really but saying good morning as we rush past each other spurs me on and i hope it dose them too - 9/29/2011 5:01:56 AM
  • support is hard to come by. I have sooooo much junk food in my house, it is not funny. So, when I am upset, guess what I do??, yes, eat it. At least I am getting better and eating less!! My husband (over weight) and 16 year old son (slightly over weight), don't watch what they eat at all. I can make good stuff, but they will hit the junk too. I really want to teach my son better habits. I have high cholesteral and pre diabetic too (at 43). I know he will go down the same trail I am. I am able to get my son to do some exercising, so that is good. My support is everyone here on SP. You guys get it!!!!
    Thanks for listening,
    From someone who is still trying to get there!!!
    AND I WILL !!!! - 8/29/2011 7:47:57 AM
  • Unfortunately, SP is the only place where I can derive support. My husband can and will eat anything and still maintain his tall, very lean structure. He HATES anything healthy and/or whole wheat and thinks exercise is boring and a waste of time. I try to explain to him that just because he doesn't have a weight problem doesn't mean he's healthy. My 7 y.o. son is a very good eater and doesn't mind eating the food that I prepare for myself (healthy). My husband, however, will have none of it. So, I guess I'm on my own, support-wise. :( - 8/25/2011 11:44:12 AM
  • I agree that some more tips for going it alone would be good, but this article is on the right track. My husband didn't want to make the changes I made, and my parents thought I was being extreme, so I just changed on my own. It did mean having separate nwals, but all it took was a little self-conviction. Soon enough, my husband joined me, and even my parents fell on track. All it takes is belief in yourself. - 8/25/2011 11:05:24 AM
    @ NC_BEARKITTEN: have you tried Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta (http://ronzonism
    arttaste.neww It's white pasta but it's only 170 cal per serving (dry 2oz). For the Holidays, what if you took a slice only ate a bite or two? Then that way you don't feel guilty for eating a slice and your MIL feels better that you tried her pie. Or if you are planning on having children you can always tell your MIL that you want to stay healthy for the (future or current) children! - 8/25/2011 10:50:53 AM

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