How Friends Can Help Each Other Lose Weight
Our girlfriends are some of the most valuable relationships we have. Most of our friends have seen us through thick and thin. Some of those situations were easier to withstand than others.
It may come as a surprise, but weight loss can actually be one of the toughest challenges a relationship can face. Whenever someone alters her behavior, the dynamic of the relationship can change. And one of the biggest behavior changes we can make is to transition to a healthier lifestyle.
Usually, the non-dieter no longer knows what her friend needs or wants in the way of support. While each weight loss hopeful is different, there are a few generalities we can suggest when it comes to helping your girlfriend lose weight. Here are the top six things you should do and the top five things you shouldn’t do!
Best Practices for Helping a Friend Lose Weight
1. Come Right Out and Ask
If you want to know the best way to love and support your friend during this time – ask! Some dieters want accountability. Others would rather go it alone.
Be perceptive of your friend’s needs – they could change over time. She might initially ask for your involvement, but as she gains control over her eating habits, your friend might want less input from others.
2. Be a Cheerleader, Not a Coach
Always be encouraging. Cheer you friend on when she is doing something right. Acknowledge the goals she reaches.
Don’t find fault in every little thing she does. Don’t suggest alternatives or ways to improve. And don’t focus on the goals that haven’t been met yet.
3. Join the Fun
Become an active participant in your friend’s new lifestyle. You may not need to lose weight, but everyone can benefit from a healthier lifestyle.
If you can afford it, join the gym with her. Sign up for the same exercise class. Opt for the healthier choice at the restaurant. Sample some of the healthy foods she is preparing.
Help her plan healthy incentives. When your girlfriend reaches one of her goals, take her out bowling to celebrate. Don’t let the reward focus on food, but rather fun, active time with you.
4. Care About the Person and the Weight Loss
Don’t forget your dieting friend is still a person! She has problems in her life that don’t involve the scale. Her life (hopefully) doesn’t revolve around weight loss and yours shouldn’t either.
Let your friend know you care about her, not just her diet. Let her know you’ll be an active part of her life – no matter what size she is.
Don’t sit back and wait for your dieting friend to come to you. Be aggressively supportive. Send lots of emails. Call often. Let her know you are always there for her – no matter what.
5. Pay Attention
Listen when your girlfriend tells you about the weight loss program she is engaged in. What kind of foods is she eating? What is her exercise routine like?
Pay attention to the details. If she isn’t eating carbs, don’t deliver a loaf of homemade bread. If she goes to a spin class every Tuesday night, don’t get bent out of shape if she doesn’t want to go to the movies with you.
6. Always Be Positive
Weight loss is hard work. It is emotional – filled with plenty of ups and downs. Your friend will have a hard enough time staying positive about the process. Don’t make things worse! Don’t encourage her to throw in the towel. And try to persuade her otherwise if she comes to that conclusion on her own.
Focus on the progress that has been made – even the smallest advancements are worthy of praise. Don’t dwell on the goals that haven’t been met; focus on the ones that have.
No Matter What, Don’t…
- Tempt her. Don’t encourage a nibble of this or a bite of that. Not only do those seemingly innocent calories add up, but just a taste could cause her to overindulge.
- Be a food police. Don’t toss out food you think she shouldn’t have. Don’t review the list of foods she’s eaten in a day. Don’t harass her about eating the “wrong” foods.
- Say anything you wouldn’t want said to you. You might not be struggling with weight loss right now, but you are struggling with something, right? How would you like it if someone was all in your face about the troubles you are having with your husband or the difficult co-worker in the office or the loan payment that might not get paid this month?
- Be judgmental. Don’t ask her if she stuck to the plan today. Don’t ask her why she ate something she wasn’t supposed to. Many people turn to food when they are having a bad day. Instead, let her turn to you. Make her feel confident that talking to you will yield support and encouragement, not judgment and condemnation.
- Go overboard. Your friend doesn’t need to be bombarded with every weight loss book on the market, subscriptions to every exercise magazine, or all the low-calorie cookbooks you can get your hands on. Don’t give her “helpful” tools unless she wants them.
Weight loss can certainly change the dynamic of your relationship. However, by being attentive to your girlfriend’s needs, you can help her surpass her goals and your relationship will easily weather the storm.
Guest author Lindsey Dahlberg works for Trim Nutrition – a company that sells weight loss injections. She has seen lots of dieters find success with their chosen weight loss plans. By far, those who are most successful are the ones who have the love and support of friends. It didn’t matter if they were using B12 injections or other weight loss aids, women with strong female relationships always turned out to be healthier and happier.
Jessie Velasco is a contributor for PalmBeachlwp.com and her insights are read and appreciated by many people.