You Can Get to a Healthy Weight Without Being the Black-Sheep of the Family

help wanted, apply within signA lack of support on the home-front for your weight-loss goals isn’t always as simple as making a separate, healthier dinner and begging for others to follow in your footsteps. It goes well beyond that as you work on transforming not-so-healthy habits into much better ones. While you can wish, you realistically can’t expect everyone in your family and all your friends to just jump on board and lose weight with you.

One thing you can and should expect, though, is for loved ones to understand your goals and your dedication to them. You have to convey this message built on the foundation of one solitary word, “respect.” Respect is like a boomerang; in order to get it, you’ve got to give it.

That doesn’t mean you have to go about doing your thing without talking about what you’re doing. Out of respect for yourself and others, open the lines of communication. Talk to them. Let them know why you’re working on making positive changes to your lifestyle. Tell them what you hope to accomplish–why it’s important to you. You don’t need to defend yourself, but an explanation can’t hurt. Throw out for discussion some small ways they could help you accomplish your goals, simple things like someone putting away leftovers or going on a brisk walk with you. Be grateful and express your “thanks” every time they give you a helping hand or a motivating word or two. Don’t keep it one-sided and all about you. Ask how your ambitions affect their lives and see if you can uncover ways to lessen the impact without compromising your needs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s not an everyone-or-no one proposition. We have different people in our lives for different reasons and each one might be able to give you a hand in a small, but meaningful way. You can’t expect any one person in your life to be everything to you. For example, your brother, who is the personification of the stereotypical couch-potato, might be a great person to turn to when you have a problem at work and the perfect outlet for venting. He might also be the person you can turn to for a night out or to watch the kids while you go to the gym or grocery shopping. Each of these small indirect actions on his part, can help you tremendously in working toward what you want. Chalk him up as a “supporter!”

Couple the support you do get from family and friends with your weekly weight-loss meeting. The power of group support cannot be overstated. During the rest of the week, interact on social networking sites that consist of like-minded people and participate in community message boards and chat areas devoted to healthful lifestyles and weight-loss. These all are great forums in finding people who share similar goals and who can provide you with support for this particular area of your life.

It all comes down to this: You are working at becoming healthier for you. You can’t do it for anyone else, nor can anyone else do it for you. Embrace that reality. Get really good at becoming your own cheerleader and eliciting support outside of your family unit. Continually tell yourself, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”–respectfully, of course!