Preparing Your Family For Your Weight Loss Journey
Here’s the thing we’re not supposed to say but that I’m going to say: your family probably had a lot to do with your eating and exercise habits. How could they not? They were the ones tell you what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, and when to exercise (or not exercise) during your most formative years of life. They were the ones in charge of your food and activity when your brain was the most susceptible to influence. Whatever they taught you back then about food and fitness was grilled deep into your brain. It’s in your subconscious. You’ve probably started to notice that as an adult, when your friends and peers have pointed out that some of your habits are, well, not normal. Okay, perhaps they’re downright unhealthy, but it’s what you learned from your family. It’s okay. They were only teaching you the best that they knew, but now you’re in charge of fixing things. On that note, here is how to prepare your family for your weight loss journey.
Tell them it isn’t personal
Make sure your family knows that you love them, and you are grateful for how they raised you. Tell them they taught you so much valuable information, and gave you the traits and values that help you every day. Show them that your desire to eat and live differently from them has nothing to do with your respect for them.
Remind them that teasing isn’t constructive
They may want to make jokes about you being too good for them, or even about you having an eating disorder because you’re cutting calories. Remind them that those types of jokes are not supportive, and that they kind of hurt you.
Remind them of their goals that you helped with
If they really aren’t backing you up, you can remind them of times that they needed your help and support in their goals. No matter what those goals were (spend less money, get out on the dating scene more) you were there for them. This is no different.
Insist on no more food gifts
Set a no-food-gift rule for a while. If your family is prone to showing up with lasagna and cake, you may need to ask that they not do that for a while. Let them know it would just go to waste.
They should respect your exercise schedule
They should have some respect for your exercise schedule. They shouldn’t make you feel bad for missing the family trip to the mall, for example, because it falls during your workout class. They should treat your exercise as a real, standing appointment.
Peer pressuring to binge eat needs to stop
Ask that they no longer pressure you into binge eating or eating bad foods. On that note, tell them you should find healthier ways to bond. You don’t only have to bond over pizza—you can bond over taking a walk together or taking an art class together.
They should make space for your food
Ask that they don’t ostracize your food purchases. Whether this is your parents you’re visiting, or your spouse and kids, ask them to make room for your healthier choices. They shouldn’t complain that those things are taking up space, and they certainly shouldn’t throw them out.
Encourage them to participate
Invite you family to participate—to join you at the workout class or to help you make that new, healthy recipe. They may just be resisting your changes because they feel left out.
Remind them of the family medical health
You could really show them the importance of this change by reminding them of family members who fell victim to diet-related illnesses. They don’t want that to happen to you.
Insist it’s about health
Make sure they know this is about health and not appearances. They may just resist the change because they fear that they’re encouraging a change that is rooted in insecurities.
Be ready with alternatives
Be willing to make compromises so your family doesn’t feel left in the dust. Find healthy recipe alternatives to their favorite dishes, and pick restaurants where everyone can find something they like.
And no, you’re not saying they should lose weight
Make sure they understand that you are not passively implying that your family needs to lose weight, just because you’re losing weight. Their journey is their journey and yours is yours.
Probably no clothing gifts for a while
You may want to insist on no clothing gifts for a while, since you plan on being a different size in a few months. But if your mom has hand me downs she really wants to give you, you can always hem them.
Tell them you don’t require special treatment
Your family may just fear that you’re becoming a diva, and will have demands they cannot meet. Tell them you take full responsibility for making your changes, making your food, and making your workouts happen, without dropping your responsibilities to your family.
Remind them if they love you, they’ll support you
Remind them that if they love you, they should support you in your goals—even if they don’t want the same goals for themselves.