How to Help Others Lose Weight and Get Healthy
It’s never easy watching someone you care about struggle with weight loss. It’s downright discouraging not knowing how to help others lose weight when all you want is to support them in their efforts and see them succeed. Likewise, it’s not easy being the dieter, knowing that those who care about you want to help you but, at the same time, don’t understand what you’re going through.
It can feel like a helpless situation on both sides. Thankfully, as helpless as it might seem at times, it’s never hopeless. You can effectively support someone you care about in their efforts to shed excess pounds and live a healthier life. It’s all about the approach. More specifically, an open mind, positive encouragement, understanding and communication are all key steps in order for support to be well delivered and well received.
6 Steps to Help Others Lose Weight and Live Healthier
How to help others lose weight: Step 1 – Care about the Person
Helping a person with their weight loss goals starts with you caring about this person as an individual before anything else. It’s also about making sure that they know this, too. They need to know that they can count on you caring about them, regardless of their size. When they know that your love and concern runs deeper than their weight, they’ll welcome your support more readily.
Ask yourself why you want to help them
Have you taken a moment to truthfully ask yourself why you want someone to lose weight? You can’t realistically know how to help others lose weight if you don’t even know your motivation for wanting to do so. Be honest with yourself. Is it because…
– You want to play the hero and save them from their poor health choices.
– You find their excess weight to be off-putting.
– You find it embarrassing to be seen with them in public.
– You don’t care about their weight, what matters most to you is that they are happy, healthy and good to themselves.
Your number one reason for wanting to help needs to be because you care about the person’s happiness and wellbeing first and foremost. If this isn’t the case, you’re not going to provide the person with the healthy and positive support they need. Remember, it’s not about what you want or what you need, it’s about them.
How to help others lose weight: Step 2 – Be a Cheerleader
Support doesn’t mean that you need to be someone’s coach. It’s not about finding faults with what the dieter may or may not be doing. Your objective is to cheer them on when it comes to everything that they’re doing right!
This means celebrating when they reach a goal or for simply making the effort to try, even if they haven’t got there yet. Avoid focusing on the goals they haven’t yet met. This is especially important if they haven’t mentioned them. Concentrate on what matters to them and what is happening in the present.
Never forget you are a friend first
Remember, you’re not a doctor, coach, critic or personal trainer. For you, how to help others lose weight isn’t about diagnosing, criticizing, advising or instructing; it’s about being a friend. Leave your criticisms at the door.
How to help others lose weight: Step 3 – Be an Active Participant
Increase your understanding and your support of their weight loss challenge by volunteering to experience some of it with them. Try eating some of their diet foods and engage in some of their exercises with them. This doesn’t mean you have to adopt their weight loss regimen as your own, but there’s no harm in trying some of the dishes they prepare or joining the gym or a fitness class with them.
Sometimes, actions speak louder than words
It’s all well and good to offer words of encouragement, but, sometimes, you need to be more than a cheerleader. Sometimes, a part of how to help others lose weight is also about taking an active interest in the person’s actual lifestyle choices in relation to their diet and exercise. Consider the following:
– Ask questions about the foods they eat
– Find out which foods they like the best and which ones they like the least
– Encourage them to prepare dishes you’d like to try or make the dish with them
– Give them your honest opinion about the food they make for you
– Find out what exercise they like the most/least
– Engage in at least one exercise activity with the
– Find creative new ways with them to make healthy meals and/or engage in fun fitness activities.
How to help others lose weight: Step 4 – Be an Active Listener
You know when someone’s truly paying attention to what you’re saying and when they’re not. The person you want to help with their weight loss knows, too. Only ask questions to which you genuinely want to know the answers and, if you’re going to let someone talk, listen to them and really listen to them. Don’t be quick to offer advice or an opinion. Let them ask for your thoughts before you offer them freely. Remember, you are a friend and cheerleader, not a doctor, coach or personal trainer.
Listen without judgment
Just as you’re likely to make a few mistakes as you figure out how to help others lose weight, there will be times when the dieter will reveal that they have made a misstep in their progress. Don’t judge them for their mistakes, listen and, if need be, relate. No one’s perfect. We all have bad days and make choices we’re not proud of. When things go wrong, let the person know that they can talk to you and vent out their frustrations, etc. Knowing that they can talk to you without fear of judgment will help them to avoid turning to food for comfort.
How to help others lose weight: Step 5 – Respect Their Diet
Losing weight via healthy methods designed for long term weight loss and maintenance is difficult for most people. It’s not just about watching what you eat for a short period of time, it’s a lifestyle overhaul. With that in mind, regardless of the diet someone chooses to follow to reduce their size, respect their choice. Respect it even if it’s not a diet you would follow or even if you think there’s a better one that they can try. It’s not up to you to decide what they eat, or which weight loss supplements they take. It’s up to them.
Help them avoid temptation
One of the most important aspects of learning how to help others lose weight is to make sure you don’t tempt them to eat foods that they’re trying to avoid. This includes tempting them with only a “bite”. They may falter on their own, but you certainly shouldn’t help them along by encouraging them to eat what you know they want to avoid or limit in their diet. Your goal is to motivate your loved one to stay on their diet, not sabotage it.
How to help others lose weight: Step 6 – Be Positive
Let the person you want to support know that you’re with them all the way and that you believe in their ability to reach their goal! Think about it: when someone believes in your ability to win, you feel good and you are more motivated to move forward. When the dieter is struggling and feels bad about themselves, remind them of everything they have achieved and encourage them to keep going. Don’t let them give up.
Support their mental health
In addition to encouraging and supporting healthy eating and exercise, boosting a person’s self-esteems is also how to help others lose weight. Your friend or loved one might not like how they look or they might be disappointed with their fat loss goals, but don’t let them get down on themselves. Find ways to compliment them, especially the parts about themselves that they happen to really like. A positive attitude is essential for staying driven and staying on track.
Body weight is a sensitive subject. If your loved one is overweight or obese, they are perfectly aware of their size and of what goals they are and are not achieving. Criticizing is only likely to backfire and risks further damaging their self-image and self-esteem. Encourage them to love themselves and their body. This is more likely to lead to healthier choices.