Whether you’re trying to get healthy, or are supporting someone who is, there are certain things you need, and others you can definitely live without. In this post, we’ll go over right and wrong ways to be supportive, how to make positive changes without going insane, and look at some funny GIFs because who doesn’t love those?
1. Start Small
Whenever I make the resolution to be healthier, I always do the same three things: 1) I make a shit ton of changes to my existing lifestyle, 2) I screw up royally and go back to my old habits, and 3) I despair over my failure. I understand wanting to throw away your old life and start fresh with a new one. But, the truth is life doesn’t work that way. Trying to do too much at once is a recipe for failure and disappointment.
They say if you do something for a week (or maybe it’s two weeks?) it becomes a habit – don’t listen to shit like this. If you try sticking to hard and fast rules like this, you’re going to bum yourself out if you come up short. The facts are simple: Every second is a chance to make better choices. Every day is a new chance to be better than you were yesterday. You have endless opportunities to change for the better – take them when they come. Which brings us to my second tip:
2. Forgive Yourself
Everyone is their toughest critic – but beating yourself up about having a second slice of pizza isn’t helping anyone. The journey to health and wellness is a long one – you’re going to make mistakes. There are going to be days where you go for that extra helping, or you have that piece of chocolate cake. It’s okay. You’re human.
Don’t spend hours or days berating and bullying yourself for your mistakes. Just make better choices next time. And, going hand-in-hand with that, make sure you give yourself a high-five for all the great things you do! Pat yourself on the back for going to the gym, give yourself a thumbs up for taking the stairs – positivity makes all the difference.
3. Move On
Yesterday’s gone, babe. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. Don’t get hung up on yesterday’s mistakes. Instead, do your best today. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the crap you’ve done wrong. Don’t let it stop you from doing things right!
4. Get Support
Surround yourself with people who get you, your struggle, and what you’re trying to do. A support system is KEY when it comes to changing your lifestyle. You need people who are going to build you up, not tear you down.
This section is mainly for people who are supporting someone attempting to lose weight, get healthy, and lead a better lifestyle.
1. When someone tries to make your weight loss about them:
While I think everyone needs a support system when it comes to weight loss and making positive changes, you need to remember that this is a personal journey. Translation: don’t make it about you.
There is nothing worse than hearing how my obesity affects other people. I don’t need to know how my weight issues are a struggle for you. Saying passive aggressive things like, “Once on the lips, forever on the hips.” might help you when it comes to deciding whether or not to eat a whole sleeve of Oreos, but it’s not for everyone.
Positive Solution: Ask your friend/loved one how you can best support them through this journey, and how you can help on a daily basis.
2. When fitness junkies try to tell you how to live your gym life:
Here’s a secret that not many “healthy” or physically fit people know about overweight or obese people: we’re not looking to just lose weight, get ripped, and work on our hams during today’s leg day. All we really want is to look in the mirror and not hate ourselves in the morning. And until you can understand what that’s like, you need to back the fuck up.
Positive Solution: Volunteer to share your fitness expertise with your friend/loved one in a setting that’s comfortable for them (whether it be through e-mail, at the gym, etc.) and let them know you’re available if they have questions.
I once took a selfie in my new gym clothes and posted it on Facbeook. Not five minutes after, I was swimming in a sea of comments about how compression pants don’t actually do anything for you before a workout, things I should eat before I left the house, things I should eat once I’m done, exercises that I should do to get better abs, etc. While these are all helpful things to know, all I was trying to accomplish with the picture was a) being proud of myself going to the gym, and b) finding clothes that actually made me comfortable enough that I didn’t care who saw me there. This brings me to my next point:
3. That awkward moment when someone gives advice you didn’t ask for:
The best thing you can do for someone who is trying to better themselves is to give advice/help WHEN PEOPLE ASK FOR IT. I know we live in a world of fad diets, breaking news, and the Internet, but the answer is, “No, I didn’t hear what Doctor Oz said about kale. Yes, I did see the Times article about how juicing doesn’t help you lose weight. And no, I don’t care what Cameron Diaz said to the editors of Elle about how she keeps her body beach ready year-round.”
While you might be trying to help with all this information, you need to understand that it doesn’t come off as helpful all the time. In fact, most often, it comes off as condescending, critical, and just plain invasive.
Positive Solution: Let your friend/loved one know you want to help, and, should they ever need it, you have lots of articles on different weight loss/healthy living subjects that you’d be happy to share if they ever want it.
4. When someone asks how the diet is going:
For me, there’s nothing worse than hearing five words, “So, how’s the diet going?” First of all, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. Secondly, how do you think it’s going? This question really burns me because it makes it seem like I have to justify myself and my actions with some sort of result and that’s not how I want to feel about my journey.
Now, while a lot of these Don’t’s might not reflect how everyone feels, it’s how I feel. And while a lot of things listed in this section might seem super defensive for no reason, and may appear irrational, remember that this stems from the insecurities overweight people feel in their everyday lives. I feel as though I’m constantly being judged. So, the next time you catch yourself about to do one of these things, try and think about how the other person may feel on the receiving end.