Support People! This one is for you....

Support people! Listen up! This one is for you!

I’m giving you the insider’s guide to supporting someone in your life, a loved one, on their weight loss journey. This applies to any type of weight loss journey – with surgery or without. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, especially if you are actually coming from a good place and just trying to help. And let’s face it. Some days no matter what you say it’s going to be taken the wrong way, but if you stay away from all the ‘Don’ts’ then you might just be okay!

This is a blog I shouldn’t have to write, but unfortunately time and time again clients come and tell me about the lack of support and understanding they receive from their family, friends and colleagues. This is something which causes them enormous hurt and sadness, and a feeling of being alone on their journey. Constantly feeling not good enough or judged by the people in their circle actually starts them on the back foot to conquering their weight loss once and for all.

Here are ways you can show support -

Don’t – Criticise. People who are overweight or obese are already their own worst critic. They don’t need someone they love criticising them. It bloody hurts!

Do – Listen and acknowledge. Champion their efforts, not criticise. They are learning each day themselves.

Don’t – Judge. You are not perfect either, so who are you to judge?? Don’t monitor them, mother them or smother them. DO NOT tell them what to do! Who loves being told what to do and what they are doing is wrong? Oh that’s right… NOBODY!

Do – Support. Ask questions. Educate yourself about your loved one’s journey and what they are doing. Ask them the how, why and what questions. Be interested in their answers and their progress. Ask them how they feel about their progress. SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT!!

Don’t – Ask stupid, negative questions such as –

  • Do you really need to eat that?
  • Are you supposed to eat that?
  • Why are you eating that?
  • Are you going to exercise today?
  • Why don’t you get off the couch and go to the gym?
  • Are you going to fail at this like you have every other time you tried to lose weight?

Do – Offer positive reinforcement 

  • You’re doing great
  • I’m proud of you
  • I love you just as you are, but I want you to be happy. What do you need me to do to help you?
  • You are making really amazing changes and putting in a really good effort

Pushing someone to do something because you want them to, or because you think they should or because you think you know better will only end in resentment, feelings of inadequacy, hurt, low self-worth and low confidence. It will also cause disagreements and a desire to rebel against you. It will also often send them to sneak food or purposely sabotage themselves to ‘get back at you’. However the only person your ‘advice’ affects is person trying to lose weight. Oh and by the way? Not everyone wants your opinion – particularly if it was not solicited in the first place….

Don’t – Constantly ask about their weight or how much they have lost. Weight loss plateaus happen! They are a normal part of the weight loss process. Avoid comments such as –

  • How much do you weigh?
  • How much have you lost?
  • Is that all?
  • Shouldn’t you have lost more by now?
  • I know someone else who lost XYZ in one week!
  • You aren’t going to lose anymore are you?

Do – Ask how they are FEELING! Ask positive, non-judgemental questions –

  • How do you feel you are doing?
  • How has losing weight changed your life so far?
  • How has losing weight made you feel?
  • What are your non-weight related goals?

Don’t – Make ANY of these comments – EVER. You might think these comments are pretty harsh, but I have heard these from client’s so-called ‘support’ people more than I care to admit -

  • I told you so. I knew you couldn’t do it
  • You are useless
  • You always fail or you’re such a failure
  • You aren’t good enough
  • You will just get fat again
  • You have no will power
  • You are too lazy to exercise
  • Why don’t you get off your fat arse?

Do –

  • Encourage
  • Support
  • Pick them up if they stumble or have a bad day
  • Help them set and achieve other non-weight related goals
  • Celebrate their achievements no matter how small they seem to you

Remember – Your job is to stand behind them until you are invited to stand beside them. Your job is to listen and offer advice - only if it is asked for. Your love and support are welcome. Be the shoulder to cry on. Be the backbone to hold them upright. If they are feeling positive and happy within themselves, then YOU by proxy will benefit, as will everyone else around you! It’s a win/win situation! And they will remember and appreciate your kindness, encouragement and support during their hardest days. Believe me, people remember in excruciating detail those who have put them down or been nasty to them, versus those who have been positive and supportive. You can be their HERO! And remember not all heroes wear capes….

So to recap –

Don’t – Criticise, judge, make negative comments, ask stupid questions, and not be supportive!

Do – Support, listen, acknowledge, guide, encourage, celebrate achievements, be patient, show kindness and love.

If you struggle to verbalise what you need on your weight loss journey, show this blog to your support people. Help them to be able to help you :)

Need any help with anything you have read? Contact me for a free, no obligation chat.

0210719069 or

Vanessa xx