Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weekly Tip: The Support System

Much like my advice to find a workout buddy, this week's tip also involves the people around you: the people who encourage you to keep going, the people you can lean on when you're struggling with your progress, the people who keep telling you how great you look and what a good job you're doing even when you don't see it yourself.  These people are your support system, and it's important that everyone trying to lose weight or achieve fitness goals has that in their lives.

Throughout my challenge I've been amazed at the continuous support and encouragement I've received from the people around me.  People have constantly been telling me what a great job I'm doing and how I've inspired them to start working on their own goals.  Comments like that mean the world to me and make me that much more motivated to keep going because I feel like I'm setting a good example.  It also feels good to know that the people around you are paying attention to what you're doing and truly want to see you succeed.  I will be eternally grateful for the people who have been supporting me for the past few months of this challenge, but that's a post for another day...

I also have a piece of advice for those people who make up the support system of somebody who's working on their health and fitness goals:

1) Try not to comment on what they eat.  Obviously someone who's trying to lose weight understands that they need to adjust their diet as part of their plan, so most likely they've already thought about what they're putting in their mouth.  If they decide to have a cheat meal or they know they've worked out enough that day to earn that extra beer, that's up to them.  There's nothing worse when you're trying to lose weight than feeling like the people around you are judging what you eat.  The only exception to this rule is if that person cooks you something.  Then you are definitely allowed to comment, and hopefully sing their praises.

2) You can never compliment them enough!  People who are working hard at achieving their weight loss goals want to feel like other people notice a difference.  You can never tell them too many times how great they look or what a good job they're doing it.  Praise them, and praise them often!  Who knows, your comment might be just the thing they needed to motivate them into the gym the next morning when they were considering skipping out.

3) Don't give them excuses to slack off.  Leave the decision of when/where/how much to work out and what/when/how much to eat up to the person responsible: the person trying to lose the weight.  Telling someone that they can have the loaded nachos at dinner instead of the Greek salad because "you've been working so hard, you've earned it, you have to give yourself a break sometimes" only encourages that person to slip up.  Obviously at the end of the day, someone who's trying to lose weight is in charge of what they eat and how much they exercise, but when you tell that person that it's okay for them to cheat on a day when maybe they weren't planning on cheating, it only makes it harder for them to hang on to their self-control and make good choices.  Be encouraging, but don't give them any excuses.

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