Friends, Family, and Social Occasions

Having a higher weight is a medical condition, just like having excess blood sugar and diabetes. There is nothing shameful about having a higher weight and it can happen to anyone. Also, there is nothing shameful about trying to lose weight to improve health. Although you may come to understand this, others in your may not immediately understand. Because there are many different opinions about weight and weight loss, social pressures from loved ones can make or break your ability to lose weight. It is important to give some careful thought to who you tell about your weight loss journey, and how you tell them.

Weight Loss Friends and Foes

Most friends and family will understand if you tell them that you are losing weight for your health. Those who understand and are supportive can actually be very helpful. For example, if your loved one does the shopping, they can help you with the groceries for your weight loss eating plan. Or, you can ask loved ones to not keep tempting snacks like candy jars or chips out on the counter top where they are hard to resist. Also, a walking buddy can be very helpful to hold you accountable for getting your steps in.

Sometimes though, our friends and family may not be supportive. They may refuse to try new foods with you that might be helpful to you, or they may tease you about wanting to lose weight, for example. If you have a history like this with someone, you may consider avoiding mentioning your weight loss plans at all. Your eating plan is made up of typical foods that aren’t necessarily viewed as “diet foods”, so you can probably follow it without drawing too much attention to the fact.

If someone unsupportive notices your weight loss, even though you haven’t mentioned it, you can respond by explaining to them how great and happy you feel. It would be hard for a loved one to continue to be worried if they understand you are in a better place. And if they mention your looks, you can remind them that you are doing this for health, not to look a certain way.

How to Handle Social Outings and Celebrations

Friend and family support issues may come up during celebrations with family. For birthdays, it’s the cake and the special meal. Or maybe it’s an impromptu weekend cookout with your close friends. These events are important for your wellbeing and quality of life, but they also aren’t explicitly written into your weight loss plan. So, how should you handle them?

First, ideally you should be able to attend these events and keep up with your social life even though you are in a weight loss program. One occasional meal at a party that is different from your eating plan will not impact your progress if you have the skills to navigate it. If it’s at a restaurant, follow the guidelines you learned for that setting.

If it’s at someone’s house, you of course need to be mindful of your host’s feelings. This is especially true if they spent a long time cooking for you. You should aim to take a sensible portion of what is cooked for you.

Remember the meal sizes from the eating plan in this program are sensible, and take a similar sized portion of food. Remember that appetizers count, and remember to leave room for a few bites of cake if it’s someone’s birthday and it would be important to everyone that you have some. If your host insists on serving you, try keeping some food left on your plate because they won’t serve you more food if your plate is still full.

If you think the host will understand and he or she is someone close to you, tell them you are losing weight for your health. Telling them will help so they know not to take your moderate food intake personally. Tell them specifically what you need, just as you would if you were at someone’s house with any other illness that needed treatment.

If you think the person would not understand, try not to draw attention to what you are eating (not not eating!) and be discreet. Your host may ask why you are not taking more food. You can say it was excellent, but that you are full, and change the topic.

If someone is really unsupportive, you will have to decide how to handle that. For the time you are on this diet, you could try to avoid eating with that person. For example, Some of the meal options in this diet plan might permit this, such as the restaurant options where you could go without someone who is not supportive. Or, you could make a plan for how you will deflect or ignore this person.

If, after trying these approaches you are still having trouble with parties and social pressure to eat, that could make your treatment less effective. If this happens once every week or every two weeks, that probably won’t make a large difference in your progress. But if it happens several times per week, that can mean it’s difficult to lose enough weight to improve your health.