7 Tips to Help a Loved One Lose Weight
Anyone who has watched a loved one struggle with weight knows how hard it can be. Excess weight puts a damper on a person’s energy level1, as well as her ability to travel and engage in activities she enjoys. Over time, being overweight or obese can lead to isolation, anxiety and depression. Being overweight or obese also increases your loved one’s risk of several major health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. By encouraging an important woman in your life to lose weight with the right kind of support, you can help her become her healthiest, happiest self. Here are some ways to boost her weight loss motivation:
Focus on the health benefits of exercise
To broach the topic of weight loss, you’ll be better off stressing the physical and mental health benefits of exercise2 rather than talking about appearance or food. Avoid comments like, “I notice you’ve been eating a lot,” or “you seem to be gaining a lot of weight.” Instead, talk about your concern for the person’s health and quality of life with phrases such as, “I’m concerned about your high blood pressure,” or “I don’t want your health to suffer.” Remind her that losing weight with a healthy eating plan and workout routine like the Curves Circuit will lower her risk for disease and help her reap other health benefits of exercise.
Do not offer personal weight loss tips
This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s best not to suggest specific tips, even if you used those tactics yourself. Chances are, your loved one knows the kinds of weight loss tips she should be following. What she needs from you and others in her life is motivation to get started with a workout plan in the form of support and encouragement3.
Along with weight gain can come feelings of shame and low self-esteem. As your loved one embarks on a weight loss journey, remind her that you love her unconditionally. If she wants to talk about her progress in general or the specifics about her workout plan or healthy diet, listen with lots of love and support. Offering empathy and compassion4 to someone trying to get in shape or lose weight is one of the best things you can do to help her achieve her fitness goals.
Anyone who has struggled with weight knows how prevalent judgment about appearance is in our society. Plus, chances are her harshest critic is herself. Research shows perceived judgment about weight can hinder weight loss motivation and efforts. In one study5, researchers found overweight patients who perceived judgment by their primary care providers were less likely to successfully lose weight than patients who did not feel judged. Comments to avoid include those such as, “you’d be so much prettier if you lost weight,” or “you’ll be more likely to get the job if you lose a few kilos.”
Don't misinterpret joking about weight
As a defense mechanism or to break tension, some people struggling with excess weight will use self-deprecating humour. Realise this doesn’t mean that person is comfortable with her weight or that it is OK for you or someone else to make similar jokes. However, you can use these lighthearted moments as a window for weight loss motivation. If they make a joke about needing to get back in shape, maybe use that as an opportunity to suggest she join you at Curves one day to see if she likes the full body workout.
Share in the celebrations
One of the greatest things about losing weight with a whole body workout plan and healthy eating is that a person gets a renewed energy for the things she loves to do. If she loves museums, invite her to go to her favourite one to celebrate her first 5 kilograms lost. Or suggest a shopping trip to her favourite store. Other ideas: Take a healthy cooking class together, take a wellness getaway, or invest in some new workout clothes.
Take her to Curves!
At Curves, we believe we are all in this together, and we want to give each other the support we all deserve. As part of this mission, as a Curves member, you can help empower your loved one who is also thinking about starting a workout plan to take control of her future. If we each bring just one new person to Curves, together we will help change the lives of TENS OF THOUSANDS of women. In turn, these women can then become healthy role models and inspire many more people around them as well.