Weight Loss

How To Deal With Unsupportive Partners And Family Members While Losing Weight

Half the battle of weight loss is trying to stay on track, and it doesn’t help if your loved ones aren’t being as supportive as they should be.

Whether your partner waves off your new fitness regime as a ‘fad’ or your mum still tries to feed you junk food when you visit, the fact is, when you first start out on a diet and exercise program it may take a while for those around you to get used to the idea.

Offended young woman quarrelling with spouse in domestic kitchen

Are You Surrounded By Unsupportive People?

Fitness expert Julia Buckley tells The Healthy Mummy that it’s important for you to stand your ground and not give in!

“Many of my clients find having less than supportive people around them makes staying consistent more difficult,” she says.

“I often hear from people whose friends and family actively seem to be trying to sabotage their efforts.

Julia says the problem arises because other people haven’t been riding your train of thought, and they don’t always know about all the agonising that’s been going on in your head.

Mother and teenage daughter arguing about housework in kitchen at home

“They might be surprised and resistant to seeing you change your ways. After all, they like you just the way you are. Which is nice. But it’s not them who has to live with your flab on their body is it?” she says.

“Problems can range from people tempting you with your favourite sugar-loaded snacks or trying to persuade you to join them in a booze up, to attempting to make you feel guilty for taking time out to exercise, to disputing your need to make changes, to repeatedly telling you you’ll never get rid of the fat and your plan is doomed to failure anyway.

“But at this point you’ve had enough of being dragged down by excess body fat and you’ve been intending to do something about it for a long time. Now you’ve finally made the decision to shed the gunk and you’ve got a plan to make it happen. You’re going to change the way you eat and you’re going to start moving around a lot more. In your mind you’ve already made the shift, you’ve committed to making it happen.”

Top Tips For Dealing With Unsupportive Loved Ones

1. Express Your Concerns

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First of all, explain to them that getting leaner and healthier means a lot to you.

“Give them lots of reasons why you want to shed weight and talk about how it will make your life better. Let them know you would value their support and explain in very simple terms what they can do to be supportive,” says Julia.

“But don’t expect their support right away, or even ever. They may well continue to be unsupportive, but at least you tried to reason with them.

“Not to worry, you’ll deal with it. By starting on your weight loss mission, you have decided to take control of the amount of fat you have on your body, and by changing your behaviour you, and you alone, can achieve the the weight you want.”

2. Gain Willpower

Easy butt and thigh toning exercises

Support from others is great when it comes, but it is not essential. What goes into your mouth is totally up to you!

“You are an adult and no one can make you eat or drink anything you don’t want to. It is also your choice to exercise – it is your body and if you want to move it more you’re free to do that too,” says Julia.

“Making healthy lifestyle changes in the midst of non-supporters can be tough, but by sticking to your plan you will build up strong “willpower muscles” that will help keep you on course through the inevitable ups and downs life will throw at you.”

3. Get Real

Shot of a young woman looking despondent after a fight with her boyfriend

It would be lovely if everyone around you was wonderfully supportive and applauded all your fitness training, never offered you any fattening food and gave you tons of encouragement – but that’s not real life!

“Expect people to try to tempt you with poor food choices. Anticipate that they will try to talk you into doing other things during your exercise time,” Julia continues.

“Presume that sometimes people will attempt to make you feel guilty about the changes you’re making. And recognise that many people around you will not share your enthusiasm for improving your body (and therefore your life). When you know that’s how it’s going to be, you can plan how to deal with it.”

4. Be Direct

Couple Eating in Outdoors cafe: Woman refuses to eat burger

If someone offers you something to eat or drink that you don’t want turn it down politely, but not apologetically.

“Say something like, ‘No, thanks’ or ‘Thanks, but I’m not hungry’. Do not say things like, ‘Oh I really shouldn’t’ or ‘I can’t I’m on a diet’. Because what do you think their reaction is going to be if you say the latter?” says Julia.

“Even if the food does look tempting, you don’t have to take it.”

5. Keep Schtum

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Be careful not to project any frustration you may feel as you adjust to eating different foods on to other people.

“Keep a sense of perspective and bear in mind that usually other people will not really care that much what you eat and drink. I mean, are you really that bothered what anyone else eats? There’s no need to make a big issue of it by starting a conversation on the subject. Make your healthy choices and don’t invite unhelpful comments from others by intimating that you’d rather be doing anything else,” adds Julia.

“If you feel good about the choices you are making it will show and people will be much less likely to try to talk you out of them. So remind yourself of the benefits you’re getting from acting in a way that is helping you to get leaner and healthier, focus on how you are in process of improving so many aspects of your life and talk only in positive terms about your diet and fitness regime when non supporters are about.”

6. Try To Be Understanding

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Maybe the non-supporters has their own excess weight to contend with, and maybe that’s part of the reason why seeing you set off on a tummy busting mission is upsetting to them.

“Whether the their actions are selfish or merely misguided or mistaken, this kind of friendly fire is the last thing you need,” adds Julia.

“Sometimes the their motives will be complex, possibly to do with their own body issues or personal insecurities, other times they might simply not realise that their behaviours are making it difficult for you to stick to a plan that is going to improve your life.”

7. Write It All Down

Girl sitting on floor and wrote in a notebook

If you’re feeling down or determined, document it. You never know, you may help someone in the future with your notes. Or better still, you can tell The Healthy Mummy how you are feeling and we’ll share your story to inspire others. You may find the support you need from our communities rather than your loved ones. 

“Of course we all need a bit of friendly advice and encouragement sometimes, but luckily we can access it at the click of a mouse nowadays,” says Julia.

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Community Mums

Need support? Look no further than our huge community of mums, who will support and encourage you. To join our supportive community, click here.

Losing weight can be really tough. But losing weight isn’t just about dieting and exercising – it’s about being in the right place mentally to change your life and on the Healthy Mummy plans we are here to help you achieve your goals.

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