Get Your Family and Friends to Support Your Healthy Lifestyle
September 7, 2017
Social support from family and friends is an absolute necessity when changing your lifestyle. It’s a lot easier to adhere to a healthy lifestyle when you don’t have to worry about endless questions and criticism from the people closest to you.
And if you’re married, your partner can make or break your healthy lifestyle! He or she can inspire you, offer encouragement and provide accountability, OR discourage you and make your goals seems unachievable.
Here are some tips on how to get your family and friends to support your new lifestyle.
Find Your Biggest Fans
Healthy eating and fitness can be deeply personal; not everyone needs to know about it. All you really need are a few close supporters with whom you can share your progress.
Think back to the last time you made a change in your life. Who supported or motivated you?
Alternatively, is there someone in your life who is living a healthy lifestyle? Does he or she inspire you?
Share Your Reasons
As you change your lifestyle, don’t be surprised if you get some questions or criticism from friends and family members. If that happens, don’t be defensive or launch into a lecture on why healthy eating and exercise are good for you.
Have an honest conversation with them and explain why you’re adopting a healthier lifestyle. Saying something like “It makes me feel better, I have more energy or I sleep better” is more sincere (and convincing) than regurgitating scientific facts.
Share Your Struggles
Changing your lifestyle might trigger feelings of inadequacy and shame in the people around you. They could start feeling that you think that you’re better than they are – which isn’t true. The trick is not to allow emotionally charged situations with your loved ones to either shame or guilt you into quitting on yourself.
Just be honest and let them know that this is important to you. Share honestly about how hard it is to make the changes you’re making. This might make them feel less intimidated or jealous. Who knows, it might inspire them to make some lifestyle changes of their own.
Be the influencer not the influenced.
Ask for Support
Let your significant other and the rest of the “chosen ones” know that you would appreciate their support. Be specific about what you need.
- Ask them to be open minded about your new eating, exercise and sleeping habits.
- Ask them to accommodate your food choices by buying foods or going to restaurants that are compatible with your new eating habits.
- Ask them to share a meal with you every once in a while.
- Ask them not to pressure you to “have just a taste” if you decline their offer.
Always plan ahead to avoid putting your friends and family in awkward situations. If you’re attending a social event, bring something that you can eat. If you’re going to a restaurant that isn’t exactly in line with your health needs, suggest a different restaurant or plan how you will modify the meal to fit your needs. Be positive and cooperative, and everything should be just fine.
Not everyone will agree with your healthy lifestyle or support you…but that’s completely okay. All you really need are a couple of genuine “fans” and a little practice on how to confidently explain to your friends and family why you choose to eat and live healthy.