Sometimes to obtain weight loss goals, you need to separate yourself from certain people, at least when food is involved. The conundrum here is that dieting is tough work and a stresssor that requires physical, mental, and emotional energy. In the midst of such an undertaking, you need support more than ever. Often even our biggest cheerleaders are not confident in how to best support us when we travel roads they have not. While it can be difficult to ask for help, both you and your friend will be glad you did.
1. Accountability – Many people have a hard time doing things for themselves alone, but are more likely to follow through if they know someone else cares – or sometimes simply if someone else will know. Friends can join you in your exercise routine or ask you about how you are doing with your meal plan. You are much less likely to hit snooze if you know your friend will be waiting for you to workout at 6am. If you share your journey electronically, make sure you ask friends to specifically comment on your tweets or posts, so you know someone is paying attention and supporting you.
2. Advocacy – Friends can defend your plate when a party host is encouraging another serving or something that is not on your meal plan. A friend can prepare a dish that you know you can eat, so you do not have to only bring your own food. A friend can ask the waiter the ingredients questions that you are tired of asking.
3. Partnership – Beyond accountability, a friend that is journeying with you and experiencing the same ups and downs can commiserate, celebrate, and share ideas with you every step of the way. Often people say that they would like to lose a little to a lot of weight, but they are always waiting for that Monday that never comes. You can ask a friend to join you in dieting or weight loss, and your friend may be excited to have a reason to finally start. If you are using the same diet, then you can take turns preparing meals.
4. Kitchen Clean-Up – If your kitchen or pantry contains items that you have removed from your diet but may be tempting to you, a friend can come over and remove those things, so you aren’t tempted to eat them rather than throw them away.
5. Encouragement – Another way to go beyond accountability is to ask a friend to periodically direct words of encouragement to you. Make sure you tell them what is encouraging to you. If you find inspirational quotes to be cheesy, your friend needs to know that.
6. Responsibility – If one of my friends wanted to use walking a dog as motivation and accountability for physical activity, the Big Blue Dog and I would be happy to let my friend walk him every day. If it is easier for you to do things for others, perhaps taking on a physical task for them may be just what you need to take care of yourself. I don’t know many neighbors that would turn down free mowing or raking. Everyone has household tasks that end up on the bottom of their priority list. What things can you do that would help you burn calories and stay busy?
7. Meal Preparation – One major downfall in any healthy eating plan is simply convenience. When it is late or we are busy or tired, taking the time to prepare a healthy meal may just seem like too much. If you often work late on a specific night, ask a good friend if you can join them for dinner that night. Perhaps a friend would be willing to cook and freeze a few meals for you. Just make sure your friend knows what items aren’t on your diet plan.
8. Gardening – If you are living in an apartment or condo, it may be difficult to grow your own fresh produce, and farmers markets aren’t accessible in all areas. However, your friends may have some space where you or they can grow food for one or both of you to eat.
June 13th, 2011