By Brooke Randolph, LMHC for DietsInReview.com
One common concern I hear about dieting is how to maintain both social relationships and weight when so many social events focus on food.
Sometimes to reach weight loss goals, you need to disconnect yourself from certain people, at least if food is involved. The catch-22 here is that dieting is hard work and a stressor that requires physical, mental, and emotional energy. In the midst of such an undertaking, you need support more than ever. Even our biggest supporters are not confident in how to best provide the encouragement we need. While it can be difficult to ask for help, both you and your friend will be glad you did.
Here are five ideas for getting the support you need from friends.
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 participate in your exercise routine or ask how you’re meal plan is going. You are much less likely to sleep in if you know a friend will be waiting to workout early in the morning. If you share your journey online, be sure to ask friends to leave comments on your tweets or posts so you know someone is paying attention and supporting you.
2. Advocacy Friends can run interference when a party host is encouraging another serving or something that is not in your diet. A friend can prepare a dish that you know you can eat, so you don’t have to feel like you are bringing 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 is stocked with things you have removed from your diet, but still tempting to you, a friend can be the one to perform the daunting pantry clean out.
5. Meal Preparation One hurdle 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 on those evenings. Perhaps a friend could cook and freeze a few meals for you. Just make sure your friend knows what is and isnt on your diet plan.