We wrote the following letter over 30 years ago, and in the time since then, thousands of women have given it to their loved ones to educate them about how they can truly help them achieve their health and healthy weight goals. We hope it helps you do the same.
What Is Support?
Support is . . . acknowledging my success.
I am happy with the progress I am making toward achieving my goals, although I may not yet have reached my healthy weight and fitness goals. I now know how I feel is more important that what the scale says . . . and I feel great! Please understand that each time I improve my behavior in eating and exercise situations, I am experiencing success. Please recognize that I am making progress. Please appreciate the improvements instead of expecting perfection.
Support is . . . understanding me.
I am not on a diet because I have learned that diets don’t work for me. I am no longer starving, restricting or totally depriving myself, nor am I continually obsessing about food. Instead I am developing and practicing a new, healthy lifestyle that includes being active and eating in a way that makes me feel well. I am satisfied with this approach. Please do not pressure me to do something else.
Support is . . . trusting me.
My new eating plan has no “forbidden” or “illegal” foods. I can eat anything I want, and I am working on re-defining what I want. Since moderation is a new concept for me, it will take time for me to feel comfortable with it. Please trust me and give me the time that I need to practice being honest with myself and the space to correct mistakes I may make.
Support is . . . allowing me to make my own choices.
It is very difficult and frightening for me to learn to eat reasonable portions of my favorite foods. Please allow me the freedom to make my food choices (whether you approve or not) without comments, criticism or reprimands. Please do not force food upon me, withhold it from me, or question my decision to eat.
Support is . . . helping me to be patient and realistic.
I would like to be optimally healthy right now. I would like the struggle with my eating and weight to be over forever. But achieving health and a healthy weight can be a long, slow process, requiring me to make changes in my behavior and lifestyle. Because I am looking for healthy permanent changes, my success is not measured by changes in my weight alone. Please do not set expectations about how much I will lose and how quickly.
Support is . . . sensitivity and consideration.
My weight and health are very personal matters. I would like to avoid discussing them at family affairs and social gatherings. When friends and family infringe upon my privacy, please help me change the subject and redirect the attention away from me.
Support is . . . having you on my side.
I am choosing to make changes in my life that can result in new feelings, new experiences and new problems. Some of the changes will be welcome and exciting; some will be disruptive and threatening. If I am to deal successfully with these changes, I need the support of people who understand and respect me. I need my family and friends to help me break through barriers instead of creating them for me. It would make me very happy to know that you are in my corner.