Today marks the beginning of Healthy Weight Week 2015. The week when many people realize those New Year’s diets are destined for failure, or already have failed. Notice we say the diets have failed, not the people. That’s because diets don’t work — something so many people realize already. Yet time and again, they start new diets, often because they don’t know what to do instead.
Healthy Weight Week is designed to change the focus from weight to health, which means we can say goodbye to weight loss diets forever and start focusing on what supports our health. Weight loss diets not only don’t help most people lose weight permanently, they end up gaining it. And their health often suffers, too.
We hope you’ll follow the blog each day this week for posts on many of the issues that are important to health for women who have struggled with eating and weight. We start the week with a post by Shiri Macri, licensed professional counselor and behavior lead at Green Mountain. Shiri talks about the issue of support — it’s critical to success in overcoming eating and weight struggles yet many people don’t know how to support others who are struggling.
Tools For Our Successful Journey Towards Healthy
As we embark upon a journey towards health, it’s essential to have the proper “tools” with us on our path towards success. These tools include many things – a movement plan, a balanced nutritional plan, maybe new thoughts and behaviors we’re experimenting with.
Additionally, having the support of friends and loved ones throughout this process of change can be invaluable.
Imagine a child learning to ride a bike.
Can the child learn on their own? Not easily. Do we expect the child to get it on the first try? Of course not.
And when the child falls, how might we respond? Imagine saying: “Why can’t you get this? Give it up. You’re terrible at bike riding.” Ouch! The child probably would give up, especially if those giving the advice are people the child loves, cares for, and admires.
Use Words of Encouragement
Instead, we usually offer words of encouragement, understanding, and compassion. It may sound like: “It’s ok. This is hard. You can do it. I’m here for you”, etc.
Having healthy support can be so important when trying to make a positive change in our lives. This doesn’t always come easily or naturally to those closest to us, so it’s helpful to provide some guidance.
First, what does support actually mean? Technically it means:
“Support (verb) 1. Bear all or part of the weight; to hold up 2. Give assistance to; To enable to function or act”
How to Help Women with Eating and Weight Challenges
Here are a few ways to talk to friends and family to help them understand how better to support us when we are learning a different approach to self-care than the misguided path of dieting.
1 This is my path, be understanding of it.
- Though you may not agree, please accept that I’ve chosen a non-diet approach towards health. It may take longer, but I’m worth the time.
- Respect that this is a very personal journey. Please be considerate of comments and conversations about my body and my eating.
2 There are many successes to be acknowledged.
- It’s really not about numbers on the scale or a tape measure, but instead, changes in how I move, my positivity, mindful eating skills or coping. I’m happy to tell you about these if you’re interested.
- Please be patient when it comes to body related changes. I’ve learned it takes time for long term changes. They aren’t always reflected in body size but they can say something about my health.
3 Trust my choices.
- I am purposefully making many of my food choices and working on eating freely and mindfully – whether it’s veggies and dip or chocolate cake.
- Give me space to make mistakes without judgment. I’m still learning.
The “Supporting Me Means” infographic in this post also lists other ways. We hope you’ll share the infographic in your circles to help others understand what true support is. Note: The points are relevant to supporting ourselves in this journey also.