Having emotional support is just as critical to getting the pounds off and keeping them off as diet and exercise. Losing weight and staying healthy is more than a physical change. You have to change the way you think about life.
Dulling the Senses
Many overweight individuals use food as a drug to numb sadness and anger and even to get high. When we start changing the way we eat, we suddenly find that many of the issues that we previously pushed aside with food have come to the surface. This is where emotional support becomes crucial. Friends, family members, fellow dieters and even medical professionals can be a huge asset to help us deal with these unpleasant emotions. By sharing our experiences with others, we can work through problems and find out how others have survived similar situations.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
We are often our own worst critics. Few people would ever look someone in the face and call them a fat, ugly failure for eating too may potato chips. But dieters often do just that to themselves, making small defeats feel like major catastrophes. Emotional support can help us keep things in perspective. People in our support system don't think we're horrible if we happen to gain back a few pounds. Rather, they know and can assure us that these are the natural and expected ups and downs of weight loss. They can also help us understand why we may have indulged more than we should have, and can work with us to create a plan for next time.
You're Not Alone
Weight loss is a personal journey—no one can do it for us. That doesn't mean it has to be a lonely one. Every dieter has a skinny friend who can eat whatever they want with reckless abandon. This leaves us feeling alone in our struggle to resist unhealthy foods. However, if you have a strong system of supporters going through the same journey you are, you'll find the path is less lonely. It won't be as hard to turn down a slice of the office birthday cake or grandma's homemade pie if you know others are doing the same.
Emotional support doesn't have to be just about talking and sharing our experiences. Sometimes it is about mutual reliance. If you and a workout partner always go together to exercise class, you're more likely to work up a sweat, even when you're feeling tired or lazy. You can encourage one another to keep going when the other looks like they may not finish the jog. Setting goals with another person also helps us to be honest with ourselves.
The key to losing weight and keeping it off is changing the way we eat, move and think. Emotional support is not only helpful, but a critical step in making these changes permanent and keeping you in your new svelte body for good.