Weight Loss and Social Support

Posted on 21. Jan, 2009 by in Motivation, Nutrition

Weekends are, by far, my worst enemy when it comes to eating unhealthy foods. Sometimes, my nutrition during the week would be spotless – lean proteins, vegetables, good carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, eat 5-6 meals a day, etc. Then, the weekend comes. All of a sudden, I lose my self-control. I give in to cravings and want to eat everything that I see on t.v. and on the restaurant menus.

Does this sound like you too?

Help is out there. Don't give up!

Help is out there. Don't give up!

It is a pretty common phenomenon among people who just started (heck, even long-timers like me) eating healthy or dieting for weight loss. Also, cravings are particularly difficult to resist if you are on a reduced-calorie diet. In addition, there is this idea in our heads that we want to reward ourselves for “being good” throughout the week that we want to have dessert, pizza, or whatever your cravings might throw at you. While one slice of pizza or sharing a dessert with a friend is fine, one cheat meal turns into a cheat day most of the time.

I have had a good two weeks of having good nutrition even over the weekends. But, this past weekend was just a disaster. Yes, I am guilty of the weekend binge. This just goes to show that motivation and will power can only take you so far. One important thing to realize is the value of social support in your quest to become leaner and healthier.

Don’t get me wrong, my husband is definitely supportive of all my efforts. I even enlisted him to keep me away from junk foods and sweets. However, because he loves me, he can’t help but give in to my whining sometimes…haha. Also, he can not completely relate to my situation because he is not going through it himself. So, when support at home is not enough, it is time to look for support outside of it.

After being upset at my actions and uncontrollable cravings, I immediately went to my virtual support group at ttmembers.com. In the members forum, I wrote a gloomy thread about my disastrous nutrition over the weekend. I did this because I needed somebody to pull me back up and say that I can do it even though I was sure that I can. Sometimes, I just had to hear it from people who are going through the same thing and have survived the dilemma. After only a few hours of writing on my thread, other members (who I feel are like my good friends already) responded with their words of support. It was then that I realized how valuable these people are to me because I immediately felt that I was ready to start another week, get back on the health and fitness wagon, and not let another weekend ruin all my efforts. At the same time, when I read other people’s posts and see that they are doing great with their workouts and nutrition, I tend to want to do the same. I just wished that I had posted about my weekend sooner rather than later – at least, not after I had my cheat weekend.

Even if I never meet any of my virtual friends personally, the level of accountability in the forums is high. People really do care to the point that they want you to succeed. I also experience the same thing when I post on the discussion boards at Sparkpeople which is also a great web site to find people who are probably experiencing the same problems/issues as I do.

You can even get more support other than the online forums from your relatives and friends. Although some of them may be truly supportive of your weight loss efforts, others may sabotage them (directly or indirectly). Very few of my friends and relatives were supportive. Having said this, my success was moslty met with a hint of jealousy. For instance, if I haven’t seen people after awhile and they noticed that I lost some weight, they usually point out the negatives. They would say things like, “your butt looks smaller” or “you look like you’re too skinny for your height” etc. Note that they are saying all these things when I had about 21% body fat but I looked skinnier because I was more toned (less fat, more muscle). I used to take their words seriously and even get hurt but now I know better. Now, I take their comments as a validation that I’m doing something right for my health and my body because I can see it through their eyes and I hear it through the words that they are not saying.

If you have the same situation with your friends and relatives as I do, you can find more support if you go to places where people try to live healthier lifestyles. You can meet people at the gym fitness classes, swimming classes, dance classes, etc. Heck, I even befriended my personal trainer! Help is out there and it’s easy to make friends. All you have to do is start the conversation.

That is it for my bit on social support. I can not stress how important this is to my past weight loss success and most likely my future struggles. So, I’ll leave you with this question then, where do you get your social support?

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