You may not know this, but it's not all about you. Weight loss, we mean. You know that expression, "it takes a village to raise a child"? Well, the same is pretty much true about taking weight off and keeping it off. Just like bringing up a human being is no easy task, neither is—for most of us—shedding pounds and making sure they don't come back. So you need help.
Help (aka support) can come in all sorts of forms, but you need to ask for it, and if you don't get it when you ask, get it in whatever way you can. You can ask your partner or spouse to keep chips and cookies out of the house (or hide them from you, at least), or see if a friend or neighbor will run, walk, or go to boot camp with you before work, or request politely that co-workers keep home-baked treats out of the break room, at least sometimes.
If there's no one at home or work who gets it, try making a friend at a class at the gym or the park. The more active support you have, the better, but sometimes all it really takes is one person who can support you. And it doesn't even need to be a person; lots of dog owners rely on their pet to get them outside every day and to keep them company. You can't say as much for the reliability of most humans, right?
Virtual support—from a long-distance friend, from a bulletin board, or weight-loss site, from a dietitian you check in with by email once a week—can also help. One small study even showed that getting regular tweets from a weight-loss counselor and other people trying to lose weight resulted in more pounds shed.
Support is so important because, for most of us, sheer, teeth-gritting willpower isn't enough to keep us on the straight and narrow.
We need to create an environment that supports us, which means the people around you, but it also means the things around you. In your head, right now, do a quick review of all the places you spend your time: Do you keep unhealthy treats in the car, in your bag, or in a desk drawer at work? Could you take a different route home, one that doesn't pass by your favorite fast food joint, bar, or ice-cream shop, depending on what your favorite indulgence is after a crappy day? Have you made packing your gym bag and the next day's lunch part of your nightly pre-bed ritual? How accessible are unhealthy treats versus healthy ones when you're at home watching TV? If nothing else, move the ice cream out of view and the fruit up front. Every little bit helps.
Whatever you do, try to keep it simple. Some people won't be supportive; that's the plain truth. But you will find some who are, and probably quite a few. Start by looking for people who hate exercise as much as you do (this won't be hard to do, trust us) and bond over that, if nothing else. You've just found your first support person.
The six articles in the Weight Loss section are designed to give you some of the most important, useful, scientifically sound, and safe information. We don't try to cover everything about weight loss (or anything else) on ih8exercise.com, but if you follow the advice in these six articles you'll have a great foundation for lasting weight loss.
The information on this site and related sites and platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter should not be treated as medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for the advice, treatment, evaluation, diagnosis, or care of a qualified healthcare professional. Please see your physician if you have questions or concerns about your health.
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