Through the #BlogchatterA2Z series, I aim to share my secrets to health transformation. I have already highlighted ways in which you can activate your journey and enlightened you on the difference between weight loss and health transformation. In this blog post, I will be touching upon the role of family during your health transformation journey.
Did you know that friends, family and romantic partners will play a vital role in your health transformation journey?
In 2018, TheaCare #Beautifulfillment carried out a survey to determine how women perceived their own bodies growing up, with the aim to promote a healthy body image among them. The results were not really surprising.
Friends, family, sexual and romantic partners can make women feel much more insecure about their bodies than all of the media, doctors/medical practitioners, strangers combined.
More often than not, overweight individuals end up being the butt of jokes at a family gathering. Especially when you refuse to eat a sweet or gulp down a refreshing drink that is loaded with calories.
Kids look up to their families for support and strength. Families that give this necessary support to their kids raise individuals who are confident and secure in their ideas of themselves but when someone from this close circle of people whom one trusts and considers their own criticizes or points out flaws in an individual it leads to a deep sense of shame and insecurity.
The TheaCare #Beautifulfillment survey shows that 69% of women have suffered from body image issues at some point in their lives and 55% women have received uncomfortable remarks on their bodies and physical attributes at some point.
Being Indians, we are blessed to have mothers, aunts and elders who goad us to ‘eat well’ and warn us about the harmful effects of ‘starving yourself’.
We will be touching upon healthy eating and the importance of eating to lose weight. However, that is for a later post.
This post is about overcoming the second biggest barrier to your health transformation – your family.
(The first barrier being your own self belief)
It can be really tough to continue with your new diet and fitness regime especially if you are the only one in the family who is trying to change. If the rest of your family doesn’t need to or want to change their eating or exercise routines. Worse is in India where elders feel its a waste of time and modern gimmick.
You may have questions like:
- How do I create support for weight loss or health transformation?
- How to tell others about my weight loss/health transformation goals?
- How to get my family on board with my weight loss
- My family and friends will make fun of me – how do I tell them about my health transformation?
- I have kids, in-laws, husband and a demanding schedule – how will I manage a fitness and diet routine?
I am a testimony to the fact that if you make a plan, stick to it and involve family and friends, success will be yours!
When I started my health transformation journey, ‘well-meaning’ elders and ‘close friends’ mocked me, jeered and taunted me. Some even laid bets on how long ‘my craze’ will last. Here I am, 24 months and 25 kgs later with a shelf that is of cups, medals and trophies won at various sporting events.
Tips on Getting Family & Friends on board with your Health Transformation Journey
Explain Your Weight-Loss Goals
This will work only if there is an existing line of communication in your family. If your family is open to discussions, you must surely try this method. Explain your health transformation goals to your family. Get buy-in for their support.
Let Your Family Know How to Help
It is critical to let your family know how they can help you. Can your partner pick up or drop your kids when you are at the gym or aerobics class? Your children can help by saying one nice thing to their mommy every day. Your in-laws can support you by doing some chores themselves.
Engage Everyone in Exercise Activities
Allow your family to explore the magic of exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Can you plan a morning routine at a beach? An evening at the park? Can you encourage your child to run with you while you are jogging at the park? When the entire family is engaged in exercise, you are actually looking at the entire family walking on the path to good health.
Put Family Recipes on a Diet
Every family has a few favourite recipes. Can you explore ways in which the same recipes can be made healthy without compromising on the taste? Baked instead of fried pakodas, using homemade ghee instead of processed oils, using brown rice instead of white rice for biryani etc. If the taste isn’t compromised, your family will polish off the food from the plate.
Make Meal Time Family Time
Instead of eating in individual rooms or in front of the television, eat as a family on the table or while sitting in a circle on the ground. Share your day’s experiences and encourage others to do so. The bonding developed will go a long way in garnering support for you.
Plan Ahead for Tempting Situations
As social beings, there are a lot of situations that can be extremely tempting for a person starting off on a health transformation journey. Plan ahead for these situations. You can treat that day as your cheat day or you can eat in advance and then pick at the foods selectively during the gathering. The choice is yours.
Avoid Fair-Weather Friends
You must know that a health transformation journey comes with an untold disclaimer – it cleans out negative people from your life. People who mock you, gossip about you or generally discourage you will be automatically weeded out from your life. Be prepared to walk on a separate path from fair-weather friends.
Celebrate Your Success as a Family
Given that you have established a line of communication with your family and made them feel important and involved in your health transformation journey – they will be ecstatic at your smallest victories. Make sure you celebrate each and every victory with your family. You will be amazed at the strength and energy that it will give you to march ahead.
What if nothing works?
You have discussed with your family, ensured their buy-in and kept lines of communication open. Despite this, your family mocks you, offers zero support and even makes a gossip story out of your health transformation journey. If you are part of this seemingly unfortunate situation, you must know that:
“Recognize that you really don’t need anyone but yourself to succeed.”
Health transformation is first a commitment to the self and a journey that you need to undertake on your own. If your family and friends support you, it will be slightly easier. However, don’t make lack of support from friends & family an excuse for your ill-health or obesity. You and only YOU are in charge of your destiny and health.
Stay tuned for the next post on fads & facts on weight loss & health transformation.
Do let me know if you have any questions or queries. I would love to respond to them.
All the best!
Dear Reader: You must know that I am not a healthcare expert and nor am I posing to be one through this series. I am sharing my personal experiences and journey. I urge you to speak to your healthcare professional before trying anything in this series.