Family Is as Family Does

5 08 2015

Lately, I have talked with many participants who have mentioned struggling with family members’ acceptance of the new changes they are trying to make in order to meet their health and weight loss goals. If you fall into this category then this blog is worth reading. The tension can build rather quickly in times like these. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the tension caused by the new changes while finding a compromise everyone is happy with:

Assessing the situation-

Taking a moment to think about your tendencies towards both nutrition and physical activity. It may help if you write these down. Next, write down your family’s tendencies towards these topics (i.e. I tend to find chores around the house to do when its time to head to the gym, or I tend to make the food my family wants to eat even though I could make a healthier dinner)  Do any match up? Now write down some of their tendencies or actions that trigger you to lean towards unhealthy choices (i.e. eating that extra helping at dinner when you’re full, or deciding to not go to the gym even though you know you should) These are all questions you need to be asking in order to fully assess your situation to come to a more positive/healthy compromise with your family.

Your journey vs their lifestyle

After you finish your assessment, it’s now time to write down your goals and expectations you have for yourself for your weight loss journey. Keep in mind this is YOUR life change, no one else’s. If you do not take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself accountable then how are you going to expect your family to provide you with the support you need?

– Communication

                Gather you family member(s) to discuss what changes you plan to make and how it is going to affect them. It is also important to discuss new expectations for you and your family in order for clear communication to happen. It also opens a door to help them hold you accountable.

Compromise

At this point you have assessed your situation, organized your goals and expectations, and talked with your family about new expectations and changes; now it is time to discuss compromises. Are there changes you want to make that are not conducive to their current lifestyle? Will those changes help make your family healthier as a whole or are they specific to your journey? Do you feel strongly about a change… do they feel strongly about not adopting a change? Showing your family you are willing to compromise to help both parties find common ground (i.e. If you will eat three healthy dinners a week with me, then I will make sure we can keep pizza night every Friday).

The steps above are just some examples of how you can clearly communicate or find a compromise with your family to make your weight loss journey easier. It is great to have family support but remember … it is ultimately up to you to reach your goals!

Take Care!

meKelly Stubna, MPH

Health Behavior Coach

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