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How to help a friend lose weight and stay friends

Fitness FitsThe struggle to lose weight is often a battle you can’t win alone. It can make a world of difference to have the support and encouragement of those around you. If you have a loved one or close friend that’s trying to lose weight, it may be time to come alongside to cheer him or her on. While you can’t be the only motivating factor for someone to lose weight, you can help create a supportive and weight-loss-inspiring atmosphere.

Before you take on this task, you’ve got to know if your friend even wants your support. Some may prefer you stay out of their business, but you won’t know until you ask. In the event your friend is interested in your support, here are the best ways to help a friend reach success on the weight-loss journey and maintain a good friendship along the way.

Cheer Them On

The last thing a dieter needs is someone judging her or telling her what to do. Rather, she needs encouragement and praise for each small success. When a goal is reached, it’s time to celebrate. Rather than rewarding with food, try a movie, manicure, or flowers. When a goal isn’t met, it’s time for more pep talk. Criticism or dwelling on past mistakes won’t motivate anyone.

Be a Listening Ear

Dieting and changing lifestyle habits can be a tough gig. There will be days he feels like giving up. There may be days he actually does. Many people eat to feed their emotions. They turn to food when they’re stressed, depressed, or happy. These are the dieters that need a friend who will be there to listen when they’ve had a rough day. Instead of turning to food for comfort, let your friend turn to you for advice and encouragement.

Join the Cause

Practice what you preach. If you’re encouraging your friend to eat healthy and exercise, you better join in. Weight loss isn’t just about cutting and burning calories but a new outlook on life and changed habits. Volunteer to eat what your friend is eating. Become an exercise partner and hit the gym together each morning. Having an example to follow and an accountability partner can make a world of difference for someone trying to lose weight.

Be Sensitive

When everyone around you is enjoying ice cream and chocolate syrup, it can be very difficult to keep your resolve. Dieters with friends and family who are sensitive to their weaknesses will have a better chance of success. Learn about your friend’s diet program: what she can and can’t eat. Then respect her choices. Serve meals that are diet friendly, and if you must eat dessert, don’t do it in her presence. Also, don’t suggest grabbing a pizza for dinner or buying popcorn at the movies.

Don’t Police

Want to stay friends for the long run? Don’t take the role of food police. Telling a friend what he can or can’t do will not make him happy with you. Criticizing or getting on to him for mistakes will crush his spirit. Hiding or locking up food (unless he tells you to) will take away his sense of pride and self-respect. Withholding affection or intimacy when a loved one doesn’t “measure up” is a sure to backfire and only make things worse.

Be careful with your choice of words. Put yourself in his shoes and consider what you would need to hear if you were struggling with losing weight.

Stay the Course

Don’t let doubt or failures cause your loved one to lose the battle. Keep a positive outlook, and continually remind your friend what it will be like to reach the desired weight loss goals. You may have be hesitant to join your friend on the journey, and there may be bumps in the road. But by being there for your friend, you can find your relationship strengthened and enriched, and both of you healthier!

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