There are many factors at play in banishing obesity. Whether post-bariatric surgery or just beginning the process, there are few influencers more important to helping patients stick to their goals than close family members. These are the people you love and trust. They’re often the people who’ve seen you through “thick and thin,” literally. They’re also the people who have a significant impact on your psychological and emotional well-being; two factors we know are critical in long-term weight loss.
So how can you help ensure your loved ones become your strongest cheerleaders or even better, commit themselves to the healthier lifestyle that you’ve adopted? I’ve compiled a few tips here to help put you on the road to success:
1. Communication is key- Whether you’re considering undergoing bariatric surgery, would like to lose 25 pounds by a certain date or want to regain control of your health habits post-surgery, communicating your goals early and often to family and close friends is important.
2. Change is difficult- Even when the people you’re communicating your weight-loss goals to aren’t the ones changing. This is the psychology of humans, really. Whether its in ourselves, in our environment, in our beliefs and yes, even in our loved ones, we generally don’t like change. Understanding this fact and communicating about it up front and honestly can prevent a lot of heartache down the road.
3. Fear is inevitable-But it isn’t unstoppable. Perhaps it’s your spouse who fears you won’t love his fluffier form after you lose 50 pounds. Maybe it’s your daughter who’s scared she won’t recognize you after you lose 100 pounds. Fear is a common factor in many a weight-loss journey. It’s also an emotion that can be banished early on with communication.
4. Involvement matters– Involving your loved ones in even the slightest of lifestyle changes can help you all reap great rewards physically, mentally and emotionally. In fact, recent studies have proven that family members of bariatric surgery patients often become healthier when they’re involved in the process of the patient’s journey. It’s called a “Halo Effect.” And whatever you decide to call it, it’s a great side-benefit for everyone involved.
Healthy families don’t just happen. They require effort, support, love and discipline. The great news? Most families have a great foundation to build from. So get started today. You’ll all be better for it.