So you've decided to change your eating habits.
Have you thought about getting support in making this
Having the support of people close to you is an important
part of change. It doesn't matter if you're changing a job, a routine, or how
you eat—support gives you a better chance of making the change work.
Support from others includes love and understanding as well as
advice and practical help. Your support team makes you feel good about yourself
and cared about as you change how you eat.
You may choose to tell
lots of people about your plan to change, or you may only want to tell a few
people. Some people make changes and don't tell anyone.
Support can come from:
You may ask for different types of support from different
people. For example, you can ask one friend if you can call late at night for
support, and you can ask another friend to meet you for lunch to see how you're
People will support you in different ways. Family members
may not want to eat the same way you do at dinner. They might continue to have
large servings of dessert, for example, when you take a smaller serving. But if
they don't make negative comments or complain, they are supporting you.
Only your family can help you change how you eat.
Many people can support you as you change your
eating habits. Your family, friends, and others can all give you
Continue to Why?
Temptation is everywhere when you try to change your eating
behavior. It's in your fridge, at the convenience store, and in the office
break room. It's at family get-togethers.
In this culture, there
is always something to eat, and there is always an occasion to eat in a way
that's less healthy. This makes it easy to get away from your eating plan.
Your family and friends can make things easier. Their support can
help you feel as though you're not alone. Their words of encouragement can
motivate you and help you make healthy food choices. A word from them can help
you stop eating before you feel stuffed. If you've slipped away from your
eating plan, your family and friends can help get you back on track.
Support works. Research shows that getting support from spouses, family
members, and friends is important in making behavior changes that affect
You need support because:
Your family and friends can help you by
encouraging and motivating you. Both answers are correct.
Research shows that getting support from
spouses, families, and friends is important in making behavior changes that
affect health. Both answers are correct.
Continue to How?
Your family and friends can do a lot to help you change how you
eat, but you need to talk to them about it:
Here are some ways that
you and your family can team up:
Here are some
ways that your friends or family can help you. Ask them to:
Many people find that having a partner or "food buddy"
makes the change easier. A food buddy is someone who is also making changes in
his or her eating habits.
It's motivating to know
that someone is sharing the same goals. Your food buddy can remind you how far
you've come and support you when you're having a hard time following your
eating plan. You and your buddy can talk about healthy recipes, ways to plan
regular meals, and how to fit small amounts of your favorite foods into your
food plan, for example.
You may find that some friends or family
members say or do things that make you feel bad. They seem not to want you to
succeed. They may urge you to eat more than you want, make negative comments
about your new eating habits, or point out how many times you may have slipped
If this happens, it's important to talk to these people. They
may not even be aware that they are doing it or that it bothers you. If you
need to, ask them to stop doing this. You also can ask them why they are
behaving this way. You might find that they are worried that your change is
leaving them out or that you are making them look bad. They may not like
the attention your change is getting you.
If this is the case,
ask them what you can do to help them. Often, an honest talk is all that is
You also can look for
support outside of your family and friends.
Finding a "food buddy" is a good way to help you make
changes in your eating habits.
A food buddy can motivate you, remind you how
far you've come, and offer support when you're having a hard time keeping to
Continue to Where?
Healthy eating can be hard.
Here are some ways to help you do this:
If you would like more information on staying at a healthy
weight, the following resources are available:
This Web site has information on nutrition, healthy
eating, exercise, and food safety. You can use an e-mail form to ask a
The USDA food guide website provides many
options to help people make healthy food choices and to be active every day.
Enter your age, gender, and activity level to get a food plan specific to your
needs. You can also print out worksheets for tracking your progress and goals.
On this website, you'll find answers to many of your questions about healthy
Return to topic:
CitationsThompson WG, et al. (2007). Treatment of obesity.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 82(1): 93-102. Available
February 4, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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