Whether it’s adopting a new workout regime or a healthier diet — or both — changing lifestyle habits is not always easy. Which is why it’s so helpful to receive support from your nearest and dearest. However, you might have experienced that when it comes to supporting your new health goals, not even your beloved squad has your back.
Unfortunately, this is a pretty common issue. Change, especially change involving weight loss, fitness, and food, brings up a lot of deep-rooted feelings for people, including guilt, shame, and inadequacy. Some members of your squad might not realize just how unsupportive their actions and words are, while others might intentionally undermine your new goals due to jealousy and insecurity.
While you can’t change how your friends might react to your new lifestyle changes, here are some tips on how to better equip yourself when the going gets tough, and the squad gets catty.
1. Explain Your Why
When your squad doesn’t understand why you’re forgoing your regular wine and cheese nights together, or joining in dessert post-dinner, calmly explain to them the “why” behind your new lifestyle change.
Was it because you didn’t like how sweets made you feel? Were you looking to increase your energy and overall well-being? Make it clear that your decision to change your lifestyle habits is not meant as a criticism of them, and instead share with them the meaning behind your new healthier journey. This will help them better understand where you’re coming from, and how they might be able to help.
2. Clearly Ask for Support
If you need support, ask for it. Sometimes the lack of support you’re feeling is a result of your loved ones simply not knowing how to give it, or not knowing that you need it. Maybe it’s asking for an encouraging pre-workout text session, or something more practical like your BFF making a vegetarian dish especially for you at your monthly potluck dinner. Maybe you need to specifically outline your most challenging scenarios, like birthdays and holiday dinners, when you need that extra boost of support.
Whatever it is, speak your needs clearly to your girlfriends so that they know how they can best support you.
3. Understand Their POV
Their words might sting at times, but sometimes it helps to understand the true meaning behind your squad’s comments. Maybe your girlfriend is giving you a hard time on giving up gluten because she’s worried that you won’t be able to have your regular pizza and Netflix nights together anymore. And maybe your sister is questioning your need to work out during your girls’ getaway because it hurts her feelings that you don’t want to spend time with her.
Dig deep, and sometimes you might find that their words aren’t about your diet, but about their needs.
4. Accept That It’s Not About You
If you’ve explained your reason why behind your new journey and have clearly asked for their support, yet you’re still dealing with a negative Nancy or two, then you must accept that sometimes it’s not about you. Whether it’s because of their own negative feelings surrounding exercise and healthy eating, or just because they don’t “get it”, some people will refuse to be supportive no matter what. The trick is remembering their lack of support says more about them than it does about you.
5. Find a Community That Does Support You
If your squad doesn’t understand why you’re skipping out on an extra slice of pie or trading in junk food nights for jogging, then find one that does. Whether online or in-person, like a fitness club or class, there are many communities that will support, encourage, and understand your healthy lifestyle. There’s no need to feel alone.
Though it’s certainly disappointing when you have a friend who refuses to be supportive of your new changes, remember that their attitude says more about where they’re at, and less about you. Instead seek a different support system and flip the script, using their negativity as fuel and motivation for accomplishing your new goals. You got this.
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