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We live in what is called an “obesogenic” environment. This means that our culture and habits have a tendency to lead to weight gain. Our parties and get togethers center around food. The food industry makes food widely available and convenient which facilitates mindless eating. Our homes are built with every convenience which minimizes physical activity. Most of our cities are designed for driving everywhere.

No wonder trying to lose weight can be so difficult. Support is a key determinant in a successful weight loss plan. We can make the journey much easier by finding encouragement in others.

Before you even start, figure out Who you expect to support you. They will need to know what your process will entail and what you expect from them. Identify your needs clearly and be open with them. People might want to help but frequently don’t know how to go about it. What is allowed? Discussing people’s weight is a touchy matter. Tell them your goals upfront and have different expectations from different people.

From your spouse, sibling or closest friend you might need encouragement and the ability to talk openly about your goals, fears and emotions. From your boss or co-workers you might need a more healthy work environment, things like healthy snacks in the break room or at least the absence of tempting foods you’re trying to avoid.

Communicate your expectations clearly. It might be uncomfortable to let them know you’re trying to lose weight, but a few minutes of discomfort is better than finding the willpower to avoid the donuts on your desk daily.

Is your social network the very reason you’re putting on weight. Very frequent happy hours and get togethers that involve too much food and alcohol will need to be curtailed. Tell them that you’d love to see them but that you’d prefer different activities. Plan a hike, or a bike ride, be in charge of food and bring healthy alternatives.

Don’t be surprised if your progress makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Recognize sabotage when you see it and be willing to make the changes necessary to stay on course and reach your goals.

You’re certainly going to upset the apple cart, know that it’s ok to do just that.

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