Prepare For Weight Loss, Part 5: Supportive Social System

Success at any major endeavor is easier when you have a supportive social system. And make no mistake: losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off long-term is a major endeavor.

As an example of a supportive social system, consider childhood education. A network of actors play supportive roles. Parents provide transportation, school supplies, a home study area, help with homework, etc. Siblings leave the child alone so he can do his homework, and older ones set an example. Neighbors may participate in carpooling. Taxpayers provide money for public schools. Teachers do their part. The school board oversees the curriculum, supervises teachers, and does long-range planning.

Success is more likely when all the actors work together for their common goal: education of the child. Similarly, your starring role in a weight-loss program may win an Academy Award if you have a strong cast of supporting actors. Your mate, friends, co-workers, and relatives may be helpers or hindrances. It will help if they:

  • give you encouragement instead of criticism
  • don’t tempt you with taboo foods
  • show respect for your commitment and willpower
  • give you time to exercise
  • go an a diet or exercise with you, if they are overweight or need exercise
  • understand why there are no longer certain foods in the house
  • appreciate the nutritious, sensible foods that are now in the house
  • forgive and understand when you occasionally backslide
  • gently remind you of your commitment when needed
  • reward you with compliments as you make progress
  • don’t compare your physique unfavorably with supermodels or surgically-sculpted bodies
  • don’t get jealous when you lose weight and are more attractive and energetic.

Your social support system can make or break your commitment and willpower. Ask them to help you.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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