“You can do it, you can do it, YES. YOU. CAN!”
Sometimes when we are on a path of change, we can feel very isolated and lonely. It’s nice when someone comes up alongside us and urges us toward our goals in constructive ways. A recent article from WebMD lists the dos and don’ts of being a cheerleader. Please share this list with yours!
- Be a cheerleader, not a coach – You want to encourage, not discourage. Remember to point out the things they have achieved, not their failures. Don’t be the “expert” on their struggle – they need you to be a support, not a parent.
- Become an active part of their plan – If you are a spouse, try their new menu with them. Help to plan meals and go grocery shopping to find foods you both can enjoy. Go for a walk with them or workout with them now and again.
- Help develop healthy incentives – When a goal is met, spend time together or do something special as a reward – don’t celebrate with food.
- Show them you care about them as they are today – Let them know you care about them today, as they are – make them feel loved no matter what their size is.
- Listen, don’t judge – When they have had a bad day or a missed goal, sympathize but don’t judge. Try to help them turn to you for comfort instead of food.
- Be “aggressively supportive”– Don’t wait for them to come after you for support. Let them know via texts and emails that you are thinking of them and are proud of their progress. They may not feel you really care enough to reach out to you first. Change their mind!
- Find non-food ways to celebrate along the way – Bring them flowers, treat them to a massage or manicure, take them to a movie – don’t celebrate with food.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle, not just weight loss – By encouragement I mean don’t just say “walk more” – offer to walk with them! Change the things you want to change about your own fitness goals together. Don’t focus on weight.
- Learn about their program – Whether it’s a commercial weight loss program, a book or a self-led program – ask many questions about it. It helps them to teach someone else by reinforcing their own knowledge and may give you some new information to boot.
- Be positive!! – This is the most important tip of all. When someone is struggling to achieve a difficult goal – there’s nothing better than knowing someone is in your corner, cheering you along.
Now for a few DON’TS…
- Don’t tempt them with food – Never say, “great workout, let’s go to Dairy Queen”. Don’t tempt with bites and nibbles – they add up over the days and weeks.
- Don’t be the food police – Don’t hide food from them. Don’t scold them for their choices.
- Don’t say to them things you wouldn’t want said to you by someone else.
- Don’t use judgmental language – Don’t use phrases like: “Did you stick to your plan today?” or “Should you really be eating that?”
- Don’t overdo ANYTHING -Don’t bombard them with dieting books and magazines or “helpful” email links to websites. When in doubt, think under-kill, not overdo.
If you have a cheerleader in your life, as I do (thank you Tim), be sure to thank them and show them how important they are to you. And if you so desire – send me a photo of your cheerleader!