Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lean On Me

I am so happy tomorrow is Friday. It has been pretty rough getting back into the swing of things this week and I am ready for some relaxation this weekend...and some BC vs. BU hockey at Fenway Park tomorrow night. GO EAGLES!

How are you Elliptical Challengers doing? I busted out 30 minutes last night right before my lifting class. I was so lucky to score the one free elliptical in the place at 6:30 last night. As much as I support people changing their life and getting healthy, I'm not going to be sad when all these New Years Resolution people are out of my way.

Anyway, I loved reading all of your comments on my post about having a partner making you gain weight. It seemed like this had happened to a lot of you and one of the biggest reasons was that you just wanted to hang out with your significant other- not go to the gym. Eric and I definitely have this problem sometimes, and we hope to someday sync our workouts to go to the gym at the same time. Sure, we enjoy being active together too- but it can be tough to make time for fun active stuff during the week and ice skating or rollerblading once a week while not maintain my waistline :)

One of the things I saw mentioned a lot in the comments was this idea of supporting each other, either in your weight loss journey, or in simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

My question for today is, what does it mean to be supportive of someone's healthy lifestyle or weight loss goals? It's easy to know what it doesn't mean: "Oh Eric, I bought you your favorite candy at the store today!" or "Want to order Pizza tonight?" But when you really think about what being supportive truly is, is it different for every person?

I think we've all had people with the best of intentions tell us we shouldn't eat something...maybe it was a second slice of pie or a chocolate bar. For some people they will immediately feel guilty and refuse the pie or chocolate. Others will immediately become annoyed with the person who told them not to eat it and eat it anyway. I tend to lean towards the latter choice, but if I happened to be feeling particularly guilty about my choice anyway, I could go with the first one.

Some people react really well to "interventions" about their health. Blogger Caitlin has been honest on her blog that a friend intervened in her life and told her she had to get healthy or stop complaining about it. I can't imagine any one of my friends doing this to me, but I do not think my reaction would've been start running, eat healthy and eventually become so healthy and fitness orientated that I have a popular blog. Most people would not take this so well.

So what can you do if you are concerned about your significant other, parent, or friend? You can definitely try cooking them healthy meals or you could plan fun but active things to do with them. You could voice your concern, focusing more on their health rather than how they look. But in the end, can you ever really change someone's life style without them on board? I don't think so at least.

I also think we tend to listen to different people in different ways. For example, if your mom tells you yet again that you should join the gym, you may not do it. But if your doctors mentions that your BMI is in the "overweight" range you may hear it? On The Biggest Loser they weigh the contestants in public to really get through to them. Is this harsh "tough love" the best for everyone?

In thinking about this topic, I found a great article on Spark People about helping others to make healthy choices. It talks about making a contest out of creating healthy dinner ideas (winner gets out of doing the dishes!), and leading by example. I actually think it has some good ideas, so I encourage you to read it, especially if there is anyone in your life that may need a little extra motivation.

Since you guys told such interesting stories about gaining or losing weight with a partner, I have some new questions, along the same line.

1. Have you ever had to "support" someone in their weight loss/healthy living journey? What did your support look like? Has your support ever backfired?

2. How do people around you support you in your healthy living? Which ways help? Which ways do not?

3. What have you done, or what would you do, if you had a friend, child, parent etc who was going overboard in their "healthy living" either by being too consumed by it (we all need the occasional scoop of ice cream- or whatever your vice is) or by truly going into the realms of eating disorder or over exercising?

I'm looking forward to hearing from you guys :)
I'll be spending the rest of the night doing a lot of reading of blogs and my new book...

Thanks to all of you who recommended this book. I'll let you know what I think of it once I get through it :)


  1. I cranked out 30 mins last night! I have been getting super sore lately!

  2. People around me have been a great support through my weight loss journey and I strive to do the same for them! Sometimes it means working out with them, or giving them healthy recipes, or just being there to talk to:)


    I felt the need to shout that.

    I'm hopefully going to finish it this weekend and do a review on it next week. I'm finding it FASCINATING so far!! Have a great night, love :) XO

  4. HAHA I'm getting a late start on keeps staring at me in the face. But her and I have date in the morning to jam out 30 minutes. I think my goal is to do it at LEAST 3 days a week for 30 minutes.

    Isn't it funny how packed gyms get after new years and then around march they ALL disappear?!

    My family is pretty overweight, even my 9 and 10 year old brother and sister which makes me sad. It's a touchy subject really without trying to seem rude. I try to lead by example and make healthy suggestions when i can. I think in order to take that step the persno really has to figure it out on their own.

  5. I know that when I was dating my ex-boyfriend (of 5 years) that was when I gained most of my weight. He worked late hours flight instructing and I would wait to eat with him and eat like him (a lot) and ditch the gym to hang out with him, we were not very supportive of eachother in that aspect.

    I am curious to hear what you have to say about the book... looks good!

  6. The whole being supportive thing is so tricky. When I was losing weight over the last year, I liked that my family was supportive - but they didn't judge what I was or wasn't eating. So if I went for a run instead of eating pancakes & sausage w/ them for breakfast, they thought nothing of it, and if I had a big bowl of ice cream they didn't care. They trusted that I could make my own choices.

    It's tough because some people want their spouse/family/friends to be like Jillian on biggest loser, and some people want the silent support & encouragement. It's different for everyone.

  7. I have always had a high metabolism and was nicknamed skinny-mini all through high school. In college, I met my best friend who was a cross-country runner and totally into fitness and healthy eating. She truly opened my eyes to how important it is to eat healthily and work-out. My family to this day does not understand why I workout if I'm so small. When I walked 2 miles for the first time and could barely walk for 2 weeks after that, I KNEW I needed to get myself in shape!!! Size has nothing to do with it...we all need to stay fit. I'm just glad my best friend is such a great support for me to keep it up!

  8. There have been so many times when I have wanted to reach out to a friend or colleague, about their diet and health. Many times I feel scared because I don't want them to react in in a negative way, when I tell them things like "you know, your mother had breast cancer, and smoking has been linked to breast cancer, maybe you shouldnt smoke.". Or, hey, I noticed you eat a lot of simple carbohydrates, did you know that? - Sometimes I get bad responses, but other times people really appreciate my help, support, and the fact that I care! It's hard sometimes to keep my mouth shut. I feel like I need to be everyone's support. You know?
    I love Spark People, I think it's a great website. Thanks for sharing the article.

  9. My college roommate is one of those tiny people who can eat anything and not gain any weight. Of course, she ate horribly and never worked out so one day I told her I would hate to see what her arteries looked like... After that mini intervention she started working out with me and we began cooking healthy meals together. She is now gearing up for her first marathon!

  10. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical last night too!

    I'm a pretty-up front person and don't like to listen to people whine over things they have the power to change... so I tend to be the friend/wife who will say, "Do something about it!!"

    As far as what helps me... I like people to be encouraging and interested in what I'm doing but I do NOT like when they watch for each set-back and/or binge and "tsk-tsk" me. The people who do that, in my experience, are the people who want me to fail.

    I grew up in a large family as the only thin female. I used to have to deal my sisters and my stepmom hoping and waiting for the day I'd become "fat". I think that kept me from gaining weight but I didn't always use healthy methods to do so. Now, I'm more concerned with my health than with the number on the scale. :)

  11. we have been snowed in so i missed my weight watchers meeting and 1 planned gym trip. oh, elliptical, i will have to meet with you for an hour today to make it up!

    your post reminded me of something that happened to me several years ago, when i was losing the weight the first time. someone asked me how i was doing it and complimented me on my success. then she said it would be too slow for her, she wanted to lose it all quickly. a year later i had been at my goal for several months and she had not seen any changes. i have not seen her for many years, but i hope she was finally able to make the changegs she wanted, in a healthy way.

    of course several years later i gained it all back! woe is me. doing it again! this time with weight watchers.

  12. i'm interested to see what you think of that book. i love to lift weights and i was excited about it but i really believe that it's not enough. the personal trainer that i love also bought and thought the same

  13. can't wait to hear more about the book!

  14. My mom has alway struggled with her weight and she's one of those people that feels the need to weigh herself everday. Last summer she wasn't eating healthy or working out and would get on the scale everyday and then complain. So I hid the scale from her and told her she can starting working out and weigh in once a week or she can have it back but she can't complain. She hasn't really lost weight since then, but she hasn't gained any either!

  15. 1. Have you ever had to "support" someone in their weight loss/healthy living journey? What did your support look like? Has your support ever backfired? --Yes, I tried to support my sister. My support was meeting her at the gym for spin classes-not judging her, just listening and sharing similar struggles. She went to the gym for awhile and then fell off the bandwagon, decided it was too hard.

    2. How do people around you support you in your healthy living? Which ways help? Which ways do not? My parents are very supportive...but my boyfriend will let me eat that ice cream! lol--on the flip side, if I announce I am waking up at 6am on a Saturday to hit the gym, and I'm still sleeping at 6:30am that Saturday morning, he wakes me up to remind me of what I said! lol
    I have a huge support group that consists of GYM friends--very, very helpful.

    3. What have you done, or what would you do, if you had a friend, child, parent etc who was going overboard in their "healthy living" either by being too consumed by it (we all need the occasional scoop of ice cream- or whatever your vice is) or by truly going into the realms of eating disorder or over exercising? I would try talking with them, and seek help if I found necessary...unsure, since I haven't encountered it.

  16. I had a GREAT 25min elliptical workout last night! I was listening to the MotionTraxx podcast for a good motivation. It worked very well for me. I would recommend for people who is looking for a good music with good motivation for workout :) So far I have only worked on elliptical for 45min this week. I'm hoping for more workout next week.... yeah... :P

    My husband and I have been trying to lose weight and stay with a healthy lifestyle. We go to the gym together 3-4 times a week. We do yoga or any other workout videos too. Whenever we go out to eat and I try to order any thing that's unhealthy (like fried food and sweets!), he tells me that he won't be eating it with me and thought that we are trying to eat less... I feel guilty that I am the only one who will be eating it.... So I don't order. I try to be supportive to him by encouraging him to go to the gym even when he's stressed out and tired from work. I know he will feel better after workout. I also know that he'll feel guilty for not going there.

  17. I've supported people with their weight loss and exercise efforts if they've asked me for help. Overcoming an eating disorder, I don't feel comfortable telling people what they should and shouldn't do to their bodies after I nearly destroyed my own. There are times I have to bite my tongue, but I think it's a personal choice and you never know how someone is going to react. If they ask me, well that's a different story :)

    Have a great weekend!

  18. The elliptical challenge is really keeping me motivated to keep working out! Every time I just want to not exercise, knowing I have to put in my time on the sheet makes me go! :)

    About a year ago, my mom lost 80 lbs, so I have a lot of experience with supporting people.

    1. Have you ever had to "support" someone in their weight loss/healthy living journey? What did your support look like? Has your support ever backfired? This deals with my mom because while she did it mostly by herself, I was so impressed by her results that I started eating better and exercising! She really inspired me and I just tried to support her by listening to her and helping her make healthier choices.

    2. How do people around you support you in your healthy living? Which ways help? Which ways do not?

    I do have a lot of support and a lot of people helping me. My co-teacher is really good about giving me tips and keeping temptation away from me. Whenever I want to give in, she just reminds me of my goal and I don't give in to it. And my mom has been AWESOME. She has learned how to eat right and be healthy and always gives me the best advice.

    3. What have you done, or what would you do, if you had a friend, child, parent etc who was going overboard in their "healthy living" either by being too consumed by it (we all need the occasional scoop of ice cream- or whatever your vice is) or by truly going into the realms of eating disorder or over exercising?

    Honestly, I don't know what I would do. I've never had that happen to me but I might just try to talk to them about slowing down and enjoying the process. That's such a tough situation.

  19. I feel like my husband and I have supported each other though living a healthy lifestyle. We both wanted to lose weight before the wedding but after the wedding it became about so much more. We both want to be healthy. We still eat pizza and sweets but we are very smart in our decisions and in being active. I think the best is to lead my example and when the conversations arise, be honest. I get frustrated when people ask what I'm doing but they only seem interested in weight loss or quick fixes. I feel that I am on the opposite side of the spectrum from dieters.

    These blogs have supported me too. I have NO friends interested in running, cooking in a healthy manner or living the "lifestyle". If it wasn't for the blogs I would feel so alone and wouldn't be able to maintain it.

  20. This is a great topic. I think it's all in the approach... When I was working as a counselor and needed to confront someone about a bad habit I liked to frame it as "I many be wrong, but it seems to me that you aren't happy when you..." I feel like a person is more likely to let their guard down if you frame it this way. If they say "no, you're wrong" you can then respond with, "okay, I'm sorry. What I've observed is you seem frustrated when you .... It must be something else."

    Good question, with no right answer.

    I'm not formally doing your elliptical challenge, but I'm off to hit up the elliptical right now!

  21. So I've played nicey with the elliptical machine a total of 4 times now and that's a HUUUUGE deal for me. Not quite making my goal, but it's a big improvement from nothing and that's a big plus in my book! ;)