7 Ways to Help Your Family Help You

Try these tips for getting your family to support your diet.
Published January 20, 2016

Does your partner ever say: "If you don't order dessert too, I'll feel like a pig"? Do your kids tempt you with cookies just to test your willpower?

If so, sounds like your family could be hindering your weight-loss efforts.

"Family members often resent changes to their 'routine' way of eating," says Cindy Moore, director of nutrition therapy at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

"It helps to tell them why you want to undertake a weight-loss plan," Moore continues. "Once they can understand your perspective, and how much you value their help, they may be motivated to support your decision. At the same time, come up with strategies to minimize the impact of your diet and exercise regime so that it won't cause resentment, lack of control or frustration at home."

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Here's how:

  1. Offer variety
    Reduce the portion sizes of higher-calorie foods and add a greater range of more low-calorie "fillers," such as vegetables, salads and broth- or tomato-based soups. Your family will be unlikely to complain because they'll be enjoying even more taste sensations and choices than they used to.
  2. Have dessert
    Offer healthy treats — like fruit salad with delicious low-fat yogurt and your family won't even notice you're on a diet.
  3. Involve your kids in menu planning
    Sit down with your most kid-friendly healthy recipes and ask them to pick which meals they'd like to try. Ask them to help you cook them.
  4. Take up a team sport
    This way the whole family can exercise together.
  5. Turn exercise into a treat, and do it together 
    Go for a walk to a destination the kids like, such as the local park or beach. Play a game of tag with them once you get there.
  6. Make your family a part of your exercise
    Ask your kids to check your pulse rate before and after exercise or to go for walks with you after dinner so you're sure to stick with it. They'll likely love to be involved, especially if you tell them you're doing this for your long-term health. Plus, it'll teach them good habits.
  7. Be sensitive to your partner's hesitance
    When dieters trade the usual high-fat fare in for a healthy meal, their partners may feel unhappy about their own appearance and lack of motivation to change it. If you suspect this is the problem ask them if they could go on the diet with you to help you maintain your resolve. Give them compliments when they look nice, and remind them of the traits that attract you to them.