Your Support System

Who’s got your back? Here are some folks to ask for help (and some ways to do it).
Published March 4, 2016

Remember the Bill Withers’ lyric: "We all need somebody to lean on"? It's totally true when you're trying to lose weight. The people in your life can be your cheerleaders, coaches, sounding boards, and/or sympathetic ears, helping you shed pounds—and keep them off. They can give you encouragement, fresh strategies you might not have thought of, and even a metaphorical kick in the pants when you need it.

So who can you count on? Of course, your front line of support can be the Weight Watchers team, either in your meeting or online. You can also probably name a good friend or two who encourages and cheers you on. But you can find simpatico voices and thoughtful advice in lots of places. Take Connect on the mobile app! Share a struggle, celebrate a victory (on scale and off), or ask for advice—you have thousands of members to lend a hand or an ear. Download on iTunes or Google Play.

Or check in with 24/7 Expert Chat (just click on the box at the bottom right of your My Day page. For more “folks like me” support, try our message boards. If you're a 30-something dad, or a lifetime member seeking new food ideas, or a new mom trying to fit in exercise, there are boards with people just like you sharing their it-worked-for-me tips. Or, if you’re on Facebook, head on over to our page to add comments, post photos, and check out the daily tips and motivators.

Other sources of support? Family and friends looking to make healthy changes (just like you!) can be a natural fit, since you can help each other. Maybe there's a cousin who's trying to get his cholesterol down, or a neighbour who's looking for a walking buddy. But here’s the thing: Many of your nearest and dearest might not be up to speed about your weight loss or healthy living effort—and some might be not-so-immediately on board. You'll want to enlist their support and then steer their feedback in a positive direction. 

Here are a few pointers for getting them on your side:

  • Plan for the specific help you want or need. Do you blossom with compliments, or need trigger foods out of your sight, or crave an exercise buddy? It's easier to be clear if you have thought things out in advance.
  • Ask! It’s generally more effective to ask someone to start doing something (asking if you want to go for a walk after dinner instead) than to get them to stop doing something (asking you if you want dessert.) Keep your tone warm but firm. If they've helped you in the past, thank them for that; the reminder can help them feel invested in your success this time, too. To make the asking easier, consider: Maybe your target wants to lose a little weight or become more active himself.
  • Play up the good in your lifestyle changes. If you're feeling positive about weight loss, and can share with family and friends how your improved mobility, happiness, and health will enhance all of your lives, they're more likely to cheer your efforts. Tell your kids that you're dialing down the family's nightly ice cream fest—so you'll have more energy to play with them. See? You both win!
  • Be ready to stand up for yourself. You may get some grousing at first, and some subtle (or not-so) pressure to make unhelpful choices, especially when, say, you're out with friends for happy hour. Nicely shake it off, and remind them you're counting on them to have your back.

A special side dish
The humble, lovable carrot gets a sultry makeover with this smoky, spicy recipe. Moroccan Carrots will make a memorable accompaniment for any main course.