How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet

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I’ve been “on a diet” most of my adult life.  Heck, I remember when my mom put me on what I remember to be my first diet when I was maybe 8 years old, suggesting that “we” were on a diet… and “we” weren’t going to be eating the frozen brownie ice cream treats in the freezer.

As a result of being on so many programs for 30+ years, I’ve had a lot of folks try to give me outside advice on how I could be doing what I’m doing better/smarter/faster/with different ingredients/etc.  I’ve had great suggestions, great support, and well… I’ve had the other as well.

Inspired by this little life of mine and my lovely friends who supported me so well along the way, I’m going to share a few suggestions on how to offer great support to a friend/family member/co-worker who is watching their food intake.

How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet | No Thanks to Cake

Understand that this is a BIG Lifestyle Shift

Your friend/sister/brother/wife is embarking upon one of the most difficult feats!  Consider this:  If weight loss were easy, obesity wouldn’t be the epidemic that it is in America!  Your loved one is in the process of trying to navigate this brand-new lifestyle that they have committed to and they likely have a range of emotions brewing about it.  They may be nervous, afraid, eager, and impatient.

Change Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Change is not always as simple as flipping a switch.  Be patient and compassionate.  Know that they may implement trial-and-error along the way to create the best possible program for themselves, and that they may stumble 150 times along the way.  Be supportive of the change… and mostly of your loved one.  They’ll need it!

Do Not Play Diet Patrol

“Is that on your program?”

“Um… I thought you were eating healthy now?”

Danny Devito Friends | No Thanks to Cake

As someone on a journey to getting healthy, I’ll tell you right now… I don’t always do it right.  There are times that I want to eat everything in sight.  There are times when I just can’t resist driving through Chick-Fil-A (and getting the real-deal fried chicken sandwich.)  I don’t perfectly all the time… and, I even have the nerve to call myself a “healthy living / weight loss blogger.” :)

But… those decisions are mine.  I have to face My Fitness Pal at the end of the day to track my eats.  I have to look in the mirror and face the music… I’ll deal with me.  You deal with you.  Sound good?

Avoid the Urge to Fix Things

How many times in my life have I said this: I don’t want to get off the couch and go to the gym.  Um, many many times… my friends can attest to this.  Often times, I just don’t want to go and sometimes, I need to share that.  I don’t always need a rah-rah-ree, kick ‘em in the knee kind of response… sometimes, I just want a friend to listen.

Rachel Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Natalie is one of the best when it comes to offering support… I really don’t know how she does it, but she always says just the right thing.  Lots of “Get it, girl” text messages… or, “Maybe you need a break.  Go tomorrow!”  Regardless… she walks the line perfectly for me.  She listens to all my shenanigans… and offers support.  This is all I need…a sounding board to my thoughts.  I’m so lucky to have her!  Now, if only she lived closer… 

Consider Hosting Healthy Food Events

Eating out when you’re watching what you are eating can be a HUGE challenges.  Even visiting a friend’s house for dinner can be a challenge!

Thanksgiving Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Deb does an amazing job at making sure that we’re all going to have a blast when we get together while taking into account everyone’s eating preferences.  For example:  Deb likes to make healthy choices too, so when I was in the beginning of my process.  She sensed my nervousness about gatherings, and always called me separately to assure me that she would have healthy options on hand that she wanted to enjoy too!  I never felt like I was putting everyone else by “needing” healthy options… and I always appreciated (and still do!) her kind approach to making sure I could stay on track.

Join in on the Fun

Early on in the process and when things were getting a little bit tough for me, my sister-in-law Beth jumped on board with Jenny Craig and signed up for the program.  This was amazing support for me.  I finally had someone to talk about the food with, to talk about the process, and someone who was participating with me.

Door Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Beth, while miles and miles away, was on board and also had some success with Jenny.  It made the process that much more fun!

Not Everything Has to Be Food-Related

Before I started on my healthy eating journey almost 4 years ago, everything we ever did was food related.  Wine night, dinners out, game night with snacks… with no regard to the calories we would be eating.

In the beginning, I just stopped joining my friends…. but over time, we’ve found other ways to have fun that include healthy activities!  We go on lots of walks… Denver has SO MANY beautiful spots to walk and hike that this has become a common outing.  My friend Tiffany and I do this quite often…

Friends Phoebe Running | No Thanks to Cake

Instead of meeting for lunch, maybe we meet for coffee instead.  My friend Kristin and I have worked this into our regular “catch-up” routine, and I love it!

Please Talk to Me about Other Topics

Just because I’ve committed to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean I want to spend all my time talking about the do’s and don’ts of the latest fad diet on the market, what I had for breakfast, or how I’m spending my time at the gym.

Turkey Friends | No Thanks to Cake

I’m still your friend.  That fun-loving, shoe-shopping, wacky story-telling friend.  Let’s talk about all of those things… I love that you take an interest in my weight loss process… but even I need a break from it from time to time, and I get together with you to take that break.

Celebrate Success with Me

When the celebrations come… I’m going to want you to be there with me.

Cheesecake Friends | No Thanks to Cake

It could be to celebrate that I didn’t eat the free pizza at work… or that I hit my 10K steps for the day… or it could be that I reach my weight loss goal.  Let’s celebrate together, ok?  I love to share my life’s high points with you.

Ultimately, I’m going to win no matter what, I’m going to learn, and I’m going to change… but I’d like you there beside me along the way as my friend.  Thanks in advance for all your support, love, and encouragement.  xoxo

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Yoga on the Rocks {and a Breakthrough}

July was quite a month for me.  I was movin’ and shakin’ all month long.  Non-stop.  Every day, there was something.  Every weekend, I over programmed myself.

While it was a wonderful month, I came back from San Diego…. EXHAUSTED.

Throughout the month of July, I was a little more open to dining out… to having a cupcake… and to skipping the gym, en lieu of working at night.  Seriously, I don’t even know how I wrote content for NTTC there was so much going on.  Thanks for hanging in there with me, folks…

And, when the end of July arrived, I felt as though I had been changed…. in many ways, for the better, but in other ways, I had slipped back into an uncomfortable place.

Uncomfortable in an eerily familiar way… uncomfortable in that way where I didn’t know if I could get myself back on track.  Truthfully, I was worried.  Very worried.   Not only had my eating habits slipped significantly, but I also hadn’t been to the gym regularly since… well… Fitbloggin.

For the past month in regard to healthy living, I’ve felt like I was on the edge of an avalanche… where the ground feels unsteady, as though it’s about to crumble.

I knew I had agreed to go to Yoga on the Rocks bright and early on Saturday morning.  My friends over at Core Power Yoga offered me free tickets to attend, and I even roped my friend Erin into joining me… but, did I really want to practice yoga?  Most definitely, no.  I was out of practice and had felt lethargic for the past week.

What I wanted to do was sleep… but I’d committed to going, so I set my alarm for what I like to call “the butt-crack of dawn” on Saturday morning.  I’ll let you in on a secret amongst us friends… I am so not a morning person. Not even close…

Saturday morning came quickly, and I dressed and headed to Red Rocks Amphiteater for the event.  I’ve talked about Red Rocks here before both for a concert and for Film on the Rocks, but I realize that not everyone is familiar with my amazing state… so I’ll give you a peek at its amazingness.

Film on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

It is one of the best venues in the country for live music.  Surrounded by gorgeous red rocks, the acoustics are phenomenal… and then, there’s that view too.  I’m guessing that not every state has this little gem.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

When we arrived, Erin and I checked in… grabbed our free Core Power mats and orange sunglasses and went to find a spot to practice.  I knew I was in for a treat when I saw my favorite concert venue filled with brightly colored mats and yogis practicing their favorite headstand poses throughout the amphitheater.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

As we set up our area, I was still hesitant about how I my personal practice would go.  Knowing that I’d be practicing on unforgiving cement, I layered the giveaway mat underneath my Affirmats mat for extra support… as if those the words staring back at me weren’t enough support.  I love this mat… and I love that these words stared back at me for the next 60 minutes.  I needed them, and I repeated them throughout the class.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Can we again pause at the magnitude of this venue??

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

As the class began, Amelia Earhart kicked the event off… what an incredible and beautiful story she has.  If you’re not familiar, she recently just flew around the world!

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

She also reported that she is a huge fan of yoga… and spoke about her practice.  The instructor, Inanna Jessop, took over shortly after and we got to work.

Inanna described the purpose of the class was to “ground down in order to rise up.”  How beautiful is that?  And, truthfully, I feel like that is exactly what happened to me during the next 60 minutes.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

We warmed up, and then completed the most beautiful sun salutations and balance poses.  We spent some time working the core (they don’t call it “Core Power Yoga” for nothing!), and as we were working our way into savasana, I had that moment… the “I’m practicing my beloved yoga at freakin’ Red Rocks” moment… and it was then that I realized things had begun to shift.

When our time in savasana ended and Sam Smith stopped singing (love him!), I wanted more time.  When we sealed our practice with a collective namaste, I almost didn’t want to say that beautiful word… because it meant it was over.

Erin and I packed up our stuff to leave, and it took me forever to roll up my mats.  In that moment, I thought I was just too relaxed and not focusing… but in reality, I didn’t want to leave.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Something else happened that was incredibly significant… I realized that my body and my mind was craving yoga.  My cells hadn’t forgotten how this practice serves them.  It remembered, even when I took a month off… it remembered.  And, it responded.

I was energized, poised, and for the first time in weeks… empowered and inspired.  I knew that I COULD again… and with that, I knew that I WOULD.  

And what would I or could I do?  Ever since, I’ve felt the possibilities to be limitless.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Since then, I’ve had a laser focus on being grounded, fueling my body with healthy foods, and setting intention of what will come in upcoming days, weeks, months…

This journey that I’m on has lots of ebbs and flows.  I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t… but the recent pause scared me.  After that beautiful practice on Saturday morning, I don’t fear a thing.  I’ve got too much that I want in my life to worry about fears… and it appears that when I get lost, all I have to do is get back on my mat.

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Thank you to Core Power Yoga for providing Erin and I with complimentary passes to participate in Yoga on the Rocks.  I can’t wait to join you guys again next year!

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A Product of My Lifestyle

As usual I am amazed by how much the Fitbloggin experience means to me every year… and how darn different it is every single year.  The faces change.  New voices emerge.  New opportunities for selfies appear. :)

I feel particularly compelled to write about one of my biggest takeaways of the weekend:  A simple phrase uttered by our fearless leader, Roni Noone, who is responsible for the organization of this yearly retreat.  And, who is a stunning example of how to lose weight, keep it off, and rise above the challenges that appear along the way.

On Saturday morning, exhausted and geared up in an 80′s workout getupI stepped into a session called “Life after Goal” with very little expectation.

Realistically, I am not at goal.  I am still about 30 lbs from it, which to me is pretty significant.  So, why in the heck did I have my butt in that room?  I was there because I wanted to listen. 

Everyone wants to be at their goal weight.  Everyone wants to be safely across the finish line.  And, I too have dreamed of being one of those people.

Even moreso, I’m a girl who is amazingly happy in her skin right now.  Even with the extra pounds I carry every day.  Still happy, but I wanted to hear what the group had to say and to see what I might be missing out by not chasing after my goal right now.

Overall, I heard Kelly, Sarah, and Roni talk about how life is several years after weight loss.  I tuned into Roni’s comments most, as I’d never really heard her speak about her journey and frankly, she has such wise things to say.

My Body is a Product of My LIfestyle | No Thanks to Cake

THIS IS SO ME and resonated completely…

My ups and downs all relate back to my lifestyle.  I’m never truly SURPRISED when I gain a pound or two… I can always track it back to a specific week and what did or did not happen during that week.  And, when I’m feeling GREAT, I can also tie that right back to my lifestyle… it’s all interconnected.

And right now, my body with that regained ten pounds is reflective of my lifestyle for the past few months… and I totally own it, rock it, and I’m happier than I’ve been in a year! I’ve been getting out a little more, vacationing without a hyper-critical eye on my food intake, and I’ve been living freely.

For the past week, I’ve been at the beach.  Wearing the same bathing suit that I’ve worn for the past few years… but feeling that extra weight more than normal.  When it’s all out there and exposed, it’s hard to ignore… but I had these words in my pocket to reference.

Rather than jumping into that space where I criticize every bit of my existence, I took a deep breath and remembered.

It’s ok… my body is simply “a product of my lifestyle.” What a kind way to look at the current state!  Shifting my lifestyle will yield the results I am looking for… and I looked at these words as a gentle hug that I needed during this moment of realization/discomfort.  Now, when I start structuring my meals, making it to my mat regularly, and getting the sleep my body craves… I absolutely know that my body will shed the extra pounds.

I don’t see these words as an excuse, simply a confirmation that my mind has been elsewhere… and that a shift will once again bring change.

Take a look at your lifestyle… is your body reflective of your lifestyle?  I suspect it is…

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Overcoming the Fear of the Mirror

I absolutely love yoga… if it is a sport, it’s my sport. 

I’ve been practicing for at least two years… and I’ve had the pleasure of practicing with many beautiful beautiful people over the years.  Different flows, different posture recommendations, the ones that are super spiritual, the ones that feel more like a pilates class…. You get it.

For me, it’s that hour that I have where I can just disconnect and breathe.  Yes, we all breathe all the time.  If we couldn’t breathe, we wouldn’t be here after all… I get it.  But when you’re practicing yoga, you REALLY breathe.  It’s the most conscious, meditative, beautiful breathing I do every week.

I can’t get enough of it.

Perfect example, last week I sat in long meetings for days and when my mind wandered, it wandered to yoga.  After sitting in a chair watching presentation after presentation, I wanted nothing than to be in a beautiful supine twist, downward dog, or even savasana.

I’m hooked.  I love my practice.

When I was in Temecula two weeks ago, I went to my friend Crystal’s gym and took a vinyasa class while she killed it on the weights. The class was incredible.  Dimly lit with candles and the most perfect flow.

There was only one problem with this class… and it was that huge plane of glass in the front of the room:  The Mirror.

Overcoming the Fear of the Mirror | No Thanks to Cake

While yoga is typically my hour of peace, the mirror was right there staring back at me and giving me an opportunity to peek at how my body was behaving in most postures.  I got to check my alignment in warrior 2, which was helpful, but I also took time to judge my body which was not helpful at all.

For some reason, peeking at my thighs and checking out how my curves looked compared to the girl to the left of me was oh-so-subtly acceptable from my vantage point.  In the end, the self-criticisim was not okay, but it was what my eyes were immediately drawn to.  And like a new episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians… I just couldn’t look away, even if I wanted to.

Like a dark cloud that crept in over my practice, this reflection was completely consuming.  I escaped only during the final savasana and found myself once again before the closing “namaste.”

While class ended and the day went on, I found myself returning to this question:  Why do I do this?  Why do I pick, pick, pick at myself?

The amazing thing is that if you were practicing next to me, I would never EVER judge you in the way I judge myself.  I would be your biggest cheerleader, applauding your efforts if my eyes fell upon you.  Wondering why I wasn’t more bendy/athletic/wore a flattering shirt like you did/etc.  For years, I’ve taught myself to criticize only me.

Much like I learned to shut of my mind during yoga and to stop checking my to-do list during poses, it’s time to break the cycle of self-criticism while working out…  and, frankly, all of the self-criticism that I have going on.

Anytime in my life where I’ve adopted mantras, I’ve experienced great change.  I’ve felt better.  I’ve smiled more.  I’ve overcome.  As a result, I’ve implemented a new mantra  to use when I hear that “Judge Judy” in my head criticizing my body.

Body Love Mantra | No Thanks to Cake

I say it during yogic breathing.  I say it when I don’t like how my jeans are fitting.  I say it when that very same body is working hard on a Colorado hike.  I’ll say it when I’m the biggest girl at the pool.  Mostly, I’ll say it….

Simple words to reflect upon, simple words that could cause great change.  While I haven’t conquered it yet, I’m doing something to stop the insanity.  To stop the criticism and to appreciate all that this beautiful body does for me every single day.

I’ll repeat it today, and maybe even a few times tomorrow… whatever it takes.  I’m too proud of myself to let this bully get me down… especially when I have full control over her.

How do you combat negative self-talk?

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