Saying "I thought you were trying to lose weight" to support someone you know is trying to lose weight could elicit a response of "You're right, I had better stop eating". On the other hand you might be surprised to hear "Don't judge me! Look at what YOU ate today! Leave me alone". Your intentions were good but results can turn out poorly.
If you want to support someone making changes, try some of these statements to get the conversation going.
- You seem to be doing things a bit differently. What are you hoping to accomplish? (You might even want to be specific about the change you have noticed, such as... "I noticed you've been eating cold cereal lately.")
- Is there anything I can do to help you reach your goal? or How can I best support you in your efforts?
- If I think you are having a difficult time reaching your goal, should I ask you about it or should I wait for you to bring it up?
- I am here to support you. Let me know how I can do that.
As time goes by, try to make positive comments when you notice positive changes in their behaviour. For instance - "It was starting to drizzle and you still went for your walk. You must feel really good about that.". And although it may be tempting to point out the times when things aren't go well. Resist the urge to highlight them - unless the person said it was ok to point them out.
These steps will help preserve your relationship and can make a big difference for someone making difficult lifestyle changes!
Have you helped someone make lifestyle changes? What tips did you find helpful?