Social support has been shown to be important for overall health and well-being. Studies have shown those with supportive relationships live longer, healthier lives. So - today we will be examining types of social support, how to find it, and what to do with those that are unsupportive.
- Listening support: This is just what it sounds like. Someone is there to listen to your triumphs and difficulties with no judgements and no advice.
- Shared Experience Support: This will come from a person that has experienced what you are going through. They can sympathize with your feelings.
- Technical Support: This comes from a professional or someone with real expertise who can offer tips and give good advice, such as a health professional, personal trainer, etc. This support can come from a person or other resource materials such as books, videos, Internet, etc.
- Partnering Support: This is someone that is going to join you in your efforts. If you have someone to exercise with, you will be less likely to back out if someone else is waiting on you.
- Motivational Support: Anything (or anyone) that helps to build confidence and determination in down times or when you hit a plateau.
- Emotional Support: Involves expressions of comfort and caring - focus is on your happiness and well-being. Usually provided when someone listens to you, sympathizes with you, and reassures you.
- Practical Support: Any sort of help that makes it easier to make lasting changes. Can be someone else taking over tasks so you have time to exercise, etc.
Everyone needs support and many want to provide it - here are some tips for implementing a support network.
Tell a support person how to help. People can't read your mind - don't believe them if they say they can! :)
Make specific requests:
Vague requests: Better Requests:
Exercise with me. Please walk 30 mins with me after dinner.
Be nice. Tell me you love me even when I don't lose weight.
Don't eat in front of me. It helps me when you eat your cookies in the other room.
Reward you partner.
When someone offers support, express your appreciation. Think of something you can provide in return so that the relationship will be a give-and-take or reciprocal relationship.
When someone is NOT supportive.
Please don't strangle them- no need to go to jail!
- Be open and positive, but firm about your determination. E.G. 'It would really help me if you said, "Great, you went for your walk today!" when I actually walk, but not remind me when I don't walk.'
- Share your goals. Explain why weight loss is important to you and why you need help making it happen. It may help others to understand where you are coming from.
- Reassure other person that changes won't threaten relationship.