Healthy Eating: Getting Support When Changing Your Eating Habits
What is an Actionset?
So you've decided to change your eating habits. Great!
Have you thought about getting support in making this change?
Having the support of people close to you is an important part of change. It doesn't matter if you're changing a job, a routine, or how you eat—support gives you a better chance of making the change work.
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Support from others includes love and understanding as well as advice and practical help. Your support team makes you feel good about yourself and cared about as you change how you eat.
You may choose to tell lots of people about your plan to change, or you may only want to tell a few people. Some people make changes and don't tell anyone.
Support can come from:
You may ask for different types of support from different people. For example, you can ask one friend if you can call late at night for support, and you can ask another friend to meet you for lunch to see how you're doing.
People will support you in different ways. Family members may not want to eat the same way you do at dinner. They might continue to have large servings of dessert, for example, when you take a smaller serving. But if they don't make negative comments or complain, they are supporting you.
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Only your family can help you change how you eat.
Temptation is everywhere when you try to change your eating behavior. It's in your fridge, at the convenience store, and in the office break room. It's at family get-togethers.
In this culture, there is always something to eat, and there is always an occasion to eat in a way that's less healthy. This makes it easy to get away from your eating plan.
Your family and friends can make things easier. Their support can help you feel as though you're not alone. Their words of encouragement can motivate you and help you make healthy food choices. A word from them can help you stop eating before you feel stuffed. If you've slipped away from your eating plan, your family and friends can help get you back on track.
Support works. Research shows that getting support from spouses, family members, and friends is important in making behavior changes that affect health.1
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You need support because:
It can encourage and motivate you.
Your family and friends can do a lot to help you change how you eat, but you need to talk to them about it:
Support from your family
Here are some ways that you and your family can team up:
Support from your friends or family
Here are some ways that your friends or family can help you. Ask them to:
Many people find that having a partner or "food buddy" makes the change easier. A food buddy is someone who is also making changes in his or her eating habits.
It's motivating to know that someone is sharing the same goals. Your food buddy can remind you how far you've come and support you when you're having a hard time following your eating plan. You and your buddy can talk about healthy recipes, ways to plan regular meals, and how to fit small amounts of your favorite foods into your food plan, for example.
You may find that some friends or family members say or do things that make you feel bad. They seem not to want you to succeed. They may urge you to eat more than you want, make negative comments about your new eating habits, or point out how many times you may have slipped up.
If this happens, it's important to talk to these people. They may not even be aware that they are doing it or that it bothers you. If you need to, ask them to stop doing this. You also can ask them why they are behaving this way. You might find that they are worried that your change is leaving them out or that you are making them look bad. They may not like the attention your change is getting you.
If this is the case, ask them what you can do to help them. Often, an honest talk is all that is needed.
Other types of support
You also can look for support outside of your family and friends.
Test Your Knowledge
Finding a "food buddy" is a good way to help you make changes in your eating habits.
Healthy eating can be hard. Here are some tools that can help you do this:
If you would like more information on staying at a healthy weight, the following resources are available:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org