A group of charities and medical professionals have put together an ambitious 10-year plan to tackle obesity in the UK. The Obesity Health Alliance says the government needs to redefine the issue – which is expected to cost the NHS £ 9.7 billion a year by 2050 – as one of “collective, not personal, responsibility.”
The report describes the dangers of an “obese environment … where high-calorie, nutrient-poor food is accessible, abundant, affordable and normalized, and where exercise is not part of everyday life”.
While it is up to regulators and industry bosses to make changes when it comes to advertising and marketing, we can all take steps to promote healthy lifestyles – something that is especially important when you have a friend or family member who is trying to To lose weight.
Here, experts explain the most important dos and don’ts if you want to help a loved one with their weight loss goal – not hinder them …
Support your decision
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You may think that you are nice when you say, “You don’t need to lose weight!” But in reality, it doesn’t help.
“The desire to lose weight is very personal and often arises for complex, deeper reasons,” says nutrition coach Ravneet Panesar, founder of Neet Nutrition.
“Remind your friend or family member how important they are. You can add a personal trait like generosity, good humor, or reliability to them and avoid commenting on their weight. Track this by supporting their decision to improve their health and not just lose weight. “
Get active together
From brunch to coffee dates to dinner, many social activities revolve around food and drink, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Instead of going to a bar or fast-food restaurant together, come up with new ways to spend time that improve well-being,” says nutritionist Rohini Bajekal. “A walk in nature, a yoga class together in a group, or cooking a nutritious plant-based meal together are great ways to support your friend. You could also try more playful activities, like rollerblading or bowling – all activities that also support their health goals.
Don’t rush them
Being supportive is great, but remember that slow and steady is best when it comes to weight loss, and setbacks can come along the way.
“Unlike mainstream messaging, remind them that there is no rush,” says Panesar. “Pressure is not good for your mental health and is unlikely to support any positive change in your physical health. This is why New Year’s resolutions often fail! People put too much pressure on themselves to do too much too early. “
Ask what they need
“Everyone is different, so ask your friend what they need so that you can best support them,” says Bajekal. “Maybe they would benefit from your offer to look after their children for a few hours so they can go to the gym, or would like to take you to a cooking class.”
Don’t be the food police
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Unless your friend has told you that they prefer the “hard love” approach, it is best to offer encouragement rather than criticism.
“Shame-based motivation doesn’t work in the long run,” explains Bajekal. “Be careful how you talk about weight as it is a sensitive subject and do not give unsolicited weight loss tips or advice such as:
Ultimately, they want to be “a base and not a stress factor – nobody likes a lecture or an interrogation about their eating and living habits”.
Motivate with rewards
“That’s the best part!” Panesar says. “Help your loved ones collect rewards and incentives to keep them motivated.”
But of course, indulgent eating isn’t the best option. “It’s a conflict of interest, so encourage them to make a list of non-food rewards for following their plan, such as: ”