Last week I asked my friends on Instagram what topics they wanted me to discuss in this weekly newsletter. I got SO many amazing topics from you all, so THANK YOU. This one definitely stuck out to me: ‘How you you deal with unsupportive people during your fitness journey?’. I’ve certainly dealt with this and I’m sure many of you reading have as well
Here’s the deal:
So let’s get to some more specific examples here. There are typically 3 different groups of people that all come into play when it comes to support or lack thereof.
Let’s start with family and friends. I find with family, the biggest issue is food at family gatherings. Most of the time, their criticism or lack of support does come from love. They want to see you enjoying yourself. What they don’t understand is that you have found a new way to enjoy yourself by eating better and exercising. What I recommend here is explaining to them how much better you feel and how much happier you are taking on this new lifestyle. And as far as the snide comments go, one of two things. 1. you can just give them a smile & a middle finger (I do this with my brother) or 2. Say nothing at all. A lot of the time comments like that are just meant to get a rise out of you. I don’t recommend #1 in most cases (haha) but for my brother and I, he actually does respect and support the way I live but being my brother he just LOVES to push my buttons.
Leading from my experience from my brother, he actually didn’t understand at first. It took a while for him to come around and realize that how I was choosing to live really made a positive difference in my life. Sometimes it really is just a matter of staying patient and leading by example. Instead of trying to explain yourself, sometimes you just need to keep your head high and keep at it. The people that really do love you will support you eventually, it just takes a little while for them to SEE why you are doing what you are. In many cases, they even become inspired by you!
With friends, it usually stems from jealousy. It’s natural that as friends, you are typically on a level playing field, what you have in common is how you connect! So when one person does something different than your ’norm’, it’s likely that feelings of inadequacy/jealously will occur. This is because your newfound fitness/health journey will shine a light on their lack thereof. This results in insecurity, which then can lead to rude comments or trying to sabotage your progress in attempt to bring you back down to where they are at.
This is always such a tough situation but there is hope! One thing you can do is ask your friend (or friends) if they are willing to embark on this journey with you! You can do healthy cooking nights, have gym dates, go on runs together, hold each other accountable!! Bring them UP with you!
If tension just builds and interests truly start contrasting, then maybe it’s just time to go your separate ways. This is never fun but sometimes it’s just the way it goes. It’s normal for priorities and interests to change and evolve, that’s just being a human!
Now on to co-workers. This can be REALLY hard when it comes to sabotaging haha. And here’s the difference, co-workers don’t necessarily love you or have any sort of obligation to support you. So this is where the rude comments and sabotaging strategies can really come into full force. And like I said, they don’t usually come from a place of love. In this case, it typically is stemmed from jealously because they wish they had the discipline and determination you do to embark on a healthier lifestyle.
My best advice here, just stick to your guns and be confident in what you are doing. Chances are, once they start seeing you get results, they’re going to come asking for advice ; ) So keep brushing off those rude comments and eye rolls when you bring your own nutritious lunch. Remember, they are trying to ruffle your feathers, don’t give them that gratification.
Lastly and most importantly, the unsupportive significant other. I’ve been there in a past relationship and so have many of you. In this case, communication is REALLY the key. You are just as responsible as they are to speak up and voice to them WHY you are doing this and how important it is for you. Lay it ALL out and strategize what you can do to make it work.
My first tip of advice here is to include them! Maybe they feel left out now that you are hitting the gym and making new friends there. Ask them if they’d like to come with you! Many times this will be a hard pass but it at least shows you are trying to include them. Even if they don’t want to be a part of it, you can still find interests that you both have. Laser focus on those and make sure you are making time to prioritize activities surrounding them. Remember, eating well and exercising shouldn’t be your whole life, it’s just a part of it.
When it comes to eating well, there are a few options. 1. Ask them if there are willing to at least try what you are doing. 2. Each cook your own meals 3. If you are the one that cooks for the family/ your significant other, make modifications to YOUR meal/portion to make it fit your goals. Again, communicate with your partner and find what you both think will work best and you can agree on.
No matter who you are dealing with that is unsupportive of your health/fitness journey it really boils down to 3 things:
Confidence, communication & evaluation. Be confident that you are doing something so great for yourself, communicate what this means to you to others and evaluate from there. For the most part, you do have control over who you surround yourself with. Of course you can’t choose your family or co workers but you can learn to silence their criticism, remain confident in the choices you are making and lead by example.
Always remember, YOU are worth it. YOUR health and happiness are worth it. Don’t let anyone stop you or slow you down from goals you want to reach. Surround yourself with the right people that lift you up, encourage you and appreciate your strides. If you are looking for some support like that, I have a private Facebook group full of amazing people on their unique fitness journeys. We share our goals, workouts, meals, strategies etc and support each other through it all. We’d be happy to have you there if you need a place to feel supported and appreciated : )