When Weight Loss Feels LonelyMay 15, 2023
In any quest for a healthier lifestyle, whether it’s weight loss, wellness, rest, or self-care that you’re working on, it is often accompanied by a profound sense of loneliness.
The lack of understanding shown by family and friends is often what makes the process feel so isolating. You’re fed up with comments like “oh, you’re doing that again…” followed by an exaggerated eye roll, and are left feeling insecure and alone. Maybe you want to reconcile with the “food buddies” you always used to overeat and overdrink with, but are afraid of them passing judgment on your new path?
So how can we stay true to our values and continue to show up for ourselves, even when there is this outside peer pressure and commentary? Here I’m sharing 7 key coaching tips that will benefit you if you find yourself feeling lonely in your journey to better health.
- Understand that your friends and family are not equipped to be your weight loss support system.
Your friends and family have been conditioned with the same toxic diet culture beliefs that you have. You have all grown up in the same environment, and with the same messed up thoughts about food.
If you're trying to do things differently and reframe how you're thinking about this process, your family is probably not on the same journey. They're not doing the work that you are. Obesity is a chronic medical condition, which needs to be treated with a multifaceted approach. You're changing the narrative in your mind but it's quite likely the people around you are not.
It’s time to drop your expectation that they can be your support system, because they probably can't. Instead, find support in the right places, such as through a doctor that understands your situation, or from a community that knows what you’re experiencing.
- You are living for your own value system, not anyone else’s.
It might be the case that you always got together to overeat and overdrink with your friends, and you’d all commiserate about how overweight you are, but never change your behavior. Now that you're trying to do something different, they may not have the same value system as you do.
That means they may have a hard time with you changing the rules of engagement and changing how you relate to them in the friendship. That doesn't mean it's a problem.
You may or may not lose people along the way in this journey. People may say they don't want to hang out with you because it brings out their own sense of guilt and so they pull away. On the other end of the spectrum, they might feel totally inspired, and get on board with you.
You need to decide if your health is still worth it. Do you want to prioritize your friendship or your health and wellbeing? Take a firm stance on that and have your own back. If their value system is too engaged in behaviors that don't support your health choices, think about the life you want to create for yourself and how you can have your own back, because no one else will stand up for you on this.
- Some people will judge you and that’s ok
A lot of people worry that their friends might think that you’re “better than them” just because you're making healthier choices. This is a perception, but it may not be the reality.
Ask yourself what the worst case scenario would be. Everyone judging you and rejecting your choices? What about the best case scenario? Everyone feeling super inspired by your decisions?
Realistically, it’s most likely that some people will be on board, and others don't like it. The harsh reality is that as you are right now, some people like you, some people don’t, and some people judge you. If you change, you’ll be in the exact same boat. So if you’re going to be judged either way, which person would you rather be?
Our brain instinctively wants us to fit in, but you can’t live your life in fear of people not liking you and judging you. Live according to your value system, knowing that some people will judge and that's ok.
- Being different is ok and likely necessary
Another concern I often hear is about drawing attention to yourself when asking for modifications on a menu. I do this ALL the time. I am constantly asking to swap various foods on a menu. The only difference is the thoughts we have about this situation. You might find it embarrassing, whereas I find it empowering to know I’m being assertive enough to ask for what I want.
It’s ok to be different, you just need to manage your brain accordingly. Value yourself and your health enough to make different choices.
As Alex Hormozi says: “You can't do what 99% of people are doing if you want to be in the 1%.”
According to Statcan, the total population of adults in Canada with increased health risks due to excess weight, was 63.1% in 2018. And you can bet that number is only increasing.
Therefore, if you’re trying to improve your health, and do things differently, you may be in a smaller sector of society. Health is not prioritized in North america. Work, career, status, being busy - they are all prioritized in North American culture.
”When we choose to prioritize health, wellness, and rest, we will be living a counter-culture life. That means we’re going to be different and it’s going to feel like we’re a little bit on the outside. That is ok and that is necessary.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I recently decided to give up alcohol after noticing more frequent urges for a glass of wine after a hard day. I didn’t want to use alcohol as a tool to manage stressful situations, so decided to cut it out completely.
When a neighbor invited me for a glass of wine, I went into panic mode. I was even questioning whether to just have it because it would be easier than explaining. Then I realized that just a simple “I’m fine right now thanks” was all that was needed. I didn’t need to justify my response, and if any questions were asked, I could just say “I don’t feel like it at the moment”. Although it feels uncomfortable, it shuts any conversation about it down.
- Embrace no as a loving boundary for yourself
When you do say “no”, you need to have reconciled that the “no” you are saying is the most loving “no” out there. It's being said because you are honoring your body and your values. You are making a choice that’s potentially harder in the moment because it’s better for your long term health.
If it's a “no” because you're restricting and depriving yourself, the “no” will feel terrible. That's why having a compelling reason to have to make a change is important. Your “no” is actually you saying “yes” to the future you want, the body you want, and improved health.
- Put yourself in circles that inspire you
Support, community, and accountability are essential if you want to stay successful in whatever you’re wanting to do, whether thats getting healthy, building a business, or being a parent.
Put yourself into circles that inspire you, and remember that this might not be your friends and family (see tip #1!), so find a new one if you can.
If you're trying to lose weight and feeling lonely, come on over and join us inside the Best Weight program, where we have an amazingly supportive community of women.
Trying to do this journey alone is so much harder than with the help of people going through the exactly the same thing. Inside Best Weight, you get the roadmap, plus the coaching, the accountability, and the network you need to really thrive in your health.
Your health really is the biggest return on investment out there, so don’t procrastinate, and book a discovery call now!
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