One of the cornerstones for success with long term lifestyle change is the support of our close social network a.k.a our family and friends. However, despite what we might wish for, that support can often be absent or even undermining and sabotaging. Ridicule, snarky or derogatory comments, refusal to help, jealousy if you spend time at the gym, encouragement to make unhealthy food choices are just some of the things that those closest to us can inflict upon us when we start to try and make change.
Sadly many people experience this and just as they start to make positive change, the support they need is missing at a critical point and they give up and fall back into their old ways and habits ie the ways and habits that are comfortable for those around them.
While I would never advocate for someone to abandon their family or friends, I think it is important to recognise if those closest to you are in fact being detrimental to your progress towards a better, healthier you. And it can take a while (years sometimes!), particularly if you have experienced this kind of thing for a long time and have been used to it as a kind of “normal”. However, once you become aware of it you are then able to see their comments and actions for what they are. Nothing more than a reflection of their own discomfort and insecurities around change rather than a true indication of the likelihood of your future success.
It is absolutely true that you need to surround yourself with like-minded people and so if you lack support from close family members or friends then that is where getting involved in a gym that has a strong sense of community becomes invaluable. Shared visions, shared struggles, shared effort to be fitter, healthier and stronger. Even if you like to think of yourself as a bit of a recluse when it comes to diet and exercise, the science behind the importance of social support is sound and strong. That social support in a gym setting might come from a personal trainer, or from the friends and acquaintances you make in group classes. It doesn’t need to be a thousand people, just a few that are treading the same path as you.
So if you are lacking support from those nearest and dearest to you please don’t feel like you are alone. It is unfortunately an all too common occurrence. But knowledge is power and when you realise and accept it’s not just happening to you, you can seek out the social support you need to help you make change.