While it can be difficult to self-motivate and create our own healthy and fruitful habits, it can be equally challenging to watch family members, friends, and significant others make unhealthy life decisions. We're 1000 percent in the camp that people should never be shamed for their food choices or pushed into exercise, but sometimes our loved ones come to us looking for advice and encouragement in their journey. When that happens, it can feel difficult to know how to offer support.
Here are some tips to help you (and them) navigate that territory.
First and foremost, set boundaries. While you can be a cheerleader and friend, you can't also be a therapist, a coach, a fitness trainer, a chef, a mentor, etc. Set boundaries with your loved one so they know when they can count on you and when your time is protected. You can share your resources for recipes, your motivational playlists, and your fitness tips without feeling responsible for your loved one's journey. Boundaries are necessary for long-term health in relationships. Set them together.
Similarly, it's important to set expectations with your loved ones. "What do you need from me right now?" is always a great question during conversations. Sometimes, our person may need to vent, while other times, they will want advice and constructive criticism. It's essential to talk with our loved one about what they need during their health and fitness journey. This will ensure health and productivity.
It's always more fun to work out with a loved one, especially when you're doing a new class, or you're unfamiliar with certain equipment. If your friend, SO, or family member is new to fitness, offer to exercise with them. Go on a hike together, take a boxing class, or teach them the ropes in the weight room. They may not know how to ask for help, so it will mean a lot if you offer.
Share Your Favorite Recipes
Likewise, share your favorite healthy snacks and recipes. Let's be real--if you're new to Jerfing, food can seem bland and boring compared to sugar and fast-food staples. If your loved one wants to eat more whole foods and learn about nutrition, share your resources and favorite (simple) recipes.
Acknowledge Their Achievements
For those of us who exercise and eat whole foods most days, this lifestyle is the only one we know. But for our loved ones who are making an effort to choose healthier habits, everything is new. We need to acknowledge how challenging it is to make changes and commit to new habits. Praise your loved one for their efforts and let them know they're seen. Acknowledge their achievements and strides to healthy living—no matter how small.