You’ve just set some boundaries for weight loss and have shared the news with your partner. You’re making your health a priority. In return, your partner has given you a pat on the back for your dedication to your wellness and has promised to support you on your journey. The next day, they return home with a bag full of your favorite snacks.
That hurt! And, to be honest, you’re angry about it, too. You didn’t even get 24 hours before it felt like the support disappeared only to be replaced by what feels like sabotage.
What Happened To Your Boundaries for Weight Loss?
It may indeed have been sabotage, but it may just as easily not have been. Changing behaviors isn’t an easy task. It’s hard enough for you to adhere to your own boundaries for weight loss, but it can also be difficult for the people who are closest to you in your life to alter their own behaviors.
If you’ve only just recently taken on these new boundaries for weight loss, then it’s important to prepare for the chance of people who will react negatively, who will sabotage you without even realizing what they’re doing, or who might take on other types of unexpected, confusing, or frustrating behaviors. This can come from family, friends, or even people you work with.
What Are Boundaries for Weight Loss?
A boundary is a set of restrictions or rules you use to guide or govern your life or efforts toward a certain goal. They can represent the principles by which you will guide yourself, or may be those that involve your expectations for treatment by others.
Frequently, we set boundaries for weight loss for ourselves, but we don’t effectively communicate them or what they mean to us with the other people in our lives. We grow up believing that we should simply politely accept the behaviors of other people toward us in order to be appropriate. Dictating rules can involve effort and can feel challenging and selfish.
Benefits of Setting Those Boundaries
Setting rules and communicating boundaries for weight loss is important. It helps others to know what you want from them and how they can best support you. It determines how people will treat you so that you can move forward with your wellness lifestyle. Communicating effectively can help to keep the peace, keep everyone respectful and can make sure you and your loved ones are on the same page.
Offer Support in Return
If you find that someone in your life who knows your rules has failed to support you – for example, when your partner came home with that bag of snacks – instead of getting angry, try to be proactive instead. Offer alternative behaviors that achieve the same goal without breaking your boundaries. Remember that you’re not the only one who has to change behaviors in order to reach your goal.
Support your family and friends in return. Consider saying: “Thank you for being so thoughtful! It was really nice of you to pick up my favorite chocolate for me. I’m trying to cut back on sugar right now, so in the future, could you get my favorite bubble bath for me instead of a sweet treat?” You’ve seen that your partner wanted to do something nice for you. Be grateful for that, but offer an alternative that will let him or her continue being generous without smashing your calorie budget.
Choose Your Wording
When you ask for support, speak with the use of “I” instead of “You.” When you speak in “you” it can sound accusatory. When you speak in “I” you are explaining your point of view. “I’d really appreciate non-food gifts from now on,” as opposed to “You should bring me non-food gifts from now on.”
Remember that setting boundaries for weight loss and sharing them is a matter of respecting yourself. You are not being selfish. You are not being inconsiderate. When you communicate those needs and give reminders when someone deviates from them, you’re advocating for yourself. This is an important part of self-care and should be given a priority in your life. This means that you’re taking care of yourself, not that you don’t care about the other person. It is the opportunity to keep wellness in your life the way you feel it is right for you.
Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).