Family support is important when you’re on a weight-loss journey, but not everyone is lucky enough to find it in their households. Members of MyObesityTeam say loved ones often fall short of meeting, understanding, and respecting their needs on the path to well-being.
“Family can be your worst critics!” said one MyObesityTeam member. “I'm all alone here when it comes to losing weight. Nobody really understands how hard it is,” lamented another. “My husband constantly makes comments that spiral me out of control. All I want to do is eat my feelings,” admitted one woman.
Many MyObesityTeam members air their frustrations and disappointments around partners who are critical, or say hurtful things about their physical appearance. One member says she used to “hide and cry” when her husband made comments about her weight. Another said, “My husband stressed me out so bad, I wanted something sweet to eat.”
It’s not uncommon for partners to feel threatened as members shed pounds. “The more weight I lose, the more he accuses me of cheating (I'm not),” said one member who has been married 33 years. “He does this every time I lose weight. I try to ignore it - or give it right back - but it’s starting to wear me down. Any suggestions?”
Members are quick with advice, “Some men hate to see women doing better for themselves,” said one woman. Warned another: “They are jealous and secretly wish they were you. I try very hard to surround myself with people who support my goals.”
Members say “behaving badly” can run in the family. “My mother is always making comments about my weight and diet,” said one woman. “I think she’s worried what other people think.” Another says her husband and children “pick” on her and she “can’t stand it anymore.”
Members admit that it’s hard to not take such criticisms personally - and support each other in setting healthy boundaries on their weight-loss path.
“Sometimes you just must stand up for yourself,” asserted one MyObesityTeam member. Another said: “It sounds like your family has some issues of their own rolling. I know it's hard to set boundaries and stick to them but you can't continue to be their floor mat. Stay strong and firm.”
When families still don’t “get it,” members of MyObesityTeam say it’s time for “the talk.”
“Try a heart-to-heart with them,” said one. “Make sure they understand that you’re making these changes to be around longer, and this current lifestyle has to change,” shared another. Remind them, one woman advises, that you may be changing physically, but your feelings for them remain the same.
Communicate your goals, and how you want to achieve them, encouraged another member. “If your husband is supportive, I'm sure he'll be on board with helping you. Mine has been a trooper through a cabinet purge and some weird recipe experiments. He's learning how to cook for me, and is willing to wash dishes if I've been playing in the kitchen!”
Rephrase the “ask,” as well. “We decided - my husband and I - to get healthy together,” said one woman. “Once you start saying ‘we’ instead of ‘me,’ he’ll see things your way.”
If family members are still unresponsive, “maybe you could try counseling,” suggested another member. “I asked my husband to go to and he said no, so I see a therapist myself.”
In the absence of family support, members have found great comfort and encouragement from their teammates on MyObesityTeam.
“Remember, you have fellow ‘biggies’ that will be there, even if it’s just to lend an ear,” said one member. “We might not be in close walking distance or related by birth, but this team is a big wonderful part of my family,” wrote another.
One member expressed gratitude to the group for being there when no one else was: “I don't think I would have stayed motivated very long if not for all the great friends here, encouraging me with lots of support, advice, and helpful hints. I call this group my therapy,” shared one man.
On MyObesityTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with obesity, members talk about a range of personal experiences including getting family support.
Here are some conversations about getting family support:
Here are some questions-and-answers about getting family support: