We all have someone in our lives who is obese. And because we love that person and want the best for him/her, we want to motivate them to lose weight so they can live healthier and happier lives. But what if that person is not really into that? What if that person cannot find enough strength to make such a decision? Or even the better question, what if you just can't motivate someone to lose weight?
We can always blame obese people for being obese, they are the ones who ate all the candies and became obese, but if you have someone in your life that is struggling, you have to motivate them until they succeed. Especially if you really love that someone! In order to motivate someone to lose weight, you need to have a planned approach and a few psychology tactics. “Hey lose weight, you will look great” is just wrong.
Start with a non-aggressive conversation
Asking just “Why are you fat” is insulting and if you don’t have some issues handling communication skills and you don’t know that, now you do.
Overweight people can be overweight for various reasons and your job is to figure out what is fueling their “I don’t care” state of mind.
That state of mind justifies their bad and unhealthy habits such as binge eating, eating junk food and sugar, not working out, etc. A healthy mindset will cause them to “feel bad” when the healthy diet is broke and will force them to correct that “mistake” by staying clean. However, if the mindset turns to “I don’t care”, they will get stuck in a bottomless pit, and just keep getting bigger and bigger.
So, find out what is actually the thing they don’t care about.
Try to avoid questions about weight. Ask them questions about their beliefs, their thoughts, because mostly the issues are hidden there. Ask something like: “Can you tell me some situation where you felt like giving up on your goals” or “What can make you sad, like, right now?”.
The answer to these questions can be related to their eating habit because overweight people are mostly emotional eaters. They actually feed their emotions and drown their sadness in food, sometimes without even knowing it.
Figure out their why. If you ask them directly “Hey, why are you eating so much junk food”, they will tell you “because it tastes good”, and you don’t get anywhere. Like really, junk food can taste awesome. And no one will start telling you the sad story of their life based on the question “why are you eating so much junk food.”
You have to find the way around to get to the point.
Ask them about their thoughts on healthy life
So this is a point where you will discover which type of overweight person are they.
You can encounter various answers, but these are often cases:
“I would like to live a healthy life, but I just can’t”
This is when someone is really struggling with something and they want you to know. They can’t figure out the solution to the problem they have on their own and they are seeking for help. Make an environment where they will feel secure to tell you what’s the problem, and then go with them through possible solutions. Once they find what works for them, encourage them to try and be their support.
“Healthy life? You mean salads? How can salad beat Big Mac?”
There are actually many people who really enjoy the unhealthy lifestyle and to be honest with you, chances that they will listen to you and change their habits are very small. They are not emotional eaters, they are simple hedonists, enjoying every piece of fries like it’s an orgasm. These people are mostly not aware of diabetes and heart attack severity so you can try to pull that card. But frankly, they won’t listen, because you are probably not the first one who told them about those.
The worst thing about these people is when they experience a reality slap. When one day they wake up, and the body just can’t take it anymore, they experience a heart attack, or they get diabetes or something like that, they realize that their lifestyle has to change if they want to live longer than 40.
Try telling them a story about someone they know who experienced that. I’m telling you from experience, every overweight person fears the consequences of obesity, and sooner or later that comes to the surface.
Now, this next reaction is similar to this one, but it’s completely something different.
“Haha! Healthy life! Leave me alone!”
The attack is the best defense, right? You will often confuse this type of person for the ones we already mentioned, who enjoy an overweight life.
If they are making fun of your serious questions or defending themselves that often means they are not comfortable with telling you what bothers them. Maybe they don’t trust you, or maybe they don’t trust anyone. Mostly they had a bad experience with trying to tell someone about their issues and ended up losing time because no one understood them.
So these types are the most often cases you will meet. It’s very important to figure which type is someone you are trying to motivate because after that you will know how to behave and how to provide them with the solutions they need.
Explain to them that losing weight can be fun
Most people are afraid of diet because everything they see is suffering, pain, eating foods they don’t like, being sore after a workout, etc. And it makes sense, no one wants to that way, no matter what the prize is.
Well, here at Extreme Loser, we believe that the weight loss journey doesn’t have to be suffering and pain. There are so many alternatives out there that can fit into a caloric deficit and feel good.
Another myth overweight people believe in is that for losing weight, they need to eat less than they eat now. That doesn’t have to be the case. Explain to them that if they find healthier substitutes for the food they already eat, they don’t have to eat less.
There will also be a situation they have to shrink their meal a bit, but if you propose a good substitute for it, that won't be the problem. Suggest great protein snacks, instead of sugar, they will keep them full longer and they can be very tasty!
Losing weight can be done in so many ways, and they don’t see that. It all comes to finding a way that can be enjoyed. There are thousands of diets out there, but we suggest proposing some of these 7 healthiest and most efficient diets.
Set small goals
No matter if they are morbidly obese or just have a few pounds, it’s important not to scare them with big goals.
When you set a goal for losing 100 pounds, it can be very demotivating. Sure, the ultimate goal can be losing 100 pounds, but focus on small goals. Go for 10 pounds first, or even 5, it doesn’t matter. We made a really cool meal plan for 10-pound weight loss in 7 days, and those 10 pounds can be really motivating!
What matters is that you focus them on small tasks. By doing small tasks, they will see results quicker and get to celebrate small victories. Every milestone should be a small goal and sa mall victory.
Propose something like: “Okay, let’s set a goal for losing 4 pounds this week…”. And after that, propose a plan: “and I suggest taking I/we do it this way”.
See how they will react. If they approve it, great! If not, suggest a different plan but stick to the goal!
Offer yourself as copilot
This can mean a world to someone, and if you are willing to take this sacrifice, go ahead, everyone needs copilot!
Everything is easier when done in pairs. When you find what bothers them, offering a solution sometime is not enough, because starting something is the most difficult part. You can even make a bet, or make it fun by saying something like: “Okay, let’s pick the diet together and stick to it for two weeks and we’ll see how it goes. I bet when we start you will beat me!”
You can even hire a personal trainer for you two. Hiring a personal trainer is not something that introvert would probably do, and most overweight people are ashamed of how they look, and for some reason are ashamed of a personal trainer.
Propose a hiring a professional to help you in the gym. Things will be much funnier because neither of you probably won’t be able to do some exercises, which will transform embarrassment into a laugh.
Understanding someone is the key to bonding and delivering goals. We already wrote an article about 12 things you should really know if you love someone obese, and we suggest that you go over those things. They will help you understand better how overweight people feel and how to help them even when they don’t think they need help.
Find out why are they in an “I don't care” state of mind. Provide them with solutions to their problems. Suggest multiple diets and even offer yourself as a copilot. Set small goals and celebrate every small victory. Keep them motivated, and focus on including more healthy habits that feel good.
- 7 Healthy Diets For Serious Weight Loss That Actually Work
- Weight Loss Motivation: How To Stay On Track When Everything is Against You
- 12 Things You Should Really Know If You Love Someone Obese
That's it, folks!
Founder at Extreme Loser