obese woman running outdoors

How to help someone lose weight: What to do and not do

Helping someone lose weight

Support can be a crucial part of helping a loved one lose weight. You can do this by offering direct aid. Offer to exercise with them or take part in the diet change with them. This way, they don’t feel like they doing it all alone. Also, you can support your loved one with words of encouragement. Words such as; you’re doing great, or you can do this are good to hear. Find ways to remove obstacles in their way. For example, get rid of junk food and other unhealthy trigger foods in the house.


If your loved one struggles with a busy schedule, why not cook them something healthy for dinner? This way don’t have to struggle to find the willpower not to resort to takeout. In helping someone lose weight, it’s also important to know what not to do. Don’t discourage them when they slip. Weight loss is a journey, not a sprint and it does take time to undo years of unhealthy food habits. Here, we share with you other tips you can use to help your loved one lose weight.

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How to help someone lose weight

  • Encourage and cheer them on.
  • Ask them what they need help with.
  • Join them in their quest.
  • Offers a listening ear without judgment.
  • Help them celebrate small wins.
  • Learn about their new diet to better support them
  • Find non-food ways to celebrate and spend time together.

thumbs up puzzle

1. Ask for permission.

Weight is an incredibly personal aspect of life. Before you bring up the subject to your loved one, ask them for permission first. Tell them you would like to share your concerns about their weight with them. However, if they turn you down, be respectful and accept their decision. The best you can do is remind them that you’re available to talk if they ever need to.


2. Encourage and cheer them on.

Encouragement is one of the best things you can do to help someone lose weight. I’m proud of you, you can do it are some of the encouraging words you can use. Let your loved ones know that you see their progress and appreciate them for sticking to the journey. Also, when they do stumble on their journey, use words of encouragement to help them get back on track. Remind them of how far they’ve come.


3. Ask.

Ask your loved ones what they need from you. This is the best way to determine how to help someone lose weight. They know the struggle best hence are better placed to tell you what you can do to assist them. Do as they’ve asked you.

fit and overweight friend

4. Let your actions speak.

Actions speak louder than words, so should yours when helping a loved one lose weight. Join them in their diet. Not only does it feel good to your loved one knowing someone else is going through the journey with them, but you can also act as an accountability partner. If making the changes to your diet is difficult, then join them when they need to exercise. On their evening walk or to the gym. It will take part of your time, but this is a great way to help someone lose weight.


5. Offers a listening ear without judgment

If your loved one tends to turn to food when stressed, let them know that they can talk to you instead. However, only do this if you know you can offer a listening ear without judgment. Undoing years of bad eating habits take time and will feel like a struggle. Your friend or loved one is bound to trip a few times. However, when they do, listen without wanting to fix things or offer unsolicited advice.


6. Help them celebrate small wins.

The journey to losing weight starts with small wins. Wins such as losing 2 pounds might seem small but not to your loved one. Celebrate these small wins with them. Acknowledging these small wins helps them know that they’re on the right track and can achieve the bigger goals. This is especially important when the goal is to lose weight over a long period, 6 months or more. Or, when the goal is to lose a huge amount of weight such as 250 pounds.

massage in spa

7. Celebrate and spend time together without food.

Food is a big part of our social lives. However, when you want to help your loved one lose weight, take food out of the equation. Help them celebrate small wins and spend time together without involving food. Do things such as; play a game, a massage at the spa, a trip to the park, museum, shopping, or starting a new hobby together. Even though this might seem strange at first, it is possible to celebrate without food. You just need to be creative.


8. Learn about their new lifestyle.

Learn about the diet rather than asking your friend about it. Be it a low-carb ketogenic, paleo, or intermittent fasting. Whatever it might be, do your research and learn everything you need to know about it. How does it work for weight loss? What foods are allowed on this diet? What foods are not allowed? Thanks to the internet, all the information you need is only a google search away.

9. Focus on the person, not the diet.

As much as you want to help your loved one lose weight, don’t make your relationship all about their weight loss. Talk to them about other aspects of their life. Ask about their current job, work environment, relations, etc. The goal is to let them know they have your full support regardless of their weight or size.

overweight woman sleeping

10. Encourage long-term healthy lifestyle changes not just for the diet.

The goal is not only to lose weight but also to maintain that weight loss. Encourage your friend to make healthy lifestyle changes not just for the goal of losing weight. Changes such as; sleeping more, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and being more active.


What not to do

  • Don’t tempt them
  • Don’t be the food police
  • Don’t be judgemental
  • Don’t offer unsolicited advice.
  • Don’t bombard with weight loss information.
  • Don’t tell them what they should do.
  • Don’t talk about their weight every single time.

1. Don’t tempt them.

While you don’t have to make the same diet changes as your loved one, don’t tempt them either. Don’t be the friend who suddenly gets the urge to eat a bucket of fried chicken wings or a box of donuts as soon as your loved one starts their weight loss journey. Moreso, don’t tease them by offering them a bite. This type of behavior is unacceptable and can be very distractive.


2. Don’t act like the food police.

Just because you’re not trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you should behave as the food police. Don’t reprimand them about their food choices or embarrass them on what they choose to eat.

woman working out next to friend

3. Don’t be judgemental.

Being on a weight loss journey is hard. It will involve lots of ups and downs. Howeevr, keep the judgment to yourself. It’s easier to see what you’re loved one is doing wrong from the outside because you’re not struggling as much as they are. Avoid judgemental words such as”did you really eat that.”

4. Don’t bombard with weight loss information.

This is not the time to gather all the weight loss magazines or DVDs you have. Besides, weight loss advice is a dime a dozen. Bombarding them with information just makes the process overwhelming. Let them use the approach they choose without you offering to know “better”. This is not the time to tell them what your instructor told you or what you read in that sports illustrated article about weight loss.


5. Don’t tell them what they should do.

No adult likes being told what to do, not with life and certainly not with weight loss. This is not the time to tell your loved one what they should eat or be doing to lose weight faster. While you might think you’re being helpful, such criticism is only discouraging.


6. Don’t talk about their weight every single time.

While weight loss is a slow and steady journey, it shouldn’t be the only thing you talk about. Don’t make comments about your loved ones’ weight process every time you meet. Let’s face it, nobody wants to hear about their weight constantly. Learn how to have conversations that don’t include these topics.

How to help a loved one lose weight