In 2016, roughly 40% of adults in the UK were overweight or obese. Obesity is strongly associated with a number of different health problems and lifestyle diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
We all want our loved ones to live healthy and happy lives, but expressing concern for someone’s health can be difficult and uncomfortable.
Weight is a very personal and sensitive topic for most individuals. Understandably, it can be particularly uncomfortable to suggest to a friend or family member that they might want to consider losing weight to improve their health.
If you’ve been making healthy lifestyle changes on the Second Nature program and want to recommend it to a friend, this guide will explain the best way to approach this delicate situation and avoid hurting their feelings.
Change the focus
Telling someone to consider dieting or change the way they look will most likely result in them taking offence and ignoring your advice. A much more positive approach is to shift the focus from looks to health and how we feel.
Aim to take the focus off weight and appearance and instead put it on changing habits. Emphasising the non-weight related benefits that come from healthy lifestyle changes, like more energy, better performance at work, better sleep, or reduced stress might help.
If they’ve already expressed specific motivations for wanting to lose excess weight, try to begin by reminding them of that. For example, if someone has previously mentioned that they have little energy and feel tired all the time, you could suggest introducing some new habits to improve their energy levels.
Here are some great ways to focus on how we feel, rather than how we look, and encourage a loved one to join Second Nature and make healthy lifestyle changes with you:
Developing healthy eating habits doesn’t always mean restrictive diets. It’s important for people of all weights and sizes to eat a balanced, varied diet.
It might be easier to approach a loved one if we shift the focus from restricting food groups and calorie-counting to building healthy meals. Second Nature encourages you to build three balanced meals a day from a variety of whole foods, leaving you feeling satisfied.
Evidence suggests that the best diet for weight loss is one that we can stick to in the long term. Lower-carb diets appear to be the most sustainable as they reduce our cravings and don’t leave us feeling hungry. Second Nature encourages a lower-carb approach, and your qualified coach can help you adapt meals to be lower-carb.
Some specific examples of how to approach your loved one on the subject of food include:
If you live together:
Second Nature encourages building habits that improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
If your loved one has mentioned that they have sleeping difficulties, focusing on any improvements that you’ve noticed in your sleep might motivate them to consider the program.
Some specific examples of how to approach your loved one on the subject of sleep include:
If you live together:
Stress has a huge impact on our health and our weight. Interestingly, stress can lead to weight gain in a number of different ways by affecting our food choices, our appetite, and how much fat we store.
Encouraging a loved one to manage their stress levels can have a huge impact on their health and the indirect effect of weight loss. Second Nature gives you the tools to put certain habits in place and manage your stress.
Some specific examples of how to approach your loved one on the subject of stress include:
If you live together:
The positive impact that exercise has on our brain function and mental health is a good thing to focus on when approaching your loved one. Try to encourage finding an exercise that they enjoy so that it’s easier for it to become a habit.
Some specific examples of how to approach your loved one on the subject of exercise include:
If you live together:
Want to make losing weight feel easier?
The Second Nature app uses behavioural science to retrain your mind to make healthy choices automatically, so these stick in the long run. Join 150,000 people who’ve used Second Nature to make losing weight feel easier - the first step is to create your personalised plan with our quick quiz.
Weight management programs
Expressing our good intentions when suggesting that a loved one joins a weight management program can be uncomfortable and awkward. For that reason, choosing a program that focuses on changing our mindset and building healthy habits rather than changing the way we look might make the situation easier.
More popular and well-known weight management programs, such as Weight Watchers and Noom, are very focused on our appearance and promote restrictive diets.
Second Nature, however, helps you achieve your weight goals by focussing on all aspects of health, including nutrition, sleep, stress, exercise, and mindset.
If your loved one signs up to Second Nature, remind them that they get:
- Daily 1-1 support from a qualified nutrition specialist*, keeping you motivated and accountable
- A supportive group to help you work through challenges and share your achievements
- Habit-change techniques to improve your nutrition, sleep, stress, activity levels, and more
- Habit tracking features and the ability to join steps competitions
- Simple recipes with step-by-step videos that won’t leave you feeling hungry
- No calorie counting. No fad diets.
*Second Nature coaches are all UK registered dietitians or nutritionists. This means they have completed university accredited degrees to gain this professional title. However, coaches are not registered in the US, so don’t meet the regulatory requirements to be considered US registered dietitians or nutritionists.
Take home message
- The best way to encourage a loved one to join Second Nature is to focus on mindset and building new, healthy habits.
- By explaining the benefits that you have noticed, it might help to convince someone else.
- Looking back at what our loved one has previously expressed (i.e. trouble sleeping) can help you determine the best angle to approach them on.
- Suggesting that you build some healthy habits together can be a good way to show support and encourage them.
- Mentioning that you both get a discount and it’d be a fun activity to do together might make it less awkward.
- Good habits to build together could be trying new recipes, joining new exercise classes, or even competing in a steps competition.