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How to help your friend lose weight

If you are fit and healthy, that’s great news. But if you have a friend whose flab looks positively unhealthy, then perhaps you shouldn’t just let things be. A little encouragement from you could really make the difference.

brunch Updated: Jan 07, 2012 15:20 IST
Kavita Devgan

If you are fit and healthy, that’s great news. But if you have a friend whose flab looks positively unhealthy, then perhaps you shouldn’t just let things be. A little encouragement from you could really make the difference.

The best way to lose weight is to combine diet modification, exercise and behaviour therapy. It’s all do-able, but some people could do with support. And helping your pal will have a positive effect on you too it’ll keep you firmly on track as well.

Educate them

WellnessMake your pal understand that:

1: Our bodies don’t just define the way we look. They also clearly dictate the state of our health.

2: Excess weight can have far-reaching medical implications that could, at some time, truly hurt. The fact is that nobody can lose weight for anyone else. So the only thing you can do is be the motivator.

Reason it out
Two heads are better than one when it comes to pinpointing the reason for a gain in weight. Low physical activity, social eating, bad food habits, a hyper response to the taste, appearance and smell of food rather than actual hunger are the usual triggers. Help your friend figure out her or his problem areas, then work together to chalk out a strategy that will effectively deal with them.

Be the reminder
Constant reminders about sticking to the regime from a friend (rather than family members or a significant other) do not hurt. Make sure you are tactful though. For example when you see your pal eying an ice-cream sundae at a restaurant, offer to fetch it for him or her and return instead with a fruit salad with a small scoop of ice-cream. (But make sure that you’re having the same.)

Be there for them
A morning run or swim together, a partner workout at the gym, a game of tennis these will help your pal get through the weight loss regime. And it’ll all help you as well.

Remember: What works for your pal works for you too. It’s what’s called a win-win situation.

Pave the way
Help your friends set realistic weight loss targets.
Tempt them with stylish clothes (one size smaller).
Give them a gift for every kilo lost.
Give them information on healthy eating from magazines and good websites.
Teach them cues such as associating nausea with fried foods and fat.
Coach them on boosting the fibre content in their diets.
Encourage them to maintain a detailed record of their eating habits and weight fluctuations.
If stress is the weight gain culprit, help them combat it. Introduce them to yoga or reiki or simply be a good listener and let them unburden their problems to you.

From HT Brunch, January 8
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