As I’m writing this, I am just back home from a day that included a bike ride with my twins to their school this morning, and a long walk with my stepson on the way home from his.

My day wasn’t supposed to include either of these things. I was supposed to drive all three boys to school, work out during the day, and then have a family dinner tonight but things didn’t go as planned. So, what did I do? I manipulated my schedule to accommodate my two biggest priorities: my family and my exercise. I squeezed both in and everybody’s still happy. Including me!  I wasn’t always like this, either, but when I became a mom and had a lot of weight to lose as a result of carrying twins, I took a step back and re-prioritized and after a few months, I realized that I had developed new habits.

Episode 6 of Mission Makeover is about the role of family when it comes making any sort of life change. The best way to ensure this, I’ve found, both personally and with my clients, is by including your loved ones in your weight loss plan. Support is incredibly helpful and inclusion in your fitness and nutritional plan encourages support from family members.  Below are 5 tips on great way to incorporate a family weight loss plan:

5 Family Weight Loss Tips

  1. Communicate. Let your loved ones know what you’re up to and how they can support you. Tell them what you need, whether it’s pep talks, keeping you company, giving you regular reminders, keeping certain foods out of the house, etc.
  2. Be flexible. As I showed you in my example above, don’t let a change you can’t control sabotage your priorities. Be creative. If it’s raining and you were planning to be exercise outside, find a solution. If you are invited to a big eating/drinking event, eat part of your meal beforehand so you are not starving when you get there. If someone you were hoping to meet with cancels on you, don’t throw in the towel. Think about what else you can do. Control YOU. If it’s important to you, you’ll make it happen. Keep your loved ones included in and apprised of your change of plans and priorities.
  3. Plan ahead. And by that I don’t just mean plan for your plans. Plan for what happens when your plans fall apart. In other words, have healthy snacks, foods, and water around the house and in your bag, keep sneakers and workout clothes in your car, have music and phone numbers of the people who are important to you on your phone. Expect things to change because so often they do.
  4. Be a role model. Shows like “Mission Makeover” and many others are successful because motivation is contagious. So stay motivated and show your family that change is doable and how. Of course, if you’re a parent, you’re going to want to teach by example, but do not underestimate the impact your positive changes and thinking will have on everyone in your life…spouses, parents, friends, colleagues, EVERYONE.
  5. Be consistent. If you’ve ever had any sort of speech, physical, or occupational therapy, you know that the exercises and techniques you learn are to be done both when you are with your therapist and when you are away from him or her. The same is true for your mental health. You need to review your goals daily by keeping a journal, reading motivational materials, and/or having someone you love check on you to see how you’re doing or remind you to stay the course. As a Life Coach, I text my clients every single day to show them support. Who, in your life, can do this for you?

Whatever you focus on becomes your reality. Choose to focus on what you want and communicate that to your loved ones. I guarantee it will bring you to increased joy and health.

Dr. Jessica Leon