Some who undergo bariatric surgery struggle to get full support from family. And it is our goal to find ways in which our patients can have a happier experience at home throughout their weight loss journey.
Having support from friends and family plays a crucial role in overall happiness. So we have created this list to provide some potential guidance in getting that much-needed support system from your loved ones.
1. Take Baby Steps
Don’t push for too much change all at once. Start off with small and straightforward steps toward healthier eating and gradually replace bad habits with good ones.
2. Be Positive, Not Demanding
If you want people to jump on board with your goal of being healthy, come at them from a positive angle. By approaching the subject in a way that comes off as warm and fun, you will get much more cooperation.
3. Hide the Bad, Stage the Good
One habit that can cause a real struggle is keeping unhealthy foods out in plain sight. Instead, try to hide or get rid of unhealthy foods and keep the healthy ones such as fruit and vegetables out in plain sight. This will help get your family and yourself to grab a nice healthy snack as opposed to something that is not so great a selection such as pretzels or candy.
4. Get Them Involved
Do you like to cook or begin learning to do so? Invite family members to help you out with recipes and meals so that they can feel involved. Perhaps try putting on the music they like and making it about showing them a good time. This positive connection to cooking will make them see it as a healthy activity rather than as a chore.
5. Encourage Trying New Things Even When they Push Back
For many parents, it can be difficult to deal with the response of “no” from their children when it comes to eating healthy foods. Perhaps you are making vegetables and chicken and your kids say they don’t like those foods. What can be good to do in this case is to make the food still and ask them to try it and see. Many times, they may very well wind up loving the meal but didn’t like the sound of it when compared to macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets.
6. Thank Them and Express Why you are Thankful
When family members get involved and do eat the foods it is happy to thank them and express why you are thankful. If you cook a healthy meal and they wind up eating the full dish, say a kind thanks and mention how you made it so that they can be healthy and active. Statements like that can show how you’ve done it for their well-being and not for just yourself which will make them feel valued and loved.
7. Create Healthy Alternatives to Favorite Dishes
Wanting to eat healthily does not necessarily mean dropping the foods that you like. If your family likes pasta, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, and other similar foods, naturally come up with healthy alternatives that use whole wheat and other healthy alternative ingredients. Many times, it is the ingredients and way in which a dish is created that contribute to how healthy it is rather than the dish itself.
8. Replace Fruit Juices with Whole Fruits
If your family tends to enjoy drinking fruit juice, swap it out with tasty whole sources of fruit such as berries, apples, and pineapple. The issue with fruit drinks is that they are extremely high in sugar and many will drink a full glass. Just one full 12-ounce glass of orange juice could be equivalent to eating about 2 to 4 oranges and could contain around 36 grams of sugar.
9. Make the Meals Look Appealing and Fun
People like to eat with their eyes. The moment that they look at a meal, their eyes will go to the colors, presentation, and portion sizes. By making the foods look colorful, fun, and well portioned, you will get much more cooperation in eating the meal.
(Click here to view some fun and healthy family recipes)
10. Buy Healthy Snacks
Both children and adults enjoy a nice easy snack now and then. Snacks are great to munch on while cooking, when heading out the door on a road trip, or just whenever preparing a full meal can’t happen right away. By having healthy snacks such as high-fiber bars, protein drinks, fruits, baby-cut carrots, peanut butter, and dark chocolate, you enable the family to get still in those quick bites. But the nutrition provided supports good health which they will thank you for in the end.
11. Cook with Flavor and Mix it Up
When cooking healthy, it is important to fit a lot of vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, lean meats, and healthy fats into your meals. However, some of these foods taste very bland on their own. By utilizing fresh seasonings, sauces, using a grill, and focusing on the flavor, you can make a delightful meal. Sometimes even just a simple tiny pinch of sea salt can turn a dish from bland to delicious.
12. Make Shopping in Healthy Places a Family Affair
Perhaps you like to go to the farmer’s market or a nice grocery store such as the Nugget to grab some healthy produce and food. Take your family with you when you shop and let them choose things they like or want to try healthy selections.
13. Shop Produce First
When entering the grocery store, make the produce department your first stop. What this action does is help to train your brain to focus on planning meals and snacks around fruits and vegetables. Once you select all of your produce, you can then work you’re way around the store and buy healthy foods to complement the food you chose.
This will help your family learn to plan their diet around the healthiest foods first. (Talking about vitamin content, sugar, and fiber contained in produce can be a great addition as well)
14. Get Them Involved in Reading Nutrition Labels Carefully
Many people don’t realize how important the nutrition label on food products can be. But there are some very significant numbers such as fat, protein, carbs, saturated fat, sodium, sugar, fiber, and vitamin content that serve as an excellent road map to proper nutrition. Teaching your family to look at products for good characteristics such as low sodium, whole wheat as opposed to enriched, low sugar, vitamin A, C, D, B, iron, and so on helps them to realize what food contains.
15. Empower them with Knowledge
Many people don’t like the word “healthy” when applied to foods. But one great way to wake them up to how these foods help them is to let them read or see information on how these foods compared to junk food. Perhaps fun videos and blog posts on what different vitamins do for their bodies as opposed to the adverse effects that junk food has. This gives them the ability to feel a sense of ownership and backed proof in terms of making these new changes.