What to do when your friends & family don’t support your healthy lifestyle

Getting support from your family and friends when you’re trying to make healthy lifestyle changes is not always easy.

Whether it’s from your spouse, kids, friends, or even co-workers, receiving negative feedback can be extremely discouraging.

Change is hard for a lot of people. And as you begin to change your life, it may cause others to feel uncomfortable.

The issues of weight loss, fitness and food can be deeply personal. Just the thought of them can bring up feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame and wounds from the past.

And while we can’t change the way our friends and family may respond to our new lifestyle, we can share our journey with them and do our best to understand where they may be coming from.

If you are feeling unsupported by your family and friends as you better yourself and your life in 2017, I encourage you to read these tips below and remember that we at The Balanced Life are ALWAYS cheering you on.

what to do when your friends & family don't support your healthy lifestyle

What To Do When Your Friends & Family Don’t Support Your Healthy Lifestyle

1. Share your why.

Instead of launching into a lecture about why exercise or healthy eating is important (which we know it is!), share about what led you to make this change. Did you find a workout routine that sparked enjoyment instead of your usual dread? Did you feel dissatisfied by all of the sweets you were eating? Were you just ready to feel better on a daily basis?

Letting people in on your journey will help them understand that you do actually need support and that this change is about you, not about them.

2. Be open about your struggles.

Sometimes friends and family get the impression that you’re now “better” than they are because you’re no longer eating the same foods and participating in the same activities (weekend drinking, dessert every night, etc.). Being open and honest about how hard it is to make changes and how you’re not perfect can help them feel less intimidated and may even inspire them to make a few changes too!

3. Ask for support and be specific. 

If you need support (and who doesn’t?!), ask for it. Whether it’s your significant other or close friends, let them know that this is challenging for you and you would like their support. If they don’t know that you are making these changes and that you are struggling, they may have no idea you actually need them and desire their support.

Additionally, it’s helpful to be as specific as possible in the kind of support you need. Maybe you just want your husband to try a new healthy recipe you made. Or maybe you want a friend to understand why you’re not ordering that second glass of wine. Whatever it is, speak up so those around you can be a part of your journey and understand where you’re coming from.

4. Remember that it’s probably not about you.

When we make healthy changes, it can make other people uncomfortable because they know they should be doing the same. Seeing others lose weight when their doctor has been telling them they need to do the same can bring feelings of guilt, insecurity, shame and jealousy. These feelings can get in the way of them being able to support and encourage you. Their negative comments or lack of support may be more about them and less about you. Keep this in mind and be gentle with them.

5. Remember that it’s not your job to change them.

Be mindful of how often you talk about your weight loss, workouts, food choices, and goals. While it’s good to share – you don’t want to talk about your workouts and weight loss all day every day. Find the friends that connect with you on that level (The Sisterhood is the perfect place for that!) and remember that sometimes the best way to inspire people is simply to lead by example in a way that is non-judgmental.

6. Turn negativity in to positivity. 

Hopefully you don’t have any close friends or family members telling you that you can’t make these changes, but if you do, I encourage you to use it to fuel your motivation and stick to your goals. Remember, YOU are the one that lives in your body each day. Not them. It’s YOUR life and trying to please others by selling yourself short  doesn’t help anyone.

7. Find a community that supports you. 

Whether in-person or online, find a community that understands and supports the changes you are making. So even if your co-workers don’t understand why you are passing on the office birthday cake, you can send  text or post a quick message in an online group to garner the support and encouragement you need.

It’s hard to make lifestyle changes and for those who struggle to find support, it can be even more difficult.

what to do when your friends & family don't support your healthy lifestyle

I hope these tips will help you recognize that while we can’t change others, we can (and should) seek out the support we need to better our lives and improve our health.

This is one of the reasons why I created The Balanced Life Sisterhood and if you are looking for support as you make health and fitness changes in the new year, I encourage you to check it out. As a member you will instantly have thousands of generous, positive, encouraging women cheering you on!


  1. Sara G 4 years ago

    These are great tips. I would also add: be mindful that other people may be in a really different place in their journey. I have a sibling who struggled with a serious eating disorder when she was younger and while she is a lot better these days, still has some struggles in this area. With that context I never talk about food choices or weight around her. The thing is — your coworker or friend could be in her same position, and you might never know it because obviously she doesn’t share this with every person she meets! While I endeavor to approach food choices, exercise, and weight loss from a healthy and balanced perspective, I also know that discussion around these topics could still trigger someone else in a not-so-great way, especially since our culture as a whole can tend toward really unhealthy approaches to them (especially for women!) So, I feel like it’s best to keep these topics to people I know are in a place to hear it and respond in a healthy way.

  2. Jamie 4 years ago

    Such good advice! It’s so sad that such a personal triumph like weight loss, healthy choices, or personal care can be shame-inducing simply because someone else is insecure about THEIR own choices/weight/life. On the flip side, though, when someone does offer a compliment on how I look or my healthy choices, it is often a struggle to respond without self-deprecating or brushing off the comment.

  3. Michelle M 4 years ago

    Thank you for this great post, Robin.

  4. Christan Perona 4 years ago

    This is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read…

  5. Lori in NY 4 years ago

    This is really difficult when your spouse (who has health challenges but makes no effort to work on them), tries to sabotage your personal healthy changes (example – he put a gluten-filled topping on the dinner I started when he knows I’m trying to eat gluten-free as much as I can). It’s disheartening…. 🙁

    • K Ann Guinn 4 years ago

      So sorry for the lack of support, Lori! I know it’s not quite the same, but just remember that you have a BUNCH of “sisters” who are here for you! Have you ever tried to talk to him in some of the ways Robin mentioned above and asking for his support? And maybe “let” him have his topping of choice on his portion of the meal so he doesn’t feel you’re controlling him (most men don’t like that, I’ve found!). Either way, feel free to share with us when you need a listening ear and I’ll pray you find someone close to you who can also be a true friend in this area.

  6. K Ann Guinn 4 years ago

    Thanks, Robin. These are great points, and I hope they help many of our friends and “sisters” in the Balanced Life and the Sisterhood. This is truly a place where we can find (and give) support and encouragement!

  7. Charlotte VanderBent 3 years ago

    Recently someone told me to just wear yoga pants (stretchy) and not worry about the weight I had been gaining. They were trying to be encouraging, I think, but that remark really sparked my motivation to lay of the sweets and get my jeans to fit right again.

  8. Stephanie 3 years ago

    I have a long-time struggle with support at home. I come home from the gym with a big water bottle (i am trying to work on drinking more water) and instead of recognizing my efforts, I get “Well…you should have taken spring water, not tap water” Like REALLY?!?! I am pretty active and have tried lots of gyms and boot-camp style classes. My husband works out daily too, but more free weights, etc. Whenever he has switched to a new gym I have always went with him once or twice to check it out, workout together, etc. But in all my years..he has never once went with me to a workout; altho I ask every time I am at a new gym or they have a friends/family day. Always has an excuse or something negative to say about the workouts Im doing compared to his. I have always had friends at the gym who are super supportive, but sometimes you just need it from the ones closest to you.

  9. Anita Stugelmeyer 1 year ago

    Love this! Thank you! It is really hard to make lifestyle changes without support. I am blessed that my husband supports me. There are those who don’t understand (or say they don’t). The Sisterhood is great. Thank you Robin!🙂

  10. Janet Williams 4 months ago

    Once my children were out of the house, my husband started to support me. He realized that he needed to make some changes as well. We have been able to support our weight, mostly. I still have times I need to eat more salads! But over all it has worked for us. He doesn’t do pilates with me but he does exercise on his own.

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