Your support system will be crucial when it comes to any behaviour or lifestyle change.
That’s why it’s critically important that those around you, even if it’s just 1-2 people, support you throughout the course of your journey.
This is played out pretty frequently with couples in particular who embark on the journey of improving their health and wellness together.
When I first get them started, I heavily emphasise the fact that they will be each other’s biggest support system.
It usually goes one of two ways…
Either they’re the dream couple, they both ruthlessly pursue their goals, they inspire each other, they encourage each other.
When one is feeling a little lower, the other one lifts them up and vice versa.
This is the best case scenario.
On the other hand we have the situation where one of the individuals isn’t quite as motivated or committed to achieving their goals.
They skip workouts, eat off plan and don’t stick to the commitment they made.
It can be incredibly challenging for the other individual in the couple who’s really trying to make a positive change when the person who’s closest to them, shares the same bed as them isn’t as committed.
When you’re trying to make these changes, there will be a lot of time where you’re getting pulled back into your comfort zone.
If your partner is encouraging you to ‘take a day off’ and say ‘one meal won’t hurt’ it can make this more of an uphill battle than it needs to be.
I’m sure you can predict the outcome of which couple is much more likely to succeed.
So that’s worth considering if you are in a relationship and want to begin a journey.
Now I want to bring it back to the family and friends example and I’ll begin by saying this…
It is YOUR responsibility to make sure your friends and family understand how important this journey is for you.
As quite often, they just don’t really understand, it would be nice if they automatically understood but it’s not always the case... (I’m not excusing ignorance, as there can be an element of this too)
So when you get going, make it clear that you’ve invested time, energy, finances into starting your journey because it’s incredibly important to you.
You want to feel better, look better, live a better quality of life.
You may even want to open up and tell them the deeper reasons why you’re getting started.
Whether you’re beginning because you’re lacking confidence, you're worried about getting health conditions, you can’t keep up with your kids etc.
It’s pretty natural you’ll get the, ‘you look fine, you don't need to lose weight, you eat healthily’ etc…
The most important thing for you to remember:
They’re your goals.
It’s your body.
It’s your life.
This shows you’re serious and for the most part, your family does want to support you, they simply don’t understand but by showing your reasons why and what you’ll be doing, you’ll help make this clear.
However, don’t expect this to be a concrete way of getting their unconditional support.
They probably will revert back to their belief systems and try and pull you back into bad habits etc.
The key is to be consistent with your commitment and follow through no matter what.
Focus on what you can control, you can’t control anyone else, you can only control your actions and behaviours.
This may be a tough pill to swallow but even if they don’t ever fully support you, this should not matter, you’ll have to find a way to politely disregard the comments they make, even if they are the closest people to you.
You may have to have more difficult conversations but the more you commit and follow through, the stronger the dedication to your goals and new lifestyle will be and in fact, this will only make you stronger.
I like to look at this like the character in your favourite movie, at some point during the movie, they went through some type of adversity and their journey wasn’t straight forward.
And this actually made their story better and probably led you to liking them more.
If it was all sunshine and rainbows from start to finish, it probably would’ve been a boring movie, right?
My personal story wasn’t straightforward either - sorry mum, dad.
When I first started my journey, I was obsessed with health and fitness, I loved it, I did endless research on the topic.
I would look for the diets and training plan of David Beckham, Zac Efron, to find out how they were training, what they eat as I thought their physiques were aspirational, haha.
It wasn’t as easy to get information back in 2009/10 as it is now, there wasn’t such a wealth of information but I did my best to adopt some new habits but I was still a kid and my parents were still cooking food for the family…
I discovered protein and raided my freezer, looking through the nutritional labels to find protein sources.
Frozen breaded chicken breasts, fish fingers and vegetarian burgers became my ‘go-to.’
So I’m coming back from playing football one day, expecting my new high-protein repertoire that they knew I was having daily…
What’s on the table, an ENTIRE plate of pasta.
As a young kid, I was distraught.
“I need protein, pasta doesn’t have protein in it, it only has carbs, I need protein.”
I ate pasta on the day but you can bet damn sure that I remained extremely persistent about getting protein in my diet the next day, the next week and started cooking my own meals moving forward.
I begun buying protein powder which I found in the Argos catalogue.
I turned to eggs to bump my protein up further.
I bought a George Foreman grill so I could get leaner chicken breasts.
I made sure that I was sticking to what I believed would help me make progress.
So it wasn’t that they were unsupportive, they were just doing the best with the knowledge they had.
They believed I needed a ‘balanced diet.’
Not realising that I was onto something, not the best food sources initially per se but I had the right intentions.
Then when it came to training, they would encourage me to stay active and exercise.
However, there would be times where they might want me to stay at home and rest not understanding that I wanted to go every day to pursue my new goals.
Then one day, I came home when I later became a personal trainer years in the future and my dad said, “I would’ve encouraged you to keep on going to the gym if I knew you were this serious and it would become a career.”
So it wasn’t that they were unsupportive, they just didn’t understand.
But due to my relentless commitment for years and years, they came to accept the new lifestyle I led.
So the main message of this story is that you have to follow through on your commitments to the point where they no longer question you.
And I get it, I was the first to break the mould in my family.
No one in my family didn’t do anything health and fitness related until I did, I didn’t come from a family with a healthy background.
I didn’t have friends that were doing what I was doing either.
I went to my first gym session with a buddy of mine but he never returned.
I stopped hanging out with my friends after school and went straight home and to the gym and I did it daily.
So I was pretty alone in my new lifestyle as no one at my age went to the gym.
What I began doing is I started watching YouTube videos on health and fitness.
I came across people like Scott Herman, Steve Cook, Elliot Hulse and watched their content religiously.
They weren’t real people I could talk to but seeing people live the lifestyle and hearing conversations about health and fitness, it gave me a support network.
So if you can find new friends, a community that can support you in the early stages especially, this can be incredibly valuable.
The final message I want to leave you with is that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether your friends and family support you or not, if you want to make a positive difference in your life, it shouldn’t matter who does and who doesn’t support you.
However, if you follow through for weeks, years, months and stay true to your commitment.
You’ll find that eventually they’ll accept you and your new way of life.