I need to help a friend

I have a friend who needs to lose weight (quite a few stone) she has no willpower and is always going to start after something or other and never does start. I want to help her lose weight but don't want to lose her as a friend and can't keep nagging her. She has seen me lose two stone and I have shown her how HealthUnlocked can help with NHS 12 week plan and how MyfitnessPal makes calorie counting easy. Anyone any ideas how to encourage someone who really doesn't want to diet although is out of breath after just a short stroll and keeps saying she must


Featured Content

Join the NHS Weight Loss Plan

Join over 40,000 others on our 12-week diet and exercise plan. Keep motivated to develop healthier eating habits & get more active.

Get Started!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

14 Replies

  • A motivational interviewing (MI) technique; developing discrepancy. Get your friend to explore the reasons for behaving as she does, highlighting any consequences she mentions such as being out of breath. Are there times when your friend doesn't behave in the unhealthy way? It works best if you can reflect positive behaviour, like "when you lost that half a stone you found walking much easier didn't you?".

    I think what a lot of people suffer from is thinking that the new habits will be harder and less fun. That doesn't have to be the case, and taking a little time to find what new habits will be fun is a good investment of time for your friend.

    Personally, I like the satisfying way I eat now and can't imagine going back to feeling like having to eat every two or three hours for example.

  • This is a tricky one, and agree nagging doesn't work. Try to get her to talk about her food issues, and perhaps comment on how well she has done in the past?

    Wouldn't it be lovely If there was a magic wand we could wave and everyone could feel the benefits of weight loss?

    Best wishes


  • It's good you want to help your friend, well done. :)

    However, you've shown her you're concerned for her health and guided her towards useful resources that could help her. However, you could end up pushing her away if you go on too much. I know that when I was very big (I was over 15 stone when I started here) I dug my heels in when people tried to push me to lose weight. They just made me want to comfort eat to make myself feel better and although you're saying these things out of concern (as were the people who did the same to me) it certainly does not feel like that to the person targeted. To me at any rate, it felt a little pushy, nosy even. I did not appreciate it and I can honestly state that my reasons for eventually wanting to lose the weight was not for those people. It was the health scare of my father that finally made me think. He has had 3 heart attacks and he's not even 50 years old! His father, my grandfather, died really young from a heart attack - my father was just 15 years old when his father died. Seeing my own father wired up, not even able to use the toilet and visiting the ward was horrendous. I didn't want to end up like that. :( Unfortunately, this is usually the sort of thing that 'clicks' for people, a health scare to themselves or someone close to them.

    Baring that in mind I would take a step back from trying to get your friend to lose weight, be there for her and gently state you'll be there when SHE IS READY to lose weight. She has to want to do it for her, not before. This is extremely important.


  • Thank you I agree with everything you say but my friend is 75 years old and almost 17 stone, so lots of horrible things a stroke, heart attack or diabetes could be around the corner. This is my concern but as you say I cannot push it.

  • I get you're concerned but she has to want to change and at 75 years old she might be thinking 'Naff off, at this stage of my life I will live how I want' and that's perfectly okay - you don't have to agree but she is an adult that knows the risks...I'm sure her Dr also tries to help but in the end it's her own decision and to be perfectly honest I don't think anything you say will help at this stage.

    It's not that nice to hear, I know, but there it is. You may do things that she doesn't agree with or thinks is unhealthy but perhaps she holds her tongue. We all think others could do things to improve themselves but at the end of the day only that person can decide to do something and it has to be because they are ready and you pushing her could actually delay that possibility. You might be inadvertently adding to her emotional turmoil. Weight loss is not a straight forward thing - there are emotional issues to address and the baggage that comes with changing a life time of habits is not easy and sad as it is to say, nothing you say is going to do it.

    Just have a chat, saying you love her and when she's ready and if she wants it, you will help her. That's all you can do.

  • Maybe u need to fully explain to her how this is not a diet. It is actually a change of life, because she she doesn't have to stop eating things, she just has to make sure she eats the right amount of calories. Does she even know why she has put on all the extra weight. I didn't know until I came on here why my weight was extra and always struggled to lose weight no matter what diet I tried, because I always felt like eating less would make me lose weight which never helped. No I am eating the amount of calories my bmi says I am losing most weeks. This would be a good way to explain it and make sure she knows it all. Good luck with getting her to do it mate, hope it works for u. x

  • lucky to have a friend like you, congrats on your weight loss, if it works for you,she needs convincing it will work for her,I've been putting it off for a very long time,now its a daily battle which I realise it is for every overweighties,I'm trying to get my sense of humor, I don't have a friend who cares (yet!):)

  • hi images, I'm 68, maybe your friend believes that it's too late, hope you bring the age thing up, quite a few over 65s are achieving weight loss,and drop few years off!:)

  • Hi. Yes I lost 2 stone last year I'm 74 and feel heaps better for it 😀

  • glad to meet you, images, I weigh wed,your my inspiration,it's so hard sticking to plan, when I've failed so much for 6 months:)

  • Hi ary88

    It's good to chat with you too, please try and stick to your diet it will be worth it in the end. I feel so much better and still weigh very regularly I am determined not to put the pounds back on again.

    If I'm tempted looking in the window of a Patisserie Valerie I just remind myself how much nicer my clothes look, how much energy I have and how much further I can walk, no cake can taste that good!

    I wish you the very best of luck


  • thanks and thanks..have a lovely week:)

  • hi Irmagee, I'm 5ft 9 :)

  • Hi you are much taller than me I am only 5'2" so have to be very careful about putting the pounds back on. I don't know how much you have to lose but stick with it I know you can do it and it will be worth it.

You may also like...