The Weight Loss Support Contract

How to Ask for Help with Humor and Sincerity
Why social support matters in weight loss, and a helpful contract you can use to enlist the help of your loved ones!

It’s Saturday morning and I’ve just come home from the grocery store. Make that three different grocery stores and the farmers market. I’m making an effort to eat healthier. My weight has steadily crept up the scale and it isn’t moving south any time soon—unless I make a serious change.

As I’m standing in the kitchen, unloading my assorted bags, I realize my boyfriend is gonna know what’s up. A lover of my good southern cooking, his eyebrows have a tendency to reach for the sky when too many healthy options are floating around. And while I haven’t come out and told him I’m trying to make a change, he’ll know as soon as he opens the pantry door.

I’m stuck between wanting to tell him and not wanting to say a word. There’s no chance I'll tell anyone else.

I feel like I’ve been on a diet since I was 16 years old. At times, I’ve sought the support of family and friends only to feel the shame of failure later. I’m certain I’ve been judged at the dinner table with sidelong glances and disappointed frowns, and I’ve been ignored by friends who I thought were going to encourage me, only to find out I don’t live up to their standard.

Weight loss stinks. Or at least the process of beginning does. So the truth is, no matter how many times I start and fail, and how many times the people I care about let me down, I want support. And that support needs to be the right mix of harsh honesty and unconditional acceptance—yeah, maybe I need a swift kick in the booty to keep me on track, but I don’t need the judgement.

Know what I mean?

Of course you do…because we’ve all been here, right?

We all need the love of those around us, but asking for help is a two-way street. Weight loss is complex; both the supporter and supported have legitimate reasons to feel unsure of what to do. The fear of judgement is just as real as the fear of being relied on for accountability. It’s quite a responsibility. Yet no one can make it alone, at least not for long.

Plus weight loss can be uncomfortable to talk about, so many people don’t communicate what they truly need from their loved ones. So, in an effort to save relationships and hurt feelings, I’ve written my own Weight Loss Support Agreement. Feel free to offer it to loved ones and friends alike in good humor or as a starting point for a conversation—and add any points I may have missed that are unique to your situation and relationship!

The Weight Loss Support Agreement

This AGREEMENT is made on the _____ day of ____________, 20__ between

(A.)_________________________________________________ and

(B.)_________________________________________________.

OBJECTIVE

For party A to attain a new level of fitness and wellbeing by means of healthy eating, diet change, and exercise.

TERM

The partnership shall begin on the _____ day of ____________, 20__, and shall continue until all goals are met or until such a time that is agreed upon by both parties.

PARTY (A.) agrees to the following:

  1. To be honest in all dealings as laid out in the Objective.
  2. To acknowledge, with sincerity, the difficulty associated with holding someone Accountable.
  3. To remember at all times that he/she has asked (B.) to hold them accountable to achieve the above mentioned Objective.
  4. To not get offended when (B.) tells them to not take a piece of chocolate from the candy bowl or to eat a salad at lunch.
  5. To remember that (B.) only has good intentions and desires to see them be fit and healthy, live an enjoyable and productive life, and fit in the rides at Disney World.
  6. To fully embrace the support of the (B.), because they asked them to do this in the first place.
  7. To avoid avoiding (B.) when they screw up by eating ice cream or sleeping in instead of going for a run.
  8. Value the well-intentioned encouragement of (B.) and not get bent out of shape in moments of extreme Hangry-ness.

PARTY (B.) agrees to the following:

  1. To be honest in all dealings as laid out in the Objective.
  2. To understand that (A.) has displayed great trust in them by confiding their desire to attain a healthier weight and style of living.
  3. To acknowledge that eye rolling, tsk’ing, hand slapping, and any egregious physical gestures of disapproval are inadmissible forms of encouragement.
  4. In regards to encouragement, (B.) agrees to use wisdom and discretion when doling out inspiration or reinforcement.
  5. To acknowledge they have been chosen as a partner in “support” with great care and understand a weight loss journey is often intensely personal.
  6. To accepts that everyone needs, without judgment, a beer every once in a while and that moderation is the key to success.
  7. To attain a working knowledge of the difference between Judging (to form an opinion about) and the ability to hold (A.) accountable for their weight loss-related actions.
  8. To take this seriously no matter how many times (A.) has failed in the past, and also refrain from any mentions of previous failures.

BOTH PARTIES (A.) and (B.) agree to the following:

  1. This agreement shall become null and void the moment either party begins to feel uncomfortable in their role.
  2. Physical activities are strongly encouraged (just not every for every social meeting). No one ever wanted to take dance classes alone and baton twirling lessons are more fun with two people.
  3. Judgement shall never be passed on well-meant intentions. Trust, compassion, and polite but truthful declarations shall always be considered as well-meaning.
  4. To stay in good humor and remember that relationships, just like our physical bodies, are at times delicate and that they require love, care, and occasionally a drink of something stronger than water.

In witness whereof the parties have signed this Agreement.

Executed this _____ day of ____________, 20___.

_________________________________

Signature Party A

_________________________________

Signature Party B

Make it WayBetter

Think about the specific challenges and benefits that each of your loved ones brings to your weight loss journey, and incorporate those elements into the contract to make personalized versions that will help each individual support you most.