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Starting exercise with an unsupportive family

Community Member

Hey Guys,

I hope everyone is well!

exercise has always been such a problem for me. Don't get me wrong, i LOVE exercise (im not a fitness junkie), but i do love walking!

however, my problem has always been trying to maintain it. They say you need really strong external factors to maintain an exercise routine such as a supportive family. that's just not a solution for me. My family have no self control when it comes to eating and they do literally 0 hours of exercise.

I really want to change my life. How do i make these changes and also stick to them, while my family eats KFC in front of me the day i start the gym?

My eating is not in control either, so KFC and takeaway food is extremely tempting. Every time i start gym, i always end up "not going" after 1 month or 2. Im aware of the benefits of exercise, but i just can't seem to change the behavioural patterns in my brain to make these changes.

Does anyone have any advice to exercise even when my family is extremely unsupportive. (by the way, getting them involved in exercise isn't an option, because they just aren't interested and they actually demotivate me.)

Any advice would be highly appreciated.

7 Replies 7

Community Member

Hi Redrose,

I find myfitnesspal a great way to stay motivated with both food and exercise (though I am not able to manage either myself at the moment just fyi). My fitnessspal allows you to track both and provides some graphs of how you are doing etc.

If I were you, I would create 2 accounts (it is free), and on one track what you are doing and on the other track what would be happening if you ate the same as the family and did no exercise. The difference you see between the two should hopefully be enough to keep you on track.

I hope this helps. You can call it the Sliding Doors method haha.



Hi LostGirl,

okay thank you! i will definitely check it out 🙂

Community Member

Hi Redrose94. Trying to stick to any exercise/diet regime is hard enough, trying when your family is basically ignoring you is quite a different battle. Have you tried joining a club at the gym. I understand there is a type of circuit where you join a group of people working out together. I used to do this myself, you get so long on each machine, your instructor/ess then moves you to the next machine and so on. If you could try this for a while to give you the confidence to start, after a while your family's eating habits wouldn't be so 'in your face'. I am in a similar situation to you, I have the best of intentions, but food has always been my weak point too. Perhaps you could try moving to another room when your family are eating. During the day perhaps you could go for a bit of a walk when they're eating. In the evening, again try to remove yourself, have your food, then go for a stroll, watch t.v in another room, if possible. Carol's idea is a good one too, make two accounts, the pro's of eating too much as opposed to diet, exercise for health. Unfortunately, a bit of will power comes into it here. As hard as it is, tell yourself when they're eating, yuk, look at the damage they're doing. As I said, will power also comes into it. There are heaps of healthy weight watchers foods you can purchase from supermarkets. I would start looking at alternate supplement health food as well. I would also refrain from any further discussions regarding diet, exercise with your family for now. KFC is fine minus the skin, that's where the most fat is.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion


Turn every negative into a positive. Study how unmotivated your family members are and detest it internally.

My family is also a no exercise type. They will sit there at xmas and eat all day. I tend to use subtle hints. If a members offers me a bowl of cheesals I say "thanks but I've had my 6 I've allowed myself. Hinting they have a problem.

When they have KFC be strong and not like them.

My wife and I have been going to the gym for 9 months. We haven't lost a lot of weight but we are fit and healthy. Like smokers, watching my family eat constantly is repulsive. I can have low resistance to foods but to eat all day is not nice to watch.

Keep going and just learn to say NO more often.

Tony WK

Community Member

Hi Lynda!

your advice is really admirable, and i thank you! I have been thinking about joining the gym. I always seem to quit after a month or two. Im really trying ways of pushing through that monthly threshold, but it sometimes just gets too hard. Additionally, when i start to "lose" weight, my family starts noticing it, and i understand that it's their way of being supportive but i really hate it when people notice stuff about me, it kinda puts me in a limelight that i definitely don't want to be under!

but you're definitely right about taking myself out of the situation. I will definitely give it a good go! (although i'd probably be doing it a little way too often!) i appreciate your admirable words.

Hi White Knight!

thank you for taking the time to reply to me.

i admire your way which is direct. however, this just wouldn't work for my family, they just don't care about about other people's lives. What would happen in the cheezel situation in my family is they would degrade the person who only have 6 cheezel instead of getting offended. It's just how my family is. Furthermore, because I am one of the youngest relatives, my opinion doesn't really count, I have to become really angry or frustrated before anyone listens to me (this has since changes, because i didn't give into this kind of treatment).

I'm extremely happy for you and your wife, and im really glad you found something to do with your partner that is rewarding both for your relationship and mutually beneficial for both you and your wife's physical and mental wellbeing. Weight is seriously not a big deal. I find that whoever starts an exercise regime with the intention to lose weight, always ends up failing, it's from my personal experience too.

i will start to say no more, and i will try to be more aware of when im being enabled by my family.

Thank you!

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hey Redrose94

Looks like you've got a few things to think about from other members already, just thought of a couple other things for you.

OMG, how hard is it when you've made a tough resolution to eat less and the good old family comes and whacks your favourite food on the table? And of course there's PLENTY for you too. Thanks heaps, huh? My mum did the same for 30 years whenever I lived in the family home (on and off). I finally sat her down one day, age 32, and told her about my eating disorder and she was so sad. I told her how much my poor body image was impacting on my happiness and how I *still* felt I had no control over eating whatsoever. She said she didn't know. I maintain she should have known. However, maybe she didn't want to know? Or maybe she wasn't looking? I don't know. Maybe my enjoyment of her yumm-o meals meant so much to her that she didn't see what else was happening? What did happen after that was she asked me how she could help. And she actually did. It was still a lot of hard work to lose weight and if you want to know how I've been doing it, read my other post that I wrote to kay.laaa earlier. (I've been going to the gym for 4 months and am still going!!!)

Ahem, back on topic. Of course not everyone is going to have a family who responds in that way. It's ok if you don't it just means it's a bit different. And I agree with earlier posts that you're going to need a lot of willpower and assertiveness! But, just think about a few things. Why might your family be standing in the way of you losing weight? Even if they love you dearly, something might be just coming in between them and helping. Could they feel that it's just impossible to stop eating themselves? (That's not true, even though it might seem that way granted!!!, but not everyone has worked that out) Do they place any value on maintaining a healthy eating pattern? Some people just don't care if they are unfit and turn into food-vacuums, and find it hard to imagine that other people don't all feel the same. They might think it's just another silly idea formed on a whim. But if you're here we know that's not the case.

I think it might be worth a try letting your family know how important this is to you again. And if that doesn't work I think it says more about them than it does about you. Have a think and get back to us here. I've been where you are and I know it isn't much fun. Please let me know how you go, always available for more advice if you like.