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Should You Keep Your Weight Loss Plan a Secret?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Most people who decide to make a lifestyle change will tell at least a few others about their intentions.  All of a sudden you’re buying more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and you’ve dusted off those gym shoes to go for a walk a few times a week.  Something is up, but how many people do you tell?  Do you tell anyone at all, or just let them figure it out for themselves?  New research shows that sharing your goals could negatively affect your behavior and success. 

Researchers at New York University explored the idea of an “identity goal”.  “In the case of weight loss, that goal is to be a successful dieter.  To reach an identity goal, you need indicators of your accomplishments. For a dieter it could be pounds dropped or praise from friends/family when they see how great you look.  Studies found that when you tell people what you intend to do, and that intention is acknowledged, the recognition qualifies as an indicator of accomplishment.”  The theory is that the sense of accomplishment makes you feel like you’ve already reached a goal.  This feeling then gives you less incentive to follow through with it.  Do you agree?

Researchers suggest creating an action plan to help you stick to the goal.  Instead of just saying “I want to lose 20 pounds”, develop steps along the way.  That way the sense of accomplishment isn’t complete until you’ve “lost 5 pounds by January 15th, 10 pounds by February 20th and 20 pounds by April 30th.”

Other researchers suggest that because human beings naturally have a problem with change, those around you will try to sabotage your efforts (consciously or not) by changing you back to what you once were.  One successful dieter said that she received comments such as “I liked you better as the fat friend,” from people she expected to be supportive of her goals.  Because of these reasons, some experts suggest keeping your weight loss goals a secret, or if necessary, only telling a few people.

I think everyone needs to do what works best for them, but I’m skeptical that keeping your goals a secret from everyone is beneficial for most people.  If you know that your family and friends won’t support your goals, reach out to others- like your friends at SparkPeople!  It helps to share the ups and downs of a healthy lifestyle journey, especially if it’s with others who are going through the same thing.  Surround yourself with those who want to see you be happy and successful. 

Do you keep your weight loss goals a secret from certain people in your life?  Do you find that telling others helps or hurts your progress?

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ARNETTELEE 3/17/2020
thanks Report
PATRICIAAK 2/17/2020
:) Report
CECELW 1/25/2020
I so agree. I have a lot of support...most of the time i should say Report
STARS2000 12/11/2019
Interesting. I shared my healthy lifestyle changes with a few people, but kept the details of my actual weight loss goals between me & my Doctor. Working fine for me. Report
KITT52 12/2/2019
I think it helps to talk about it Report
ERIN_POSCH 11/27/2019
thanks for sharing Report
KHALIA2 11/12/2019
Thanks! Report
PATRICIAAK 11/8/2019
:) Report
BEASGIRL 7/6/2019
I keep it pretty much just between my husband and me. My friends are super critical of each other and would definitely undermine my efforts. I tend to do much better if I lose slowly and my group would be asking me how much or whether I have lost every time I see them, which is frequently! I have recently lost about 17 pounds, but so far, not one of them has said anything to me. One lady in the gym locker room did notice and was very complimentary, so I do feel as if I'm making slow but adequate progress. Report
I think that most people view someone that has lost a lot of weight as somebody to be jealous of, it is a very rare person that congratulates you with real pleasure in your accomplishments particularly if they are overweight. In this day and age I look around me and find the majority of people are vastly overweight. I was waiting in a waiting room at a hospital the other day for a friend and noticed that 80% of the waiting room wasn’t just overweight but morbidly obese. Back when I lost 70 lbs I could tell that people were not happy or pleased for me, I never told anyone since I live alone and people I worked with back then were not particularly friends but mere acquaintances. I had lost over 50 lbs before someone noticed, guess wearing scrubs hides a lot lol. I got an amazing amount of negative remarks, people wondering if I was sick, telling me the weight would just come back on in a few months. That does not give me a sense of accomplishment, but I don’t need other people to acknowledge something before I feel proud of something I accomplished. Report
KHALIA2 4/9/2019
I don't diet. I really don't care who knows. Report
I basically keep it to myself. I'm not on a diet; we changed our life style. We changed the way we eat in our home to support my husband who is diabetic. He doesn't necessarily follow everything when he's away from home but at least we both know the choices at home are good and making a difference. His A1C is consistent, hovering around 6 or 6.1. Daily glucose levels are consistent as well. I've lost 50 lbs. he's lost around 40. It's all good! Report
I have told a few people, all who I k is will be supportive and keep me accountable table. My husband is my workout partner and we keep each other motivated and on track. My co-teacher, so he would quit bringing in goodies to share and some friends in a fitness group. Other than that, keeping it to myself. Report
I have told a few people, all who I k is will be supportive and keep me accountable table. My husband is my workout partner and we keep each other motivated and on track. My co-teacher, so he would quit bringing in goodies to share and some friends in a fitness group. Other than that, keeping it to myself. Report
I made a major change to Keto diet after Thanksgiving, and had to tell my family, but dreaded it. When I told my sister she immediately made an unsupportive remark. I reminded her that when she chose to do weight loss surgery, I supported her though I did not agree with her decision. That was what she needed to do. After hearing that, she was supportive. After attending a client's Christmas party where I did not eat much, he made a remark that I would just return to my old eating habits. As a client, I did not feel the need to explain to him that I was in a different place. I just reminded myself that some people mean well and will try to be supportive. Others are intentionally negative, but at the end of the day, I have to answer to me, and do what is best for me. Report
I'm certain that a couple wicked witches at the office I work in are weight loss saboteurs and that it is definitely better to never tell them when I want to lose weight.
Sadly, sometimes it's true that misery loves company. Report
I'm keeping it to myself except for SparkPeople because I dont want to be dependent on others' opinion of me. It will be enough praise when I can get back into a size 14. If people notice and comment I will acknowledge but that's it. Report
I have learned through the years,"Don't tell anyone except my daughter."
I know my husband means well, but when I do tell him of my plans, he becomes my personal coach/trainer!!
It gets to the point that I when I get a hug, I feel he's become a human caliper and is checking how much my waist and butt have gone down in size. It could just be me.....:0)
I go to water aerobics and do all my favorite Wii exercises(games), which works well for me. I prefer my workouts be in the form of fun and playing.
I have a daily calorie range of 1200-1550.
Thirty years ago, I wore a size 4 and weighed 126 lbs.
Today, I am a size 8 and 160 lbs.
I'm going to be 61 in November and I think I've done fairly well with the weight considering menopause was thrown in the mix in my early 40s! :0)
Oh,yeah a hip replacement this past July has definitely helped with the movement thing!! Ha-Ha!!
Love my husband,but instead of looking at me look in the mirror,he might want to take a look his direction--the sand has shifted a bit with he,also. :0P
Power on Sparkers!!! Report
Yeah I'm careful of who I tell. Because if I tell too many people I'll lose focus and won't be successful. Interesting yeswhen they say you look good I wonder what looks have to do with it. So i was ugly before? What kind of friend are you. I like Spark people because we are in the same lane on the highway of life. We choose this and we know we are generally safe here to speak out. Report
I tried doing it all by myself... I even told a person or two. But I really like spark people because this is the first time I find myself being able to measure how I did... And it isn't a dispute whether people ought to healthy or careless here. It is everyone encouraging each other toward the same goal. I love it. Report
I prefer to keep it to myself as I seem to do better. If you tell people then they feel the need to become your personal advisor on what you should and should not be doing. This becomes very frustrating for me. Report
I would prefer to just keep it to myself. I guess I don't have a lot of faith in myself. Report
I'm a very private person. Very few people know that I am on this journey. I've been ridiculed in the past when I 'fall off the wagon", so to speak. It's for my mental health, peace of mind that only a couple of people know. I don't need or want the negativity that I have experienced. Report
Hmmm, I joined spark people to be held accountable by others! I guess I knew I would have support here. Report
Thanks. Just my husband knows as I have failed so many times. Report
I definitely tell my family so they can be prepared for changes in the kitchen. Report
I actually just didn’t tell people; I am incredibly private to begin with and I hate failing so it was easier for me not to tell. Report
#JANEWATKINS, @JANEWATKINS Sounds like you have hit upon your perfect solution ! Keep up the good work! I do think it's a good idea to be careful who you tell. Some will question why, others keep saying "have another piece", some say they don't see any difference & THEN SOME will actually encourage, say "good for you", "how can I help", and wow! you're looking good ! Have a great day !!! Report
#JANEWATKINS, @JANEWATKINS Sounds like you have hit upon your perfect solution ! Keep up the good work! I do think it's a good idea to be careful who you tell. Some will question why, others keep saying "have another piece", some say they don't see any difference & THEN SOME will actually encourage, say "good for you", "how can I help", and wow! you're looking good ! Have a great day !!! Report
I have done it both ways . . . and gone so far as to announce it on Facebook where at least 600+ people could see it and I've tried to do so secretly. Neither seems to work for me LOL. I am trying yet again and I'm not telling hardly anyone. My daughter and spouse know. That's it. So far 17 pounds. Think I'll just remain mum. My central tought around this is that at some point people will say, "Hey Jane! Are you getting skinnier?" THAT will be the day that I know what I'm doing is worth it. Report
I don't keep a secret, but I don't make it a big deal either. I can say "no thank you" without adding in a bunch of info about why I'm saying no. Report
I am keeping it a secret going forward, less pressure! Report
Some might be supportive, some may try and sabatoge your efforts and others may become the "food police"! I say keep it to yourself and let them be surprised by the new lifestyle choice. Report
Love SP. Report
what i'm doing with my life, my health, etc. is no one's business, so no, I will not share any of that stuff with anyone. (except my husband because he is supportive and I share everything with him) Report
My husband knows because he's very supportive but won't mention it if I don't. Also my mom knows because she's doing it too but also won't bug me about it. I've chosen not to tell anyone else because there are people that while trying to be supportive will harp on it every time I speak to them and it will just become too much pressure. That always throws me into rebellion mode and then i cut off my nose to spite my face by bindging. Report
i think it depends on your goal .. if your goal is to lose x number of pounds then you are working towards that goal and although support is nice it is not necessary
however if your goal is to be healthy and look better and feel better and live a healthier life then support of those around you makes it easier so telling everyone so they can help and not hinder
it is always nice when you get complements for family and friends saying how good you look
Thank you Report
I always did better at the things I kept to myself. I never told my family & friends I planned to lose weight... I just did it and because I was so slow most didn't realize I was 50 pounds lighter (212 lbs down to 162lbs/ five foot seven) because they saw me every week along the way. Report
interesting Report
January 2018 I shared my goals with family. I created a family FB page for those of us wanting to lose weight and have a healthier 2018. I've had 6 family members join the group. Every week we post a pic with our weekly weight. We post healthy recipes, when we workout, encouraging posts, and share our daily struggles. Every family member has lost weight and continues to lose. It was the first time I ever admitted to family that I weighted 275 when starting...(I'm sure they could have guessed by looking at me but it was my way of being accountable). Anyways I'm now at 249 and on my way down. Our monthly goal is to lose 4%...some months some of us have hit the goal and others have not. But every month we do lose. Its been a great support and when we are together we eat healthier and do more active things. I'm all for it but to each its own! Report
I’ve shared with those I anticipated to be supportive. One I was surprised that she (discretely) commented I would not make my goal, but all the others commended my decision to be healthier & have provided positive support & feedback on my journey so far. I’ve adjusted exactly how much or what I shared with who based on their past attitudes & opinions. So far this has worked really well this LAST time around (I hope). However, everyone’s different & each person needs to follow the approach which is successful for them. Report
I don't diet, I use moderation. Report
A good one! I try and share with those who support me. Report
I told my boyfriend
And his response was magic
If you doing this for yourself i will support you
What do you need me to do for you Report
Sadly, my support doesn't really come from home, although some family members pretend to help - but it's not the help I need and want. It's whatever they think is "helpful" even when I tell them it's not helpful. It's even worse because I'm trying to make lifestyle changes and the resistance on that is huge... even if it isn't "just a diet". It's still change and family and friends are resistant to change. Report
I don't tell my family anymore, because they don't think I need to lose weight. I try to explain that I am mainly trying to be healthy, but I just get comments like "Oh, you're always going on a diet." or "Oh, I've heard that before." so I just don't say anything now. My husband is absolutely no support. I get my support from spark people. Why open myself up for negative comments? It depends on the kind of support you can get from family and friends whether it is a good idea to share with others what you are doing. Report
reat info! Report
I didn't tell anyone. In about 5 year's I have lost total 80 pounds. Pretty much No one really commented. Until the last 10 pounds were gone.. Report
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