Like many Americans, you may be trying to focus on your weight-loss efforts in 2024.
And while you’re likely mapping out meal plans and exercising more, here’s a concept you may not have considered incorporating: keeping quiet.
“Weight loss is a deeply personal journey. Not all families are supportive of this decision,” Michelle Saari, a registered dietitian at EHealth project, who is based in Ontario, told Fox News Digital.
“When you share your weight loss goals, you might hear, ‘You don’t need to lose weight; you look fine.’ Though well-intentioned, these comments can undermine your personal choice,” she said.
She stressed that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your weight-loss decisions.
George Yang, the Philadelphia-based founder of Yanre fitness and OxygenArk brand, echoed that sentiment, saying that keeping your weight-loss goals private by not revealing them to others can be effective in reducing pressure from outside sources.
“A study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology mentions that social scrutiny can go a long way in increasing your stress, which can potentially lead to comfort eating,” he said.
He noted that in his experience over the years, those who are keeping their efforts private feel less stress, don’t have to be exposed to the public eye and are able to focus more on their goals.
Once your loved ones know you’re trying to lose weight, they may criticize what you’re eating and become the food police, said Saari.
Experts agree that this kind of behavior is not only rude but may even lead you down an emotional eating vortex.
Plus, said Yang, social circles can unintentionally hinder weight-loss efforts even if people aren’t actively making snide remarks or sharing their unwelcome thoughts.
“Psychological studies indicate that social dynamics can influence eating habits,” said Yang.
He said he’s seen cases in which individuals avoiding the spotlight managed to steer clear of peer-induced unhealthy eating patterns.
Another downside of sharing your weight-loss goals publicly, per Saari, is that family members might feel entitled to comment on your changing body.
“Research shows that such remarks can lead to disordered eating,” Saari cautioned.
“By keeping your weight-loss journey private, you’re more likely to develop a healthier relationship with food and your body, free from external judgments,” she said.
By contrast, keeping your objective to slim down to yourself can actually help you.
“Keeping your weight-reduction goals private can boost your internal motivation,” he said.
That so-called intrinsic motivation can contribute to the sustainability of long-term goal achievement, especially with something as personally demanding as weight reduction.
To stay accountable without sharing your journey, Yang recommends setting clear, measurable goals and tracking your progress regularly.
“For instance, setting a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day and tracking it with a fitness app can be a private yet effective accountability tool,” he said.
While privacy has its benefits, accountability is also key, Saari said as well.
Instead of revealing your goals to everyone in your circle in order to feel accountable, consider sharing with someone who’s on a similar path.
“This could be a friend also aiming for healthier eating habits,” Saari suggested.
“Such support can provide motivation, accountability and a space to share challenges,” she added.
“Just set clear boundaries first. Communicate what kind of support you find helpful and understand their needs, too.”
The bottom line: “Your weight loss plan is about making informed, personal food choices, not adhering to someone else’s standards,” Saari said.