What does advocating for yourself actually look like? It looks like having a cup of coffee with skim milk if you want while your friends each get a slice of chocolate cheesecake—and not feeling funny about it. It looks like telling your significant other or older children that they have to pitch in more with household chores because you need to have a half hour for exercise most days of the week. It looks like closing the bedroom door behind you for 20 minutes a day to collect your thoughts.
In other words, advocating for yourself means not letting guilt and social anxiety stand in the way of your own efforts to care for your body.
Enlisting Friends and Family
What does it mean to get your friends and family to support you in your efforts? It means that while you may have to respect their choice not to eat well and exercise regularly, they have to respect your choices. If everyone in the household is eating ice cream and makes fun of you for choosing a small yogurt with a little dried fruit mixed in, you have a right to tell them that they’re trying to sabotage your effort at something that is extremely important to you. You have a right to tell them that you want to be treated more respectfully.
If someone says it’s not "you" to be wearing sweat pants and working up a sweat during a brisk walk, you have a right to tell them that it is indeed you (and, perhaps, that you’d enjoy their company, if they’re up to it).
None of this means you should "preach" to loved ones about how they should live. But by the same token, you can demand not to be belittled or pooh-poohed.