People Pleasing: Bringing Others With You
You often hear the phrase 'weight loss journey'. If you've lost weight yourself you'll know why. You go through a huge range of emotions and personal challenges. No doubt you've done a fair bit of self-reflection and soul searching. You will be fully aware of the journey you have been on but all other people see is their loved one acting differently. If you want support in making changes it can help to bring other people with you on that journey.
Making the decisions to commit to losing weight usually takes place over a long period of time and it's a process that is largely internal, at least to begin with. From the outside other people can't see this transition and often they won't be fully be aware of it until they see the end result-a change in your actions. Other people can see their loved one acting differently but they often don't appreciate what they've gone through to get to this point. Sometimes we forget that what is self-evident to us on the inside isn't so obvious from the outside. If we want to gain support and commitment from those around us it can help to bring them with us as we change.
The Change Curve
When you start your weight loss journey you go through a range of different emotions and move along a 'change curve':
Shock: You look at a picture of yourself, receive a comment or see how something fits in the mirror. It's a shock as you were not aware of how bad things have become.
Denial: You stick your head in the sand as you refuse to believe what you've seen. You tell yourself: "It's bloating" "It's holiday weight" " They make the dress sizes smaller these days"
Anger: You get angry or frustrated, either with yourself or other people.
Resistance: You resist the idea the idea of facing up to reality and try to rationalise away all the reasons for being overweight.
Resignation: You resign yourself to your fate. At this point you are feeling low having been faced with reality. You tell yourself "This is just how I am".
Exploration: You become curious about the possibilities and opportunities. You might start casually enquiring about healthy eating ideas, diets or fitness programs. You think, "My friend is doing well on their diet, I wonder how it works".
Hopefulness: You start to focus on the benefits of making a change. You realise that there is much to be gained and you begin to spot the opportunities you have to make positive changes.
Acceptance: You accept that if you want different results you have to act. By now, you know that you and no one else can change things for you.
Commitment: You make a decision and act. You commit to a course of action that will get you what you want.
Bringing Others With You
You will be very conscious of journey but this won't have been obvious to anyone else. All they see is the change in your behaviour. To those around you, to those emotionally invested in you, your change in routine can take a bit of adjusting to. We need to remember they also need to go through this change curve in order to adapt to what is happening. We need to bring them along on the journey.
See if you can spot where your loved ones are on the change curve. You might hear things like this:
Shock: "What are you doing that for?"
Denial: "You don't need to change you're fine"
Anger: "It's a waste of time and money"/"This is really disrupting our routine"
Resistance: "How are you going to find time?"/"What I am supposed to do when you go off to your meeting?"
Resignation: "You're really set on doing this aren't you"
Exploration: "Eating healthily a few times a week could be good for us both I guess". How many times a week? How much does it cost?"
Hopefulness: "Once you've lost the weight, you might stop hiding in our holiday photos"/"When you feel better about your weight maybe we can go dancing/walking/cycling again".
Acceptance: "So what's your plan?"
Commitment: "What can I do to help?"
Everyone goes through this curve when faced with a change. Some people will move long this curve quite quickly, this could be a matter of minutes. Others will need a period of weeks or months. Sometimes people get stuck in a particular part of the curve and need some help moving on.
What can I do?
1. Spot where your loved ones are on the change curve.
2. Think of what might be causing them to be stuck if they are struggling to move on from a particular phase. Remember some people just need more time than others.
3. Think about what you could do to help coach them to move on. Sometimes this simply involves sharing your journey and explaining what you've discovered about yourself or why this is important to you.
4. You can't make someone move through the curve. If someone doesn't move forward do what you can then simply focus on you and what you want to achieve. Chances are when they see you are committed they will accept it even if they don't offer support.
5. Prepare for future curves. Change is constant. When you achieve your goal be conscious of your journey through the curve as you adapt to new challenges ahead.
Where are you on your journey?
What about your loved ones?
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