Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What I need from you to help me be successful...

They say that change is hard and the having a strong support network is critical to sustained life choice adjustments. 
After trying many diets and exercise programs or having them thrust upon me (by parents or loved ones) I'm taking steps to ask for and get the support I need.  As you can see by the picture to the right, I've had a long history of being over weight. Even at this age (6-7 years old) I was being told what to eat. 
Chubbie Girl - circa 6-7 years old

Now much older (and maybe wiser) I'm in charge of my destiny. A step I took last year was to apply to the "Be a Loser" contest at Five Seasons Club. It was challenging to go into a room and discuss how I arrived at being morbidly obese and what I was willing to do to turn a new leaf. One of the key questions asked was "Do you have a support network?" The answer is yes!

Do you have someone in your life who is looking to make a big change and you might be asking yourself 'How do I support someone on a diet or who needs to lose weight?" Are you looking to help those around you be better supporters? Well here's my guide (Part 1) to what I'm looking for in my support network. 

Applications being accepted online :)  This is just my perspective - it might not be right for everyone.  

Here's What You Could Start Doing:
  1. Learn about my new leaf and changes I'm making.  What do I mean when I say I'm turning over a new leaf? What am I changing? What is my exercise and food plan? What times have I blocked off for going to the club and other activities? 
  2. Find a way to participate that fits your strengths!  Given what you've learned about my life changes - how can you get involved? Know some great light-fresh food recipes? Care to take a walk with me?  Take me to the beach or walking in the mall. If you can in some way join me in what I'm doing - that will make it more fun for me and I'll really appreciate it! Also don't underestimate the power of exposing me to new activities which I might have previously discounted. For example I have recently gone boxing and biking which I hadn't done ever or in years. This was at the gentle support of friends. 
  3. Be positive. I'm excited about the trajectory I'm on. I appreciate it when you are positive with me! The more you believe in me - the more I believe in me. However, I'm a bit of an introvert so don't be overly Rah-Rah, that will seem phony to me LOL
  4. Listen and don't make judgments. Ask me how I'm doing and listen to the successes and set-backs without offering either an overly rosy picture or judgmental comments. Oh and know that I'm going to talk a great deal about exercise and calories :) I'm going to appreciate your listening to that over and over again. 
  5. Get down with the changes - don't disappear. Girl's night out used to be drinks and dinner. So maybe going forward we might need a new place to  eat that has a healthier menu or maybe we can pick an activity that supports my exercise goal too. You could always count on me to bring over some tasty baked treat - and I still will, but I'm not eating it, not even one bite. Thank you for not pressuring me in that regard. Sometimes life changes mean the circle of friends changes, like when everyone has kids or gets married. Let's not let this happen. Don't wait for me to ask you do be a part of the change - jump on with me. Get proactive. Ask me how I'm doing in my new LIFE!
  6. Help me celebrate even small successes! No chocolates or cakes necessary. For me, celebrating shouldn't involve eating or exercising! A movie, flowers, card  or a "Good Job" on a post or twitter update will help make my day.  For example here is an extract of an email I received from a blog reader just this past week, that brightened up my whole day:

    • "Teresa, I just wanted to say how happy I am for you and all your success!  I know it is not easy to achieve what you have and takes a lot of work and commitment.   You are a very determined and dedicated individual whom I knew ... would succeed ....    

      I’m sure your family is very proud of you as are we all are...  GREAT JOB – keep up the hard work and I look forward to reading your weekly updates.

      Please let me know if I can help you in any way"
  7. Let's create something to look forward to as an incentive. One of the keys to being happy is looking forward to something. There are lots of interesting and fun things to do as a reward for achieving a milestone. I'm working on this - what is on the horizon? I'm trying to think of something that not only reinforces my life changes but also provides further encouragement. What has been on my bucket list? hum....I recently celebrated mid-year with the purchase of a bicycle. That doesn't seem to quite hit the mark. I used to go back-country hiking and camping, that seems like a great thing to do again.
That's me! Backpacking - Arapahoe National Forest. 
Here's What I Find Annoying so You Might Stop Doing:

  • Don't tell me what to do!  I've a program I'm following and I'm fortunate to have a great team of professionals helping me make the right choices. Sorry but you are not calling the shots. If you start making suggestions you are either questioning my team, finding fault, making assumptions or guessing. Please don't suggest fad diets, medicines, supplements, some herbal tea that worked for your sister, cousin, neighbor, etc. When I was younger, when my parents or siblings would tell me what to eat or what activities to do, the result was almost always me feeling bad about myself and eating those emotions.
  • Don't tell my story for me.  I know that you are excited about my success, that's great. Yet it can be so discouraging to be introduced as "my friend that just lost/is trying to lose 100 #."  I need my team to respect my privacy and personal boundaries.   
  • Don't become obsessed about my diet/exercise.  There are many other aspects to my life, let's not let all our conversations be about what exercises I did or what I ate. I bring it up ok, you ask a casual question - also OK. You ask me 50 questions, not OK. I appreciate it that you care about all of me :) under any circumstances. My parents policed everything I ate - boy did that backfire! Unless you are my trainer or nutritionist - don't get into details about my choices. 
  •  Don't bring me treats, offer me bites, or tempt me to take time off.  On a related note, temptations are around every corner. I make 100's of decisions every day regarding my plan.  Please respect my choices of foods or activities. Don't bring my candy or treats. Please don't tell me one bite won't matter, one candy bar won't hurt. My daughter went to the store the other night and asked if I wanted her to bring me back some white chocolate. I replied "You realize you are offering my crack, right?" Food addict in recovery here!
  • Don't mention my prior diet success or failure. My mom used to say "It didn't work last time, I hope this time will be different." Wow, that was a dagger right through my heart! I know my history. I don't really need a reminder. I'm staying focused on the now.

My parting shot I thought I would provide you the classic - fat pants image at mid-year. As I did post about my BUTT METER, here I am wearing my old jeans - lots of extra room and baggy butt!  

Teresa Marie New Leaf - July 2015 (Butt Meter - LOL)
OK, too much time sitting and writing this. Time to get moving.
Have a great day!
As always - THANK YOU for your support!

Teresa Marie 

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