4 min read

Weight Loss Is Your Responsibility

This is the flip side to the post I wrote last week and a key detail I may have left out.

These days, I sort of consider it my role in life to help people discover perspective for themselves. To help them understand, on their own terms, when they are in water.

Truth be told, you can’t just tell someone they are in water and expect them to understand.

It might actually be the worst thing you can do.

Ever try to force your kids to pick up after themselves?

Ever tell your spouse that they need to spend less money?

Ever tell someone you thought they were just flat out wrong?

What almost always ensues?

Get in an argument, and during that argument the person you want to change, only gets their back up about the aspect of their behavior that you are attempting to change.

The harder you push to convince them they need to change, the harder they resist making the change.

People act defiantly and rebelliously when faced with brute force, especially in one on one settings.

There may be one exception: The Group Setting, is a little bit different.

At Delancey, a new-age rehabilitation centre for criminals, new recruits are put into groups of 10, with one mentor who has been at the centre for at least a year.

The group is actively encouraged to be honest with those in their surroundings, with every attempt made for the 10 people to relate heavily to one another.

This means the group eats together, bunks together and generally does almost everything together. It also means the group gets together 3 times a week to vent to one another.

If I point out a flaw in you, try to change you, your reaction is most likely that of denial or you push back. The harder I try to convince you, the harder you resist being changed.

After all, I’m only one person, what do I know?

However, in some group setting environments — I’m not sure all work and I’ll tell you why in a minute — when 9 people say the same thing about you repeatedly, there is heavy consistency to the message.

The message is repeated so frequently, you are much more likely to believe it is true.

Thus, you are that much more likely to recognize that everybody else sees this in me, what can I do to change that?

If everybody is doing it, why shouldn’t I?

That is part of the reason I am leaning towards more use of group training surroundings as they pertain to fitness.

I think the power of the group may be far more effective for the majority of people, than simply a one-on-one setting.

I will never give up on one-on-one sessions mind you, — they have value still — I just plan to experiment more with group settings.

Why wouldn’t group settings work?

Here are some circumstances when I feel a group setting might not work completely:

1) The group cannot relate to one another. 

Similar ages, backgrounds, and like-minded people need to be present for groups to be most effective.

2) People are not willing to reciprocate the gestures.

People need to be actively involved in the process of change, for themselves and others. This means participating in the group.

3) Inconsistency to the message. 

Say one thing, do another. One person says this, another says something unrelated. The message needs to have a solid theme.

4) There is no sense of urgency to change.

If the message isn’t repeated enough, by enough people from a position of influence, then some people may not be left with a sense of urgency to change.

I’m much more likely to change if I have several good friends tell me something, than simply a couple of acquaintances.

5) There is no real coach/mentor/guide present. 

This person would have the necessary skills for mediating the sessions and moving things along. They also serve as an ‘authority’ on the subject of discussion.

6) There is no end in sight.

We don’t want to constantly be battered in a group environment and tied to something that doesn’t eventually start to make us feel good.

Positive influences need to eventually become obvious to the situation. We want to see where we can go, what we can accomplish and observe others in that position.

There may be more and there are certainly good strategies out there for enlisting people. This might be why interventions are a common approach to change under dire circumstances.

Assemble your group!

If you don’t have the advantage of a group-setting to help tell others when they are in water, what else can you do?

Well certainly don’t criticize or judge, cast blame or be forceful.

Instead try something like this:

1) Encourage

Use positive reinforcement to point out good qualities and good things that happen along the way.

When someone has done a behavior that is good for the direction of the desired change, latch onto it and praise the crap out of it for a little while anyway…

2) Use Imagery

The brain doesn’t really feel with the linguistic part of the brain, so we have a hard time expressing how we feel.

Ever used the term, ‘it just doesn’t feel right’?

We use that term because our brains have a very difficult time expressing what it is feeling via words. I

mages are far more effective, so rather than talk about what, try to paint a picture with your words or find your inner artist and draw.

3) Build Trust 

Trust is essential for any relationship, but if you want someone else to believe what you’re telling them, they absolutely must first, have a deep level of trust and respect for you.

4) Embrace Adversity

No one said this would be easy so prepare yourself for some rough patches.

The process of change is hard, the process of trying to get someone to realize when they are in water is hard, so willingly understand that there is no easy path for either of you.

5) Change Yourself

Recognize that we all have the power to change ourselves, not others. Sometimes I must admit, you’d be amazed what you are able to get out of others simply by changing yourself.

Not only does it inspire the people around you, but you’ll find yourself realizing that you couldn’t control what other people do anyway, so why fret about it.

Generally, try to be as loving and as supportive as you could possibly be and you’ll lure people from the water. Take the other approach and they’ll probably sink deeper.