Soul’s Physical Health Journey Part 2 of 13: Preparing – family / friends.

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Back in September, 2009, I laughed until I almost cried when I read a New Your Time’s article “Are your friends making you fat?”  (Click this link to read this article if you dare, for it’s a long one! )

I think this article should be mandatory reading for anyone about to consider making a life-long commitment to gain and maintain a healthy weight!  It covers all the important aspects of pro-actively creating a healthy, happy space to enjoy better health, one day, one person, one step at a time.

For me, I needed to address my families ancient excuse that “we’re all big boned!”  85% of my biological family is obese! Morbidly obese at that.  The stats show how most of my clan die at too early an age from stroke, diabetes, and related lethal outcomes of a life long love affair with denial combined with ignorance!

Strong statements there.  I know!  I make them based on real-life facts. I’ve held over 500 hands (virtually – through phone support) through my health and wellness program.  Folks have retired over 5000 pounds (that’s over 2.5 tons) when they STOPPED denying they had “an issue” and started learning how complex this issue of obesity really is!

To help my family and friends begin to understand how I intended to start living more healthy, I DID what I said I would do!  (We’ll cover much of what I do in upcoming posts).  The results spoke louder than my words.  As family and friends watched me retire over 100 pounds, they went through stages.

choiceStage one:  ‘that’s nice Soul!  You look great!  [wink wink . . . under their breath . . . ‘he’ll get fat again – everyone does!]

Stage two:  “Soul, are you sick?  You look too skinny?”  [People who know you most your life as a fat person often have a hard time believing you can really be a thin person!]

Stage three:  “Wow Soul!  You’ve kept it off!  How cool is that. I wish I could.  [Ah, yes, the river of denial is a long and deep one.]

Stage four:  “What is that you’re doing to keep healthy?”  [After years of skepticism, cracks in denial begin to break open.]

Stage five:  For those who love denial, resentment flavors our interactions.  The fact I retired my weight years a go is a painful reminder they still have work to do.  For those who deal with their weight, we bond like never before!

As you might guess, preparing your family and friends to support your healthy new life make take time and persistence!  It’s well worth it!  If you need help with this – get help!  Hire Peter.  Hire me.  Hire some one who’s got the professional background to help change HAPPEN.

Now, when I visit family and friends who insist on me eating MORE than I can possible eat, or eat something that’s FAR more deadly than enjoyable, I’ve learned a new response,

“Thanks!  Would LOVE to have more! I can’t though.  I have an allergic reaction to being fat!”

Good luck with your family and friends!  Send them the article above when you’re about to make your move to gain then maintain good health!


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Soul’s Physical Health Journey Part 12 of 13: Re-imaging from family / friends.

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You would imagine most family and friends would be THRILLED at seeing me retire over 100 pounds, right?  Well, for the most part, this is true.  One friend came up with a cute little goodbye … “It’s GREAT to see LESS of your MORE often!”  Have to admit, that took a couple run-throughs to catch what he meant. Too fun!

Part and parcel of changing my image from the inside out (see post below) was helping folks I know (who are still morbidly obese) NOT feel threatened by my new lean and healthy body.  Many have known the FAT me for 95% of the time we’ve known each other.  These folks have watched many other drop and gain a few times.  They anticipated that would happen to me.  Since it hasn’t, at first, it seemed threatening to them.  How?  from their comments, like, “You look TOO thin.”  Or, “Are you really okay?  You seem to look a bit gaunt.”  As you might guess, these folks really struggled with the change they witnessed in front of their eyes!

laughterI happened to ask a few folks I had just started getting to know (when I reached my goal back in 2005), “do I look too thin?  Do I appear ‘gaunt’ to you?”  All of them said, resoundingly – NO- you look great!  From those responses, the next time I heard a “you’re too thin” from one of my long-term obese relationships, I kindly, gently asked, “does my being thin bother you.”  Of course they laughed at the notion that my new healthy weight bothered them.  Months later, as our connections grew more strained, I offered them a graceful way to maintain a relationship.

With as open of a heart as I know how to make it, I look into their eyes (or asked them to listen closely to my words as we spoke on the phone) and said, “I love YOU for who YOU are, no matter your size, no matter your attitude about me.  I hope you’ll do the same for me.”  Of course, everyone always says, “OF COURSE I’ll love you for who you are.”  Now, what they seem to miss, is, ‘what kind of love’ are they willing to share. Conditional love, love that requires me to look or be a certain way, is the kind of love I shy away from these days.  Conditional love played a large role in how I got into my morbidly obese condition.  As I gained a more healthy sense of self, I watched other’s imagine, almost EXPECT me to ‘go back to my old self.”

Since 2006, I’ve stepped-up my boundary settings skills with folks.  I make it clear from the beginning that I’m on a path to live to at least a robust, lively, fully engaged 150.  That path include maintaining the best physical health I’m comfortable with.  (I have to admit, I need to get back to more walking these days.  I’ve gotten keyboard-bound with all my writing! Yes!  Yes! I Know!  I know.  Gotta step away from my keyboard more often!!)

Now, my health and wellness coaching program includes a couple KEY questions people MUST ask all those they hold near and dear BEFORE starting on my program.

helpQuestion one:  who will support your desire to gain then maintain a healthier body – for the rest of your life?

Question two:  who might be non-supportive in your quest to become more healthy in the form of teasing, less-than-kind remarks, etc.

Based on the number of people identified in the above two questions, we’ve got an excellent idea of where to start.  Until YOU have 100% support by 100% of those you hold near and dear, you may need to allow those less-than-supportive types to fade into the past. The most kind gesture I know to allow someone to be who they wish to be is to give them the space to do that!

Questions?  Need help? Call!  312-268-0000. Let’s talk.  Kindly know, as we come to our last segment of this 13 part series.  I’m here for you!  Engage us to help you sync-up that image you have on the inside with what you see on the outside.


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