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TFL Key #10: Don't Go It Alone

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Old 03-12-2005, 12:04 PM   #1
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Default TFL Key #10: Don't Go It Alone

Key To Success #10 – Don’t Go It Alone

We’ve arrived at the last chapter of Thin For Life - Don’t Go It Alone. What an appropriate chapter for us to end up on! Here we are in the Maintainers Forum – the only Internet group that I know of dedicated to weight loss maintenance – and we’re going to talk about support as a key to success. How perfect!

It’s not news to anyone here that long-term weight loss success is associated with support from family and friends, is it? And that LACK of support and interpersonal conflict leads to relapses? Right - the studies consistently indicate that people who receive therapist and/or peer support keep off more weight than do those without support.

What can a support system do for you? The chapter lists eight important things that you can get from interaction with others:
  • Advice and new ideas
  • Empathy, encouragement, and commendation
  • Education
  • Assurance that you are not alone
  • Help putting your problems in perspective
  • Heightened accountability to yourself
  • Constructive criticism from others
  • Reminders of where you’ve come from and what you need to do to stay there
(p 291-2)

As I read this list, I thought about all the discussions that we’ve had here in Maintainers over the past year. Every thread and topic fits into one of those categories and I think we've touched on every one of these issues in our discussions. Wow - I think we’re doing an awfully good job of covering all the support bases without even realizing it!

The book then asks if everyone needs support or if it’s possible to go it alone. It seems that people tend to need more support in the first few years of maintenance and some people, by their natures, never need a lot of external support. The important point is to recognize when you need support – before matters get out of control. It’s SO typical that we pull away from support just when we need it most. How often do we say that we’ll go back to WW once we get back on track and lose a few pounds? Or that we’ll start posting again when we’re back in control and have good news to report? And what usually happens? Things get worse, not better.

We NEED support to succeed at weight loss and maintenance! The chapter discusses the warning signs of when we need support most:
  • You are 5 to 10 pounds over your goal weight and cannot seem to lose it.
  • Your ‘thin’ clothes are getting tight, and you find yourself buying new, bigger clothes.
  • You find that the ‘tricks’ that used to help you control your weight are no longer effective.
  • You find yourself turning to food to handle stress or problems.
  • Your mental attitude has changed.
  • You find yourself getting lazy.
  • You are feeling somewhat hopeless about your weight, wondering if the effort is worth it, or you feel out of control. (p 295-6)

Read this list and take it to heart because I want every one of us here to be successful losers and maintainers! Please join me in taking a vow to come and ask for help when we see any of these warning signs in ourselves. I can assure you that there will be a dozen hands reaching out to help you get back on your feet. No criticism, no finger pointing – only encouragement and support. No one ever said that this is easy but we CAN do it – together.

Quote:
The most effective way to head off trouble is to have a support system in place before the ‘warning’ signs’ hit. (p 296)
So what kind of support is right for you? For some people, it's individual counseling. Others like group support and still others seek support from family and friends. Regardless of where you look for support, there are certain common characteristics to look for in a support person:
  • someone with whom you feel comfortable talking about your weight
  • someone who compliments you
  • someone who reassures you when things are not going your way
  • someone who will help you out in a pinch
  • someone who is honest with you and will give you feedback
  • someone who is available to you most of the time
  • someone who offers good advice and helps you through crises
  • someone who shares feelings and problems
  • someone who supports you taking responsibility for your weight problem
  • someone you can talk to even when things aren’t going well with weight control

Conversely, what DON’T you want in a support person?
  • someone who makes too many demands on you
  • someone who doesn't understand a weight problem
  • someone who’s a food pusher
  • someone who criticizes you for your weight or overweight people generally
  • someone who is jealous or competitive
  • someone who is self-righteous or ‘knows it all’
  • someone who is struggling with their weight and wants you to indulge with them
  • someone who offers trite, oversimplified advice
  • someone who constantly watches you

Keep both these lists in mind as you’re putting together your support team.

Of course, it’s almost inevitable that there are going to be non-supportive people in our lives. Don’t we all know, live, or work with saboteurs? The only way to deal with people like that is to be clear and firm and say NO. We don’t need to be people-pleasers and sabotage ourselves just to keep someone else 'happy' (in a warped kind of way). Don't let anyone try to control your weight loss and maintenance efforts. This is YOUR life!

So let’s talk about support this week. Tell us about the support you needed while you were losing. Was there one source of support that really kept you going? If you’re maintaining now, do you still need support? More and/or different kinds of support, perhaps?

As for me - I’m forever indebted to 3FC and the support that I’ve found here over the years. I registered here twice before the current 1999 registration (lots of server changes back in the early days) and so think I’ve been a member for almost eight years now. I spent a lot of years yo-yo’ing before I lost the weight for good in 2001-2 but never lost my focus and determination, in large part due to daily reading here. Until I met Karen (MrsJim) here a few years ago, I wasn’t confident that long-term maintenance of a large weight loss was possible. Thanks to Karen, I’ve learned that’s it’s not only possible – it gets easier and it’s downright fun! Then a year or so ago, we started the Maintainers Forum and have put together a wonderful and supportive group that keeps me focused and on track. So thanks to 3FC and all of you for being my support system! I know that together we all can succeed at keeping the weight off for life.
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Old 03-14-2005, 01:47 PM   #2
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Meg,

I was waiting for this chapter to appear in the discussion because I have a lot to share on Dont Go it Alone. Well, I did - it was hard but for those of you who are in my shoes - it is possible!

First of all, I have to say that my family is overweight - I mean, my parents, sister, my blood relatives. I was always the slimmest in the family. Nevertheless, I ended up overweight when third pregnancy happened when I still carried second pregnancy weight. After delivering my third child, I made this consious decision to lose weight and never look like "mother of 3".

My hubby liked me big. I guess it is because I am very easy going and have tons of friends, while all his friends are my friends first. I guess he felt this unsecurity that his wife might just vanish or what? Anyways, as soon as I start anything, he will always sabotage my efforts. First I sighned up for gym and he did everything possible to disappear from home so that I can not make it there as I had nobody to leave kids with. Took me half a year to figure out that he probably can benefit from gym membership himself - of course he did not want it but nevertheless he stopped sabotaging my efforts to make it to the gym and started to "worry" that my asthma will act up and I will be sick and end up in the hospital. After switching to highest dose medications to make him happy I gained more weight as it was hormonal medication. Took me 1 year to loose part of extra weight, and I finally stalled on 20 pounds more than I wanted.

So I signed up with Jenny Craig - mainly because I was so unhappy that I could not loose it all by myself. And here my hubby had his best hit - he would whine that he is hungry, he would buy cakes and offer them to me - you name it and he did it... For 6 month I did not listen to him and lost my extra 20 pounds - it took 3 month to loose 18 and 3 month to loose last 2! I was miserable inspite the fact that I looked great!

Surprize-surprize - after reaching my goal my hubby told EVERYBODY how happy he is that his wife looks great - go figure those males! He still often sabotages my maintenace efforts - like sending kids to the rec room when I am exercising with tapes OR using my bike and leaving it in unusable state the day before I announce that I am going to bike to work, etc. I guess because he is skinny and does not gain weight (he has the same weight as 16 years ago) he wants to ... punish ... me for something? I dont' know, it was hard to lose weight, it is hard to maintain it - and if you can not make it on your own, and your partner is not supportive - try to find friend/coworker/family member/gym trainer/ instructor - I do not know whom - but don't give up! It is worth it!!!

Advices if you partner sabotages you:
1. Ignore it once, ignore it twice - talk to him/her seriously if he/she persists
2. Don't listen to the: we do not have enough money, you are looking great - unless you are happy at how you look - don't listen to people trying to influence you!
3. Put yourself first - you are the one who is in charge!
4. Worked for me - show him that you can do it inspite him sabotaging you!
5. You can do it on your own - it is just harder!

Good luck,
Sandy.
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Last edited by Sashenka : 03-14-2005 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 03-14-2005, 05:16 PM   #3
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Wow, Sandy, you are one special lady to have done it basically on your own...

I need something like my 3FC extended family because it's easily accessible... I come over to the computer when I need support and someone is always here to lend an ear......

My husband has always been supportive in his quiet sort of way... "Do you really need another _______ ? " and walks away ... Oh it irks me so, that I don't eat it .... But that is just what I need, a quiet nudge. Not someone who berates me or gives me funny looks.
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:19 AM   #4
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Hi Sandy,

Congrats on how far you have come ! I admire you so much for getting yourself in your present great shape without good support at home. I especially can identify with the part of him not being at home on time to take care of the kids so you could go to the gym. I also find such thoughtlkessness immensly frustrating.
You are so right: YOU HAVE TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST.

Like Ilene I'm very glad of the support here at 3FC, especially because you do not have to explain WHY you want to lose weight, change lifestyle etc. Just the fact that you want to is sufficient, and I appreciate that.

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Old 03-25-2005, 03:28 PM   #5
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Having help on line is THE BEST. Why? Because noone has a vested interest, or some sort of emotional hangup about you personally that gets in the way of your success (like your hubby, Sandy--you are terrific for having withstood all that resistence from him!). They care about you because they're in the same boat, or have been there, done that. They accept you for who you are and where you are. They don't criticize, they listen, offer suggestions, and are there for you when you fall. YAY for all the online Buddies!

My friends all think I am weird for going on line to groups like this...but I find it very comfortable...now that I realize I am never going to be famous and have someone blackmail me because of my online discussions (no, really, I know I'm paranoid, but I used to have that fear...even tho' I knew deep down, actually, even on the surface, that I was never going to do anything that made me famous (grin)...I just had this anxiety about it...go ahead, laugh.

Anyhow, I appreciate everyone I interact with here, and gain so much knowledge and good feeling for being a part of it.
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Old 03-26-2005, 12:11 AM   #6
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Art -- *Your friends think you're weird too? I'm so happy to hear that, because my friends think the same too!! But 3FC has been the best, better than WW and ooooh so much cheaper, PLUS I've lost weight, which I wasn't doing with WW... double bonus!!
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Old 04-08-2005, 02:28 PM   #7
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I have a co-worker who peeks her head into my computer (all the darn time) and one day she asked me about my obsession with 3fc. (thats how i found out she is a peeping tomasita) I told her simply, its my support system. She gave me the most bewildered look and proceeded to tease me. "Look, i betcha she's on fat chicks"...guh its that way you SAY things sometimes.

I love 3fc and i'm so happy I found it. I'm glad im not the only one getting these looks.
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Old 05-07-2006, 07:21 AM   #8
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A support system is so very important especially since weight control often requires a large lifestyle shift. You really don't know what you don't know. Sometimes you need someone else to point it out or be able to observe it in a different setting yourself. Sort of like when you were a kid and you visited a friends house for the day or for a sleepover. Wow.. not everyone lives like you do or eats what your family does.

Like Ilene's husband, my husband is very supportive and now very subtle in his methods. Knowing that my answer would be "no" he asked me nearly every day when I was being lazy these past few years "Did you exercise today?" Not in a judgemental tone. Just asked. He seriously was trying to wake me up without an arguement and knew that I had to do it on my own.

Well.. he is not always supportive.. for example he thinks nothing of taking me out to eat when he is hungry and I am not. You can have coffee.. he'll say.. Or when we go to the store and he makes comments about how yummy this chocolate cake looks.. "I guess, it would go to waste if we bought it since you wouldn't eat any." His heart is in the right place even if his mouth isn't fully cooperative.

My blood family. Hmm.. I thought they were.. I didn't see how their behaviors and attitudes affected me until I lost weight a few years ago. When I was growing up I was fat. My family accepted it. I accepted it. Noone put me on a "diet" or encouraged me to ever do so. My mother on the other hand was always as long as I can remember DIETING, coming off of a diet, or talking about dieting. When my mother saw me after my weight loss a few years ago her behavior and comments shocked me so much I am still reeling from it. I had lost about 50 pounds.. I looked great, I felt great. I hadn't told anyone and my blood relations lived so far away noone had seen me.

From the moment my mother saw me my heart sank. She said I looked great but then started adding comments like "Enjoy it while you can.. you know you'll gain it back and if you are anything like me you'll be even heavier." "Are you allowed to eat that?" "Is that part of your diet?" "How many glasses of wine ARE you going to have anyway? Isn't that your second?" "Try these cream pastries from the bakery I bought for us. Aren't they great?.. oh, you don't want one? How about we split one in half?" "You know I don't care to ever try to lose weight again. My skin will sag and it will be so ugly." OMG I could go on and on with the nightmare!

It was not my mother's fault that I gained most of the weight back. I am just showing how strange her behavior was. How unsupportive she was when she could have made a huge difference in me.

I need support now, but I know I will need a whole lot more when I get to a more reasonable weight. I don't know how to live or see myself there. I don't have many role models in real life to help me see myself there.

"The most effective way to head off trouble is to have a support system in place before the "warning signs" hit." Before surrounding myself in denial, before falling into the lazy trap, before getting close to "goal" weight.

Support system in place?
husband? check
3FC? check
3FC? check
3FC? check
Did I mention 3FC?
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Old 05-07-2006, 10:35 AM   #9
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3FC is my BIGGEST support system ... I keep coming back even when I'm doing badly and eventually I get back on the wagon and it's all good , but you have to keep coming back or be persistant in staying here and posting and getting help ....
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Old 05-08-2006, 11:40 PM   #10
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I am getting close to my goal weight and have been peeking into the maintainers forum to see what I can learn. Thanks for all this great advice.. My husband has been supportive of my weight loss and tells me that I look great. He doesn't seem to understand my need to reach goal, but I guess he accepts it. He has never had a weight problem and says he could never change what he eats. Throughout this journey, I have fixed him whatever he wants to eat and made myself my healthy meals. It really doesn't bother me anymore like it did at first. I have an older sister who has lost a large amount of weight and tries to maintain it and she is very supportive of me, but has very little time to talk. My younger sister, who has always been the slimmest, is totally non-supportive. She's not the smallest anymore and I'm sure it bothers her. She tells me that I've gone over-board and am "actually too skinny", which is a real laugh. She sits and eats cake in front of me and says "this is really yummy, I can't believe you're passing it up". She has also told me "you've tried every diet in the world and never stuck to it". My biggest support has been 3FC and I will continue to come here for my support while maintaining. Thanks so much everyone and I look forward to getting to know everyone better.
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