As a coach I’m constantly seeking how best to motivate and encourage my clients to make healthy lifestyle changes. Everyone has a different style – and certain styles of communicating resonate with certain people. You may be the type of person who needs a very strong, in your face kind of coach. For someone else, that type of personality would absolutely have them running for the hills! The beautiful thing is that there is someone that’s right for everyone – you just have to find the coach that best fits your personality.
However, particularly where it concerns weight loss, there seem to be two major approaches: using shame, guilt and scare tactics or inspiration, motivation and empowerment. That may seem like a no-brainer to you, but you’d be surprised how many health professionals fall back on the former.
Your doctor may use those tactics to try and “scare” you into losing weight. And while the information is fact based – being overweight DOES increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, joint problems and on the list goes on – this approach rarely works long-term. I well remember my mother-in-law. She would have some health scare caused by her obesity and out of control eating and for 3 or 4 weeks, she would toe the line and stick to her “diet.” Memory can fade very quickly, and after a brief time, she’d revert right back to her old habits. Surveys have proven the very same thing – simply concentrating on losing weight doesn’t work. Incorporating lifestyle changes using motivation and empowerment is much more effective.
The more you internalize the motivation for making those changes, the more successful you will be. Long term changes are rarely successful when they come from external pressure. Staying motivated from within becomes the fuel for determination and perseverance which result in ultimate success. Focus on becoming healthier, creating a healthy lifestyle and replacing unhealthy habits – rather than simply on “losing weight.” Find someone who can motivate you – inspire you to create a better lifestyle and through support, accountability and education, empower you to make it your new reality.