Monday, January 19, 2009

Habit-A-Week Challenge, Week 14: Get Some Support

It's week 14 of the Habit-A-Week Challenge, and this week's challenge is: get some support. How is *your* weight loss support system? Do you have a team? A cheerleader? Someone you can talk to? There are many kinds of support, and the more you have, the higher your likelihood of success in meeting your goals. Even if you don't have weight to lose, you can benefit from a strong support system in your life.

Do you ever feel completely alone in your weight loss efforts? I have had those days... the kind where you look in the mirror and sigh, and think, "who even cares if I eat right today? No one even notices when I am doing well. What's the point?" We all have down days, when we struggle with our emotions. If you have support, though, those people can grab your hands and pull you up from your despair. It makes it easier to keep on going.

Let's talk about different kinds of support. (These may blend together in real life, even being embodied in one person).

A "team" is the kind of support you get from someone else who is going through the same thing you are going through. They can relate exactly to your struggles because they share them. The "team" support can come in the form of a weight loss group such as Weight Watchers, OA, or TOPS. Or you can just buddy up with a friend to make your own team and cheer each other on. When one person is down, the others pull them through. You can also get this kind of support from Internet groups such as chats, message boards, and blogs.

A "cheerleader" is someone who is rooting for you to succeed. They might be someone on your "team," but they can also be someone who, for example, has never had a weight problem but just cares enough about you to cheer you on. This kind of person will get excited when you tell them you lost a pound this week. They want to see your progress pictures and charts. They make you feel great when you try on your new, smaller clothing and model for them: "WOW! You look amazing!" This kind of support just feels so good, because it validates your progress. And the same person can boost your morale when you're down, encouraging you to keep on going. You can find this type of support among friends (sometimes) and family (sometimes). It's just wonderful if you can get this from a spouse, partner, parent, sibling, coworker, or friend. Everyone needs a cheerleader. It makes you feel special, like you matter.

A "listener" can be found in either of the above types of support, but it can also be someone who just lets you vent. They don't have to care much about your weight loss, they just have to care about YOU. Even if your boyfriend wouldn't mind if you stayed the same weight forever, he will want to be supportive of you because YOU want to lose weight. So he listens, he hugs you, he gives you the love you need to feel human. This kind of support is essential to the human psyche. If you don't have a weight problem, you still have other problems, and if you have no one to listen to you express your feelings, it can be damaging to your mental/emotional health. That's why people pay hundreds of dollars to go sit in a stranger's office and talk about their problems. We all need to be heard. We often need feedback. And if you don't have a friend or family member who will just LISTEN to you, it's likely you'll someday pay a counselor to do the listening. And that's fine, and healthy, as long as you get that support somewhere. But a counselor can't replace the comfort of a hug. So try and get that human touch factor in there as well.

This week, make it a point to get the support you need. Find a team, either in real life or online (I'll post some resource links at the end of this post). Look for a cheerleader who will be genuinely happy for your successes. And ask a family member or friend to be your sounding board (and offer to be one for them, as well). Seek out a counselor if you need to. And if you already have plenty of support, thank them. Make sure they know they are appreciated. And find ways to be that person for someone else! Giving support can be just as rewarding as getting it.

Some free online support resources you can check out:
3 Fat Chicks Support Groups
Prevention Weight Loss Forums
Eating Disorder Referrals and Support
BuddySlim Free Weight Loss Support
Sparkpeople Support Forums

If you're new to the Habit-A-Week Challenge, you can look here for last week's challenge, with links to all the previous weeks' challenges.

As for me, a personal update: last week I got a very cool SenseWear armband to try out for a month and then write a review. It's much like the BodyBugg you see on the contestants of the Biggest Loser. I'm using its software to track my calories in and out. It's a lot of fun! But more on that next month. I haven't weighed in a few days because I have some serious PMS water retention going on, so I will weigh in a couple of days and report my loss then. Tonight's dinner will be baked salmon, brown rice, and roasted Brussels sprouts! Yummy!

Find that support you need.... and enjoy your week!


Barb said...

I found some chocolate jasmine green tea at World Market. YUMMMMMMMM!

new*me said...

great habit ;)! My support system at home is totally hubby----VERY supportive ;) except complains a bit that my upper half is shrinking too much ;)
My mom and dad are also supportive but I have to say I get the most support from my blogger you ;) Couldn't do it without you all :)

antgirl said...

Them hormones are pesky buggers and do the most annoying things!

I found support from Hubby, my sista-in-law who sadly is no longer here, and my dvds. Found even more online. :)

Dina said...

Support really is key. I find I have a hard time asking for it because I'm usually too busy pretending I have my crap together. :)

POD said...

Mainly I use Weightwatchers, going to mtgs and online.

My sister had weight loss surgery and really can't eat much of anything. That type of surgery and knowing she cannot even drink a big glass of water any more snaps me right into consciousness. It's useful support and close by.

wakati said...

My co-workers, surprisingly, are being very supportive. They challenge me when they see me eating something that I'm not "supposed" to. Friends are good emotional listeners, although they don't know that I call to keep from eating. The blogosphere is the best accountability and cheerleading system. Just writing my thoughts down is of great help.

Ria said...

Great post . . . I'll second Dina, it sure is key but it can be hard to ask for.

Becca55 said...

Most of my support comes from online and my sweet Boyfriend who is in this battle with me. it is hard to stay motivated when you have little or no support!

Anonymous said...

My support comes from my new online friends that I am making. I haven't told the significant people in my life exactly what's going on, I guess in case I fail....

MizFit said...

my email is quirky right now...did you get my response? let me know if not.

(oooh and I ended up with an odd number for the mizfit motivational matches if any of your readers want in...)

Sabs said...

I love your optimism when you wrote that you will report your loss in a few days!

Lucrecia said...

I think support can make or break you. I don't think many can people can make this journey alone! I linked this post on my blog today.