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Pick a Program, any Program.

Pick a Program, Any Program

In researching life coaching for my business and reviewing several programs, I’ve come to find so much of what is going on is simply a rinse and repeat phenomena. Anyone who has been in the counseling field for any length of time will tell you that there are several principles that are staples of any industry. People think that recycling is a new trend, but we’ve been doing it in so many ways for so many years it just has a different label or trending packaging today.

Just about a year ago I was introduced to a weight loss program. Now the only reason I enrolled in the program was because the job I had required me to earn points to go toward my insurance premium reduction and this program delivered the most points available. I worked with women who were trying to lose weight, or at least regularly complained about their weight or appearance so I figured I could be supportive of them as well.

When people look at me and hear me talk about a weight loss program I’m sure the reaction is similar to that of the annoying tooth pick girl in “This is Us” who is at the Over Eaters Anonymous meeting with people weighing in at the 300-400+ pounds marker. So, that said, my baseline weigh-in was 215 lbs. For my 6’2” frame it doesn’t sound out of whack, but it was. My joints hurt from the added weight and the sugar intake that I was pouring down my throat everyday in cans of soda plus the chocolates I selfishly hoarded for myself were taking their toll. I was being robbed of my energy to do the actual things that I wanted and enjoyed. At my worst I was drinking 3 twelve packs of soda a week. Eating individually wrapped Heath Bars in bed every night to the point that it looked like a candy Gatling-Gun had left wrapper casings on the floor beside my bed. Not to throw her under the bus, but my wife’s side looked about the same. So despite the concealing appearance of my frame, I was well on my way to diabetes.

After 6 months of, for the most part, following the program, I had cut out soda pop completely and now could have it in the house for an occasional treat for the kids, but even they had cut back. My wife joined me and no longer brought home bags of my favorite Heath Bars and ziplock size crispy M&M’s. I even figured out with the program that drinking soda while eating chocolate left the same flavor in my mouth as eating chocolate and drinking seltzer water. My coworker and I shared the special from staff dining nearly every day, taking turns buying the meal and cutting it into equal portions. Our waist lines shrunk and our wallets got fatter. Women always hate men when it comes to dieting as our bodies respond by losing more quickly, but she stayed with me and had visible success as I did.

At my highest, I was 230 lbs my baseline when I started the program was 215 lbs and after 6 months of new habits my new all time low as a married adult with kid foods in the house was 182.5 lbs. Even though my thicker male friends were not so funny joking with me that they thought I was dying and that I needed to eat a cheese burger, I felt good and healthy. The program worked, maybe a little too well, at that weight my watch and wedding band annoyingly spun around my wrist and ring finger.

The following year I took the same program again with more coworkers involved. Their motivation started the same as mine from the first year which was to “earn the points.” Unfortunately that is all the further their motivation went. As you can guess, this second group didn’t lose. Sure, they lost for a minute, but shortly after went back to their same habits and simply went through the motions that earned their points. I heard them dissect the program pointing out the parts they didn’t like and how it won’t work for them because of this or that. The interesting thing wasn’t the rationalizations they came up with to keep from following the program, but more over the notion that each of them could have been completely successful at losing had they simply followed even half the tools offered by the program. I have to confess, the second time around I only did 1/4 of the skills presented in the course, which unfortunately may have added to the sabotage of my coworkers efforts. The truth is, I don’t think any of us were actually invested in it, myself included.

What surprised me is that I had integrated enough of the programs actions into my life from year one that my new baseline is 193-197 lbs depending on the holiday. Yes, I am up, Happy Holidays, and that’s okay because I’m going back to more than 1/2 of the principles of the original program and integrating parts of two other programs that fit my goals and body type needs. My eldest daughter who loves fitness has already begun finding techniques to help with my problematic hip joint (sitting is the new smoking). I also have my wife on my team who is losing along with me and putting more healthy options in our home to support this direction. Nearly every program out there says it’s 80% what you eat and 20% what you do.

Whether it’s a weight loss, treatment, training or education, or coaching, when it comes to change, just about any program will work if you make it your own. That doesn’t mean to change or modify it, just own it. It’s difficult to change and that too is okay, it takes work, practice, and most of all patience. When you choose for you and commit to a daily focus and practice it is no longer their program, but your own.

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