Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reluctant Role Model

I’ve noticed recently that when someone loses a noticeable amount of weight, it’s as if they’re thrown into the position of role model. Friends, family and coworkers might now look to this person as though they have the knowledge that will help them achieve their goals too. Many take to this new role as inspiration to others, but I’m sure that not everyone does. I know that I certainly don’t fit comfortably into the role.

It’s difficult for me to have someone look to me for advice when it’s obvious they’re not going to take what I say to heart. It’s not because the question isn’t genuine, it’s because it’s easy to spot the people who aren’t ready to deal with the truth of my advice. Deep down, the person who isn’t ready to confront that truth is hoping that I’ll provide some amazing secret that will provide instant weight loss gratification. It always brings the following quote to mind:
“Dieters control what goes into their mouth; resilient people control what goes on in their heads. It’s all about positive thoughts."
Alicia Salzer M.D, trauma psychiatrist
I couldn't have put it more eloquently. I've always felt that successful change (weight loss or otherwise) has to come from an internal motivator, though that internal motivator may be triggered by an external source, e.g. seeing a picture of yourself, hearing your health is poor, etc. I think that permanent successful weight loss comes from growing your own resiliency and no one can do this for you.

What's this resiliency thing I'm taking about?
Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Before I read The Resiliency Advantage, I'd always had a vision in my mind of myself at a healthy spot in my life where I was calm despite a stormy point in my life, strong in the face of adversity and just generally capable of handling a tough time, which is exactly what it means to be resilient. Normally, I'm not one of the self-help book types but I got this one free from a challenge at work. I read through it and it put some interesting perspective on my journey to health. This is why I find it hard to be a role model to those who aren't ready, because all the guidance in the world can't make you be more resilient.

So my advice to everyone who asks, ready or not, is always to learn to live through the lows and ride the highs.

Do you think resiliency plays an important part in the weight loss and maintenance journey?