Are you empowering or disempowering your friends?

I hear people talking to each other and attempting to support one another with weight loss and fitness goals.  Unfortunately, I think that even though people have good intentions that the unintended consequences are that they are becoming more disempowered because of these conversations.

Regardless of the good intentions of the person attempting to console you, you are NOT being supported if you are becoming even more disempowered.

Here’s a sample of the conversations that I have overheard:

 

Friend 1: “I can’t seem to lose weight.  I’ve tried everything.”

Friend 2: ” Me too.  It’s just so hard.  I lost weight with the ABC diet then I gained it all back.  Also I’m just busy at work and don’t have time for exercise.”

Friend 1: “I’m really busy too.  Things are just hectic.  With kids and work and everything, who has time?”

Friend 2: “I agree.  This is just impossible right now.  Anyway, I don’t want to feel deprived on another diet.”

 

Does this conversation sound somewhat familiar at all? There are just so many disempowering comments here!  Ok, let me revise this conversation to let you know how you can empower your friend while at the same time not disempowering yourself:

 

Friend 1: “I can’t seem to lose weight.  I’ve tried everything.”

Friend 2: “Actually I remember that you lost weight last year.  So that shows that you can lose weight!  There are many programs that you haven’t tried yet.  What worked for you about the program you used last time?”

Friend 1: “It had structure and support.  Although there were these packaged meals that I didn’t like.  You’re right maybe I need to find something a little different that I can stick with. Although I am just too busy for exercise.”

Friend 2: “I know of a few programs.  As far as time, I see you on Facebook quite a bit.  Come on, don’t you think you can rearrange things a little and cut back on time wasting? I just know you’ll be happier if you’re losing weight and exercising.”

Friend 1: “You’re right, I just avoid exercise because I don’t think I’ll like it.  It’s easier to just say I’m busy.”

 

I know that this revised conversation is not the typical flow of conversation with most people who discuss wanting to lose weight.  You may not be comfortable calling out your friend for their excuses.  I can understand that.  You’re not a personal trainer.

The benefit for you to turn this conversation around is that you’re not buying into the typical excuses that people give for a lack of effort toward their fitness and weight-loss goals. Conversely, you’re more apt not to kid yourself when excuses start popping in your head.  Believing that excuses are actually real reasons could keep you stuck for years.  I’ve seen this many times!!

Here are some phrases people use that disempowers them:

“I can’t.”

“I’m busy.”

“It’s too hard.”

“Nothing works for me.”

“Obesity runs in my family. I must have the fat gene.”

“I have kids so I don’t have time to exercise.”

I want to give you a warning.  Many people are looking for their excuses to be verified. It makes them feel better temporarily.  However, you are not helping them by agreeing or saying that you understand.

They may even get frustrated that you’re not agreeing.  That’s OK, maybe one day they will thank you for your honesty which lead to  their motivation to move forward.

Are you ready to change your conversations with others?  Lets empower each other to build happier and healthier communities.

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