Friday, June 13, 2008


The most pervasive problem with any health or weight management program is the problem of guilt. Guilt about where you are, guilt about past failures, guilt about not being able to succeed on your own. Guilt saps your energy, destroys your self-esteem, and will completely ruin any hope of your long-term success and can even stop you before you start. So STOP IT!
Ok, easier said than done, but seriously - we need to reprogram our thinking about this.

Your health is the most important thing you have. Sometimes you have control over certain things, sometimes you don't. Regardless of your health issue, we all need support. Truth is, few of us can "go it alone", and we should feel like we have to try. There's an entire industry of personal trainers, coaches, consultants, and supportive programs that exist because we really do need help to truly be successful. Hollywood, never known as role models, knows this best. Celebrities, often highly driven individuals in their chosen careers, employ trainers and attend programs to get weight off, keep it off, or maintain their current fitness level because their bodies are their careers and they know they need help.

Why do we constantly think we should have to do this alone, or that we should even be able to? Ok, some people are just so driven that they can make it on their own - I'm really not talking to them, and they probably aren't reading this anyway. Those people are rare, the rest of us could use some help and hopefully, by now, aren't afraid to admit it.

Whichever program you choose - and there are many, it should be the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Programs that provide food, such as Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, LA Weight Loss can be helpful for just starting out and learning portion control. They also provide one-on-one accountability and support from their staff. Still, you will need to learn how to maintain on your own because you're not going to eat their food forever. They often offer low-cost start-up fees, but factor in the cost of food and compare it to your grocery bill. That will give you a better picture of cost; however, if you need the prepackaged meals to keep you on track - and only you know if you do, then it's something to consider.

Programs that provide calorie-control options and, hopefully, teach you how to eat such as Weight Watchers offer group support and accountability. They have a long history of success and work for a lot of people, but not everyone.

There's also the shake & supplement programs (you know who they are). Many are great, but often lack true support and accountability. These programs are best if you find a representative that has a more diversified knowledge base rather than those that have only been trained by the company they represent. Personally, I'm more impressed by those who will tell you there's something you don't need that they sell. That can be a pretty good indicator that they are concerned more about you and your specific needs rather than their sales volume. Also, see if they offer any individual, group or even online support - the best one's do.

Individual coaches, consultants, personal trainers and private specialized clinics often offer the most tailored programs, designed around your particular lifestyle. Of course you'll pay more, but you might stick with it longer because it will be constantly adjusted to your changing needs rather than a one-size-fits-most philosophy.

Then there's the almost-free version, books, articles in magazines with exercises, diets, menus, internet support groups and just plain old online research is great for the highly motivated. Yes, most of those books & articles offer very good advice and will work, if you work it. You can also make your own program from Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and other pre-packaged products found at the grocery store. You'll have to do your own meal planning, but in the long run you'll need to do that anyway. You should also enlist one of your friends or co-workers as a fitness-buddy, a friend that can offer you support, motivation, and accountability. This is going to require more in the way of your own effort, because you'll need to design your own program, create your own support and accountability network, and define and monitor your own goals. Again, it will work if you work it.

Whether you need a program to help you jump-start a regimen, carry you over a plateau (oh, those awful plateaus!), or spur you on to the finish line, find one that works for you and with your lifestyle. There really isn't a right one, there's just the right one for you.

Partnership for Change

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