A few posts back, I quoted another blogger who stated that two of the key components to weight loss success were food journaling and a good social support system. I found that these two things were and are very important to me. I thought I’d write today about the different places I found a social support system.
First, there was the friend who originally asked me to go to Weight Watchers with her. We attended the meetings together, tried out new recipes on each other, shared new snack finds. Of course, then there was the support of the meeting itself. My leader is not dynamic, but she is very good at directing the conversation, encouraging everyone, and keeping us on track. And there were the ‘heroes,’ women whom I watched lose tremendous amounts of weight, slowly and steadily. It was really encouraging and motivating to me. There were the stellar cooks who brought in great new ideas, and encouraged me to try new foods and new food combos (this was the reason I first agreed to go to w.w.–I knew I needed some food ideas.)
At work, support came from an unexpected source–the thin girl! I don’t know how it came up. I probably overheard her talking to someone else, but she became a real source of information for me. Turns out, even though she was thin, she was also trying to change her diet a bit, to get her cholesterol lower, and just to eat ‘heart healthier.’ The thin girl turned me on to a really great little magazine ‘Nutrition Action Healthletter.’ I learned so much from this newsletter–the truth about foods and what they do to your body. Very sobering information. But it makes it a little easier, sometimes, to turn down a burger and fries when you read about the affect it has on your arteries! And the thin girl was a very quiet cheerleader for me. She insisted that I didn’t need to ‘diet,’ just learn how to eat better and different. Her opinion really mattered to me.
I didn’t even tell my best friend for a couple of months that I was going to w.w. and losing weight. I think I thought I was going to fail, and that would be too embarrassing. I’m not really sure why I didn’t tell her. And here’s the funny thing. I never thought my BF had any food issues or a weight problem. But after I told her I was doing w.w., she ended up joining w.w. in her town (we live in different states.) And now we had this in common too, and could discuss all our food issues, share tips and recipes, and encourage each other when the going got tough.
About the time my original w.w. friend took a break from w.w., help came from another unexpected source. Another ‘thin’ friend wanted to lose the weight she kept gaining and losing. She had seen my success at w.w., so she joined too. Even though there was a world of difference in the amount of weight we each needed to lose, we still had more in common–we both LOVED good food. We enjoy fixing ‘diet’ lunches for each other, trying new recipes and snack foods.
People at work were really very encouraging to me. They started referring to me as an ‘inspiration,’ which was nice, but added a little pressure and the ‘a’ word–accountability. I started sharing some of my recipes in the breakroom, and now I have a group of ‘recipe girls’ that I send recipes to via email. If any of my co-workers want it, I am always more than willing to talk about the whole thing–whatever it is–journey, diet, lifestyle change…its just my life now, I guess.
In between, whenever I thought everyone was sick to death of talking food, and exercise and discouragement and encouragement and celebration and despair, I read a LOT. I’ve mentioned some of my favorite books, and I would buy special magazines like Prevention, and the People Magazine ‘Half Their Size’ (I’m a magazine junkie.) And that’s how I found out about the whole blog world! Lynn Haraldson-Bering was featured in the magazine, and in one of those little sidebar boxes it mentioned her blog, and I checked it out! So, of course, as you all know, this blogging community has been a tremendous source of encouragement. Lynn is a great writer, and she is also a part of the excellent website ‘Refuse to Regain.’ Then there was Pastaqueen, and I think from her website I linked to clever bloggers like Tigerlily, Jill, Laura, Vickie…too many to name now. Tigerlily offered the walking challenge, and I walked 300 miles (I think) in 12 weeks earlier this year. Roni has the best recipes, and is encouraging and enthusiastic, AND she has videos that are fun to watch. Mizfit is one of the most encouraging, kind, and active bloggers around, and has lots of practical advice and good exercise videos too!
I guess I want to end by saying that even though I feel closer to some of you bloggers, like I know you better, and have more in common with, than most of my w.w. meeting cohorts, I think there is something very important about a ‘social support system’ that you can physically see and interact with. We humans were made to interact with one another. The computer is a source of great good ( I used to think it was evil,) but it also can have a tendency to isolate us from ‘real’ people.