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Enabling lessons from 'My 600-lb Life'

Grant Foreman is a fitness and health expert practicing in San Diego.
Photo credit:
Grant Foreman

My 600-lb Life got me and one of my clients thinking this week (If you’re unaware, it’s a television show featuring people who weigh around 600-lbs and what’s life like for them…yup).

To be this large they need help: to be fed by someone else because they can’t get up, go shopping, wash, or use the restroom on their own.

Let that all sink in a moment.

The state they’re in takes at least one other to keep them at this place.

In codependent behavior this is called an enabler. Same as an addict whose behavior is facilitated by another making their activities easier or with less consequence.

Now let’s go the alternate route of a professional sports athlete. They need a team of people to keep them in the position they currently hold; coaches, sponsors, family, dieticians, etc.

These people are also enablers in that they make another able to achieve something. It takes the individual to start out on a course, but for great success we need our support group.

Two extremes both highlighting the fact these personal feats are being maintained, achieved even, not through isolation but with the aid of a team.

Are you trying to start a new gym routine on your own and without anyone knowing?

Have you not told anyone that by the end of January you plan to lose five pounds and walk four days a week?

If so, you’re paving an easy escape for when will power drops and the old routine is all too easy to slip back into.

Hold yourself accountable through the simple act of including others on this journey.

Ask a friend to make a commitment with you to hit the gym twice together that week, maybe split the cost of a joint training session even!

Include work friends on the weight loss goal and have weekly check-ins, sweeten the deal by creating a small pot to be won by that week’s best adherent to the plan.

I have multiple clients who train with their spouses or friends, and when one wants to crap out on the session, they not only have to excuse themselves to me but to their partner. It may seem simple but it’s these little things that can make all the difference.

There is online coaching you can find to help in, friends to give us shit when we slack, even pets to take on longer walks to keep them healthier and with us longer.

Find your enablers!

We work better in teams. If you need help with any of this, or have another great way of support you’ve found to work for you, let me know I love hearing from you: writegf@gmail.com