Recently, I've taken over a long time women's weight loss group in our area. The group is now down to 12 women, some of whom have been part of this group for many, many years.
The group was wanting a change. Numbers fell off (as expected due to COVID times). For years they would meet for a weekly weigh-in, then one long time member would read an article she found online aloud to the group (this could be good or bad information), and they'd chat about it. The next week, this would repeat with a different article. Meaning, the habit of information overload was ever present.
I was excited to become a part of this group, as I want to help create a more "modern" approach to health and lifestyle, offer professional guidance and coaching and I also want to help create a growth mindset with these women. This will take time, as like with anything what we do most often is what we become good at. In this case as I mentioned, "old-school" thinking in regards to weight loss is present in this group.
In the first meeting we discussed nutrition skills and practices. From there, I asked everyone to select 1-2 skills/practices to focus on as their target over the next 2-3 weeks before our next meeting. Not only is 1-2 focuses ONLY over a few weeks a new approach for this group, but also the idea of focusing on actions and practices that are not "this or that" related (such as "eat this, not that" or "rule based" eating or exercise plans).
My big push right now is helping them understand that by decreasing the stress connected with our health practices we can create greater sustainability, enjoyment and progress in our health and health goals. This means, staying focused on one thing at a time and keeping things simple. At only our second meeting last night, we discussed how people were doing with their skills/practice(s) that they chose in week 1. Many were doing well, and some had life get in the way (as it does), which lead to some nice conversations about how we can prepare for those times and still work with our health practices in a realistic way.
As one woman was sharing her successes and struggles with her chosen practice (eating slowly), another chimed in to say "yes, I always forget to eat slowly!". Yet this woman's goal (the second one who chimed in) had nothing to do with eating slowly. She had set out to target "planning her meals" (which was going quite well). It was great timing and a nice coaching opportunity to remind the group to stay the course, and narrow your focus.
It's very easy to feel lost, confused and "chase a bunch of rabbits" (thank you Dan John for that saying) in today's modern world. We have information overload on any given topic on a daily basis. It's no wonder we jump around from one thing to another and never actually let anything take hold in regards to our health practices. In the case of the group and this example, I quickly reminded this woman that it's ok that "she forgot to eat slowly" because that's NOT what she's working on right now. Her sole focus is her target that SHE set for herself. Put your energy and focus there, and that's it. Eating slowly and other skills surrounding nutrition habits, will come later. "OH! That makes sense" she says.
The group seem to be receptive to my approach so far, and we've had some nice conversations. Like so many of us, there is alot of "un-learning" we'll call it, with this group, in regards to how to approach our health practices in a sustainable, realistic, enjoyable way. And to be proud of yourself for the little things along the way. I've dealt with so many clients over the last two decades who have been trying to chase multiple rabbits at once. Naturally, we never get very far when that's how we approach our health.
Here's a few reminders regarding narrowing your focus in your health practices...
Keep it so simple, it seems "stupid" and "can't possibly work".
Keep your practice consistent. If this is hard to do, simplify the practice more for now.
Set 1-2 very do-able practices for yourself, and ONLY put your energy and thoughts in to those for the time being. Anything else is just bonus.
Aim for consistency for at least 2-3 weeks (more if you'd like is just fine) with your new practice.
Once you achieve consistency with it, ADD 1-more simple practice to it.
Repeat steps 4-5 as needed.
*BONUS reminder - When you find something that is good advice to you or you think it will be a good thing for YOU, TRY IT. That means more than a day or even a week. It also means, don't just think about - TAKE ACTION. Allow the body and mind time to adapt to whatever practice you're working on. Then during this time, STOP searching for "new" or more info. You have all you need.
You DON'T NEED more right now because you HAVE YOUR FOCUS.