|Research says shut your mouth (in more ways than one) if trying to lose
When I finish a session with a new client and they pay in cash, I know. Sure, there’s a chance they’re one of those credit cards shunners but it’s far more likely they don’t want their spouse to know. It’s their secret that they’re trying to lose weight. Recently, a writer asked Carolyn a great question. “Is it better to share your weight loss efforts with others or keep it to yourself?” Are the cash clients onto something?
Carolyn and I exchanged emails on this topic, her answers….
Can telling people you are trying to lose weight improve your results?
It can for a couple of reasons. Having a support system to back you up works wonders. Many clients are quick to point out the friends they eat poorly around but chances are there are those positive forces too. If you have friends who will join you at the gym or eat at healthy restaurants, make them “favorites”. You can also use friends and family for accountability. Even though I’m a nutritionist- some of our Foodtrainers’ office emails about hydration or fitbit steps really help me. And if you are seeing a nutritionist or trainer and sometimes professionals can be your “carb”confidante.
Are there any people you should refrain from telling?
Off the bat I would avoid telling those people who are jealous or will try to sabotage you, judgy family members are in this category. And beware, it’s often the judgy folks we want approval from. No matter how stoked you are about a new routine, be selective about sharing; you want support, not mommying or monitoring.
So, why do you think people closet their weight loss efforts?
Some people are ashamed of needing to lose weight, food and nutrition are much more complicated than exercise. For others it’s fear of failure. One client’s husband said, “I just don’t want you to be disappointed if it doesn’t work.” And then there’s always people who don’t want it to appear they “have to watch” their food intake or don’t want to cop to something as “silly” as food journaliing.
Do you see tide turning, are people sharing more?
On the whole people are more interested in food and health. The tide is definitely turning. There are office weight loss challenges, group fitness, apps not to mention social media encouraging us to share.
“The research” as it’s often referred to (and deferred to) encourages that we don’t share our goals, what do you say to the Ted talk etc?
OK so yes, there are studies and a Ted Talk that discourages goal sharing. The reasoning is that once you tell others what you’d like to achieve there’s some perceived accomplishment so you don’t work as hard at what you’re doing. This reminds me of New Years Resolutions, we’re all good at setting the goals. We avoid this with clients by having them focused on the behaviors versus just the goal. And what the studies miss is the effect shame can have on us. It’s not embarrassing to improve your health or watch what you’re eating and it doesn’t feel good to hide or lie.
Are you open about your efforts to lose weight or be healthy? Who do you share the most with (in this department) your partner, friends, shrink? What do you think about the studies pointing out that sometimes sharing isn’t best?