Monday, September 29, 2008

Guest Post ~ It Takes a Village to Lose the Weight

Please join us in welcoming Susan from Mr. and Mrs. Get Fit. On her blog, Susan and her husband Jay chronicle their journey from fat to fit.

Weight loss is an odd thing. It’s very individual in many ways—only you can decide how many calories you take in and how much activity you do to burn them.

But losing weight sometimes feels like a team effort. Actually, weight loss could be compared to an Olympic sport like running or swimming. Sure, an Olympic athlete has to be unbelievably dedicated, hardworking and talented to win. But where would she be without a coach to guide her daily workouts? Without a trainer to help her build the right muscles and eat the best foods? Without family and friends to encourage her when she feels like giving up after an injury or setback?

Successful weight losers usually have at least a few people to support them during their losing period—and beyond. My husband and I started losing weight together at the beginning of 2008, committing to ourselves and each other that we would get fit. This partnership in weight loss formed a strong foundation for our new lifestyle.

But we didn’t stop there. We launched a blog called Mr. and Mrs. Get Fit to reach out to a bigger network of cheerleaders. Based on many previous attempts to get fit, I knew we needed to feel accountable to the world—not just ourselves—in order to stick to our plan.

Our moms read the blog, of course. So did a few of our close friends. Some readers from my other blog, Working Moms Against Guilt, chimed in from time to time. Before we knew it, our little weight loss blog had 50 to 100 people checking in daily to see how we were doing. When we did well, they cheered. When we struggled, they chimed in with encouraging words and helpful tips. Talk about support!

The more I found myself blabbing about our efforts to friends, coworkers, acquaintances, anyone who would listen … the more I noticed how it helped me stay on track. Just knowing that they knew I had a goal kept me going, even when it would have been so easy to say, “Good enough.” Accepting a compliment about how much slimmer I looked made me feel like I owed it to that person to continue—I couldn’t let down my adoring fans! And so we trudged, jogged, occasionally sprinted on, losing nearly 100 pounds of fat between the two of us (with another 100 to go).

Perhaps the most powerful social motivator was (is) those friends and blog readers who have flat out said we inspired them to get healthy. (See that Cincinnati Losers’ blogroll on the left? We’re listed as “Inspirational Losers.”) Whoa. Now it’s not just about us and our fat. We’re role models now. Other people are shedding their excess pounds and bad habits, all the while looking to us as a beacon of the Great Fit Hope. How can we let them down?

We won’t. We can’t. Mr. and Mrs. Get Fit want to make ourselves, each other and our entire support network proud. Even when life makes it hard to get and stay fit, we will always have those coaches, cheerleaders, family and friends to give a nudge and help us get to the Olympics of Losers: to achieve and maintain healthy weight for life.


Amy in Ohio said...

Terrific post Susan! And you are an inspiration to us all.

My favorite line: "Accepting a compliment about how much slimmer I looked made me feel like I owed it to that person to continue—I couldn’t let down my adoring fans!"

Absolutely. I don't put myself down anymore when people notice the weight I've lost - I tell them it's been a tough road, but it's coming off and THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

This is one of the hardest things people do in their personal lives, it should be celebrated every step of the way.

Any you do look marvelous dar-ling!