Sunday, September 9, 2012
Recently, I asked the following question on the B.N. Shape Clothing Facebook page (if you haven’t LIKED it yet, you're missing out! LIKE IT NOW!):
In your opinion, what is the best strategy to convince an inactive, stubborn, unhealthy eater to eat better and exercise? To what lengths would or should you go to convince them to make a change?
After reading through the responses, I think everyone hit on some great points. But I wanted to follow up with my thoughts. When trying to convince someone to live a healthier lifestyle, I think your approach depends on that person’s “readiness” to enter that lifestyle. Follow me for a bit…
To me, there are 3 levels of healthy readiness that an unhealthy person may have. They may be:
1. The ‘So-ready’
2. The ‘Kinda-Ready’
3. The ‘Not-Ready’
For each type of ‘ready’, you should take a different approach to bring them toward a healthier life. Let’s dig in.
The So-Ready is extremely self-motivated to B.N. Shape, but are just in need of some guidance and education on proper nutrition and training techniques. Once they are provided with these tools, they dive into changing their workouts and eating habits to produce the change they’re looking for. Therefore, it’s so much easier to motivate/encourage/train/help this person. You can be much more aggressive, creating challenging and intense workouts, because the So-Ready is not afraid to meet the challenge if it will help them meet their goal. You can suggest or mandate certain dietary changes, because the So-Ready is willing to do whatever it improve their physique and overall health. Within weeks, you will see drastic changes in their physique and health. With the So-Ready, it becomes cruise control eventually. However, it’s a bit more complicated with the next two levels.
I think most people fall into this category before attempting a transformation. A Kinda-Ready has unsuccessfully tried multiple weight loss ‘diets’, which may cause some apprehension toward any diet and training strategy you present to them. These temporary failures may have caused them to say “I guess I just can’t”, giving them a reason to knowingly indulge in unhealthy habits. They will be hesitant to begin full-fledged, clean eating and exercising 5-6 days per week. So your best strategy is to try to slowly break down the wall of frustration and apprehension that they have built over time. Aggression is not the answer, as that will only push them further into their unhealthy habits. Their change will not happen quickly, so be in it for the long haul. Here are some potential first steps:
1. Encourage a little more fruit/veggie intake with their meals (don’t worry about removing the unhealthy stuff yet, take baby steps first, the rest will come later).
2. Suggest some healthy substitutes in some of their meals (including drinks).
3. Do they have a favorite sport or activity? Maybe volunteer to do that with them
4. MAKE IT FUN! Make it a competition, make a bet, create a contest in your home or office! (i.e. – if you drink this much water, I will do 100 burpees…you’re the healthy one, if you want them to ‘suffer’ by being healthier, then be willing to also ‘suffer’ by getting in an extra workout, they will love to see it).
There are plenty of other ideas, these are just some off of the top of my head. But the goal, is to make them believe that THEY CAN! So MOTIVATION is also very important! Always provide positive, encouraging words...ZERO negativity! With these small steps, they can eventually become a So-Ready.
We all know this person. This is the guy or gal that REFUSES to listen to anything you say about eating healthy, no matter how right you are. They are completely stuck in their ways, and if you bring up anything about making a change, they will pretty much become enraged! With this individual, there isn’t much you can do. Think about it, trying to get them to eat healthy is just like trying to get a healthy person to eat unhealthy. IT’S NOT HAPPENING! So, all you can do is set the example that you hope they might become. Enjoy your healthy lifestyle and pray that they will realize what they are doing to themselves. It is ultimately up to them to make a change, all you can do is be there for them if and when that happens. In the event that they become a Kinda-Ready or a So-Ready, you will be the FIRST PERSON that they call. The only hope is that they are not in a hospital bed when the change occurs. We’re all very passionate about this lifestyle, but sometimes we have to let people see the light on their own. So don’t try to force them to the light…BE THE LIGHT! Hopefully, they’ll open their eyes.
"I don't live to eat...I eat to live!!"
Posted by Dozie Onunkwo, Ph.D. at 1:18 PM