Monday, January 19, 2009

Evil weight management tips

I feel thwarted by weight management tips! They annoy me. Take the many, many reasons why someone is struggling with their weight and then synthesize it into one action statement. Add a "just" and a few exclamation marks and voila! The tip of your dreams. Just commit to eating breakfast every day! Don't eat when you're angry! Just eat off a salad plate! Just write everything down!

After many years working in the weight management business, I should know better. That one pearl of wisdom about successful weight management can make a difference. People need information. The tip format is a useful way to share pertinent information. My resistance comes from seeing weight-loser wannabes regurgitate all the things that they've been told over the years. With guilt-laden postures and many sighs they tell me "Oh, I know I should be --insert your favorite over-used tip here-- but I just can't, I guess I'm just hopeless". These well-meaning but essentially useless tips can be damaging. All should come with a warning "This tip may not work for you - don't worry, we have many more!".

The tip isn't really the problem here. It is how the tip is used or in many cases over-used. A weight management professional must craft messages well. We must understand our clients' key issues and find a way to give useful information.

Anne Fletcher has mastered the art of weight management tip writing very well. In her best-selling book Thin for Life she lists 10 over-arching tips:

1. Believe that you can become thin for life.

2. Take the reins.

3. Do it your way.

4. Accept the food facts.

5. Nip it in the bud.

6. Learn positive self-talk.

7. Move it or lose it.

8. Face life head-on.

9. Get more out of life.

10. Don't go it alone.

Check out WebMD's book synopis for a more complete overview of these tips and what they mean. One of the crucial aspects of successful weight management is for each person to become more aware of their daily patterns, not just in food intake or activity but also in mindset and mood. It is only when that self-awareness is strengthened that a person can decide exactly how they will start decreasing their food intake and increasing their activity. That's what Anne's tips do - help create better self-awareness around daily patterns. With that knowledge a person can effectively use any of the typical weight management tips. And "effectively using" also means choosing not to use all of the tips that one sees.

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