These Transformative Principles are part of a series on achieving permanent health change that began on March 21. The "principles" are not meant to be gospel. They are simply thoughts of mine that are based on observation of successful maintainers, personal experience and--to some degree-- my own conjecture. I hope they provide some food for thought as you continue your own quest for health transformation.
Transformative Principle #3: Find Others Who Have Transformed
Many of my maintenance patients seem to relate to the following analogy:
Everyone you know is having a great time swimming in the ocean. The only problem is that the ocean is terribly polluted. Large blobs of chocalatey brown oil are bobbing all over the surface. People are swimming in it, swallowing it and inhaling the fumes, yet they claim they are enjoying themselves. You see this going on and become increasingly concerned about the danger. Suddenly, you see a beautiful island. Exhausted from the drag of the oily sea, you pull yourself up onto the shore. Like a pelican in the gulf, you are coated in oil. You set the work on the laborious task of cleaning it all off. Finally, spent but relieved, you turn to look at the beautiful place where you've found rescue. There's only one problem: you are all alone on the island.
Almost everyone who tries to accomplish transformation feels like the odd-man out. Eating mindlessly while complaining about health and weight is a cultural norm. We are social beings and living life in another permutation ostracizes us to some degree. It becomes increasingly difficult to avoid the pressure to return to the fold.
Successful transformation is infinitely easier if your island is populated. Thanks to the internet, this is a lot easier to do now. After losing over 100 pounds, Lynn began a chat room relationship with a group of women who call themselves "The Maintaining Divas". Years into the process, they remain close and even travel to reunions so they can talk face to face.
One of the best pillars for transformation is having another like-minded person in your household. Generally, this is a spouse or significant other.