I get a tremendous boost from the people I’ve connected with via this blog. I am also helped by the fact that I’m participating in a weight loss program through my doctor’s office that meets once a week. Since we started in mid-July, I’ve only missed class once, when I was out of town.
Today’s New York Times has an article that discusses what models of working as a group help the most with weight loss.
While small groups are better than individual efforts, some kinds of structures are more effective than others . . . What you really need is a group you sort of trust: a group that has a common goal, but is not made up of close friends. People who are too close to each other tend to fall into permission-giving. If a member of the group comes back from a vacation five pounds heavier, group members are sympathetic — It was vacation! Of course you gained weight — and the social norm of the group shifts. It becomes a force for weight gain, much worse than no group at all: even my weight loss group says it’s O.K. Sympathetic understanding needs to be balanced by tough love.
I’d love to get your feedback about the right balance between support and tough love when it comes to how we interact through our blog posts.
I hope that my comments on others’ blogs are seen as supportive, and, at times, helpful. I try not to give feedback or advice unless someone has explicitly asked.
At times, I bite my tongue. (No calories!) I see someone post details of a meal, or a habit, that I know is counterproductive to their goal of losing weight.
At those times, I remind myself that everything is relative. True, someone may be drinking a full-sugar coke (in Texas, coke is the generic word for soda, pop, or cola), but should I call them out on it? Or have they cut back from four a day to one? Did they have a rough day, and this was just a slip, or is this a habit that will sabotage them over the long haul?
The research shows just how much a coke can spike your calories and blood sugar and cause you to gain weight over the course of a year, but I have never told someone to just suck it up and cut it out.
When people say they are trying to quit, I offer support for that, but do people want someone to tell them to quit if they haven’t come to it on their own?
What do you want from your blog readers?
Should we all have a page on our blog, or a sidebar, or some regularly-posted language that tells people what kind of feedback we want?
Would you find it helpful if a stranger said, gently, that they read the details of your last meal, and while it may have been healthier than what you are accustomed to eating, that it was still full of some land mines that are known to impede weight loss?
If you’ve skipped three weeks of exercising, or even of blogging, do you want other bloggers who check in with you regularly to prod you? Or would you start to block their comments and avoid checking your blog because you don’t want to hear about it?
I’m very curious to know. I want to help people, both because I know how good I feel now that I’m losing weight and, of course, because I want others to help me. I’m not entirely sure, frankly, how much tough love I can take. Then again, to date, my progress has been fairly steady and the weight has been coming off. I might feel differently if I’d seen a steady gain over a few weeks.
Certainly, knowing that I “have to” report back on exercise goals has helped me hit the gym when I really didn’t want to go. And, simply knowing that others are rooting for me makes tough days much easier.
So tell me: what do you think? What kind of help do you want, not want, give, or hold back on?