Dear Tara Marie,
How do you motivate a 70 year old obese, arthritic woman to change her way of life? Suffice it to say, she has a complicated medical history and I don’t believe she is in the right mindset to see this through. She has lost weight but does not keep it off. I am sure you have heard this story before. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you have. I should add that I am speaking of my mother who is a grandmother to a gorgeous and intelligent 3 year old girl. I look forward to your response.
Thank you so much for writing and my heart goes out to you. My experience has shown me that when people don’t want help, it can be like talking to a brick wall. If I were taking this case, I would connect with her and figure out why she’s not in the right mindset to take the help she’s being offered. Is it because she’s given up? Is it because the poor woman is in severe pain from her arthritis? I would start here and address this issue first. When I have a client who is not willing or ready to change (although it’s clear that she’s not enjoying her life) I figure out why she doesn’t want to change and work on that before I launch into an elaborate program.
If your Mom has given up, she may need to see some semblance of progress before she believes in herself again. I would bargain with her to take a few small steps. There’s nothing like success to make you want more success. If the issue is that she’s in pain and fears that exercise will create more pain, I would show her some specific exercises that she can do without pain. 70 is not very old these days, and the truth is, if she were not obese her joints would not hurt as much as they do. Sometimes it’s getting past the first 4-6 weeks of adjusting to a new way of life and then we can coast!
Again, nail down why she’s resistant to helping herself and conquer this issue before you worry about anything else. Until she’s a willing participant, there is little that you can do unless you monitor her 24/7 and impose your will on her—which is next to impossible unless she’s put in a rehab situation where she loses personal control of her life.
I hope this helps, and good luck!
TARA MARIE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
SIX: Adjust Your Attitude
It is human nature to complain. I say this because it is behavior that I observe in the tiniest of people, like my baby nephews. No one taught them to whine and complain when they don’t get their way, but it seems to be something that they mastered at an early age. We all do it—we complain when we are made to do something that we deem unappealing, or when we don’t get our way in a situation. We complain about things that range from the very important to those that would seem insignificant to others. If you are my three year old nephew, you complain if Auntie Tara gives you the red cup instead of the blue cup or orange juice instead of milk. We want what we want.
Most of us desire a beautiful, toned body, but we complain because we have to eat well and exercise to maintain it. We whine when we are served steamed veggies and fish while others at the table are enjoying chicken wings and Ranch dressing. We moan about having to work out because we believe that it shouldn’t require so much effort.
I used to complain about going to the gym. There always seemed to be a list of activities that I would rather be doing, or I was too busy, or too stressed, or the outfit I wanted to wear was dirty, or blah, blah, blah.
I saw an interview years ago on TV that really shifted my perspective. A middle aged man who had lost a significant amount of weight (and maintained the weight loss) was asked how he stayed motivated to exercise consistently. His reply was simple yet profound. He said that rather than tell himself that he had to go to the gym, he told himself that he got to go to the gym.
My 168 Hours Rule® states that it’s not the hours that you’re formally exercising that are the most significant in your life when it comes to staying lean and fit. The most significant hours are those waking hours when you’re not engaged in formal exercise. These hours far outweigh those that you are working out and will either support or destroy your efforts to stay in good shape.
People who are in the gym the most are not the most fit. This is a fact. There are people who work very hard in the gym or otherwise training, and they do it 4 or 5 times per week for an hour or more. However, these people are not necessarily the leanest and most conditioned.
We are all busy, but we also all have the same 168 hours in a week. My formula states that you have to subtract the average hours you sleep in one week and the average hours you exercise one week to determine your “golden number.”
This golden number represents the remaining waking hours of the week during which you can chose to move as much as possible and turn everyday into an athletic event, or sit around and create what science calls, lazy biology.
Many of the guests on my radio show, TARA MARIE LIVE are authors, and prepping for each show has given me an opportunity to read a plethora of great books. This week my guest is the author of a fantastic little book that provides no-nonsense, practical tips to burn off the excess body fat that has plagued you for years. This 103-page gem is called, FIRE UP YOUR FAT BURN, and its author is Dr. Lori Shemek. This is the perfect book to toss in your bag or briefcase, and devour a few pages every chance you get. It’s an easy read and chock-full of information written in terms that everyone can understand. She explains why inflammation in your body is a key reason that you’re over fat and suffer with other diseases–and she tells you how to reduce inflammation and optimize your health. We have been led to believe that it’s a “calories-in, calories-out” equation, but the truth is, a calorie is not a calorie when it comes to their expression in our bodies. As I was reading this book I kept thinking that rather than, FIRE UP YOUR FAT BURN, the book should be called, COMMON SENSE…as it simply is this. Dr. Shemek gets a gold star for this one!
I was recently asked to write an article for ExpertBeacon.com about long term weight loss and more specifically, some of the behaviors and attitudes we must implement to have long term success managing our weight. Click here to read, “Long Term Weight Loss Requires Having Confidence and Avoiding Weight Cycling.”
Enjoy! Tara Marie
I am offering a FREE teleseminar for people struggling with binge eating. It will be based on my blog, Battle Binge Eating with R.A.G.E.®
We will be discussing what binge eating is, what it is not, and how to connect the behavior to your emotions so you can bring self-awareness and self-control to any situation. Please join me for this event and pass this information along to anyone who would benefit from it!
Battle Binge Eating with R.A.G.E.®
Date: Tuesday, November 27
Time: 8 PM Eastern Time
Conference Line: 805-399-1000
Access Code: 534333
I’ll meet you there!
Happy Thanksgiving, Tara Marie
I have had the great pleasure of working with a wide variety of clients, including young athletic types, moms and dads just trying to stay fit, and often, people that struggle greatly with eating issues that plague so many of us. As I have said before, I have suffered with my share of problems regarding body image and compulsive behaviors around eating and exercise.
One of my lifelong struggles has been with binge eating. I was finally able to conquer my compulsion to binge, and I now teach my clients to do the same using a system that I devised that brings awareness to the problem and helps the client connect the undesirable behavior to its triggers—and offers an alternative means of dealing with the stressors of life.
Binge eating is a coping mechanism used by millions of people, and at its best, it serves as an ineffective way of assuaging unpleasant emotions and temporarily distracting us from our feelings. At its worst, it compounds every problem with which we suffer and gives us one more thing to worry about when the binge is over. Often, binge eating becomes a form of self-punishment. Binge eaters hate themselves for not being able to control their own behavior around food.
I know EXACTLY what it feels like to be obsessed with an irrational urge to eat to the point of being physically sick. I understand the shame involved and the need for secrecy. I have experienced the isolation, and it is a horrible way to live.
If you suffer with binge eating, it is of primary importance that you understand that it has NOTHING to do with food. You don’t want the FOOD, but rather the FEELING that the food gives you. In fact, as long as you continue to believe that your problem is food, you have little hope of overcoming the behavior. Food is never a PROBLEM, nor is it ever a SOLUTION.
When we binge, we reach for foods like muffins, pies, cakes, bread, uncooked cookie dough, frosting, chocolate, ice cream, chips, crackers, pizza, etc. These foods literally change your brain chemistry by way of increasing serotonin and other neurotransmitters and calming anxiety. I have never heard of someone bingeing on steamed broccoli and celery stalks.
We binge for the same reason that people smoke one cigarette after another, take drugs, or drink to excess—to cope with feelings that are uncomfortable or in some cases, we want to totally numb our pain. It’s not very different from giving a baby a pacifier, as it creates instant calm.
Anyone who has ever binged can attest to the fact that the good feelings are fleeting. Once the binge is over, guilt, shame, disgust, self-loathing, and feelings of worthlessness overwhelm an already-troubled person.
Conquering binge eating IS possible, if you are willing to do the hard work to learn another way of living and coping in an increasingly stressful world…and all you need is R.A.G.E.®.
TARA MARIE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
FOUR: Give yourself a break.
I always get nervous when people describe their weekly exercise routine as though it is set in stone: “I do chest and triceps on Mondays, half of legs on Tuesdays, I rest on Wednesdays, do back and biceps on Thursdays, the other half of legs on Fridays, and shoulders on Saturdays. I also do abdominal training on Tuesdays and Fridays and cardio for exactly 45 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays.”
While I admire their commitment, I wonder how they handle it when life gets in the way. I used to be very rigid with respect to my exercise routine—so much so that if I had planned to do a certain workout on any given day and I ran late or I could not be at the gym to perform my predetermined routine, I would skip the workout altogether. This is faulty thinking and I always felt frustrated because life rarely goes as planned (at least mine does not.)
I have learned two lessons that have served me well, both in the gym and in other areas of my life: remain flexible at all times and do the best you can with the circumstances you are given.
TARA MARIE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
THREE: Structure your time.
If you want to truly transform your life by making a plan of exercise and healthy nutrition a priority, you will literally need to MAKE it a priority. Many of us have good intentions, but the truth is we end up doing the things that we deem most important. Everything else gets done if we can fit it into our already-over-scheduled lives. I have found that when my schedule is too unstructured, I get much less done. I do what is in front of me at the moment and before I know it, the day is over and tasks remain unfinished. The best way to manage your time is to schedule blocks during which you will work on specific tasks.
When it comes to exercise, you must apply this same kind of structure to your plan. This is largely why working with a trainer is so effective. My clients have to book appointments with me in advance and without 24 hours notice, they are charged whether or not they keep a scheduled appointment. Once they book an appointment with me, they book the rest of their day around it.