The Village People

The old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” can easily be applied to the relationship between a support network and an individual seeking better health and fitness. All too often I see clients who are 110% committed to making positive lifestyle changes: eating organic, limiting alcohol consumption, or taking up running, as examples. Yet their efforts are derailed by family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances – some of whom have no idea they are hindering the progress of another. (Some know FULL WELL they are doing so, however. We call them frienemies.)

If you happen to be embarking on a path toward positive life changes, stop for a few minutes and really think about your support network, or personal “village.” Are the individuals in your village actually interested in your goals, or are they saying what you want to hear only when it is convenient for them? Here are some real life examples:

You are trying to stop drinking, and your friend says they will do whatever they can to support you.
But when they want to throw a few back on Friday, they ask you to go and say, “Just one drink won’t hurt. You deserve it- you’ve been sooo good this week!”

How about the friend or coworker that tries to get you to skip your workout to go for dinner and drinks instead? “This has been such a stressful week for all of us! You just have to come out with us!”

And then there is one of my personal favorites- the neighbor/coworker/friend/family member who makes derogatory remarks about your weight loss. “Wow, are you feeling okay? You look so…gaunt.”

These are all examples of village people who are failing you, and if this resembles your network, I strongly recommend you sit down with those you care about and explain how their negative talk or actions are affecting you. Take accountability, though. At the end of the day, it’s your choice if you pick up that drink, skip your workout, or cheat on your healthy eating plan. When it comes to your fitness, you are in control of your own destiny. It’s just a little easier to achieve that destiny with village people who’ve got your back.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson