When a person decides to lose weight, they draw from an awesome source of internal motivation. This idea that a person’s motivation must come from within is an incredibly important concept in lifestyle change, however it isn’t the whole story.
If you have a friend, significant other, coworker, family member, etc. that is on the Medifast program then you play a critically important role in whether or not they’re successful. Although a person’s best motivation comes from the inside-out that doesn’t mean that externally sourced or extrinsic motivation doesn’t play an important role!
There are two forms of positive, external motivators that can make all the difference:
- Positive Peer Health Norms
- Positive Environmental Conditions
Norms are the patterns of behavior that we are surrounded by in our society, our culture, workplaces, neighborhoods, families, and so on. Therefore, Positive Peer Health Norms are those healthy lifestyle patterns of behavior that we have as supporters. Are you physically active? It will be so much easier for a person on-plan to be more physically active if we live that way too. Do you make healthy food choices? It will be easier for someone on-plan to make healthy decisions if we make them too. Are you threatened by their personal growth or do you support it? This can be a challenging question to ask ourselves honestly. Many times when people make lifestyle changes they may not act like the person we learned to care about. Sometimes this can bring up trust or loss issues. Basically, one of the best ways we can help someone get healthy is to take a look at our own lives to see how healthy we’re living.
The second, extrinsic motivator that we can influence as supporters is the environment in which a person lives and works. We’re more likely to exercise in a gym than in a fast food restaurant, just as we’re more likely to overeat at a buffet as opposed to at home with a meal we prepared ourselves. Our physical environment can have a strong influence over our behaviors. Therefore, as supporters, we want to take a look at the environment in which our friend or family is within. Are there unhealthy snacks in the house? If so, this may be overwhelming the person’s willpower. Do you often suggest going out to eat? Although, this might seem like a nice gesture it will be important to know if there are healthy, on-plan options they could choose. Do you bring your friend or family member cookies during the holidays? It might be a good idea to rethink this while they are on-plan. Basically, another way that we can help someone get healthy is to take a look at their environment.
Making significant lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and exercising can be quite a challenge. If you are supporting someone that is trying to make those changes then you can have a tremendously positive impact by making healthy choices yourself and helping them create a healthy environment. So decide right now to be a MediFriend!
Ryan, Richard; Edward L. Deci (2000). “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions”. Contemporary Educational Psychology 25.1: 54–67.
Creating a healthy environment with food and other aspects in my life such as being emotionally stronger & having a mind of my own is my goal. I will walk the walk until I’m finally there.