What is an advocate?
It has become quite the topic of conversation in a number of fields – health (physical and mental), professional, relational, legal, etc. – as means for encouraging people to stand up for themselves.
As a young, female entrepreneur, you’re darn right I like the idea of encouraging others to stand up for him- or herself!
That’s a major reason as to how I’ve grown into the person I am today!
But it’s hard for me to stand up for myself.
It’s hard to wake up every morning and to step into the day ready to confidently toot my own horn.
Acting as my own self-advocate didn’t get me to this point.
Sure, I’ve had my days where there is NOTHING that can stop me, but those days are sometimes few and far between.
So how do I run a business; compete as an athlete; live as a wife, family, member, and friend; and coach youth athletics?
Because I am surrounded by people who pour out support for me, toot my horn when I can’t, and who advocate for myself and my vision each day.
I have built a support network that has supported me through fat loss, games and competitions, career changes, relationships, business adventures, and plenty of other absurd life decisions.
These are the “someone in your corner” people, the “got your 6” people, and the “always got your back” people.
These people are the secret behind my success.
These are the people you NEED when you’re on a fat loss journey.
“Why Can’t I Do This By Myself?”
Too often, I go through the intake process with a client and this is the first question out of their mouth when I talk about sharing this with their family and friends.
More and more people want to isolate themselves in this process!
I’m young, but I’ve done this long enough to confidently say that the clients who have the support of their family and friends are WAY more successful than those who insist on doing it alone (Why do you think it’s an intake question!?).
Here are the top three reasons behind their success:
- Reassurance: Self-doubt becomes VERY prevalent during a fat loss journey, and most often the only way to combat that is through the help of others. Your support network is there to remind you why you started, what your goal is, and how far you’ve come. These people care for you, so they are there to reassure you when you’re overwhelmed with doubt.
- Purpose: Think about WHY you want to lose the fat and be healthier. I am willing to bet some of these people in this support network make up that reason why. Surrounding yourself with these people consistently refuels you with purpose and serves as a reminder as to why you began this journey in the first place.
- Love: With all the talk about being a self-advocate, I think there needs to be a bigger emphasis on self-love. Not something many are able to do on a daily basis. All the more reason for a support network, so that you always have someone to love you along every step of the journey.
Initially, you may not think you need those things or you may worry about what telling others about your fat loss journey could do to your image, but you need a support network to be successful.
“Okay, I want to be successful, so who is in my support network?”
The best part is that your support network is your own, so you can have WHOMEVER (FYI I feel smart using that word) you want in it.
There are two things to know about those involved:
They have to be fully supportive of YOU.
No spot is permanent.
Here are some recommendations for people to include:
Spouse or Partner
I love to hear that someone’s spouse or partner doesn’t support their diet or they won’t do it with you. I KNOW I am fortunate to have such a supportive spouse, but ask yourself if it’s your spouse/partner that won’t support you or the fact that you don’t want to ask for his or her support?
Explain to him or her the reasons WHY.
You want to be a full participant on your next family vacation. You want to play with your kids and someday grandkids. You want to live a long, happy life together. If you’re doing this to be the happiest, healthiest version of yourself, how could he or she argue?
One of my other favorite responses: “My family won’t eat like that.”
I’m not asking to turn the world upside down!
Ask for their support similarly to a spouse or partner. Lay out the reasons for how this benefits YOU (because that is who this journey is about) and them (help improve the buy in).
If you’re doing this through the healthy lifestyle approach, you’ll be making small progressive steps with each step being an opportunity for your family members to step with you or hang out right where they’re at.
You don’t need to make completely separate meals! Just make slight changes to how you prepare the meal – separate the carbs, add veggies, or swap out some ingredients.
Encourage a family walk or workout.
Your family doesn’t have to do this entire fat loss journey with you, but remember you don’t know their true willingness to participate or support if you don’t ask.
What happens when you go out with your friends for dinner and drinks and you order a salad, dressing on the side, and a glass of red wine?
*INSERT MAJOR EYE ROLL HERE* “Yuck, you’re just so healthy.”
Next thing you know, you wake up the next morning, five drinks and some nasty bar food later telling yourself you should just give up on this whole fat loss thing.
One time I responded to an ‘acquaintance’ with this “Well, I’m just trying to outlive you.”
You can see why she’s an acquaintance….
You don’t need to respond like THAT, but imagine if your friends knew before going out that you’re trying this fat loss process out?
No ridicule and no shameful hangover the next morning.
A major concern I hear when it comes to bringing friends along is this journey boils down to self-image.
We are afraid to admit that we are struggling with our health or weight, and asking for the support of friends can really feel like an admission.
Communicate! Explain to them WHY you’re doing this and what it means to you to have their support.
Who knows, you may inspire someone to walk this path with you.
I am SO grateful my boss doesn’t allow for office donuts because they are THE WORST.
When you pass on a donut, pizza at the office lunch, or drinks at happy hour you could have a full office of employees giving you a hard time.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one person on your side at work?
When I say bring along a co-worker in your support network, I don’t mean Average Joe from IT. I mean your cube neighbor, assistance, or work husband or wife.
Ask them to not make it a big deal, but share how difficult it is to stay on track at some of these office functions and that you would love to be able to turn to one person for support.
If you work with a bunch of jerks that truly would never have your back and support your well being, are you really in the right profession?
I’m a huge proponent of coaches (DUH!), but you should be too.
You are PAYING someone to support you along this journey.
Here’s where it gets weird.
Find yourself a good coach that supports ALL OF YOU.
By find a coach, I don’t necessarily mean a nutrition coach because you may already have a training, financial, or business coach in your support network.
Tell them what you’re planning to do, and a great coach will support you in that as well as whatever you’re paying them to coach you in. Who knows, they may even have suggestions or how or who else to bring into your support network.
Fat loss is HARD.
It challenges your lifestyle, routines, and habits.
You may have had siblings or lived a full life and think to yourself that you can do this on your own, and while I admire (slightly envy) your ability to advocate for yourself, I still believe you’re wrong. I believe you’re missing out on your full potential.
Whether it’s fat loss, job changes, relationship changes, or whatever else you embark on in life, you need someone in your corner.
You need spouses/partners, family members, friends, co-workers, and coaches to reassure you, give you purpose, and provide endless love. You need this because very few people are able advocate for themselves each and every day.
Before you go any further in your fat loss journey, find your support network, your “people,” your tribe, or whatever else you want to call them. I know you’re doing this because you want to be successful, so surround yourself with people to help you get there.
Heck, if nothing else, reach out, and I will be your support network.
Credit to SOME of the people who have made up my support network:
- My parents and sister
- Brian’s parents and siblings
- Coaches (Cody, Ken, and Paul just for a few)
- Mentors (Jason, Cass, Pow)
- SO. MANY. FRIENDS.
Grow your support network, and watch your life transform.