An Audience For Change – The Case For Weight Loss Camps
When considering most changes in life, for most people, it is not without some trepidation. Especially in the case of weight loss, most would agree that it is not looked upon favorably. In fact most people view it as painful, restrictive, and full of deprivation. With this kind of sentiment in mind, it is no wonder that the success rate for people losing weight in this country is what it is. However, it is not only this viewpoint that confounds the problem. When we look at change in general, of any kind, there are several factors that must be considered. While the person must have awareness of a problem in order to change it, she must also have the sense of control and competency required to make the change, but she must also have an audience to support the change.
To be sure, if a person were attempting to change into something that was not supported by those around her, the change would, most likely, not be possible. For example, if she were attempting to work full time, when her husband, children, friends, and extended family did not support this, it would be very difficult to do. As she may experience judgment, criticism, or even recrimination from these people, she would also find it difficult to maintain the necessary sense of control and competency to support this change. In this sense, the audience for change represents an integral part of maintaining change. This is certainly the case when someone is trying to loose weight.
For those attempting to loose weight, identifying an audience to support this change is something that is commonly missed. When it is, the person may unknowingly encounter resistance when working toward her weight loss goals. Obviously without becoming aware of this resistance, and making the necessary changes, the person’s weight loss goals will be hindered. This is where weight loss camps come in.
Because weight loss camps recognize the importance of creating an audience to support the changes in any person’s life, but especially those struggling with weight loss, they have all of the clients live on site. Utilizing a residential approach allows the weight loss camp to create an environment that supports every person’s weight loss goals. In doing this, the weight loss camps create an audience for change that serves many purposes in maintaining each person’s goals.
Primarily an audience for change provides the person with a sense of awareness of herself. As those around her at the camp, will notice things about her that she may notice about herself, she will begin to develop an increased understanding of herself. For example, another camper may compliment her skill at a particular sport, and bring this to her attention. When this happens, she will begin not only to know herself more fully, but also begin to develop a sense of identity around the positive change. Essentially, she will begin to see herself as more athletic.
Each time she receives feedback such as this, her sense of identity as a healthy, fit, athletic person will be strengthened. This is an obvious ingredient to weight loss success. Clearly, if the person does not see herself as a healthy, fit, athletic person, she is going to struggle, as it does not align with her sense of identity. The weight loss camp approach then accounts for this, and utilizing a residential approach provides the integral audience for each person to begin to develop an increased understanding of herself, as well as a sense of identity as a healthy person.
Secondly, an audience for change becomes a constant source of positive regard for movement toward change. While at the weight loss camp, as each person makes forward progress toward her weight loss goals, those around her offer positive regard for this progress. When this happens, the person immediately experiences an increased sense of confidence, which leads to more forward progress. As people inherently move toward where they feel confident, the more positive regard each person experiences, the more likely she will move toward further weight loss goals.
In this sense, the movement toward future weight loss, and the positive regard stimulates the person’s motivation. For example, a fellow weight loss camp participant might share with the person that she noticed how she was able to recover from a setback and how her strength motivated her to push herself past her own limitations as well. As this is positive regard for the person’s ability to be successful at her desired changes, the person will likely move in the direction of future changes as her motivation is now increased. In this sense, the audience that the weight loss camp provides helps to increase the person’s motivation through the constant positive regard for movement toward change.
Lastly, the audience that supports the person’s weight loss provides the client a sense of connection from which to begin to develop a sense of purpose in her pursuits. When the person is able to connect her efforts toward any change to something greater than herself, the change itself begins to take on a sense of purpose. For this reason, it is not at all uncommon that those in recovery from drugs or alcohol become drug counselors, or those who achieve significant weight loss become personal trainers.
As these people received positive support for their changes, they naturally were able to connect these changes to something larger than themselves, that is, helping others. In the case of weight loss, helping others to also lose weight provides a sense of purpose in one’s own life. However, it is not without first experiencing the positive support through those around her, that the person feels as though her own weight loss achievements can represent a sense of purpose for others as well. It is the positive support of those at the weight loss camp that offers just that for the person attempting to lose weight.
While there are many factors that can deter a person’s efforts, certainly, those around her should not. Maintaining an audience for change that supports the person’s movement toward change is certainly not a difficult task, and one made incredibly easier through the use of a camp. So whether the audience is helping the person to become more aware of herself, providing constant positive regard that fosters motivation, or representing a sense of connection and purpose for the client, the effects are profound. In the field of weight loss, profound effects are in short supply, and for the person losing the weight are certainly not unappreciated.