“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
When I first started my lifestyle transformation, my close friends knew what was going on. But, most teachers spend at least 8 hours of their day at work. That means, that unless your best friends are other teachers, you are spending a lot of time around other people. So, it is important that your co-workers know that you are making changes. They will probably be skeptical at first, because this is probably not the first time you have attempted to lose weight and improve your fitness. However, this is a key component of your weight loss and fitness success because you spend so much time (at least 1/3 of your daily hours) at work. Here are a few suggestions to help your friends and co-workers support you at work.
1. Tell your best teaching friends first. I know the name of almost everyone that works and teaches at the high school I worked at. That doesn’t mean I really know them, and they don’t know me. So, I don’t need to stand up at all staff meeting and profess my desire to improve my fitness. That’s unnecessary, but the people that you interact with regularly, your friends, need to know what’s going on. This is tough because, since they know you so well, they will probably be the most skeptical. Again, if you have told the people closest to you in your life already, you will be prepared for this skepticism, and it won’t phase you. This step needs to happen. You need them to know so that when you are tempted to break your eating goals, they will question you. You need them to stop offering you candy and trail mix during passing times. Information is power. If they know what you’re doing, they will support you. Don’t skip this step. It’s really critical.
2. Tell the people you interact with regularly. If you teach at a larger high school (1500+), you’re not going to interact with everyone. That is just the nature of the size of the school. But, you will have people you regularly talk to. For me, in my role the last two years, I worked really closely with the security and administration. We had a number of bigger guys that were campus monitors. We made a friendly wager on who could lose the most weight. I was already on stickk.com, so I didn’t really care about the stakes, that wasn’t what motivated me. I really did it because I wanted them to get involved and get healthy, and I wanted them to know what I was doing. There was mixed results, one of the guys made huge progress (losing 35+ pounds) and reaping all the benefits of this lifestyle change, and most others didn’t change much. But, the fact that they knew what I was doing was important to my success.
3. Do some convincing. As you get further into the process, your success and your results become your credibility and draw people to you for help. But, when you first start, you have to convince other people, who felt like you, doomed to fail, that they should join you. I tell people often, “If I told you I could add 10 years to your life, and improve the quality of the years you’re living now in 6 months, would you do whatever I asked?” The goal is to help reshape and reframe your fellow teachers’ thinking about health and fitness. It really doesn’t take that long to change decades worth of bad habits, if you are committed to daily making positive changes. Once people see that it is manageable and have success, they will be invested. This is where I hesitate when suggesting you start a competition, because a competition does have the possible side effect of being a discouragement to others. In my case, I was losing a lot of weight at a fast pace, and I knew others might struggle to keep up, so I never really talked about the competition after I got people going.
4. Answer the questions. This is the best part of the whole deal. You get a chance to share your success. Each time someone asks me, I am excited and flattered, because people are noticing my hard work, and I have a chance to literally change and improve the quality of someone’s life. If you’re doing your job correctly, you will be saying the same thing over and over again, but if you see this as a chance to forever improve someone’s life it will inspire you. I love it when people ask me what I’m doing to lose weight.