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Can You Be A People Pleaser And Still Lose Weight?

Dr Larocque says “You have to love yourself to lose weight.” We encourage our friends and those we care about to make positive changes in their lives, but the same can’t be said about those for whom we have no love. You wouldn’t waste your time over people you don’t love. Will you too waste your time over yourself if you don’t love yourself? In part 1 or our People Pleasing series we take a look at the ‘Jolly Fixer’ and the ‘Frustrated Do Gooder’ read on…you might notice yourself along some off these lines..


At Motivation we see many clients who through various circumstances develop a sense of responsibility for other peoples’ happiness. Children, partners, colleagues and friends become dependent as the individual develops first rate firefighter instincts to alleviate everyone else’s problems. On the surface they are busy, ambitious, energetic people, but more than that they feel duty bound to sort out other peoples’ problems and take on the role of fixer upper for everyone who calls on them. Interestingly these clients are happy, good humoured and full of energy. They make a point of protecting others’ feelings and are the voice of reason in the midst of angst.

So what’s the problem, you might ask. Being so positive, they can’t understand why they have a weight problem and usually some health issues like migraines, back problems, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and bowel problems. The problem here is stress. Without realising, the quest to be all things to all people is placing so much pressure on the person that the physical body starts to fail. They don’t feel tense and enjoy all they do, but the lack of balance leaves them depleted and takes its toll. Excess weight comes from not taking time to exercise, being too busy for structured meals and taking on so much that they stay up working and have to function on very little sleep and way too much caffeine. Like everything, this type of people pleasing stems from parenting style, peers and life experiences. Somewhere along the way their self-image became strengthened by being needed. Clearly these are capable, intelligent people using their talents and abilities to the max, but what’s the point if it’s to their own detriment.


Then we have the people pleasers who are afraid of disappointing. They are pulled in opposing directions. On one hand they crave independence, on the other they need to feel approved, this is the stronger of the two instincts. These individuals know they overeat, but don’t connect their behaviour to the emotional ‘apron string’ vice which dominates every decision they make. They cannot be their own person because they are brainwashed from an early age. This may stem from a strict authoritarian upbringing, criticism from parents, guardians, siblings or teachers which results in total fear of inadequacy and a quest for an unrealistic level of excellence. Whether intentioned or otherwise, the interpretation of these experiences leaves a damaged self-image and so the mantra goes “I must do everything in my power to avoid disappointing…..I must achieve what…..expects, if I can’t do it, then I am inadequate.” For as long as this thinking remains these individuals live under pressure in a state of tension, triggering unhealthy eating behaviours and over indulgence in a subconscious desire for pleasure and reward. The only way to gain control of these emotions, lose weight and feel better about oneself is to alter these unreasonable thought patterns.

As these patterns are the product of repeated messages, new positive self-talk must be repeated over and over, alongside the belief that everyone has the absolute right to make mistakes and to disappoint. No human being should be compared to another, one should simply be oneself and fully exploit one’s own potential. Daily reinforcement in writing, listening, relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques are recommended. They should be used in all types of circumstances, over and over, so that this logic is realized and freedom enjoyed. Realizing that it is impossible to go through life not letting anyone down is key, and makes one realize that it is the person imposing these demands who has the issue. My favourite Dr Larocque quote sums it up beautifully. “Never mind the opinion of others, you are responsible only to yourself. THOSE WHO WOULD JUDGE YOU PROBABLY MAKE MORE MISTAKES THAN YOU DO SINCE JUDGING OTHERS IS IN ITSELF A SERIOUS MISTAKE.”



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