Okay…so bear with me tonight. I am trying to mix my old work stuff with my new work stuff…and I have made a little connection that makes a fair bit of sense – to me at least!
So the old work stuff was all resourcing, assessment, development, and management related. I would often work with people who struggled to manage teams effectively, and I used to help them through this process.
One of the most used and well-know group and team development models is known as the ‘Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing’ model which was discovered / created / developed (insert your own relevant word for someone who comes up with a business model!) by Bruce Tuckman in 1965.
Tuckman was convinced that each phase within this model was inevitable, necessary even, for a team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results.
The progression route is pretty much as it says on the tin…
In the ‘forming’ stage you see high dependence for guidance and direction. There is a lack of clarity. The team leader has to answer lots of questions. Processes are often ignored. Team members test the system and their manager.
In the ‘storming’ stage things get interesting. People vie for attention and position…establishing their territory. They challenge the manager. There is often a clear goal yet things still feel uncertain. Power struggles and cliques start to appear. Relationships and emotional issues become distracting. Compromise is needed.
In the ‘norming’ stage things start to calm down. The team agree and consensus is often found…they respond well to the manager who is now a facilitator. They may become more social, and engage in fun activities. Things develop…processes and working style for example. The manager trusts the team to be a considerable part of the decision-making process.
In the final stage, ‘performing’, the team knows what they are doing. They are strategically aware with a shared vision…able to perform with little or no interference from the manager. Goals are often over-achieved. There are still tough times and disagreements…but they are positively resolved within the team, and any actions as a result – such as process changes – are made. The team looks after itself to a certain extent…it does not need to be instructed or assisted.
What an earth am I rambling on about, you might be thinking? As I said, bear with me!
Of the many emails I receive, the most common question I get asked surrounds motivation. How do I stay motivated? It seems a little flippant to say that death is my motivator. I was in such a bad place and, had I continued, death would have been fairly imminent I think. Motivation is so personal…what works for me won’t work for you. You have to find your own motivator.
So I then got to thinking about the process of weight loss…the journey. This for me is more important than motivation in a way, as motivation changes – death was a motivator, but now it seems so far off that I have new motivators. The process of weight loss is important…how you stay on track, so I broke down the stages and they somehow seemed familiar…
Stage 1 is the honeymoon period – or ‘forming’. You start a new weight loss journey. You are excited, yet unsure at the same time. You have lots of questions. You have a goal in mind but aren’t quite sure how you feel about it or how to get there…it seems so bloody far away. You need help and support. You try and follow your new regime to the letter…almost militantly at first. However, there are some things that you don’t do because you either aren’t aware…or realise that you can’t make such big changes straight away. This results in you starting to ‘test’ your boundaries…
…which brings you onto to Stage 2 – I will also call it the ‘storming’ stage…or the ‘feck it, I can’t be arsed’ stage! This is where things get interesting…it’s either going to set you on the right path, or bugger your journey up. Behaviour that you managed to resist in the main during the honeymoon phase starts to creep in. You start to test the boundaries of your eating plan – what can I get away with? What can I eat and drink, that I know I shouldn’t really, and not get caught out on the scales? Emotions that you managed to control initially become unmanageable and you start to eat to deal with these. Guilt and frustration with yourself sets in. People around you start to tempt you and you feel as if everything and everyone is sabotaging your efforts. You know what you should be doing, but for some reason you aren’t doing it. In order to reach your goal, compromise is needed – some of those old behaviours need to stop, or rather new behaviours need creating – but yet you keep feeling as if you are sabotaging yourself…and that you will never reach that goal.
And it is at this point that most people give up when it comes to weight loss. The ‘storm’ is too strong and you get a major case of the ‘can’t be arsed’…it feels easier to give up. Sticking with your new regime is hard. Tackling habits built over a lifetime is hard. Even though you want to reach that goal it just feels unreachable.
Just as Tuckman stated that each phase within his original model was necessary for performance, I am going to make a wild claim and state that each phase in my very ripped-off and plagiarised model is absolutely necessary too. My consultant recently mentioned a lady in one of her groups who got to target very easily. No upsets, no ‘stay the same’ or gains…she sailed through to target. But boy is she struggling now. She has a new job and life has changed, and she feels that because she didn’t experience those difficult times that most people do when trying to lose weight, that she is so ill-equipped to maintain her weight loss.
You have to experience the upsets and euphoria…it makes you stronger. It gives you the tools to manage your weight on a long term basis. Why do you think that quick fix fad diets don’t work…it’s because you get a result so quickly in some cases – dangerously, stupidly, and at great risk to your health I must point out! – but these results don’t educate along the way. You learn nothing…other than perhaps how to change your pants really quickly in the toilets at work after the weight loss pills have kicked in, or how to drink a milkshake whilst driving one-handed to work!
So you have to work through that ‘storming’ stage. You have to accept that reaching your goal is bloody tough…it’s a challenge. There will be times when giving up feels like the only option. There will be life events that halt play for a while. It is not easy…but as I have said before, being fat can be bloody hard too…I know which hard I would rather have!
Accept the storm. Keep heading in the right direction. Deal with the moments off plan and get right back on plan. Throw the guilt out of the window. Go out and enjoy a nice meal with friends…that’s not sabotage, that’s life. Food can be fun – losing weight is not a punishment…you are getting your health back on track. Commit to attending your group on a weekly basis – if you go to one – regardless of what has happened that week. After all, if you apply Tuckman’s model in a work setting, you can’t really skip work…so treat your weight loss as a project at work – turn up, show up, man up, and get on with the job…it won’t be smooth sailing…but weather the storm and you will eventually reach stage 3…
…Tuckman refers to this as the ‘norming’ phase. For me, I see it as the ‘argh…I am doing everything right but something still isn’t quite right phase’…or, ‘that’s life’ phase. This is where you have decided to stick with it. You know that your eating plan will produce results if you keep going. Just as there are times at work when you think of throwing in the towel but don’t…something makes you think that it’s worth hanging on in there. This is how I felt about Slimming World…I KNEW it worked for me…I had lots of proof from joining so bloody many times. It was me that needed to sort myself out and just focus on the task in hand…I needed to put aside the emotions – or deal with them. So as I came out of the ‘storming’ phase after my first six months on / off plan, I began to put into practice all of things I learnt during that period. I actually followed the plan properly. I kept a food diary. I worked on the emotional issues. I committed to attending group and stayed to group each week. I made sure that the plan fitted with my life – and found Slimming World alternatives for all of those meals that might have tempted me to stray. I confided in friends and relatives just how bad my situation had been – which included telling them my starting weight – and that I could do with some support – so no fecking Easter Eggs or comments about how just having one treat or meal off plan wouldn’t hurt. I found out which types of meals and food within the incredibly flexible Slimming World plan worked for me. I found that it was actually not that bad at all. I enjoyed eating healthily, I enjoyed beginning to move my body a little more…it responded by shifting some of this weight. Weight that I was told that I would never be able to lose without weight loss surgery. Life got brighter…I could finally see some light at the end of the very bloody long tunnel.
And of course there is the final stage, ‘performing’. This is the stage when everything comes together. All of those tough times have given you some experience that will see you through to your goal. You know how to make wise choices when eating out…but you also know that one meal won’t ruin your hard work. Eating in this way feels as if it comes naturally to you – it’s an automatic reaction. You attend group and enjoy it, but for the most part, you don’t need too much help and guidance…just a little nudge in the right direction every now and again. People start to see you as someone who is focused and on the right track. You truly believe that you will reach your goal…and nothing is going to stand in your way. Challenges and tough moments are dealt with without too much concern or heartache…as you have that goal in sight. You feel amazing. You might not quite be at target yet, but can feel it and visualise it. Your life is now heading in the right direction – you have got the eating sorted, you have expanded this to the movement – realising that this will be an important part of a healthy lifestyle – and you are constantly tuning in to your thoughts, feelings and emotions to understand them, and deal with them without turning to food. You are performing! You might not be at target just yet…but the signs are all there.
So what stage are you at…and what stage have you thrown the towel in at before? I sat in the ‘storming’ phase for a long while. In fact I gave up during the ‘storming’ phases so many times…I am like a boomerang though and keep coming back to Slimming World! At one point though, I never believed that it was possible to lose weight without surgery. If you had told me back in February 2012 that in February 2014 I would have lost 19st I would have thought that you were deluded, or trying to upset me – making promises that just weren’t achievable. For once in my life I didn’t give up in the ‘storming’ phase. I knew that if I wanted to save my life, and get out there and live a life, that I had to stick with it. That stage of ‘performing’ sounds like utopia to me and had I read this whilst I was still ‘storming’ I would never have thought that I was the kind of person to ever ‘perform’…but I am.
I know that I have a long, long way to go. I also know that the new behaviours I have developed are going to get me to my goal. There will be things that I need to adjust along the way – other than my stomach in the holdie-innie pants that I will soon need to buy! I know that sticking with this lifestyle change through the tough times has given me the strength and confidence to stick with it through to target now. I absolutely know that there are hard times ahead…frustration, tears and tantrums…but I also know that I can deal with those.
I will ask you again…what stage are you at? What stage do you want to be at? What do you need to do to get there…slowly and confidently?
That’s it for me then. I will turn my old business model brain back off again now!
Today saw me deciding that peanut butter really wasn’t that great an idea last night. I was up in the night with a dodgy tum! I had craved the peanut butter for a while…nothing too monumental – it wasn’t one of those ‘have to have it right now’ cravings…more of a slow burner. So I bought some, and decided to ditch the crisps on weigh-in night in favour of peanut butter on toasted rolls. At 4.5 syns for a level tablespoon, it looked a bit measly, but is a good healthy source of ‘stuff’ and so I went for it. I ate half of it and could have left the rest…but the old food monster in me still hasn’t buggered off and so I ‘forced’ myself to eat the rest after a half-time break! I could feel my tummy chugging a little later on and knew it had been a bad idea. It tasted okay…I would have preferred my yogurt and cherry combo I think…and so I reckon the jar might last for a while.
It’s a bit scary actually. I would have had half a jar easily on toast in the old days…so to recognise my feelings towards food changing is a bit strange…I feel like I am losing a sense of identity in a weird way!
So with the peanut butter revelation recognised, I got on with my day. I headed to the gym to try a new cardio workout which my trainer wants me to use the day before our session…he doesn’t want me tiring myself out beforehand apparently. It was rather strange being in a gym and not lifting weights! I did sneak a couple in though as, rather unusually for my gym, all of the treadmills were in use and they were the last piece of equipment I needed to use…so I got a slight fix. I am sure that fix will be well and truly dealt with tomorrow though, so I should count my blessings for a quieter workout today!
The horses were fine…we are excepting snow this weekend though, so we will see if that happens and see how they are living out in it. We quickly popped to Asda for today’s supplies…and then came home as I have some coaching sessions to conduct this afternoon…followed by some TV and an early night I think.
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).Lunch: Burgers with pickled stuff! (2 x HEA, 2 x HEB and 2 syns).Dinner: Veggie meatball pasta (1.5 syns).Snacks: 0% Total Greek yogurt with cherries and a chopped Nakd bar (6.5 syns).My usual morning gym fuel…although this morning I ended up dropping the porridge all over my bare feet – it was okay, as it was just the porridge and cold water combo, although I am still picking oats out from between my toes! Lunch was good. My lovely Asda meatfree burgers with cheese and gherkins, accompanied by some cherry tomatoes, pickled onions and beetroot salad. Dinner was good too – mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, peppers and onion, with wholemeal pasta and veggie meatballs. The 1.5 syns in the dinner comes from the Asda meatfree meatballs. I couldn’t get hold of the Quorn ones – which are syn free – so these are a good substitute. I am not a scrimper when it comes to balls…so I have half a pack – the whole bag is 3 syns which isn’t bad when you share! And my absolute favourite evening snack of the moment is the Greek yogurt with cherries and a chopped Nakd bar…it is like a Black Forest gateaux…which was a favourite of mine as an 80′s child!
Exercise: 20 minutes elliptical machine, 15 minutes hand bike(?!), and 15 minutes on the treadmill.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx