How to Help Others Find Freedom

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Many of you have heard me say that I am on a mission to rid the world of obesity, one person at a time. I think there are many of us who would like nothing more than to see each and every one of our friends and loved ones live very long, healthy lives.  We’ve all heard about financial freedom, but I say it’s time we talk about HEALTH freedom.

You can help those you love find real freedom through healthy living.  There is no better way to stay motivated than by supporting others. Below are a few tools that can be used as we seek to help others find freedom.

Train those around you.  Think back to the very beginning of your journey.  Did you know what you were doing?  I mean, you knew what your end goal was, but did you know HOW you were going to get there?  There was probably a learning curve. Maybe you even had a mentor who helped point you in the right direction. When we start living a healthy lifestyle, it's so important to share our knowledge with others, especially with those we love.  We need to build a strong foundation at home, at work, and with our social networks.  This doesn’t always have to come in the form of verbal communication; actions often speak louder than words.

Understand real freedom.  Oftentimes, people think they don’t deserve to be healthy; that they don’t deserve that freedom.  This makes no sense to me.   I want the people I care about to be free.  I don’t want them to be tied up in guilt.  Let’s face it: Many of the reasons we become overweight are due to depression and/or addiction.  Typically, we have issues forgiving ourselves.  Since we have issues forgiving ourselves, we stress about it, which hinders our entire journey.  As you work on your journey, take notes to share with others.  Each journey and person is different, but we can still share our experiences.  Tell your loved ones that you don’t want them to be shackled by worry.  You don’t want them to be tripped up with resentment.  You don’t want them to be consumed with the expectations of others.  You want them to know what freedom is like and experience life to its fullest.  These are all burdens I have carried, and I see it as a gift now to pass on the knowledge I have received.

There is only one way to be free: Teach the truth.  A life built on the truth is one filled with happiness, joy and purpose.  If you share your knowledge you could be sparing those you care about the headaches and heartaches that you learned the hard way.  As part of this journey, we do lots of soul searching.  Searching for answers, searching for the ''reason'' we needed to be on this journey to begin with.  Searching our souls is a healthy action.  Since I've started this journey, my eyes have been opened to what life should really be about.  I believe we will all come out stronger people if we put in the time and effort to seek freedom.
For many of the people in your life, you may be the only one who can help.  This means that you'd better know your stuff!  This should be great motivation for you to keep growing.  Helping another person find the same freedom that you have found is possibly the greatest reward of this journey. I challenge you to help others.  Help them find that freedom they deserve.
Do you share your story with others in an effort to help them?  Have you mentored anybody from fat to fit? What was that process like for you?

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DEE107 5/8/2018
thanks for sharing Report
PINKFLAMINGO777 11/9/2017
As many people have mentioned, you shouldn't force "help" on people who don't want your input. Remember that your lifestyle choices are right for you, but they may not fit another person. For example, I have a friend who is an emotional eater. She put on a lot of weight during her bought with depression. It turned into a cycle because the more depressed she felt, the more she ate and gained weight, which worsened her depression and started a vicious cycle all over again. Her solution was finally to give up her go-to emotional eating foods because of the guilt they made her feel. I, on the other hand, am at the tail end of anorexia recovery. If I stayed away from foods that made me feel guilty, then I would not eat anything. For me, eating an occasional donut or a few fries is a big step in my recovery. When people harp at me for eating what they see as unhealthy, I struggle to keep from spiraling back into my eating disorder for comfort. It's important to reach out to others, but be careful of how you word things and be aware of who wants your advice and who does not. Report
I don't see any freedom in a healthy lifestyle. I think that is a very strange choice of words. I was not shackled by my weight, maybe some people are, I don't know. Over the years, my weight has changed, not from dieting, just life changes, more or less activity, stress, different jobs, etc. It has never been very important to me, it still isn't. I'm losing weight because that's what I'm doing right now, it's kind of a hobby, but it doesn't fundamentally change me. Report
My journey had been forward, backwards a few times. I am now going forward again and have stalled but i know i will move soon. I'm sharing things with my ODD who needs to lose 50lbs like me and it is going well. Report
I love your mission and your outlook. It's a gift and a pleasure to be healthy and to nourish our bodies with just enough food. Making a shift in how we think about healthy living really does lead to freedom and a much happier life. Report
I am always challenging myself to improve and to become a better person. I see the biggest Improvement when I give more of myself to others. Sometimes it's more about being a Go-giver than a go-getter. I really enjoyed this blog and the comments that followed. Truly inspirational to read how others are helping their friends and family, or at least trying hard to help. Report
Very interesting blog and comments. I agree that people have to be ready to learn / change / be taught and that the best teaching method is being a good example. Students will come to a teacher they respect for practicing what s/he teaches.

What really made my antenna spin was what you said about understanding real freedom: "Oftentimes, people think they donít deserve to be healthy; that they donít deserve that freedom. This makes no sense to me. I want the people I care about to be free. I donít want them to be tied up in guilt. Letís face it: Many of the reasons we become overweight are due to depression and/or addiction. Typically, we have issues forgiving ourselves. Since we have issues forgiving ourselves, we stress about it, which hinders our entire journey. As you work on your journey, take notes to share with others. Each journey and person is different, but we can still share our experiences. Tell your loved ones that you donít want them to be shackled by worry. You donít want them to be tripped up with resentment. You donít want them to be consumed with the expectations of others. You want them to know what freedom is like and experience life to its fullest. These are all burdens I have carried, and I see it as a gift now to pass on the knowledge I have received."

Recently, in an effort to lose weight I have regained, I have started reading THE SPARK for the second time. It has inspired me to write in a very private journal, and I have discovered lots of helpful insights. They are very personal, but someday, if someone wants my help, I will share them with her. I also think that for those of us who are still in the struggle, we need to say those kind things (about worry, resentment, being consumed with the expectations of others, etc.) to ourselves. I am eager for the day that someone looks to me for help in changing her lifestyle; I'm willing and eager to help. Meanwhile, I will keep learning and changing and sharing with whoever is interested.
Let's hear it for being free! Report
Good for you! Lead by example. Report
Life lesson here --- you cannot help anyone who doesn't first seek you out. No matter what you do, if the other person is not ready to receive you can give everything you have and they just cannot accept what you offer. Leadership my example - - - if you are successful, somebody will come to you! That's someone who is ready . . .
Your juorney is WONDERFUL - keep up the great work! Report
Great blog, Jerome. There's a saying that "you can't keep what you are not willing to give away." I believe that if I want to keep my good health, I need to share it with those who have ears to hear. Not everyone is ready for the message of health.

Sometimes it is best to lead by example and let others ask what we are doing. St. Francis is attributed with saying, "Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words." Sometimes our actions speak volumes louder than our words - like when we pass up that extra dessert, or when we go out in the wind, rain, or cold to get in a run. Someone watching us may be more moved to action by our example than by our words (which may be construed as nagging - who, me? nag?). Report
I only tell pieces of my story to those who ask. I remember quite well how I would have felt if someone tried to "preach" the truth - to try to tell me how I should eat better, work out more, etc. I still have issues with overboard "health nuts" and trying foods that I associate with that.

I find I do more to benefit those I'm around through example - not hiding the way I eat or work out - than by trying to get others to change their habits. Report
Wow! What a powerfull blog.
I'm at that point that I feel I had lost too much time to learn a healthy life style, even though I never smoked or taken drugs or had any other bad habits, I ate too much and had a sedentary life, which added to my weight problems. Now I don't want my daughters to wait as long as I did and I'm given them the good example of what eating right makes you feel better and makes you look good.
I have also got involved in my community trying to help others. Report
Great blog Jerome. There is such a Godly spiritual side to this whole process too. I finally had success when I realized that my goals would be reached on God's time frame and not my own. The important thing is to never give up. I have tried to share this with others. It is a process filled with great moments and dark times even now. I tell people that it is a daily decision not just one lasting a week or a couple of months. Thanks so much for your blogs and sharing your inner thoughts with so many..... Report
My entire goal with SP ~ to be a healthy inspiration to my kids, family and friends. For me, it is being the change I want to see in the world. As I am much healthier thanks to SP, I must wait on my family to want to change, I will be here when they are ready. Report
You are so right about this, Jerome. And I see such parallels to our spiritual salvation, as well. When I finally came into a full, healthy relationship with my Creator, that was the one word that always came to mind when I tried to describe it - Freedom! We need to release ourselves from the chains of those things this world tries to tie us down with, and learn to live our lives the way we were created to live them. Those are my 2 passions in a nutshell - I care about people's finite physical lives, and I care about their eternal spiritual lives as well. Report
Thanks for another great blog Jerome, and the comments are great too! As a Weight Watcher leader I had too many members crying about it not working for them but when I would ask if they were tracking their food, getting in the Good Health Guidelines, earning Activity Points, etc., most of them were not!! It was very frustrating to see them ready to give up without even really trying to follow the simple guidelines!! There is no quick fix and it truly has to be a gradual lifestyle change or maintaining weight loss will be impossible! Report
The challenge is waiting for people to WANT to change.

We can all talk about it, and you and I can choose to make changes, but we can't force our loved ones to change unless they want it for themselves.

Often times it takes effort and intention to go below the surface to address needs, issues, and problems that are most likely the "root" of the problem of weight that we see on the outside.

I saw a young lady this weekend that I wished I could encourage to make changes for her own personal well-being. She was still in high school and appeared to be about 300 lbs. She was friendly and personal, but other than offering her a Sparks card, I didn't know how to connect with her to offer help and support. Report
I try to help those who ask and for those who don't I try to lead by example. It doesn't help with my morbidly obese daughter. I watch as she gets bigger and bigger and though she just turned 30 I often wonder if she'll see 40. It's a heartbreak but I just keep setting a good example and giving advice when she asks it. She's still hooked into the diet mentality and wants a quick fix. I keep hoping! Report
I am yearning more to live a healthier lifestyle. Being a good role model for my kids is important to me. One of the many things I want to instill in my kids is a healthy lifestyle. I can see ow its important to help others find that freedom from bad eating habits. Especially to be more aware of what is in the foods you eat. I still have some bad eating habits to overcome. Report
I am trying to help my sister. She's been over weight all of her life. I have given her some tools to use. I bought her a stretch band to use. I have talked to her about good nutrition. I am also trying to help Dennis. I got him into walking which is good. Now he needs to work on his eating right. I worry about him. Report
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