Weight Loss Success Takes Teaching & Coaching

I read a very interesting article recently that provided some keen insight for all of you who struggle with weight loss. What was really fascinating about this article was that it was about golf and had absolutely nothing to do with dieting and weight loss. Nonetheless, it provided me with further evidence supporting the fact that successful weight loss is significantly more about what you think than it is about what you do. Let me explain.

In the article that I mentioned earlier, there was a reference to the world famous golf coach and instructor, Butch Harmon. It was his explanation regarding the basic difference between teaching and coaching that really grabbed my attention and made me think about you and the struggles that you face with weight loss. First, let me share with you Mr. Harmon's thoughts about the key difference between teaching and coaching when it comes to golf. According to Harmon, "Teaching is creating a mechanical motion, within the framework of who they are and what their body can do," whereas, "Coaching is getting through their head".

As I read those words, I was immediately reminded of the slogan for The Inner Diet program that I developed to address emotional eating. The Inner Diet slogan goes as follows: You can't change your weight until you change your mind! Mr. Harmon's comments, regarding the difference between teaching and coaching, and The Inner Diet motto both allude to the following basic and undeniable fact: you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. In other words, Mr. Harmon and I both agree that creating change, even though it requires some basic technical and instructional information, is primarily a cognitive event that takes place in the individuals mind.

In short, teaching is to behavior modification as coaching is to cognitive modification. In other words, teaching is about acquiring knowledge regarding the physical mechanics of the task at hand, whereas, coaching involves the thinking and decision making aspects of the person facing the task. So, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must do more than simply acquire new knowledge regarding health, weight loss and nutrition. You must also change the way you think about food, eating and your role in managing your health!

I used to teach Educational Psychology and Learning Theory to college students years ago so I know a bit about learning and the best way to usher it in. In education, one of the primary goals of teaching is something called Transfer. Transfer simply means that you can take the intellectual information that you have learned in the classroom and then apply it in the real world. This is where the rubber truly meets the road and it is also the flashpoint where many dieters run into trouble. That is, they are very good at acquiring all of the technical information they need to know about nutrition and weight loss but fall short when it comes to applying that knowledge in everyday real life situations.

So, if you want to feel incredible power, a strong sense of personal satisfaction and give yourself all of the mental, emotional and physical health benefits that accompany weight loss, you must be both a great teacher and a great coach. As Mr. Harmon said above, coaching is getting through their head. Those who succeed at weight loss are those who are successful at actually changing the way they think about food, their health and their body.

For example, I have found that perpetual dieters are often great teachers. They do an incredible job of researching the data and teaching themselves everything there is to know about nutrition and, as a result, are an impressive fountain of information regarding the cold hard facts of weight loss. However, all of this information is of very little value if the technical and factual teacher can't get through to the motivational and inspirational coach inside your head. I see this happen all the time and, as a result, what you too frequently end up with is someone who is very diet wise and nutritionally knowledgeable yet still remains an extremely frustrated and overweight individual.

It takes much more than knowledge to win the war on weight because all of this wonderful information is worthless if you don't apply it in your daily life. At the end of the day, it's the coach inside us that makes things happen. So I suggest that the teacher and the coach within you have a meeting of the minds and start working together on creating the mental changes that you need to make in order to put that knowledge to use and become a happier and healthier you. Why? Because you will never become who you want to be by remaining who you are!

Wishing You Great Health,

Dr. John H. Sklare