If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career as a social worker, it’s that having the support of a group of people works.
Being able to hear the words “I know how you feel” from someone who truly does know how you feel can pull you up and help you keep going.
When we get right down to it, feeling a connection to others is a basic human need. To feel like we are not facing the world alone. To feel like there is someone else out there who understands what we’re going through. Someone who just plain “gets it,” and gets us.
That’s the power of support groups: knowing you are not alone in your journey. Knowing there is someone else out there like you who understands.
I witnessed this power when I facilitated support groups for people living with cancer. Cancer can be a lonely place. But finding others who can say “I’ve been there, I know how you feel” can not only connect people, but provide hope.
I see this power now as well in the health and fitness challenge/accountability groups I run online. Having top of the line tools like amazing at-home workout programs, learning about clean eating, and drinking Shakeology will help, no doubt. But it’s the connecting with others who are walking the same path, knowing you are not alone in this journey, that gives us the hope and accountability that we can do it too.
I can speak to the power of groups personally. It’s how I got started with my own health and fitness journey.
After being in a place of frustration and overwhelm myself, I joined my first online challenge group not really knowing what to expect. All I knew was that me trying to figure it all out alone wasn’t working. I felt like crap, I did not like what I saw in the mirror. I felt like others had it figured out, and that I was the only busy mom out there who couldn’t figure out how to squeeze in exercise and make healthy meals for my family.
But guess what I found. I’m not the only busy mom. Others were in the same place, and they felt the same as me! That in itself was reason enough to join a group! It was like a weight was lifted, simply knowing that others understood where I was coming from! We could walk this journey together!
And it didn’t stop there.
The group was a place I could go with questions, when I wanted to celebrate a small victory, and when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. They helped lift me up, held me accountable, and motivated me to keep going. I learned what was working for others, and I shared with them what was working for me as well.
True, there are some necessary tools and resources to make a health and fitness change, like great at-home workout programs, clean eating, and Shakeology, which are incorporated into all the groups. But I going it alone. And for me, it was the connecting with others that ultimately helped me lose my stubborn baby weight (down 25lbs) and start feeling better about myself.
What the group game me me was hope. Hope that I could do this, and hope that I was not alone.
What actually goes on in an online support/accountability group?
Now I am on the other side of these groups, having gone from challenger to coach. (Though I still use the groups myself for my own support and accountability- hey, we’re all works in progress, right? 😉 )
I’ve added my own spin on groups because of my social worker background. Each group is has it’s own theme and personality and as with anything else, it’s the people in the group who really make the difference. The more participation, the better the group and the better the results everyone sees in the group.
But there are some commonalities every group shares:
- The Format – My groups are run mainly through a closed Facebook group. “Closed” means no one but the members of the group can see what’s posted or what comments are made. It’s important that each person feels okay about posting and commenting!
- The Expectations – The first week of every group is a “Prep Week,” where you learn about what the group will entail, what to expect, and how to prepare for the official start.
- Daily Posts & Check Ins – I post daily to the group, providing a foundation of support, motivation, education and ideas. Group members are expected to check in daily for their own support and to support their fellow group members.
- Sample Meal Plans and Nutrition – Because I know when I started, I just wanted someone to tell me what to do, I take the guess work out of meal planning. And believe me, with a family of 5, simple and easy recipes is key in my house. It’s one of the many reasons why I love Shakeology so much – simple, easy and so good for us!
- Shakeology – With crazy schedules and a small learning curve with meal planning and clean eating, having one guaranteed meal each day that I know will get all everyone in the group the nutrients they need, this addition is a no-brainer.
- Fitness Program – our bodies were designed to move. Exercise is vital to health for so many reasons. It’s a keystone habit, it makes our brains function better, it helps prevent disease. Before we start, I’ll help you find the program that’s right for you, and by that I mean the program that you will like and that you can stick with!
Here’s what challenge group members have said about how the groups helped them:
“…thank u for helping out my family. The kids are starting to eat better too. My husband lost 5 pounds in about 4 days. He said he has really been out of control. He does the workouts every night with me after the kids go to bed. Just like you suggested. It has become part of the routine. I have been wanting to live healthier for such a long time. I am so very thankful that u are reaching out to others and changing lives!!” – J. S., Challenge Group participant
“I can’t express how grateful I feel. It’s a Saturday afternoon and instead of feeling sluggish and tired, I have energy and feel motivated! With your help and the support of the challenge groups I have completely changed my life!” ~N. M., Challenge Group participant
“…definitely kept me motivated and accountable. The best part for me was probably all the knowledge that I gained that I may not have had I just been on this journey alone….Thanks everyone for all the shared knowledge and inspiration!” — H. T., T25 Group
“I had an amazing experience in this challenge group and it is truly because of you awesome women. Thank you so much for your support and motivation over the last 90 days!” — S. K., Challenge Group participant
I would LOVE for you to join in. No one is left behind in the group. You will be supported as you support others as well. Let’s start by getting to know each other. Click here to save your spot in the next group by filling out the application to join my next group, or simply complete the one below. I’ll save you a seat! 🙂