Most of my Blue friends who happen to be wiry and fit tend to be ascetics. Inge, for example, eats only veggies, teaches yoga, and sees herself as a teacher and healer. I know it’s her spiritual discipline that drives her. Everybody else in the family tends to be obese.
Elizabeth is more of a mainstream person raising three daughters. Because she feels she made too many bad choices as a teenager, her life goal is to be a role model for her children in a thousand ways, including diet and fitness.
Governor Jerry Brown of California, called “Governor Moonbeam” by his detractors, appears to be an ascetic altruist – an atypical politician. Non-pleasure-seeking by nature, this Blue leader has looked fit in all eras of his career. Brown is all about ideas and would probably say, if you asked him, that he doesn’t want his body to get in the way of his mission.
Now I am Blue but have struggled with fitness issues all my life. I belong to a very large group of Blue “types” who have tons of friends who love to get together, especially to share food. You add the tendency to never say “no” out of fear of hurting people’s feelings and you get a recipe for life-long chubbiness. Groan.
Compound the dietary challenges for Blue folks with emotions. More emotional than the other three temperaments, Blues can be poster children for “emotional eating.” We eat when we’re happy, when we’re sad, when we celebrate, and even when our worlds crash in on us. High or low in self-esteem, self-respect, and self-confidence – it’s doesn’t matter. We eat.And that’s not all. Blues do not like taking decisive action. Blue people are often too satisfied with the simple “idea” of something – to the point that decisive action rarely seems as exciting as seeking pathways in the head.
So let me tell you about Martha. There is hope for us all. Back in college, she was svelte and petite. In a Facebook photo 18 months ago, Martha sported double the body on that still very small frame. Today she is only about five pounds over her younger woman’s weight.
You guessed it. Martha is Blue. She’s a cook who feeds a large family and dozens of friends every single day. She had no idea now to say “no.” She used to overcommit and leave half her projects unfinished. She always wore her emotions on her sleeve – happy or miserable, you heard about it at the same decibel levels. And food stood permanently in arms’ reach for purposes of celebration or self-medication.
So how did she lose the 50 pounds? Here’s her report:
Step One. She leveraged her most natural tendency. She loves to be part of groups of people, so she joined a group dedicated to fitness. The members represented all four Colors – Blue, Green, Gold, and Orange. She insisted on this kind of temperament diversity so that she would not be stuck with a crowd that might lack food discipline and decisiveness.
Step Two. Martha wrote down who she wanted to be as a slim person. A true fitness program is a long slog – no matter how you slice it – so the end product needed to be important enough to make the sacrifices every day for a year or more. She affirmed that her main purpose in life was to keep improving herself and helping others be the best that they could be too. For this, she needed to be and feel attractive, to have high energy all the time, and to depend on a body that supported all her endeavors instead of dragging her down. Here image of herself became a slim, light, lighthearted, easy-moving, pretty, and effectively persuasive woman whose work changed people’s lives – hers and others’. She would meditate on this image every morning and every evening. And she would journal about it.
Step Three. She took control of her environment. Martha’s world was filled with limitless food and friends and family who loved to eat. In her circle, there were no athletes, dancers, or “healthnuts” of any kind. Other people could not be expected to change, so she had to set up her own limits and try to enlist everyone else to support her. In short, she announced that only she would influence what went into her own mouth and she expected all her loved ones to back her up – especially not tempt her or make fun of her. Most importantly, she learned to turn the word “no” into a positive statement – always with a smile on her face and an honest reason behind it. What a breakthrough for a Blue!
Step Four. She found exercise-loving friends. In a neighborhood devoid of fitness freaks, Martha sought them out. She joined a gym and the group classes they offered. She started going to the park and seeking out tennis partners. At work, she got on the wellness committee and joined colleagues for lunchtime walks. Although she was leery about yoga, she took a class and enjoyed it more than expected because she felt so welcome there long before she got skinny or genuinely flexible. And what worked best for her was to join an online competition where she had to weigh in every Saturday. The community on the internet gave her friends, free advice, support and – most importantly – the energy of competition that you never get working alone. Today she still walks around with a digital pedometer whose results appear on her iPad and iPhone to remind her to stay on track.
To end this article the way I did the last two weeks, it’s important to point out that the secret to success might be to borrow from the natural weight-loss tactics of Colors other than your own. You can leverage your own Color’s strengths, but suffer from innate weaknesses, e.g., a Blue giving into a foodie crowd, being less decisive, etc. As you see above, Martha sought out other Colors for inspiration and guidance. She got competitive like the Oranges. She used high-tech stuff as Greens would. She changed the logistics of her home as Golds do. And of course she leveraged the best of being Blue: joining groups, journaling, finding pathways, helping others, and so much more.