Thursday, October 1, 2009

You're coming into your own, Dear Leo

Before you think I'm crazy and click away, read on for a bit. I read my horoscope every month, and is my horoscope of choice (thanks Mom). Don't ask me if I believe in it, because I don't know. But reading it for the past couple months has really made me think about how we are influenced by what others say to us.

My horoscope for Sept was a little down and for Oct, it's much more hopeful, with the summary beginning by saying, "You're coming into your own, Dear Leo." I have no idea why, but that made me feel good. And, of course (you know me by now!), it made me think...

I talk to a lot of people who tell me about how they interact with their doctors. A general complaint among women is that their Primary Care Provider (PCP) doesn't understand them. This is usually found by women who would like to lose some weight (or their doctors would like them to). They dread going to the doctor knowing they'll be lectured about their weight. I find this very unfortunate because doctors are in a position that could potentially be very helpful to their patients. Instead, they tell women (and men too, probably) what a bad job they're doing and that they just need to lose weight.

Today I spoke with a woman who was thrilled that her doctor's office called to push back this week's appointment until December. She spent much of last year navigating through weight loss and losing 15 pounds very slowly. Then, life caught up with her, job pressures increased, and she gained the weight back. Not only is she struggling with how to get started again, but she's dreading facing her doctor who will just berate her for the failure and tell her to lose the weight. On top of that, when she's asked her doctor for help with how to lose weight, she has gotten no useful information.

It's clear to me that being negative and making someone feel badly is 100% counterproductive. We strive to give our kids positive feedback to elicit more positive behavior, right? Well, adults work that way too. I know that some people joke that no matter what they do, I will always find something good to pick out and focus on (after a week off the wagon, or whatever the case may be). In fact, I generally ask people before they tell me what they "screwed up" to tell me at least one thing they did well. There is always something. And it might sound funny or not important, but that's my #1 goal. When you are done talking to me, you should feel better about yourself than before. Also, you should have at least one thing you're going to work on in a positive way (not as punishment).

So when Susan Miller gave me some good motivating advice in my horoscope this month, it gave me a boost. Silly? yes. Do I care? No. Take it where you can get it! :)

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