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Approval Addiction: Steve Siebold

Tuesday, May 02, 2017


Many of us Sparkie MAINtainers are graduates of Steve Siebold's amazing (and free) online course, www.fatlosers.com

It's dated but it's still highly effective. And oh yeah: in your face, controversial -- Steve Siebold is all of that. He says (rather proudly) that many many people drop out of his Fat Losers program about day 4: if they last that long. But he thinks that Mental Toughness is essential to achieving any life goal: and he founded what he calls the Mental Toughness University in a commercial/corporate context to teach and to coach Fortune 500 executives business survival strategies. The Fat Losers series was a spin off for him: he himself put on weight after leaving his pro tennis career to move into the corporate world and discovered that his obesity was affecting his "brand". He just didn't look like a person with the self-discipline required to succeed in business. He was being judged on his appearance: unfair but he says inevitable. So: he lost the weight and kept it off and shared with others (free) just how he went about doing it.

One of my big takeaways from Fat Losers (and I've watched the series, day by day, many times when my motivation needed a reboot) was Siebold's assertion that "addiction to the approval of others is the most insidious addiction of all".

And now he's marketing an Addiction Approval boot camp. Nope, I won't be taking it myself: it's pretty pricey.

But addiction to the approval of others is something which I believe affects weight loss and MAINtenance for many many people. Especially women who by and large still bear the responsibility for planning meals, buying food, preparing meals, serving meals, cleaning up after meals -- both day to day and for social events and entertaining. And are "rated" by their families and friends on how well they do it. And who themselves cannot eat the foods if they're going to meet the oppressive ideals of body weight/appearance also imposed upon them, while also meeting the equally oppressive ideals of being the ideal mother, ideal wife, ideal worker in significant careers, ideal homemaker and interior decorator: and on and on and on.

If avoiding temptation is a key strategy for weight loss and weight loss maintenance -- because will power is in limited supply and quickly fails -- then it's not hard to see why addiction approval is hard: and especially for women. Particularly when all these responsibilities also subtract from the time women especially can allocate for fitness. Heck, even for sleep!! And particularly when approval addiction is something we "internalize". "I'm just not a good wife/mother/worker if I don't host my husband's corporate dinner parties/bake cookies for the school bake sale/attend at every cocktail party in my own workplace . . . looking like a million bucks on each and every occasion of course!!"

I do wonder if Siebold is making linkages between his new Approval Addiction boot camp and his old Fat Losers series!!

What do you think? Does approval addiction affect your weight loss and weight loss MAINtenance efforts?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great post. Does anyone know if the fatlosers website is gone. When you click the link it takes you to the page at Amazon where the book is being sold.
    1086 days ago
    I definitely have this problem and have had it all my life. It's such a burden. It's not getting better. Thank you for the info about resources that might help. You are such a diligent and a serious maintainer.
    1129 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Fortunately, this is not an issue for me. I never much cared what others thought of how I dressed or looked. Not being a wife or mother, I don't have those concerns most women have to put up with. I feel for those dealing with a spouse or family that refuses to support them when they want to get healthy and demand the status quo :-(
    1130 days ago
    I have had judgment heaped on me for years. I do not live my life in a manner that meets the expectations of others. And, like one of my younger sisters likes to say, "What others think of me is none of my business."

    For the most part, I do a pretty darn good job of doing what I need to do to support myself. I have never been one particularly influenced by peer pressure or the expectations of others.
    1130 days ago
    Funny. Today's lesson in 100 Days of Weight Loss (Day 63) talked about the need for approval.... It asked if that jar of candy on your desk was just to help people like you and was it a trigger? I feel much like 1CRAZYDOG that in my life I have done many crazy, stupid, unhealthy things to fit in and seek approval, but I am growing out of it for sure! I still get twinges of it because I feel I must do more than others to prove my worth as a person with a disability! Yeah, I can definitely see a link! Thanks.
    1130 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15520036
    I always assumed needing approval would get less with age, until I noticed I was getting worse. The book "Disease to Please" (I think it was that book) said it's likely to get worse - shocked me but matched my experience. I did a lot of introspection and I got better - I think.

    Now I'm running a group at work where some of the members don't like the way I do things. All I can do is my best and live with the disapproval if they still don't like it. The trick is not to get obsessed by their disapproval - not easy. Not sure how this applies to weight loss though!
    1130 days ago
    Oh, yeah... but there's more complexity to the equation than simple approval. There's disapproval of certain feelings that are deep drivers of my own behavior... "it's not nice to..." And Barbie must ALWAYS be "nice". Yeah, it's there all right!
    1130 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    I was addicted at one time, but now I really don't "give a darn" (old line from Gone from the Wind) The older I get the less I am to seek approval. Hubby and I always agree to disagree. We have learned long ago, to change what you can, and accept what you cannot. Leaves a lot of the stress out. So even on here I'm not addicted to what people say. I take what I need and leave out what I don't. I find all kinds of help on here and I also find other things I don't take from. I haven't reached maintenance but when I do, I shall look at this again.
    1130 days ago
    When I was younger, approval addiction could have applied to me. Over the years, those people are no longer in my lives plus I'm retired. Interesting. I don't seem to need approval but you raise an interesting thought.

    1130 days ago
    I always thought it interesting that at a dinner party the slimmest, most attractive wife was the one most admired by the other husbands . . . Not the one who cleaned the house and slaved over the stove to prepare the meal. Of course they enjoyed the food . . . But we're envious of the guy with the slim, pretty wife. I was always the one cooking the meal . . . Now I want to be the slim one who spent the day getting her hair and nails done. Don't judge me. I'm tired of being the workhorse. And I'm tired of worrying about what other people think of me.
    1130 days ago
    Not really.
    1130 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    I live with someone that does not eat like me so it is not unusual for there to be different things on the table.....eg...brown rice for me and white for him. I don't care....I am more interested in looking after my needs now than I was years ago. So we agree to disagree.
    1130 days ago
    Not so much...never been much of a people pleaser. Mainly cause I found out I couldn't please anyone. And of course I am even less of a pleaser at this season of my life. Gifts given with an expectation are not truly gifts, they are transactions.
    1130 days ago
    As I have gotten older, my approval addiction has just naturally faded -- thank heavens! The only approval I really, really want is my own. I realize I no longer want even my husband's approval; truly, there are so many things that are important to me that he just doesn't get. Wish I had realized in my 20s, 30s, and 40s that not every person can do every job, even those related to their degree. I did not need to succeed at every job I undertook, especially those that did not fit my personality and values. Trying to get approval from bosses you do not respect leaves you in a no-win situation. Anyway, so hope my daughter succeeds at her new job and that it truly suits her. Want the grandkids to discover their strengths and work to develop themselves and their confidence so that no boss and no husband can undermine them. Good blog!!
    1130 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14895051
    I still get caught when hosting a dinner party and thinking about the impression I'm making on my guests even though I notice. amidst the applause, that my efforts end up sabotaging my own weight loss efforts. It's hard to remember that other people's ideas about me are none of my business and even harder to redirect my efforts appropriately once I focus them on external sources. Great reminder!
    1130 days ago
    Excellent blog as always! Happy Tuesday Watermelon! Wishing you a Terrific Day!
    Hugs and love, xoxo
    1130 days ago
    I've always marched to the beat of a different drummer, even as a child. I was sort of oblivious to what others thought of me.

    But I married a food pusher, who also is a charter member of the clean plate club. I often tell him I've been overserved (love that line of yours!), but even after 20 years he tells me I'm wasting food!

    So, um, no, I worry more about pleasing myself. Probably easier that I skipped the kid thing.
    1130 days ago
    Not part of my deal, but other "addictions" are.
    1130 days ago
    Oh it definitely is something that I deal with, but the older I get, the less it is a problem, honestly. I'm at a stage in my life where I have the attitude, "not everyone will 'like' me, and I won't necessarily 'like' everyone". And that's all right.

    I certainly was knee-deep into approval seeking as I am an older parent and raising my 2 kids, I always felt I had to work "extra hard" to prove myself as I was ALWAYS the oldest Mom in my kids class rooms. I felt the need to "keep up".

    Thank goodness the aging process has quelled that a bit.


    1130 days ago
  • GABY1948
    I know it does mine! BUT I also know I am not nearly as bad as I used to so think in my "old age" I seem to be improving and that is good enough for me for now...

    EXCELLENT blog as always! emoticon
    1130 days ago
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