What is a mastermind group, and what does it have to do with weight loss? Why on earth would you want to join one for your weight loss journey?
Principle 9 is the Mastermind. As much as many of us wish, we can’t do everything by ourselves.
If you’re anything like me, relying on others for help usually results in empty hands and twice the work. So, why would we want to join something like a mastermind?
It is fitting that the quote I felt fit this concept best was an African proverb. Because the mastermind is more about tribal knowledge than working with others.
We all need to figure out how to be a team player at some point. But in the game of weight loss the only competitor is you. So, the team structure will be different than what is familiar.
What Is A Mastermind Group?
The mastermind group is a carefully selected collection of your peers who are going through a parallel journey. Each member brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, and perspective to the group. The goal of the mastermind group is to get each individual to their own goal by leveraging what the others have that the individual is lacking.
The purpose of this group is to solve problems collectively, through the different skills each individual brings. The group is self-directed, meaning there is no master in the mastermind group to ask for the answer.
There is a great, albeit dry, resource here for a Swedish study on the benefits of a mastermind in an academic setting.
Who Should Join A Mastermind Group?
When someone is bridging the mastery stages between Competent and Expert, they should join a mastermind group.
This is an important consideration that is often missed when you are researching where to find help. Because your mastermind group shouldn’t be made up of those who are still learning the basics, and need a teacher.
The mastermind group is for the individual who understands the basics, has specialized knowledge and has an expertise.
Mastermind groups can be a great place to find networking opportunities, as well as knowledge. But they take dedication and work, planning and intention.
They are not an extended Q&A session. And they are not a resource that one person gets to use without giving in return.
Who Should NOT Join A Mastermind Group?
Those who are just starting on their own path should NOT join a mastermind group. This is especially true for all of the “courses” out there who are selling their mastermind group access as part of the membership fee.
Unless you have finished the basic coursework and have proven the knowledge with your own hands, you are not ready for a mastermind.
Actually, you shouldn’t join one until you are able to be consciously competent in your desired area of expertise.
And the reason is that these are self-directed groups. Self-directed means that everyone is at or around the same skill levels of their own areas of expertise.
“Newbies” having access to mastermind groups is a huge red flag. If this is allowed without intention or prior agreement from the others in the group, they are unknowingly signing up to be instructors of the basics.
They will not be getting a return on their own investment, and will spend precious time bringing that individual up to speed.
6 Pitfalls Of A Mastermind Group
Current marketing tactics are pushing the use of mastermind groups as the latest and greatest gimmick. But there are some big pitfalls for joining a mastermind group if you are not ready.
- There is no moderator or master level director to keep the group on task or on schedule or even showing up
- If the participants coming into the group are not vetted for similar expertise level not all group members will have something to contribute and end up taking more than they give
- Participants who are there to compete will end up sabotaging instead of supporting
- Without a lesson first on how to conduct the mastermind, many basic communication skills may be lacking, which will prevent the trust and companionship from forming
- Masterminds that are too big do not allow for individual problem resolution, and quieter members are left out
- They are infrequent, and so ineffective at solving the problems
Based on the information about masterminds so far, they may not seem like they are such a great option for your weight loss journey.
Is this starting to sound like something familiar? Facebook groups are notorious versions of this kind of mastermind.
And if you get a bad moderator who hasn’t yet reached their own level of expertise, everyone will suffer and stall in their own journey.
Hopefully, that will be the worst thing that comes out of that.
How To Make A Mastermind Work For Your Weight Loss Journey
The best mastermind groups for weight loss are not self-directed. There is a clear leader, with a clear path to success, that keeps everyone on task and accountable.
They promote problem solving for all members, but do not allow one member to take up more resources than others.
They are made up of your general doctor, your nutritionist, your therapist, and your peers. You should always be bouncing the new ideas for eating off your nutritionist.
We all have such different dietary needs, and we cannot discount our personal and emotional experiences with food.
Unless you have achieved some level of mastery in weight loss already, it makes more sense for you to have a guided mastermind. Not a peer-led mastermind.
Guided Mastermind Groups AKA Support/Recovery Groups
Until you are able to understand the basics of your own weight loss requirements, you should be in a guided group that is carefully monitored by someone with expertise.
Imagine showing up to Alcoholics Anonymous, and on your first day being paired with another addict just starting their recovery as your sponsor. The expectation for success in this case is laughable, and in fact, dangerous for both parties.
Don’t let this happen to you in the weight loss space.
I was a food addict for many years. But I also have a joy of learning, and in sharing that knowledge. I was also very much a co-dependent, and had many of the negative behaviors that come along with it.
That combination was a recipe for disaster. I, of course, started a blog immediately after my gastric bypass surgery in 2016, ready to share my journey, and teach as I learned. And then my life exploded. I never wrote a single post. Thank goodness.
I had nothing to say yet. I hadn’t beaten my food addiction yet.
That blog would have been a love letter to all the food I couldn’t eat, not any kind of guide for others also grieving over their own missed meals.
I now understand that the purpose of this blog is as a supplemental resource to what your nutritionist, therapist, and doctor have for you. Not a replacement.
Big, big difference.
What Does A Bad Master Look Like?
A bad master is anyone who hasn’t reached the desired mastery in their own life, but is attempting to lead others to that mastery. A fraudulent master is one who charges you money in the attempt.
And they are a dime a dozen on the internet at the moment. They aren’t really masters, in fact. They are Novices, a.k.a. beginners.
Knowing now that they know what you know, and that they are actually your peer – or maybe that you actually know more than them – wouldn’t it be a weird ask to pay them money for their advice?
It isn’t meant to sound harsh, but I’m also not here for your approval. I know what I know, and I know what works and doesn’t work for weight loss after gastric bypass and for mindset for any successful weight loss journey.
I have personal expertise and education in the area of weight loss, extreme weight loss, and maintaining that weight loss more than five years after surgery. While keeping my hair and teeth in the process…
What I know is that If you are seeking weight loss instruction for your personal scenario, then find someone who has succeeded in the path you want to succeed in as well.
It is far more comforting to be instructed by those who are living the same lifestyle that you need to be living, than even to be in the hands of a medical doctor who has never experienced your lifestyle requirements.
Related: Once Upon Your Weight Loss | From Competent to Expert (Read the section “YOU ARE A TARGET” for more)
There, But For The Grace Of God, Go I
If I had started this blog as I’d intended in 2016, I WOULD be here for your approval. I now know that about my 2016 self.
She had absolutely no self esteem. She would have blown in the fickle breeze of social media likes. And taken many others along for the VERY BUMPY ride.
I’d be like Whitney Thore, from My Big Fat Fabulous life, who wants to be a personal trainer for the obese. Even though she hasn’t mastered the concepts herself.
Or Lindo Bacon, the misguided “master” behind the Health At Every Size movement, that, as a result of incomplete knowledge with a desire to publish and be admired, sparked the toxic fat positivity movement.
There is a popular YouTuber in the weight loss space who had Gastric SLEEVE, not RNY gastric bypass. But is trying to serve both patients. I want to yell at her to “Pick the one you know, and stop trying to serve an audience who has a different physical makeup from you!”
It’s dangerous, and it causes more hurt than help.
This is true for the Facebook groups I’ve found, too. They mix gastric bypass and sleeve as if they are the same surgery. That’s like treating type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes the same way because they both have diabetes in the name.
Just because they are both bariatric weight loss surgeries doesn’t mean we can just lump them together.
Triggered, But Not Eating My Feelings
As I try to assume spicy positive intent here, I know that the weight loss world brings in lost of money. And the bigger the audience, the more money, too.
I’m not linking to them for reference, and I debated even saying their names at all. Because you don’t need to go there, but you need to be able to recognize bad information when it presents itself.
Their drama is not your weight loss plan.
Even worse are the bariatric surgeons out there who require their patients buy protein shakes and powders in order for approval. Or the surgeons who see overweight people in need of medical intervention as cash cows, and give them garden salads the day after surgery.
Or medical tourists who are unable to get medical intervention in America because of arbitrary barriers to entry.
The irony that I didn’t qualify for medical intervention until I was over 300 pounds and had TWO co-morbidities does not escape me. My insurance sure didn’t help me prevent that nightmare.
Good Mastermind Groups For Weight Loss
Check out the following guided mastermind groups for weight loss:
Obesity Action Coalition: https://www.obesityaction.org/
Overeaters Anonymous: oa.org
(Note who is NOT on this very short list… They aren’t here for a reason).
Rant Over, On To The Conclusion
I hope I didn’t lose you in this section. This is the section that prompted me to write this entire series, so I had to get some of that off my chest.
Thanks for listening.
In short, don’t join a mastermind group for weight loss until you are crossing from competent to expert. Find a good support group, led by someone qualified in their expertise. This could be anyone from a success story to a surgeon.
Make sure you’ve vetted your Facebook groups, and pay more attention to the moderators than the commenters.
Make sure you aren’t being led by a novice who has a small understanding of the basics, and wants to turn it into cash.
Take your health seriously. Bounce things against your doctor, your nutritionist, and your therapist. They are your best mastermind group.
Happy Weight Loss <3
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