The caretaker plays many roles and takes care of many people but usually neglects personal needs. If you’re a caretaker, you feel best when you’re taking care of other people and feeling needed. You’re the quintessential mother (or father) figure, with open arms ready to take on the burdens of the world and give aid and comfort to all who might need it.
Jenny’s Caretaker Story
When Jenny first came to us, she weighed 542 pounds. She has lost 230 of those. She is easily one of the hardest workers we have ever had, inspiring others. In her first week (in which she lost 19 pounds), she blew me away. During a workout, I asked everyone to push it and jog. I didn’t mean to her, but she started running. Seeing a 540-pound woman work that hard motivated everyone else to pick it up. That is only one of many examples where Jenny’s work ethic not only propelled her to her awesome achievement of losing 230 pounds, but also of how she helped other attendees achieve their own goals.
Jenny’s work ethic is needed to lose weight of course, but it may be even more important that she use it to overcome her propensity to constantly please others⎯she is the consummate caretaker. Jenny comes from a tight-knit and very religious community, where she found herself always “doing the right thing,” and in her upbringing this meant taking care of and pleasing others. This upbringing makes it extremely difficult for Jenny to take care of herself. I saw the pull of her community first hand when a reverend at her church called her and told her that it was selfish of her to stay at Live In Fitness as long as she did, because the church needed her. This is exactly the kind of thing that caretakers need to avoid. If this sounds familiar to you, please beware.
It’s a struggle for her to break such ingrained habits, but Jenny is working hard to learn to take care of herself. She understands that ignoring her needs at the expense of others will lead her down a path of bitterness where she will become void of real relationships and begin to see herself as a victim.
Jenny is an amazing person who is now wearing store-bought dresses, feeling more empowered, and determined to lose 300 pounds. She’s a beautiful woman, inside and out. I’m proud of her, better off for knowing her, and blessed to call her my friend.
Workshop 1 – Who You Are: Taking care of others comes naturally to you, but you often take on more than is humanly possible to manage. Your intentions are always good and you genuinely want to help but usually try to do too much, leaving yourself feeling drained, neglected and resentful. You need to learn how to set boundaries and care for yourself.
Why You’re That Way: Caregivers often played this role during childhood, taking care of siblings or other family members. People with this personality type show a heightened sense of responsibility from an early age.
Characteristics of a Caretaker:
Need to take care of others
Overextend and burden
Lack of boundaries
- What areas of your life have you excelled or been successful having this trait?
- What areas of you or your life has this trait not served you as well?
- Has it affected your health & lifestyle? Your happiness?
Workshop 2 – How You Feel: You love to feel needed, not only because you care for others, but also because it gives you a sense of identity and importance. You like feeling that the people in your life couldn’t manage without you, but at some point you will feel overwhelmed and resentful that you are doing so much and getting so little in return.
- With this personality trait, do you expect the same of others, loved ones?
- Has this skewed your judgment towards others if they do not measure up?
- How would you like to see yourself differently?
- Has is affected your health & lifestyle? Your happiness?
Workshop 3 – Relationships/Personal: Your life is entwined with the lives of many other people…family members, friends, social acquaintances, and coworkers. You have a hard time saying no and are an easy target for someone looking for help or guidance. Your caretaking draws people close to you, but often drives you farther from yourself and your personal needs,resulting in feelings of resentment, ultimately causing conflicts in your relationships.
- How has this affected you?
- What have you missed out on by having this trait?
- What is important to you at the end of the day?
- If you look back at your life would you feel fulfilled
Workshop 4 – Watch Out For: The caretaker can turn into the victim, so be careful about giving too much and leaving nothing for yourself. In a weight loss and fitness program, you have to keep your commitment to yourself and your well being by putting yourself on top of your list and make yourself a priority.
Recommendations: You will only succeed in weight loss and fitness if you can learn to care about your own needs. By caring for yourself, you will show others that your needs are important and deserve care and consideration also.
Affirmations for Caretakers
- I deserve to be cared for.
- I need to take care of my health.
- I’m worth the time and effort.
- I care about myself.
Inspiration for Caretakers
“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
⎯ ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
“I’ve learned to take time for myself and to treat myself with a great deal of love and respect.”
⎯ WHOOPI GOLDBERG
“Remind yourself daily that you are a divine creation and entitled to be treated lovingly by others, as well as by yourself.”
⎯ WAYNE DYER
“One has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself.”
⎯ JESSYE NORMAN
List some realistic goals that are important to you with a realistic timeline or timeframe