Return On Investment vs Return On Relationship

“If I never have to answer that ROI question again, I’ll be a happy woman” my friend said. My friend was speaking to a group of business professionals on the use of social media as a marketing tool. And she began her presentation by addressing the question she is most commonly asked, “How do I determine my return on investment?”

She answered the question this way: “If I meet you at an event, and then we become Facebook friends, and we like and comment on each other’s posts, and then we see each other at another event, and then we go have coffee, and then we continue to like and comment on Facebook posts, and then you eventually buy something from me – who gets the credit for the sale? Does Facebook get the credit? Or does the relationship get the credit? Social media isn’t about return on investment – it’s about return on relationship.”

And so it is with wellness and weight-loss. As a culture we have developed a distorted relationship with wellness. The popular “diet and exercise” model sets up calories as a currency of exchange – a way for us to make “investments” in our weight-loss goals. And rather than focus on building strong, positive relationships – with food, exercise, our bodies and our selves – we focus on the ROI.

We focus on how many calories we burned during a workout or how many calories we get to eat at our next meal. We use little apps to track our “progress,” and look longingly into the mirror to see our return on investment. And sadly, many of us are left disappointed. We don’t see the expected results in an expected time frame, so we move on to the next new diet or exercise program. We run around in circles, focusing on the return on investment – all the while, jeopardizing our relationship with our body.

When we surrender the idea of “investments” and instead, focus on building a strong relationship with our body, our return on relationship is exponential! Much of our food drama gets cleaned up because we no longer have to “earn the right” to eat. Eating – and eating food we enjoy – is one of the ways we express our selves in relationship to our body. Exercise is no longer a “penalty” – it is not the “price we have to pay” to eat. So the resistance and resentment toward physical activity fades away. By building a strong, positive relationship with our body, we instinctively do things that contribute to our health and well-being. And this relationship is truly the best investment we could ever hope to make.