Just recently, Robert embarked on his first Off Campus Challenge (or OCC as we call it). It has been five months since he left home and came to Wellspring Academy, and so much has changed. As many of you saw on the show, he was transported to the Academy on a stretcher with the help of five EMTs. Five months later, he walked back into his home on his own accord. Amazing stuff.

The OCC is that moment in a treatment team's journey where we feel like parents launching their children into the world. The same basic questions apply. Have we taught him what he needs to know to be successful? Will he make the best decisions for himself in the face of adversity? If he slips, will he be able to get back on track without the guidance and urging of his trusted team of advisors? We wait patiently to hear from him and hope that everything we've taught him up until this point all comes together in a magical weekend of success.

Of course, things don't always go this way. Believe it or not, one of the biggest challenges our clients face is their "support group". I use quotations because I would like to put stricter regulations on the term support group. Support IS NOT cooking a large meal to celebrate the client's homecoming, unless it is entirely Wellspring friendly. Support IS NOT offering healthy options to the client while the rest of the family continues to eat different foods in front of them. Support IS NOT taking the client out to their favorite restaurant as a treat for working so hard. This type of mentality, reward good behavior with food, is detrimental to the success of anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle, but monumentally harmful to the client who has just spent months working on changing his lens with which he looks at food. Thankfully, we do a lot of work with clients around how to handle their support group, what a support group really looks like and how to advocate for their success even when it's most difficult.

Luckily for Robert, he has done a phenomenal job of teaching his support group how to be there for him, and they were ready with healthy snacks, meals and groceries. One of the best tools a weight controller can use is to teach others what they know. This forces them to process and restate information in a way that is understandable to them. It only deepens their knowledge of what they've learned. Robert has made it his mission to teach people that with proper knowledge, commitment and consistency this program can save lives. The best part is witnessing his increased confidence in his ability to achieve success on his own.