4 things all successful slimmers have had to do
How do some people fail at diet after diet and other successfully manage to make the long-term transformation? What is happening when those people who have struggled for years finally crack it? I've long been fascinated by the what happens when those who have failed at diets for years finally makes changes for the long term and I've noticed the difference in their behaviour when they make that change.
Here are four things that all successful slimmers have had to do their journey to lasting change.
1) Confront the situation
The first step to successful weight loss is acknowledging the scale of the problem and taking responsibility for it. Have you ever avoided stepping on the scales because you didn’t want to see the number? Have you avoided having photographs taken or insisted on a particular pose because you don't like how you look in pictures?
Avoidance strategies like these are signs of denial. When we are in this state we hide from the fact that we aren't happy with how we look and we can sometimes make excuses, feeling fearful of facing the reality of the situation. We all kid ourselves, it's part of human nature. Even those who don’t do it about food kid themselves about other things. However, we need a reality check if we want to make changes.
What can I do?
Face the pain: The most powerful thing you can do is also the most counter intuitive-face the pain and push through it. It might be uncomfortable in the short-term but in the long-term you'll be pleased you did. Would you rather feel more discomfort over a short period while you deal with the problem or would you rather feel a little discomfort every day over the rest of your life? Step on that scale, look at those photos and then..........
Take responsibility: But don’t blame yourself. Blame and responsibility are different things. Taking responsibility means accepting that what you see in the mirror is a result of your decisions and actions but it also means accepting that your decisions and actions can turn the situation around too. This brings a feeling of being in control of your own destiny rather than placing your fate in the hands of other things and people.
2) Identify the real problem
Food isn't the problem. Drink isn't the problem either. No one is overweight because they just like the process of eating and drinking.
In theory, food is just energy; it's simply a means of getting what our bodies need to function. In practice, food is also an emotional experience. It's part of religious festivals, family gatherings, it can be comfort or punishment, it's about spending time with friends, nurturing those we care about and it can even say something about our social status. We attach so much significance to food besides what it can do for our bodies. If you are eating more food than your bodies needs, it's very likely that the reason is due to the emotions you attach to it.
What can I do?
Explore the real problem: Take a moment to consider what emotions you experience when you over-eat. When you decide to eat or drink things that take you away from your goal what emotions did you experience just before you made that decision?
Many people ask themselves “why do I do that?”. Instead, ask yourself:
- What's the purpose of that behaviour?
- What do I get from it?
What would you lose? Another way of looking it is to ask yourself what you would lose by sticking to your goal?
- An identity or way of seeing yourself?
- Will it change the way others see you?
Explore the reasons behind your decisions.
3) Commit to themselves
When you have explored the reason why you are overweight then you need to decide if it is OK for you to pursue what you want.
Take, for example, the woman who always lets her friends and family talk her into eating and drinking things that aren't on her diet. She knows this is because she wants the approval. She hates conflict and she would rather not make a fuss to keep others happy. She needs to decide if she is willing to put her needs first. Is she willing to tell those around her that she's sticking to her goal and ask them to respect that? She might lose their approval. She might have to put up with negative comments while she does her diet. Will she do it? Would you?
What can I do?
Get your priorities lined up: You only have so much energy to go round. List all the things that you give your time, energy and focus to on any given day or week. Where do you come on that list? Ideally, you should be top. You need to make sure that your needs are taken care of, then you can give the best of yourself to those you love.
What comes above you on that list? Do you give all your time to work and doing things for other people and then try and squeeze your wellbeing in as an afterthought? Your wellbeing should be a priority and others things should fit around it.
Make a decision: Are you willing to make your goal and wellbeing a priority and place it above other things? If the answer is 'no' your diet/healthy eating endeavours will find frequently find themselves on the back burner. Ask yourself?
- Are you worth it?
- How important is this to you?
- What is the cost of putting off getting what you want?
- How bad will you let things get before you act?
- How long are you willing to put up with things how they are?
- Would you teach children or young people in your life to copy your example?
- When are you going to let yourself have the body you want?
Make a decision to put what you need high up your list and fit other things around it. If you can't do this you may need to go back to point two (understand the real problem) and explore why?
4) Set meaningful goals
This is about goals that work on both a logical level and an emotional level. Successful weight loss needs a goal that is clear about what you want and why you want it.
Rather than "I want to lose 2 stone", focus on what you want instead. What is the purpose of the goal? Will you have more energy to spend with your family? Will it make pursuing your hobbies more enjoyable? What will achieving that goal mean for you? The clearer the picture you can create of your ideal state the better, as your mind will be focused on what you are working towards.
- What can I do?
- Create a compelling goal
- Ask yourself the following:
- What specifically do you want?
- What will you see, hear and feel when you have it?
- What will achieving this goal mean? What will you have or be able to do after you have it?
- What challenges will you need to overcome?
Having a clear picture of your goal and its purpose in your mind will help keep it in your subconscious and help you stay focused during challenging times. Rather than being compelled to act on what you want to get away from you will be drawn towards actions which get you closer to what you want to move towards.
So what stage are you at?
Which of these stages most applies to you?
Is there one that you're struggling in to push through?
What makes it challenging?
If you want explore how your mindset is helpful or holding you back download my free self-assessment quiz and guide here.
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