The Path To Sustainable Weight Loss
5 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself That Will Get You On Track
By Jackie Wicks, PEERtrainer Co-Founder
"If at your core you don't believe sustainable weight loss is possible you have no reason to do anything differently. The subtleties of how we think are extremely important.
Often we have rules for ourselves that we are not remotely aware of."
This article in particular will take you through a process to help you uncover common, but often hidden frustrations. As a second step, we when share with you what we have seen help people get started in this process.
Key Concept: Getting from a place of frustration, confusion and resignation to one of belief, clarity and hope is the key to sustainable weight loss.
Lets start to dig in.
As an exercise, I want to put forth a series of questions to you. Take some time on each one and really think about the reality of the question as it relates to your life:
1. Do you feel like everything you'll do is useless because the scale will go down but it will always go back up because something will always happen? In essence, do you have the expectation that you are going to "yo-yo?"
Exercise: Maybe count the times you have gained and lost "that same 10 pounds."
2. Do you have a hard time reconciling the conflicting information that seems to be out there? Do you often find yourself confused about what kind of foods you should be eating to really lose weight?
Exercise: Think about the last time you threw your hands up because you heard two credible people totally contradict each other.
3. Do you feel lost or that you don't have an absolute foolproof plan or map? Everyone can follow a plan, but do you really feel like you have a plan that you can do within your existing schedule? That you're actually going to do it? That is actually doable?
Exercise: Start to think about the list of things that have worked for you
4. Do you feel like you only have time for quick fixes? Do you tend to go back to your quick fixes because they've worked in the past? Maybe you know that there is a "right way" to eat, yet realistically that is not a priority.
Exercise: This question is designed to get you thinking about your "magic bullet" tendencies. Often these are the things that get us to one end of the yo-yo cycle.....
5. What is your frustration level? On a scale of 1 - 10 how frustrated are you? How frustrated are you that you're still at a certain weight? Are you angry at yourself? Are you frustrated to the point that you've given up?
Exercise: Really think about those exact times that you "gave up." Were those times that you really could have kept pushing? Or on some level did you think you were on the wrong path?
Do you feel like you've reached the threshold of frustration but there's this little thing in the back of your mind that says there must be something I haven't tried, there must be another way?
We find that these questions represent some of the biggest challenges people are facing. You might want to write down your answers on a piece of paper. Take a deep breath, and maybe grab a glass of water, because we are about 1/2 way through this exercise.
If you have done the work to think about and answer these questions, you are definitely ready to increase what you expect of yourself.
As promised in the headline, here are the five suggestions and areas of focus to work on that will help you succeed:
Set Goals You Can't Fail At
1. Learn to set goals that you can't fail at. This means very very small goals to start. For example, what is the ONE thing that trips you up that you can work on this week?
This sets you on the path for treating yourself a lot better and also gives you some confidence.
Remember when you started learning how to ride a bike and that split second you could balance yourself? It lasted for about 3 seconds until you crashed. But that 3 seconds was enough to give you the confidence that riding a bike somewhere in the future is totally possible and it feels amazing. Even though you just crashed and skinned your knee, you got back up again.
When you succeed at a small goal, you get enough of a glimpse that you can and will do this and as the habits and small goals begin to build upon eachother, your confidence grows. And not just in your weight loss efforts, but every area of your life.
Focus On The Fundamentals
2. It is possible to sort through all the different opinions out there. Even with all of the low carb, low fat trends and fads that come and go, vegetables are always in vogue with every doctor, nutritionist and personal trainer on the planet.
Your first focus on increasing the vegetable intake is indisputable and is the greatest first step. As these increase, your success starts to increase and you have the patience and will to really dig into the other advice and figure out what's right for you. It takes a lot of personal testing to figure out what combinations you like and give you energy and it's much easier when you've made the first focus on the vegetables and you have some initial success.
Ideas Unlock The Prison Of Your Mind
Even more importantly, when you have some inital success, you start to become open to all of the ideas out there, maybe even some you previously rejected. Ideas unlock the prison of your mind. Being open to different ideas helps you do something, rather than list all the reasons why you shouldn't do something. What you've been doing is not getting you to where you want to go. Vegetables, nutrient dense foods can be the greatest gateway to clearing your mind to sort through the information and find the right approach that will work for you.
The Power Of Deciding
3. Realize that you can do this within the confines of your own life. You don't need more money, or more time, or a more understanding family, or better friends, or a less stressful job. You don't need to beat yourself up about how you should have done this 20 years ago, or if you had just started 3 months ago you'd have so much time before the family reunion and now you wont' be where you want to be.
One of my favorite sayings is the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now. What a waste of time to continually beat yourself up for all the things you should have done. Why do we all do it? Because it's a great distraction from solving the real problem at hand. Just like the excuses of not having enough money or having too stressful of a job.
Right now, I want you to make the decision to lose the weight in the right way, permanently. I want you to "de-cide". The root of the word decide is similar to homicide, or suicide, it's to literally kill off all other possibilites. Making a decision to lose the weight permanently, writing it down, and creating your plan and literally burning your bridges to your former thinking is the single most powerful resource you have right now to get you where you want to go.
List The Things You Have Done Successfully
4. I want you think of something else you've been successful with, maybe in a relationship with your partner, or a project at work, or you've helped a friend. One of the best ways to figure out how to succeed in something that you're struggling with (like weight loss) is to apply the principles that you already know in something you've already been successful. How did you do a project at work?
First, you gathered all of the knowledge you needed to complete it. Maybe you asked questions from other colleagues or experts in the field. Maybe you used some of your own knowledge. Then you got organized. Maybe you had to manage moving parts. Then you started to put the pieces together but something went wrong. So you got deterred and had to put out that fire. Then you went back to work only to have something else go wrong that you had to figure out. Then maybe one of your estimates was wrong and you had to go back and adjust because in reality, that just wasn't going to work. Then you start humming along, getting into the zone, feeling really good about the project and then everything comes to a standstill.
Nothing seems to be getting done, no one is pulling their weight, things just seem to be all going wrong. But then you figure it out and you work and you work and you work until it's done. Until it's complete. And you get massive satisfaction. But first, before you did all of this, you knew something. You knew that you were going to complete the project, no matter what what obstacles came up. You made the descision to take it on, and you did it.
You solve problems every day and you have successes in many areas of your life. This is the way a professional football player has the ability to become a professional baseball player. They take that success mindset and apply it to something else. Take a minute to map out what you did that made you successful in those things and start applying them to weight loss.
5. Find a role model.
If you're in the hopeless state and can't even imagine anything you've been successful with, look out side yourself for a role model. It can be anyone at the gym, someone's mom, someone random in the grocery store. Find someone you'd like you emulate and walk right up to them and ask them how they do it. People love to talk about themselves and share their struggles and wins and their stories. You are giving them the greatest gift: they get to help you!
How great do you feel after you've helped someone? This is how they will feel when they start sharing and they watch you start to make connections and you get your "aha" moments. Role models can take a decade of learning and cut it down exponentially. And they can also erase some of your limitations. If you think you can't get to a certain weight because you're too old, find someone even older who has done it! If you think you can't do it because you have 2 kids and no one understands how overwhelming it is, find someone who has 4 kids and IS doing it. Role models can be inspirational AND liberating.
6. Find food that tastes good. If you keep eating mini-carrots and celery because you know it's healthy but you don't like them, you'll continue to do this only as long as your discipline can last. Eating healthy food you don't like usually goes out the window at a party right after you've had that first glass of wine, which leads to an apple fritter the next morning to get over the hangover, and then back to the old habits of pasta, pizza from there.
You don't have to starve and you don't have to suffer. Food can be good for you and it can taste great. They are not mutually exclusive. Make a list of all of the spices proteins and vegetables you like and start to buy them. Ask a restaurant for recipes and learn about the spices and combinations that will make you feel satisfied. Almonds? Hummus? Artichokes? Fresh Blueberries? Cantelope? What foods do you like?
You might be reading this thinking that this is really different from what I usually hear about losing weight. Of course we need to eat less, eat better and maybe move a little more. The issue is that we all know this stuff.
Since we launched PEERtrainer 7 years ago this thesis has been confirmed over and over. And bit by bit we have started to master the processes of getting people to where they want to go. Lots of times this process is kicked off by a successful focus on the "why."
The real trick is starting to master the why of how we do things not the what. Does that make any sense? If at your core you don't believe sustainable weight loss is possible you have no reason to do anything differently. The subtleties of how we think are extremely important. Often we have rules for our selves that we are not remotely aware of.
For Those Of You Looking For A Little More Help:
PEERtrainer Point Of No Return