When clients come to me for help losing weight my first question is always “why?” Everyone has their own story, and their own unique reasons for wanting to transform their body or start a healthy eating pattern. Deep down we each hold some image or idea that we want above all other things that we look forward to after weight loss.
People jump into health and fitness plans for a lot of reasons – maybe a new diet promising amazing benefits has been floating around social media, perhaps it’s part of your new job’s health incentive program or you’ve been roped into a monthly challenge with your best friend. Whatever the reason, if you’re anything like the millions of Americans who go full force into a healthy eating and exercise program with the New Year, there’s a good chance you’ll lose motivation and regain any lost weight when the initial excitement wears off.
The real question then becomes, why do we keep looking for the “best” diet plan – you know, the one that will finally be the answer to every weight loss road block – without first addressing the real reason why you want to lose weight? Subconsciously, we all assume our extra weight is the thing that is holding us back from living our best lives!
So, What is YOUR “Why” for Wanting to Lose Weight?
Most weight loss programs focus only on the “what” of weight loss. Participants have a list of foods they can and cannot eat and losing weight is the only pre-determined outcome. Goals are set based on the answer to one question; “How much weight do you want to lose?”
And consequently, your success is measured by the scale, not by how you feel or by your body composition. Unfortunately, when your focus is only on what you want to lose, the results are often short-lived After all, physical appearance can only bring you so far – real happiness lives in a healthy lifestyle and positive body image.
Shifting your focus from what you want to lose to what you want to gain, or your “why,” is no easy feat! Ditching the fixed diet mindset can be difficult – especially if your value comes from external sources like your doctor, your spouse, or your friends.
So, what should you do instead?
Digging deep to find out why you actually care enough to proactively work toward self-improvement is the biggest piece. Food therapists agree, your “why” is EVERYTHING! If you don’t understand exactly how your weight-loss goals are going to affect the important areas of your life, you’re going to drop off as soon as you hit the first bump in the road!
From a psychological perspective, when you target the deeper motivation from why you want to lose weight, you’re able to target the behavior that will help you reach your goals.
Weight loss as a goal puts the emphasis on the end of the process, whereas focusing on habits such as tuning into hunger and satiety signals, practicing kind and motivating self-talk, and learning about nutritious eating, is what helps you focus on the process itself!
If you are struggling to define your “why” try asking yourself these three questions:
- Why is losing weight important to me?
- Why does that reason matter?
- Why do I feel strongly about that reason?
Once you have determined your “why,” the motivation to change should be obvious. I recommend envisioning your life and detailing exactly what is going to be different as a result of achieving your goals. People who are intrinsically motivated are far more successful than those who are only motivated by extrinsic rewards.
BUT, what if your only driving force is that you really just want to lose weight? How do you adjust your mindset? While it’s easy to say, “I want to lose weight because I want to be healthy, so I’ll never drink another soda or eat another cookie again,” that’s not realistic. Realistic goals lead to a realistic life, so do your best to set manageable goals that will eventually result in sustainable changes!!
It’s important to set realistic goals, that you can achieve easily in the first few weeks so you have success – even if it’s small – which can help motivate you to keep moving forward. What will be easier when you lose weight? How will your health improve? How will your overall wellness benefit? Will your happiness improve?
Shifting your focus from you want to lose (i.e. 20 pounds), to what you want to gain – more energy, improved physical and mental health, more quality time with family, etc. – will help you stay on track when you inevitably encounter setbacks!
I run programs for clients who want to lose weight, but I can’t guarantee anybody will actually lose weight. The majority of people do, but there are many reasons why a person weighs what they do.
If overeating is at the cause of their additional weight then yes, following the strategies outlines in TheFittChick program will help you quit overeating and the weight will naturally come off. But even better then weight loss, I can assure you that if you follow the strategies we lay out together you will finally find confidence in your food choices, find joy in eating, and start to leave the unhealthy weight loss patterns behind.
Do you feel like you could get more done in your life if you could stop worrying and obsessing about food? If you had more confidence, joy, and acceptance? What do you want to accomplish by changing your thoughts and actions?
I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment!
And if you’re interested in waking up tomorrow and changing your thoughts and actions, click here. I’m so confident in my program because I have helped hundreds of people over the last decade find their “why” and therefore see lifelong success!
Are you ready to EAT MORE & WEIGH LESS?