Do you feel like getting your weight down is an uphill struggle? You’ve probably tried a dozen different diets, but still not had the results you’re looking for. Perhaps you even joined a gym, but still didn’t end up with the weight loss you were aiming for. Maybe you lost weight initially, just to put it back on again. You must be feeling really fed up trying to find the key to how to lose weight.
It seems that every other person is ‘on a diet’ these days – and by diet, I mean weight-loss plan. Keto, Paleo, Atkins, 5:2… there are lots to choose from but basically what they all have in common is that they make you eat fewer calories.
There’s no news there, everyone knows that to lose weight you need to eat less (or at least, less of the stuff that makes us fat). But for many people, sticking to a diet can be boring. They start off with great intentions and plenty of motivation, but after a while they tire of the same food options, or they yearn for the food that is banned from that particular diet plan, and their will-power wanes. Ciao diet.
The real reason you’re not losing weight
So, why has your history of yo-yo dieting not worked?
It’s not because you haven’t found the right diet.
This won’t be true for everyone, but for many people, it’s because you haven’t found your ‘WHY’.
“What?” I hear you cry? “Of course I want to lose weight, what do you mean by that?”.
I mean your WHY, your motivation, your big reason for doing it, your motive.
Everyone wants to look as good as they can, of course. No one wants to feel unattractive, and if that has been your reason, it’s not enough.
And for seriously overweight people, the additional health risks should be a massive motivator for getting the weight down. But they’re often not enough either.
I would propose that finding the determination to lose weight – to stop eating too much – is the same as finding the determination to stop doing pretty much anything else. Me for instance, I’ve chewed my nails all my life and I hated myself for it. I tried so many times to stop. I used nasty tasting nail polish, applied fake nails, tried weaning myself off one nail at a time, all to no avail.
Eventually I cracked it, from one day to the next I just stopped. And what did it take? Nothing more than getting my head around it. Sounds so simple, and in a way, it is. All of my previous reasons for stopping – I disliked the look of chewed nails, it’s dirty, I felt like a dope having my fingers in my mouth all day – none of these were a strong enough WHY to help me kick the habit. So what was my WHY?
I was about to start a food business, which would involve selling my goods at farmers markets. I got it into my head that if I wouldn’t want to buy food from someone who had very possibly had their dirty mitts in their mouth while cooking and then transferred that to my lunch, why would my customers?
Now that might not seem like much of a WHY to you, but to me that was a very powerful motivator, powerful enough to give me a reason to stop. After years of trying, it just happened.
Find your WHY
So I suggest that you haven’t lost your battle of the bulge yet. In searching for the elusive key of how to lose weight, you just haven’t discovered YOUR WHY. Maybe for some people it’s easy to identify something important enough to give them that all-important push. Perhaps you’re going to get married and so want to get into a beautiful wedding dress. For others, it may seem that they don’t have a compelling motive to lose weight – at least, not for themselves.
So what about the people you care about? Maybe your WHY can be connected to them, to give you that determination you need to stick to a healthy lifestyle plan and finally drop the pounds.
For example, you’d love to be able to go for a walk with your toddlers and play in the park, but right now you’re wheezing before you even reach the park. You know you’re missing out on so much of their lives that you can’t share with them. So focus on the thing that will give you motive enough to take your dieting seriously.
An embarrassing episode
A friend of mine was telling me about how he used to enjoy a few pints in his local bar most nights of the week. He didn’t consider himself an alcoholic, he could skip days without a drink. Nor was his drinking habit affecting his work – a good job, since he worked as a professional driver.
However, he did recognise that when he went to the pub, he overdid it. He was spending too much money, and knew he acted like a loon when he’d drunk too much. But he couldn’t help himself, once he started, he just carried on til closing time.
His eldest daughter had a part-time job in that same pub, and he often went there on the nights she was working. One such night, after drinking too much, he fell over onto a table, spilling everyone’s drinks, breaking all the glasses and clearly it made a bit of a scene.
His daughter was horribly embarrassed by her dad’s behaviour. He retold me the story with such a sense of shame, he felt awful for having put his daughter in that position. From that point on he just stopped drinking. He still goes to the pub, but he only orders non-alcohol drinks, simple as that.
Now perhaps this wouldn’t be a strong enough WHY for you. My point is, each of us will have a different WHY, a different and very personal reason for changing our behaviour.
I don’t know why you overeat. I don’t know how many different diet plans or how many ‘how to lose weight’ schemes you’ve tried. But I do know that once you work out what it is that really matters to you, your WHY, you’ve already won half the battle.
If after having read this, you feel that you you don’t have a strong enough WHY, you might want to read about how I helped my mother lose over 3 stone in less than 5 months.