Why is it that we eat all of the junk food when all we really want is to loose weight? Why do we stop going to the gym after we have fully developed that habit of going every week? Why do we gain the weight back after we have worked so hard to keep it off? Why do we do the things that we know are unhealthy, but spend so much of our thoughts and energy wishing we felt better? Why do we sabotage ourselves?
Sometimes we fail because we don’t know better. Maybe we lose weight because we go on a restrictive diet. We don’t realize that our bodies have a method of self-preservation that has complicated methods and when it thinks it is starving, it starts storing (fat), even when we eat less. Or maybe we are not getting the nutrients we truly need, so our body tells us “more, more, eat more!” Maybe some of this is true and education will help us understand how and what to eat to maintain the body we want.
But I’d place a bet that more of what is holding you back is fear. What if you fail? Worse yet, what if you succeed? What does that mean? Will your spouse resent you for your growth? Will your children whine about the healthy food you make them eat? Will you have less in common with friends and not have anything left to talk with them about?
All of these are valid fears, and even when we don’t realize them consciously, they still often subconsciously cause us to sabotage our efforts. For example, maybe our spouse makes a remark that there is nothing to eat in the house as they search for sugar laden foods. So when you go to the store, you give in when you see the display of cookies in the bakery because you don’t want him to be hungry. Now that they are in the house, you can’t resist them either.
So how do we overcome this? Well, each circumstance is different. But there are ways to discuss your goals with your loved ones so that they can help support your efforts (maybe even join your efforts!) rather than counteract them. But ultimately, you cannot control their actions or words, you can only control your own.
In my experience, in order to be successful, your reason for being successful must be crystal clear. How will you feel when you lose the weight? What sort of energy will you have? What will you do with that energy? What feelings or “symptoms” will you no longer have to deal with and what will you be able to do when those symptoms are no longer holding you back?
I have my clients paint a picture of their future. I’m not just talking an outline, I’m talking a full on 3D fully painted picture. The benefits of the changes MUST out weigh the fear of the possible pitfalls. This is their safety net. This is their fire. This is what excites them and gets them fired up and ready to go. Myself too!
I don’t usually get excited when I am packing my gym bag in the morning. I usually enjoy how I feel when I am there and surpassing a weight I have done before, but that isn’t what gets me there. It’s my goal that gets me there. I think about how I will feel when I summit a mountain. I think about how I felt as I summited the last mountain, and how much easier the next one will be because of the work I am putting in now. I think about the view I will see from the top of the mountain. I think about the quiet of nature and the clean air. I think about the challenges we face as we search for a trail that wasn’t clearly marked. That is what makes me pack my bag and gets me to the gym.
If we don’t have that, if we don’t have a clear vision, we will fail. We will lose our path and we will turn around and go back home. Because home is “safe”, even as it crumbles down around us, it is better than the unknown…or is it?