In the course of my own journey, I’ve gotten the opportunity to observe a lot of people working on weight loss. Some have been very successful, while others fizzle out in a matter of minutes, it seems. I notice some behaviors and traits that frequently seem to precede impending doom for weight loss! Here’s a quick rundown of how to defeat yourself as you’re trying to lose weight, in my not-so-humble opinion…
Sabatoge Your Weightloss Efforts by…
Tell yourself constantly what you can’t have. I mean, c’mon. You CAN have whatever you want to. It’s just some choices lead to what you’re looking for, and some don’t. If you make more “squishy” choices, then guess where you’re heading?
Feeling sorry for yourself! What the Heck? I see no reason to feel sorry for myself as I’m working on losing weight. I ate the dang brownies to begin with, so I can work ‘em off, as far as I’m concerned. If your most pressing problem is munchies for some chocolate cake, count your blessings, brothers and sisters!
Hanging around off-plan food. Spending lots of time preparing it, looking at it, sitting nearby while other people are eating it, wistfully sniffing if…well heck. What about the sober alcoholic that lives at the neighborhood bar? Well, the sugar-addict that sniffs and oogles chocolate cake is halfway to inhaling the cake.
Not having a plan! Get the book, for goodness sakes. You can’t afford NOT to get the book. Pick a plan, get the book and let’s get this party started. I don’t care what worked for your co-worker’s ex-mother-in-law or who gave you “the list” of what you have to eat. Just get the dang book already!
Imparting a moral status to your eating behavior! Food is not broken down into good and bad. While some food is good for you or not good for you, morality is not embedded within the food itself. Food is not your enemy or your friend. Food is inanimate. Stop personifying it! You’re giving it way more status than what is really is: mere sustenance. You are NOT good or bad person based on what you eat, ok? Please stop looking at it that way. It makes me sad.
Be helpless. If you’re helpless in the face of cravings, or outside pressure to eat, or lack of family support or whatever, then you’re not going anywhere. (At least not anywhere you like.) If somebody is holding a gun to your head while they shove cookies in your mouth, OK. You can claim helpless. Otherwise, let’s get real.
Visualize failure. Sitting around constantly telling yourself you can’t do this, or even just questioning your ability to succeed is the best way to ensure you don’t! If you focus on failing, that’s what you’re going to do. If you focus on success and visualize success, it becomes more real to you every minute.
Ask yourself if you can give up your personal “magic food” for the rest of your life. Yeah, that’s right. While low-carbers do emphasize this is a permanent change to lifestyle—and rightly so— you are NOT dealing with the rest of your life. When you look at all of anything in the context of the rest of your life, it’s overwhelming. Ever think about how much you’re going to have to work “the rest of your life?” Or how much cleaning you’ll have to do “the rest of your life?” You’re not living the rest of your life right now. You are living today. Today is all you’re dealing with. A small part of today, even. This afternoon, this hour, this minute, this second. Right now is the only time you have to deal with. If you deal with all the “right nows” as best you can, the rest of your life will take care of itself.
Compare your losses with everybody else’s and get upset because you’re “behind.” Uh, what’s your rush? I mean, OK I get that we all want it yesterday, but you didn’t get here overnight, so the trip back isn’t’ going to be magically short, either. I don’t give a flying rodent’s butt what anybody else’s pace is. It has nothing to do with me. I lose at the rate I lose, and that’s fine. Yes, I know it’s totally human nature to do this, but it doesn’t help.
Get disgusted with yourself every time you make a questionable food choice. Yeah, well, you know what? If I judged myself as a total screw-up on the basis of one questionable choice…well gee. I’d have committed suicide years ago! The trick is making the helpful choices outnumber and outweigh the setback choices. If you expect perfection, you guarentee failure definition. If you expect progress, you can make progress.
Wait for the right configuration of perfect conditions to work on improving. Guess what? The only perfect time is now. There is no time in my life that doesn’t have responsibilities, demands, issues. If I waited for these to go away, I’d die first.
Let other people make your decisions. Don’t forget: Your life is not up for majority rule. If other people pressure you to eat food that’s problematic for you, ignore them, pop off a snappy comeback, or promptly burst into tears if you have too; bet they wouldnt’ do that again soon! Snort. So what if people you know don’t approve of your menu? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? If they’re not helping, ignore ‘em and cut them out of your personal thought loop. They haven’t solved your weight problem for you, so what good is shooting down your solution doing? Just keep moving on and minimize contact with unhelpful people.
Maintain a perfectionistic attitude. If you think you have screwed up the whole day when you take a nibble of a cinnamon roll, well…tossing in the towel for the rest of the day does WAY more damage than the nibbles you had. What’s more helpful for you in the long run: Returning to old, unhealthy habits of gorging yourself with the least bit of stress, or accepting your choices and moving on? I think you know…
Sneak food. This is one of those little, weird things about being overweight. You feel compelled to do your worst eating out of other people’s sight. There’s almost a feeling if nobody else sees, it doesn’t count. Well…sorry, but I’ve got bad news for you. Even if nobody else knows, your arse always knows.
Don’t take care of yourself. If you don’t take time to recharge your batteries, relax, refresh yourself, you’re operating on a huge disadvantage. Despite all my “Suck it up, Sparky” advice, I know very well that losing weight is challenging. If it were easy, nobody would be fat, ‘cause being fat sucks! If you’re well-rested, relaxed and happy, it’s much easier to make helpful choices.
Testing your resolve. Why would you? But people do this all the time. This isn’t some kind of sadistic “test” to see if you can stoically withstand chocolate for goodness sakes! So be kind to yourself! Do everything you can to make it easier on you. Get the chocolate out of the house if it’s a weakness for you, even if the kids whine. It’s not negotiable, and frankly, it would probably do some good if the family ate a few less chips anyway, right?
Burn yourself out. if you think you have to lose your 75 pounds overnight and you decide to eat no carbs and exercise 6 hours a day, how long do you think that’s gonna last? Learn to look towards moderation. It’s a lack of moderation that got your behind in the state it’s in now, eh? So stop using the same overkill hammer on every nail, and try a different approach for a change.
Loathe yourself as you are. Efforts borne of self-hatred are doomed from the get go. The only reason to improve, to give yourself better, is feeling like you need and deserver better. I’m not saying you have to love the tonnage. Heck no! But…YOU are NOT your fat. Your weight does not define you! Just like you are not your hair color or your eyes or you nose or your clothes or your car or anything else. I think there’s more to you than that, don’t you? I hope so!
It’s not all that hard, really. You get clear on what you are doing and why. You learn how to do it. You take care of yourself as best you can and try to make choices in line with your long-term goals. You stay focused on the long haul. You may lose a few battles, but you’ll win the war.