To rob and twist a quote I heard recently, weight loss is a shallow motivator. This is especially true when the going gets tough and you actually have to dig deep inside your character and come up with the discipline, drive or whatever you want to call it to do what needs to be done in the name of your weight loss goal.
Lets be honest, if you cling to the idea that weight loss is your ultimate goal you’re going to find it hard resist those Oreo cookies or extra half bottle of wine.
Even though, in my experience and opinion, weight loss is a shallow motivator, it’s still the most common goal of new clients when they come in for their initial consultation.
But when you dig deeper as to WHY they want to lose weight, the real driving force behind their commitment to action quickly reveals itself. Of course it differs from person to person, but the reasons we hear more often than most include:
- Increased confidence
- A stronger physique to take on lives challenges (lifting children, moving stuff at home, etc.)
- Less reliance on medications
- The ability to play soccer/hurling/run/etc. with their kids
- Avoiding lifestyle-elated illness such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, etc.
- Enjoy a longer life with robust health and vitality
- Increased movement ability in everyday life
- To be an active participant in life, not a side-line spectator
- Be a fit and healthy role model for family, friends and colleagues
- Relieve stress on joints (knees, back, hips, etc.)
Of course, we know that excessive weight gain/fat mass can affect all these issues, yet by focusing on weight loss instead of working on the individual as a person, most weight loss goals end in failure. It’s the classic yo-yo syndrome that’s so common.
In my experience, excessive weight gain (that results from a persons lifestyle choices) is the symptom and the cause is often the person themselves and how they identify with their inner self.
It’s all about the identity you have built up of yourself that drives your actions on a daily basis.
Someone who eats a lot of processed foods identifies themselves as someone who eats a lot of processed foods and will probably continue to do so.
Someone who spends hours sitting on the couch with little-to-nothing in the way of regular exercise probably identifies themselves as the type of person who doesn’t exercise much and probably won’t do it
Someone who doesn’t eat many vegetables is hardly going to identify themselves as someone who eats vegetables and therefore will continue to not eat vegetables, because thats just who they are.
On the other hand, someone who exercises 5 days a week has an inner identity that re-inforces this belief that they are they type of person who exercises regularly and so this will play out in their life experience in the form of regular exercise.
A father who takes his role of being a healthy and fit role model to his kids seriously probably won’t spend his days eating complaining, eating jambons and horsing monster munch down his throat because it’s doesn’t fit into his identity as a great role model.
I used to drink 12 cans of coke a day because that was part of how I identified myself and so I lived it out in my daily life. Unfortunately I felt horrendous and ended up with gastritis from it so it wasn’t a great identity to have 🙂
I could go on and on but I’ll take it that you understand the idea.
If you’re in a bad rut, focusing on weight loss alone isn’t going to deliver. Instead you need to focus on becoming the type of person who isn’t in a rut. You need to focus on building than inner self of identity that will naturally result in the quality of life you desire.
You need to raise your standards of what is acceptable in your life and become the type of person who lives those new standards every day of their life.
But you don’t do this over night. Instead you focus on making one change after the other and apply the concept of Kaizen to your journey
In my example, I had to raise my standard and say that drinking 12 cans of coke a day was beneath me and the type of person that I wanted to be. What is the identity of a healthy person- in my mind that was somebody who drank water and green tea so thats what I started doing and still do.
It now makes me cringe to think that someone could drink 12 cans of coke because my new identity is so far removed from that person.
I’m not going to say that focusing on weight loss won’t help you move forward because it is definitely part of the equation for most people. But what I am saying is that focusing on building the inner identity of a person who exercises, eats well, manages their stress, goes to bed before 10.30, drinks 2 litres of a water a day, has high standards of what is acceptable in their lives, etc. will develop a rock solid character and transform your life in so many ways while still delivering the weight loss and quality of life results that you want.
Make the promise to yourself today and commit building the inner identity of a person who has their lifestyle habits dialled so that they get to enjoy life fully instead of from the sidelines. And don’t be scared off thinking that this is some crazy undertaking because it’s not. It’s well within anyones ability and we have lots of clients who have adopted this concept successfully while still enjoy nights out, pizza and chocolate.
There really is nothing stopping you except the voice in your head and the habits that you identify with. The good news is that you are free to start changing these at any time you wish.
If you need a little help, check out our 2016 Christmas Kickstart Challenge that starts on Monday 28th November for 19 days
Have a great day and stay healthy.