I ask myself about the future subject of my new article, and I can’t decide what I will talk about. No idea? Not really! Too many issues are so important …
The surrounding calm contrasts with my internal turmoil in my room, with cream-colored walls adorned with a geometric frieze.
I end up meeting the gaze of my reflection in one of the mirrors in the dressing room. I find myself tired, and the features of my face are hollowed out by forty years of life on our good old earth: I put things into perspective by telling myself that my recent weight loss of 11.6 kg is no stranger!
I remember the trigger that helped me decide to make the necessary effort one day. I realize two things:
- There was not one trigger but several, or rather there was a set of elements (motivation, will, frustration at having gained weight, desire to succeed, learning, fear, and flight from failure). These elements bubbled up into that one trigger one day.
- The subject of my article naturally imposed itself on me.
I will not do another article on weight loss; different publications have already done it better than I could ever suggest. I will focus on the psychological mechanics necessary for the decision-making process and keeping the motivation. I base this on my own experience during my consultations and (very) personal life experiences.
Overweight and obesity are global plagues that everyone has heard of.
The WHO estimates that 39% of the world’s population is overweight (out of five of your friends, two are overweight), and 13% are obese. For those who love numbers and details, I refer you to the WHO webpage, which is simple and informative!
The definitions of overweight and obesity are as follows:
- Overweight: BMI greater than or equal to 25
- Obesity: BMI greater than or equal to 30
- BMI = Weight (in kg) / Height2 (in cm)
We also know the direct impact of this extra weight on both cardiovascular and metabolic health; here again, I will not spread out, but if necessary, it is with pleasure that I will tackle the subject in another text.
Obesity also has severe mental consequences in the context of societal stigmatization. Therefore, losing weight becomes both a physical and psychological emergency.
An important exception is people within the standard BMI range, who still consider themselves too fat (or, more accurately, “not thin enough”). These people perceive themselves through the filter of cognitive distortion. This subconscious filter leads them to want to look like an ideal that does not exist. This condition is called body dysmorphia!
Either way, the time to make up your mind to lose weight comes at some point.
Initiating a change: a triple mechanism
Back to the trigger: The trigger that makes you do something.
Thinking back and looking at the situation from a very external point of view, I conclude that there are three main elements.
Human nature being what it is, it is easier to hold back the trigger (what makes you act). You forget that this terminal action results from a cascade of thoughts, ideas, feelings, and decisions.
Of course, it’s difficult to integrate some of these into an overall scheme.
Health and aesthetics are the primary triggers in the decision to lose weight. These are easy to identify because the motivations are prominent.
However, deep mechanisms only come to light if you try to understand them. For that, you have to dig into your unconscious. The following example reflects this:
Autopsy of a decision to lose weight after weight gain of around 12 kg following stopping smoking
- Trigger: 99.7 Kg on the scale. Arbitrary limit unconsciously set at 100 Kg.
- Capacity / Feasibility of weight loss: By learning validated techniques.
- Deep motivation: When I quit smoking, I knew I would gain – and have to lose – some weight.
With hindsight and an objective outlook, it is fair to say that the decision to lose weight had already been taken for a long time (about one year and a half in this example!)
Only two things were missing: a strategy for feasibility ( how-to) and an irrepressible trigger; in this case, the limit of 100 Kg was fixed in my mind as an unbreachable limit.
It is essential to have a global understanding of the situation to implement your unique strategy properly. In my example, the conditions were met to start the process.
Change of character or even personality
After meeting the requirements, a process begins. Its content will change everything else.
Diets, which we now know do not work, have given way to the concept of food rebalancing. But, from the start, you must have “the right psychology,” the right mentality.
Do not think that you will make an effort for six months and then come back to your previous life!
Losing X kilos in Y months by doing the Z action is an equation doomed to failure. Because you do not plan to change the inherent way you do things, you stay yourself invariably.
Weight loss is a mechanism that only works overtime. We must consider a profound change of character. You don’t have to be the person who gained the weight anymore, but you need to become an improved version of yourself.
You have to change the way you eat, drink, sleep, play sports… and this has to be lasting.
You will thus be you 2.0, the one who does not make an effort to lose weight but loses weight by being himself. The one who now lives with 5, 10, or 15 kilos less because your lifestyle allows you not to gain weight.
Making an effort to lose is possible (maybe even easy) but making an effort all the time is very complicated.
If this lifestyle becomes a habit, then the feeling of effort disappears !!
Do you consider putting on your shoes an effort? Or to dress?
No, because you are used to it.
Well, it’s the same for weight loss; you have to create healthy habits. At the same time, you must identify and eradicate the lifestyles that will invariably lead you to failure!
It is up to you to have an objectively critical look at your habits and to appreciate your future efforts without guilt.
Don’t let your limits make you feel weak: on the contrary, knowing your weaknesses allows you to focus on your strengths.
Identifying the feasibility of a project is a precious preamble. This step is crucial:
- If you don’t put in enough effort, you risk not meeting your goals. As a result, you will feel enormous frustration and loss of motivation.
- If you overestimate your abilities, you may also become easily frustrated.
Either way, your motivation will drop, and your subconscious will eventually convince you that all those efforts to lose weight “aren’t for you.”
The risk in the long term is that you find yourself in a resigning situation filled with negativity.
All of that calls into question your desire to move forward by promoting complacency in a life you don’t want deep down.
The vicious cycle of negativity will continue with a loss of self-esteem and the belief that you can’t accomplish anything. At this point, your very will be numbed. Your mind will feel paralyzed, resulting in procrastination or even inaction.
THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE!
The initial planning of your weight loss project will help you achieve your goals.
They have to be reasonable, and you have to start small. We must be satisfied with these small successes because they are essential to the overall achievement:
Small streams give rise to immense rivers!
You have to persevere in your daily efforts. Don’t let the expected frustration overtake your progress when you’re not seeing quick results.
Remember: You took years to reach your current weight; why would it take ten weeks to lose what you obtained in ten years?
Support from a coach, books, etc., is necessary to set daily goals. Personalize your caloric intake according to your lifestyle. People don’t have the same caloric needs and energy expenditure.
The last point is to start taking action.
Get started when you have your plan and are ready to face the challenges. Don’t waste too much time intellectualizing the process!
Your feelings and feedback will help you adjust your new habits in real-time. I will end with a recommendation: of all the available books on habits, “TINY HABIT” by BJ FOGG stands apart. This book is a fundamental educational tool for creating and maintaining a routine. Read it before starting; you will learn many techniques essential to your future achievements.
- Plan your strategies.
- Set realistic goals and daily objectives. Write them (if possible) on paper and reread them very regularly or even daily. Knowing your destination allows you to stay the course.
- Empower yourself to succeed by improving your skills! Learning and personal development are cornerstones of success! Invest 1 to 3% of your income in your development: for 20 dollars, you will find a book in a field that interests you.
- Be grateful for any progress and congratulate yourself on what you have already accomplished. Don’t blame yourself for what you have not yet achieved: every small step counts!
- Prepare for failure and question yourself about your weaknesses. It will make you stronger. These questions are very powerful because they push you to do even more. That extra action will ensure your success.
- Take action. Movement creates energy, and energy is our engine! This sentence applies to the physical and the mind. Refuse anesthesia, immobility, and procrastination. If you have difficulties, review point 1 (plan your strategy).
- Visualize the end before you start. Visualize your future success. Do not just have a quick view of the result, but feel it. Feel your ease in climbing the stairs because you have lost weight; feel your favorite size M T-shirt on your skin that you have not worn for four years; visualize yourself playing with your 7-year-old son without getting short of breath or having that goddamn right knee pain… These visualizations strengthen the deep will to succeed and act as an alternate engine when your motivation is lower (and it will happen whether you like it or not).
- Contemplate your death. This Stoic philosophical principle creates a feeling of urgency! Recalling this painful truth allows you to remember that every minute, every second counts. The hourglass of time does not have a pause button! When you feel demotivated or devoid of energy, remember that the hourglass does not slow down… Is rest necessary for your achievements, or is it just a useless waste of time?? Ticking, ticking, ticking…
ACT and GET what you DESERVE.