As we get older there is so much going on in our bodies and weight loss is the last thing on our mind until it’s too late.
One of those ‘things’ is the slowing down of your metabolism. This means staying with the same diet and activity level no longer keeps us maintained at the same weight. Bummer!
While we are dealing with all the other ramifications of ageing and the menopause, we can lose sight of our weight slowly creeping up.
Before we know it we are fatter than we would like to be, or no longer as fit as we were.
With the worry of everything else happening, losing weight always seems to be the last thing to tackle. We can always put it off for another day, week, month or year!.
Yet perversely often losing the weight you crave will ease some of your other symptoms as well.
Why diet don’t plans work
Once you recognise that you need to lose a bit of weight what is your next step. Go to Slimming Work or Weight Watchers? Find a new diet off the internet? Or just cut out some of the things you love.
A diet plan, or a new health lifestyle, certainly is essential to losing weight because without change we will stay the same.
But diet plans provide you with the ‘How’ you are going to losing weight. They don’t help you stay motivated when your husband brings home your favourite cake as a treat ‘for doing so well’. Nor do they stop you from treating yourself to a biscuit, or two, when you are feeling a bit down.
Are these things really treats!
When you have stayed the same weight for the last two weeks, even though you have been following the diet 100%, will the diet stop you from giving up?
No, it just makes you feel guilty!
It doesn’t matter what plan you follow or what goals you set, if you are not losing weight for the right reason then you will never have the willpower to stay the distance.
The science bit – what makes you stop thinking and start doing
There have been many psychological studies done covering motivation and transformation. One of them is called the Transtheoretical model (TTM). This covers lifestyle transformation and the notion of “Thinking vs Doing”. The TTM model is broken down into 5 stages:
- Pre-contemplation – Not even thinking about changing.
- Contemplation – Thinking about changing behaviour, but not ready to act.
- Preparation – Getting ducks in a row to make changes.
- Action – A challenging time when fragile habits are being formed.
- Maintenance – Habits are more ingrained and the new behaviour becomes sticky.
These are all the stages we go through when deciding to do a lifestyle change and follow a new diet or activity plan.
Most of us are stuck in stages 1,2, or 3.
- We know we need to do something.
- We think a lot that we really must do something soon.
- We investigate plans we can follow. We buy the books, and even stock the cupboards with the food suggested.
- We may even start a few plans half heartedly but give up at the first hurdle.
What we are stuck on is making the jump between stage 3 and 4. The jump from thinking about losing weight and actually doing something about it.
It is a giant jump towards your new life. It requires bravery and willpower to jump to the next step.
When it comes to lifestyle change it can be far less about what you do after you jump, the ‘how you lose weight’, and much more about the why you jumped in the first place.
You need to find your ‘Why’ for wanting to lose weight
Your reason for losing weight changes as you age, you no longer want to have that perfect beach body. Well you do but realise the saggy knees and wrinkles won’t have the same effect!.
Your reasons start to become more like:
- I want to see my grandchildren grow up,
- I want to reduce my risk of heart disease or diabetes.
All of which are the more scary stuff in life rather than the superficial.
Your reasons can come in many different guises.
Many are instant and superficial. Let’s be honest who doesn’t want to look good in your clothes and be confident in your body.
Others are deeply affecting and long-lasting.
The best way to motivate yourself to lose weight is to use the thought of what you want most in the world. Use this to energise and excite you to meet your future self head on and be the person you dream about.
But finding your “Why” for weight loss means discovering the one dream that means more to you than anything else. You need to truly understand it, feel it and be passion about it before you can let it become a strong source of motivation for staying on track with your weight loss journey.
You need to make the reason why you are making this change have enough value and meaning to support you through the diet process.
You need to have a compelling reason to drive your transformation.
Use your dream to keep you motivated
Pick up your pens and paper, diaries or notepads and start asking yourself ‘Why’ you need lose weight and write it down.
What is it about that reason that is so compelling?
Ask yourself why again.
Keep asking ‘Why’ with each iteration of your reason until you know your true, well hidden feelings. The thing you are most scared of happening.
Once you get there that is your reason.
Write it down, make it bold, draw flowers around it, whatever makes it stick for you.
Put it somewhere that you can look at often.
This is your dream.
Whenever you struggle refer to your dream and think “is this temptation worth it. Will it make me reach my goal. Does it support my reason why”. If the answer is “No” then you know what to do.
Holding this dream close to you gives reason to all your decisions and meaning to your journey. It provides you with the motivation to carry on.
That’s the real secret – it’s using this powerful dream to get you through the tough times.