Why diet don’t plans workOnce 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 doingThere 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.
- 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.
You need to find your ‘Why’ for wanting to lose weightYour 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.
Use your dream to keep you motivatedPick 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.