A lot of people I’ve talked to through the years will cite some particular experience or influence in their lives that they credit for “why” they finally got their weight under control after years of struggle and failure. But here’s what actually happens:
We bring permanent lifestyle changes into our lives when we accept what it’s really going to take.
I believe that the single most critical factor in reaching this point is letting go of everything you’ve been told you are and what you’ve been told you should be able to do. As fat people we’re told we’re weak, we’re undisciplined, we’re not motivated, there’s “something wrong” with us that we have to fix. We’re told this diet works, that book is great, this exercise burns a ton of calories, just buy the latest thing that’s working for everybody else.
I spent decades, literally, using up my life with worry and stress over my weight. I was always on or off a “diet.” I was always on or off some exercise “program.” Everything I did had a start and end date. Everything I did was a deviation from my regular life. I bought my share of weight loss products and diet food. People who deal with cosmetic weight changes might be able to use a short-term approach but those of us who deal with a lifetime weight problem have to take a lifetime approach. “Lifestyle changes” really have to be for good. That is the foundation of what we have to accept.
I haven’t been “on a diet” in many years now. I eat whole foods as much as I can and I prepare my own food. I looked at my own limitations and likely weaknesses and I took steps to address them. I went out and bought a crockpot and a steamer and a Foreman Grill because I’m not much of a cook and I needed to be able to keep things simple and easy. This is what it took for me. What would it take for you?
It’s the same thing for getting physical activity into your life. Personally, I didn’t want to go a gym. I didn’t want to stand on a treadmill. I didn’t want to jump around. I didn’t want to think I was supposed to do it for an hour every day and if I didn’t, that meant I was just lazy or unmotivated. I let go of that! I started really, really small and simple. To do more than that, hey, it took as long as it took. Who’s counting? Who’s looking over my shoulder? NOBODY. I found what worked for me and years later I’m still exercising several times a week. I accepted that I would have to exercise at a certain intensity and frequency to get any real benefit but I worked my way up to that point doing things I wanted to do.
You deserve to enjoy your life! You can’t spend a lifetime struggling to force yourself to do what you don’t really want to. Finding your own path to significant lifestyle change is the foundation of my primary message. I’ll sum it up with something I like to say—The roadmap to where you want to go does not exist until you draw it.
Light & Strength, my friends!