Why you need a compelling reason to lose weight
If your child, or close family member, had been kidnapped, and was to be held captive until you reached your goal weight, what would your weight loss journey look like? I’m guessing if it were plotted on paper the graph tracking daily weigh ins would be a consistent decline without much fluctuation. Your reason to lose weight would be so compelling that you wouldn’t even consider whether you should have those biscuits with your morning coffee.
Now I know this is an extreme and unrealistic example, but if you allow yourself to consider it, it demonstrates how easy it could be to lose weight consistently, because you are extremely clear and focused, if you reason is highly compelling.
Now consider, still using the above example, what would your desire, belief, resilience and commitment look like? They would all be extremely high. Your desire, commitment, and resilience to losing would weight would be at 100%, nothing else would matter, and your belief – well that would need to be very high too. I’m guessing you would absolutely believe that you could lose the weight because – well let’s face it – we all know that all we need to do to lose weight, at a very basic level, is eat less than our body requires for fuel.
Weight loss commitment
When I take on a new weight loss client, I can very quickly determine their level of commitment and desire to lose weight and get a feeling for whether they can believe that they can do it. The greater their commitment, the more intense their desire to be slim, and the higher their belief in the program and themselves, the more likely they are to get the results that they want.
Some clients will tell me that they don’t know whether they can get to their goal weight and maintain their weight loss, and when I ask them the reason, they tell me about their previous experiences of failed diets, or of losing the weight and then regaining it. What they need to understand is that not having past evidence of success does not determine future success…if it did…none of us would ever achieve a new goal. What determines our future success is our commitment and desire and these are determined by our compelling reason.
Do you want health, or do you want indulgence?
Your compelling reason also needs to be strong enough to address competing desires. You need to really think about what you want. Do you want health, or do you want indulgence? Do you want success, or do you want procrastination? You must decide what you want ahead of time.
For you to commit, your reason must be compelling enough. Committing to anything immediately invites risk. You can believe you can lose weight, or you can want to lose weight, without there being risk, but as soon as you commit to losing weight, you’ve opened yourself up to risk. Even if it is just the risk of discomfort from not having pleasure from dopamine, or the risk of perceived failure and judgement. Your compelling reason needs to make that risk worth it. I’ve noticed with some of my clients, and with myself, that the desire and belief isn’t consistent. It wanes. It seems to come and go based on results, energy level, how much fun it is, etc.
Therefore, we need a compelling reason. Commitment is consistent. It drives massive action even when the desire wanes and the doubt creeps in. That’s the difference.
We need to have commitment in order to have resilience because resilience will keep us moving forward. Resilience is what has us get right back on our eating plan after we eat an unplanned dessert. Think about what it is you really want. Then ask yourself, “Why you don’t have it already?” It’s important that you are clear and honest with yourself and consider that your compelling reason is not strong enough. Your conflicting desire and your reason for not doing it is too strong.
For most of us committed to losing weight, or on a healthy eating plan, our conflicting desire is for the avoidance of discomfort of feeling our emotions and the pleasure that food provides when it gives us a dopamine hit.
Notice that when you are trying to lose weight your brain has a temper tantrum about not wanting to be deprived. It tells you how hard it will be. It will find reasons why you should eat the cookie. When you have a compelling reason and your commitment is strong enough – none of that matters. You have the tools, ‘your thoughts’, to explain to your brain that eating a cookie is not on the agenda, it’s really not worth it, it’s just a couple of spoonsful of sugar and flour that will stop your body using its own fat reserves for fuel.
Your commitment is what drives your resilience, and your compelling reason is what drives your commitment. If you don’t have a good why, if you don’t have a good reason for losing weight then you are going to struggle. You must dig deep and figure out what your compelling reason is. You must find out what is important to you.
Then once you commit to that compelling reason, once you commit to what it is you want to accomplish, you must not use setbacks as evidence that your weight loss won’t happen. You must use your setbacks as an opportunity to increase your resilience. When you become more resilient, you also become more confident. When you know you are committed facing challenges and difficulties are not a problem, you can see how they will make you stronger, develop your skills and help you create more strategies. And, these are skills that you will be able to apply to any area of your life that will benefit from commitment, belief desire and resilience. Doesn’t that just add to your initial compelling reason?
I tell clients that when they overeat, or when they struggle, that is not the time to give up. That would be like thinking, “Well, I showed up late on Monday, so I might as well take the whole week off.” In fact, it’s the opposite. That’s when it’s time to double down on your commitment. It’s time to remember your compelling reason to honour your relationship with yourself, and to double down on the work. That’s the time to say no to your brain.
And know that this is going to happen. Know that you are going to eat off your plan because your brain is always going to tell you, “seek pleasure, avoid pain, and expend as least effort as possible.” That is what your brain was programmed to do. Your brain programmed in this way kept primitive humans alive when they lived in caves, but it doesn’t serve us today. The messages our primitive brain gives us are the exact opposite of the messages we need to hear in order to evolve at this stage in our development as human beings. Our brain has not yet evolved passed the point of survival. It doesn’t know we’re safe, we’re comfortable, everything’s fine.
Your weight loss journey
Therefore, as a part of your weight loss journey, you must be prepared to manage your brain. You must be prepared to say ‘no’ to yourself.
And consider, thinking that you are deprived when you say no to yourself is optional. Consider that saying ‘no’ to yourself is a planned part of your weight loss journey. Think of it as a critical stage of your evolution to be your ideal weight. An opportunity to say no to yourself is an opportunity to get closer to what you truly want.
Don’t use failure as an excuse to not get your result.
And finally, don’t give up. Make you’re your compelling reason drives you to take massive action until you reach your goal weight, no matter how much failure and learning that requires. It doesn’t matter how much you fail along the way, if you are prepared to fail as many times as you need in order to achieve your compelling reason. Don’t use failure as an excuse to not get your result. Use failure to build up your resilience, to build up your commitment, and to build up your confidence.