I bet you already know all the health benefits for keeping slim. You have probably tried every diet – the Atkins, the South Beach, the metabolic, the fruit, the water or just plain starvation. In fact, you may even have gained extra weight. You know all the intellectual stuff about keeping healthy, exercising and eating consistently. But, you are still as heavy as ever.
How is it that all those intellectual knowledge is not driving you towards weight loss?
This is because the human body is driven by passion and not intellectual knowledge. Knowledge teaches us techniques; passion dives us to make it happen.
In this situation, external circumstances are not conducive in igniting our passion for keeping healthy and slim.
If we have failed numerous times in our weight loss efforts, it may be time that we evaluate our external environment. That may be the cause of our failures.
Our family, partner and friends make up this external environment that we live in. It is not by malice that they want to sabotage our weight loss plans. It is rather their own innate fears they wrestle with. They are like the mother who nearly drowned. Hence, she will never allow her child to go swimming.
Ultimately, they are not passionate about encouraging you to lose weight because they attach certain meaning and value to your weight.
It is good intentions but ultimately bad expressions.
Families can affect personal diet plans when everyone in the family has a preference towards heavy weight.
Let us take for example that all your brothers and sisters (or fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts) are 200 pounds (100 kgs) and yet, seem to be having a whale of time in their life.
How motivated will you be to lose weight?
The Chinese Family
In the Chinese family, food is good and our parents insist that we eat as much as possible; chubbiness is a mark of fortune and blessing. To add to this conundrum, it is superstitiously believed that every plate has to be cleared up. Otherwise, you will get an ugly wife/husband in future.
This, to me, sounds like the perfect setting to guilt-free weight gain.
The American Family
In a similar vein, most American family diets contain unhealthy fats and weight gain ingredients. You would feel obliged to eat a similar meal while at family functions to prevent being the centre of attention
I am sure there are many other cultures that have unhealthy eating rituals and superstitions. Think about your own growing up experience – what are the values placed on food and the consumption of food. How does it affect your weight loss efforts at this moment?
Then, there are those other people called partners!
Our partner spends the most time with us, and their implicit, silent actions create a massive amount of pressure on us, regardless of the actual words they say.
An overweight partner who does not want to lose weight will definitely not help you ignite the passion that you need to lose weight. He/she will have a comment for every exercise day and every healthy meal. Every action towards health may seem like a personal attack on him /her.
Lastly, we have our circle of friends. Friends can, of course, affect us in the usual manner of over-eating and cajoling us to follow suit.
However, the realm of friends has an added unique dimension. It is quite common to see overweight people group with slim friends.
Social dynamics dictate that friends of the same characteristics (especially physical) tend to polarise towards each other. Hence, the babes shop together and the hunks hang out together.
Nonetheless, groups that comprise both fat and slim individuals usually come together because of a different similarity. They associate because of their low levels of self esteem. Such friends do not want you to face up to your inadequacies, because it would make you different from them. Your insecurity is in your fat body and they would help you to maintain it.
The Crux of the Problem
Our concepts, meanings and values of health have been moulded through childhood years, then the teenage years and then far into the adulthood years. It is definitely not a new notion that popped out of yesterday. The lifestyle and size that we have today is the product of years of cultivation.
It is not right to blame our family, partners or friends; they are just living life the way they know best.
Now that we know the value of being healthy, we should see our family, partners and friends as the main crux of our motivation to slim down.
We mould a better future for our lives so that we can be in the position to help them reshape theirs!
What do we do now?
Everyday, we are faced with these emotional challenges that need to be sorted out. Only then, can we see past the nearby obstacles and look further into the promising future.
We have to reflect if we are truly satisfied with our lives. Is our extra weight affecting us now and will it affect us in the future?
Do we believe that being fat will forever keep us in a perfect marriage?
Will we die before we see our children graduate?
Some obesity statistics to help us frame our mind:
- Twice the risk of raised blood pressure.
- Increased risk of heart problems
- A weight gain of 11 – 18 pounds (approx 8kgs) increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 100%.
- Obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of maternal high blood pressure by 1000%!
- Middle aged fat people have the same reduced life expectancy as smokers.
Do we want to burden our family with the hefty financial obligations of heart surgery, costing no less than a $100,000?
Take out a piece of paper and draw a line horizontally across the paper to divide it into 2.
Write down all the scenarios that would happen if you do NOT lose weight. Write it down as detailed and as many as possible.
Give yourself 2 minutes and write every single thing down.
Use specifics. Who will it affect if you fall ill? (Use your son's name, e.g. John, or your husband, Tim, who has to pay for all your medical bills)
You can use the above statistics to help you.
All done? GREAT!
Next, write in the bottom half how you would like your life to be in 1 years time AFTER you have lost all your weight.
How much weight would you have lost?
Are you running around the garden with your children?
Is your wife/ husband "showing" you off to his friends?
Are the neighbourhood people giving you 2nd glances?
Do you wake up energetic and bounce off to your daily work routine?
Have you listed every beautiful image that you want in a year?
Same as above, be specific, use names, and let your pen write freely. Don't think of how it will be done. Focus on what you want. Feel free to add some colours, draw some pictures.
Your 2 minutes are up! Great!
Print out this future shape and paste it right next to your description of life in 1 year!
The Final Bit
- Now fold the paper in half and stick it up at a place where you can frequently see it. IT could be the bathroom where you shower, or the fridge door, or the key hanger.
- Keep the side with the bad stuff covered and your dream life facing you.
- Every morning, look at it and recite, shout, declare out the great life you will have in a year!
- For days that you feel lazy, flip over the other side, look at the messed up life you will have if you do not do something now!
… and Congratulations!
Congratulations that you have come this far and are prepared to radically shift your mindset. You are now on your way to a new life and to be strategically empowered to help your loved ones achieve theirs too!
Nonetheless, I would be lying to you if I said that mindset training ALONE will make you lose all your weight.
It is critical. It is the most important start.
However, you have to equip it with the right diet (does not mean you can never eat the fun stuff) and exercise (does not mean it has to be painful).
You would want a weight loss programme that is fun, so that you do not find it to be a chore.
You would want a system that is natural and have no side-effects.
You need a system that saves you time, so that it does not affect your current daily commitments.
You need a system that is sustainable, so that your life can be changed forever and not a passing fad.
If you already have health plans that meet all these key qualities, please go right ahead! I wish you all the best and do tell me how it turns out!
The author, Winston Ng, is an avid peak performance coach and CEO of Phenogy Health Advisors Pte Ltd, based in Singapore. His Health Consultancy programmes are renowned worldwide for their efficiency, simplicity and independent unbiased advice. Receive FREE Health Coaching and find out more about their E-Manuals and Consultancy Services at http://phenogy.com Winston Ng and his Coaches are contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org