But it needn’t be that way. Indeed following that pattern only serves to reinforce a sense that our lives are determined by our circumstances rather than by ourselves.
I spend much of my time teaching my clients how to take control of their lives. Taking control of our weight at Christmas gives us a pretty good grounding to take control of our whole lives.
Deferring starting a weight loss programme is an example of playing the ‘when-then game’. “When the circumstances are right, then I’ll take control”. The better approach is always to start now. Taking action in challenging circumstances is empowering. It gives us the message: “I’m powerful, I’m in control, I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it”.
What do we gain by putting it on before we start taking it off? Acting now makes more sense.
Most people embark on a weight loss plan with good intentions and yet most people fall by the way-side fairly quickly. Our excuse? A lack of will power. We lack the will power to say no to chocolate, no to the second helping, or yes to exercise.
So if our will power is poor, how do we stick to the diet and exercise plan?
It’s about finding the right motivation, developing self control and becoming resilient. All of these are attributes that can be acquired.
Motivation comes from being clear about your values and the benefits of achieving your goal. I use visualisation and time-line techniques as a way to help my clients “experience” these benefits and give them the motivation they need.
After motivation you need self control. Helpful tools to enhance self-control include how to deal with ‘trigger points’ (predictable challenging situations), and a commitment process.
The third attribute that’s needed is resilience. This is the ability to deal productively with uncomfortable experiences. The most powerful tool to boost resilience is learning to ‘accept what is’. This means an ability to accept what’s happening right now, different from the usual meaning of ‘acceptance’ which is future-oriented, as illustrated by the idea of accepting things we cannot change.
‘Comfort eating’ is a classic example of someone not ‘accepting what is’ as it involves using food to deal with uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety, loneliness, or boredom. To successfully lose weight we need to learn more productive ways to deal with these feelings – and that starts with learning how to accept them. This means accepting it’s OK to have them right now, not accepting that it’s OK for them to remain.
It’s this technique of acceptance that gives us the resilience to maintain our weight loss programme.
Utilising the tools of motivation, self control and resilience will enable anyone to lose weight and keep it off. But the good news is it doesn’t stop there. These same tools, which give us the strength to beat any opponent, can be used to help us achieve any goal in your life.
By Graham W Price