By: Anne Collins
If there is one thing that all dietitians and obesity experts agree on, it is that personal motivation is the foundation of all weight loss success. No matter how healthy the diet-plan, or what combination of calories and nutrition it contains, it won't help anyone lose weight unless they follow it for long enough. Their willingness to do so depends entirely on how motivated they are to change their eating and exercise habits in order to achieve their weight loss goals.
Motivation Advice Hard To Find
The Internet offers a bewildering array of diets and weight loss eating plans, but advice on motivation when dieting is in extremely short supply. Given the strong link between diet-compliance and motivation, this lack of motivational help is surprising to say the least. It may stem from the fact that many diets are created by people who lack hands-on experience of helping people to manage their weight. Perhaps they see weight loss as a biological rather than a human process. If so, I think it's a mistake.
Motivating Yourself To Lose Weight
I tell all my clients that starting a weight loss diet is like starting a journey. And like any journey it requires preparation. We need to look ahead and plan how to overcome problems that occur along the way. By doing this we take control of the process and greatly increase our chances of success.
Unfortunately, many dieters don't plan ahead. Instead, they take things as they come, and rely upon two things: their initial enthusiasm, and (when this wears off) their willpower. But enthusiasm and willpower aren't enough to overcome the temptations and difficulties which we face when we try to change our eating habits and lifestyle.
Stop for a moment and imagine taking your family on a camping trip. Do you rely on your enthusiasm and willpower for food and shelter? Of course not. In all probability you spend hours beforehand carefully packing and preparing for every eventuality, and the whole trip is carefully planned out in advance.
Yet when you start a diet-journey, many of you set off without any kind of planning or preparation. It's as if you are convinced that everything will go smoothly. But let's face it, what diet ever runs smoothly? Answer: none! So what happens when we encounter a big problem? Answer: we wobble, and often quit.
We Need To Plan New Thinking Habits
Planning a diet-journey doesn't involve packing equipment, it involves packing "new thoughts". We need to rehearse and adopt new ways of thinking in order to overcome problems during our journey. This isn't psycho-babble - this is plain common sense. After all, successful dieting is largely a matter of motivation and attitude. It's about what goes on between our ears!
The Most Common Dieting Problem
The most common problem we face when dieting is boredom. This typically occurs when our initial enthusiasm for losing weight wears off, and we become tired of watching what we eat. We become dispirited, and slightly depressed at the idea of having to maintain our "sensible eating habits" while everyone else seems to be having a good time.
Losing Direction Leads To Boredom
We get bored when we lose our sense of direction. So to overcome it, we need to reestablish exactly where we are going. Remember, dieting is not an aimless process, it's a journey from A to B. Here's how we think when we lose direction:
"I'm really bored with dieting, it's such a pain. I don't have any freedom any more. I can't eat this, I can't eat that... I'm fed up. I can't share food with the girls at work, I can't eat at my favorite restaurants, I have to keep saying No to food when I visit friends, I have to watch my family eating in front of me, I don't have time to exercise properly, I'm never going to lose weight and I'm feeling really miserable. Heck! Life is too short for this..."
This kind of thinking is totally demotivating. It focuses exclusively on the negative aspects of dieting and signals complete aimlessness. No weight loss goal is achievable when we think like this.
A Better Way of Thinking- continued in the next post