THIS TIME, I'm going to do it!
I'm going to stay on my diet all the way to my goal. You are very determined and motivated, and you are sure that you can do it, THIS TIME!
It's great to have that level of commitment and focus on your efforts. And maybe THIS TIME you will reach your goal and stay there. But if you are like most people, reality begins to set in and your enthusiasm fades.
Soon it feels easier to eat what you want and binge watch your favorite TV shows instead of taking a walk. It takes a lot of effort to rise above the default settings that caused you to gain weight in the first place.
Doing the work
In real life, you have to go to your job, help kids with homework, clean your house and do a ton of other things just to get by. So how do you add weight-loss tasks to an already overwhelming list?
There's no simple answer here. But weight loss happens! Many people have successfully lost weight and maintained their success. Yet all of them would say it doesn't happen without investing a lot of effort. It's what I call "doing the work."
It takes a LOT of work
When I went back to school for my masters degree, I was blown away by the amount of work involved. My program was designed for working adults, so all my classes were in the evenings or on weekends. I had to commute an hour and a half each way, which meant I was often driving home at 10:30 at night.
Many times, I was exhausted from the drives and going to class, but I still had to "do the work." That meant studying for exams and writing a lot of papers. Sometimes, I wanted to give up and quit because it felt so hard to do all that work.
What kept me going was the outcome I wanted. When I got discouraged, I would remind myself that I wanted to walk across a stage at graduation and get the degree that would open doors for new jobs and opportunities. So in spite of how hard it was, I kept going and eventually, I completed the program and got my degree.
That was a wonderful day. But then I had to "do more work" to get a new job and learn a lot of new things. Since I got that degree, I have continued to use much of what I learned as well as add a lot more to my knowledge and skills. But if I hadn't "done the work," none of that would have happened.
Weight loss takes work
Reaching your goal weight and maintaining long term takes the same kind of efforts. It's great to commit to THIS TIME being the one that will get you there. But at the same time, you need to commit to "doing the work."
This isn't new information--you already know about all of this. But along with your eating and exercise plan, I encourage you to put the "do the work" phrase into your daily efforts. Here are some ways to do that.
• Create your own magic
When you start a new program and commit to staying on track, your initial excitement and motivation gets you started. But the magic of those first weeks or even months doesn't last forever, and then you have to find ways to keep yourself going.
Instead of stopping your efforts, learn to create your own magic. Label each day as a wonderful step on the path to your goals. Then do the work of staying strong and committed for just ONE day. The next day, commit to doing the work again. Over time, all those days will add up and you'll see amazing progress.
• Remember why you are bothering
When I was going to school, I had to continually remind myself how much I wanted to get the degree in my hand and then find a new job. Those images helped me do the work involved with the long drive, studying and writing papers.
Remind yourself often of why you are bothering with losing weight or improving your health and fitness. Pull out the list of reasons you wrote in the past and each day focus on just one of them. Maybe today, your reason is so you can reach down and tie your shoes. Maybe it's to look good in a bathing suit.
If it helps, write today's reason on a sticky note and put it where you can see it. Then read it over and over today until it begins to feel like it could really happen. That's "doing the work."
• Do the extra work
One of my family members recently got a robot vacuum that cleans the floor by itself. I loved watching how it sucked up dirt and dust while carefully avoiding hitting furniture or the wall. But when it finished, the muddy footprints were still on the floor. The vacuum made life easier but the owners still had to "do the work" to get the floor clean.
Signing up for a meal delivery or a plan that has pre-made foods can make it easier to follow a weight-loss program. But you still have to add the extra work of pushing yourself out the door for a walk, even when you're tired. You have to take care of your emotional needs with out reaching for food. And at some point, you may need to find some new recipes to use when the pre-made meal program ends.
Make the work part of life
Instead of resisting "doing the work," integrate it into your daily life. Be willing to invest a little deeper into your ongoing efforts.
When you "do the work," you can make THIS TIME the one when you reach your goals and get the healthy outcomes you want.