Why do you opt for ordering in instead of cooking?
Why do you reach for chocolate or chips after a hard day at work?
Why do you buy processed food instead of whole foods?
Convenience, self worth, and cost.
In my four years of experience as a nutritionist and weight loss coach, I have worked with countless clients who have struggled with weight their entire lives. With those clients who’ve struggled to lose and maintain their weight loss, I’ve found that when it comes to their food choices, there are three top factors that not only motivate them, but ultimately, prevent them from achieving their weight loss goals:
The most interesting thing of all- whether or not a food was considered ‘healthy’ was rarely cited as a motivating factor, unless it was somehow tied to weight loss. This is ironic because when it comes to weight loss, clients that cited motivating factors such as ‘health’ not only lost weight, but kept it off.
If you’re reading this post and are struggling with weight loss, or feel like you’ve been on the yo-yo diet cycle for years and don’t know how to get off, I encourage you to examine your motivating factors when it comes to food choices and your diet. If you happen to be one of the many people motivated by convenience, self-worth, and cost – know that it is one of the biggest things blocking you from success.
This is why it is no surprise that so many people struggle with their weight. When faced with a course of action that includes difficult or uncomfortable tasks, like dieting, the short-term costs of staying on track can seem so much greater than the long-term benefits of losing weight and maintaining our weight loss through a healthy lifestyle. As a result, the majority of people often abandon their diets and never lose weight.
Without a compelling reason to choose otherwise, most people will take comfortable actions that yield immediate gratification over uncomfortable ones that yield long-term results. The problem being that those ‘uncomfortable actions’ are the very things that are required for success. In fact, when it comes to weight loss (and most of your goals in life), the number one thing that we have to sacrifice to reach our goals is our comfort. This is the key component of success – whether or not you value the important things over your own comfort.
In order to make that change and reach your goals, you need to have a compelling reason to want to change your current habits and it has to be bigger than just ‘to lose weight’. When it comes to successful and sustainable weight loss, so many of us don’t have the long-term vision for what we want our lives to look like. We simply want to get the 20, 30, or 40 lbs off and we neglect to think beyond that. When we lack a long-term vision, we are only as good as our short-term goals. If you don’t ultimately want to live a ‘healthy’ lifestyle, you’ll never be able to break free of the yo-yo diet cycle that so many of us find ourselves on.
This means that a you’ll have to shift your mindset around why you want to lose weight and what you want the road to look like to not only get there, but to maintain your results once you achieve them. This doesn’t mean that you need to eat salads every day, or give up sugar or say good by to carbs. What this does mean is that you need to be realistic about what you can stick to when dieting and then find a diet that best suits your needs and wants. Because the simple truth is this:
There is no ‘single’ diet out there that will yield better results than another. What makes a diet successful is our ability to stick to it long-term. The ‘most successful diet’ will be something that’s maintainable for the rest of your life, becoming a lifestyle.
The reason why we fall into the ‘diet trap’ is because the weight loss industry teaches us to ‘diet’ and not to practice a ‘healthy lifestyle’. We’re made to believe that if we simply follow a program for 30-days or 8 weeks, we’ll lose all our weight and things will be great. Without a long-term plan to maintain our weight loss, the majority of us will fall back into the same old patterns that we’ve always had and gain the weight back.
Ultimately, to keep you motivated and engaged in your journey, you’ll need to establish bigger motivating factors when it comes to your diet than just cost, taste, and convenience. You need to create your vision of what a healthy lifestyle looks like and what that will mean for your and your life. In order to tap into the incredible power of that vision, and achieve your goals, your future has to be bigger than your present. If you’re going to move through debilitating self-talk, breakthrough fear, uncertainty and discomfort- it’s your personal vision that will keep you in the game and on track when things become hard.
The next time you’ve had a long day and are pulling up to the drive through window, or going grocery shopping and head to the frozen foods section, stop and think about if those choices are going to get you where you want to go – and if not – take some time to create your vision so that you can make choices that will.
With love and nut butter,