Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

Before we get into the details of weight loss, I would like to make sure that you have a realistic goal and that you’re motivated enough to get there.

Give Yourself A Break

Some people could care less that they’ve gained weight, so this doesn’t apply to everyone. But, if you’re beating yourself up for it, then you need to stop. We live in a world where nothing is easier than gaining weight. And we have all the wrong ideas about how to lose it.

You’re not the one to blame. You either didn’t know how to lose weight, or you didn’t care enough to do it. I’m not saying you have to love being overweight. However, beating yourself

up will only make you unhappy. This is especially unhelpful if you tend to use food as an emotional crutch.

You might think that being hard on yourself is motivating you to make changes. But, you’ll only make changes that are too extreme and not sustainable. Then you will berate yourself for sticking to them. So try to relax, and give yourself a much-deserved break.

Determine Why You Want To Lose Weight

In the past, your attempts to lose weight have failed. You might think that you were too weak or too lazy to lose weight. But it could’ve been that you didn’t care enough about losing weight when it mattered the most.

It’s easy to feel bad about yourself and decide to lose weight when you’re trying on tight jeans. However, that’s not when you need motivation. You need it when you’re deciding what to eat for lunch, or whether or not you’ll eat leftover cookies in the break room. At that point, it’s easy to convince yourself that your weight is fine. It’s easy to forget about it altogether. Your desire to eat something that tastes good can easily outweigh your desire to lose weight if you don’t have a solid reason for putting in the effort.

You’ll need to think seriously about how losing weight will impact your life in a way that you actually care about. Something you can remind yourself of when you have a choice between something that’ll help you lose weight or something that will cause you to gain weight.

That reason should feel like a desire, not an obligation.

Otherwise, it will never outweigh the desire to eat whatever you want. Trying to lose weight because the doctor said you should is not a desire. Losing weight because you feel fat might feel more discouraging than motivating. Below are some examples of positive motivations for losing weight. Figure out what feels the most inspiring to you. Think of what’s going on in your mind when you find yourself wanting to lose weight, and remind yourself of that when you lack motivation.

Positive Motivations To Lose Weight
  • To stay healthy and active as you get older To get off of medication
  • To get rid of joint pain
  • To have a healthy future pregnancy
  • To get in control of your cravings
  • To feel good without using food as a crutch
  • To feel attractive and comfortable in your body

Focus On Fat Loss

It is common to pick a number out of thin air and decide that you must weigh this much. The problem is that this does not take body composition into account. Meaning, how much weight loss is coming from muscle and how much is coming from fat. You want the weight that you lose to be coming from fat, and not muscle. That’s because muscle cells burn a lot of calories, even when you’re sedentary.

The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day. Additionally, extra body fat is detrimental to your health. Fat cells send out inflammation into your body that causes damage and leads to diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Therefore, your weight goal should be based on fat loss. This could result in a weight goal that is much less extreme because fat is very light compared to muscle.

If you ever look at a picture of ten pounds of fat, you might be surprised at how much that actually is. Losing only ten pounds of fat makes a vast difference in your health and in your physical appearance.

For instance, there was a time that I had an arbitrary obsession with weighing 110 pounds. I would deny myself of food, and the end result was that I appeared like a skeleton. By that point, I was desperately craving food and I was left with no muscle. Every time I reached this weight I would almost immediately gain it back. I just blamed it on a lack of willpower, as we all do. But, I eventually realized that getting

down to that weight was in vain. It only served to strip me of precious muscle and motivation. After gaining an education, however, I readjusted my weight goal to 120 pounds at which I have less fat, more muscle, and the ability to eat more now than I ever did in the past.

If you focus on fat loss, then you might be relieved to see that you don’t have to lose as much weight as you originally thought. And by preserving your muscles, your body will burn more calories. In other words, you can eat more without gaining weight. We will talk more about preventing muscle loss and how to measure your body fat in Part Seven. For now, you can use the reference below to help you reach an understanding of what your body fat percent goal can be.

Break Down Your Goals

If your weight goal is too overwhelming, then you should break it into smaller parts. Your ultimate goal could be getting down to 150 pounds and 25% body fat without feeling like you would kill for a slice of pizza. However, that starts with smaller goals like losing a pound a week and getting more sleep. You don’t have to think of everything all at once. It’s like climbing a staircase; you need to take one step at a time. Just one pound a week turns into 50 pounds in a year.

Be Patient

Losing weight takes patience and persistence, not extreme effort. If you restrict what you eat and exercise a lot, then you’ll lose weight fast. But it won’t last for long. You’ll end up losing motivation, gaining back the weight, or plateauing at that weight for weeks.

Some people are impatient, which is understandable. They’d rather lose seven pounds a week than one or two. Without having experienced the lesson on your own there is a strong temptation to restrict too drastically. You might even try this on your own. However, you will come to find that in the first week you will have dropped maybe even five pounds. But after another week the weight will return. It will have been time and energy wasted.

A Little Effort Goes A Long Way

Some people are the opposite of the impatient go-getters. Their weight stays exactly the same because they don’t want to make any changes. No matter how small those changes are. I would like to remind this person that you will not be putting in the effort for the rest of your life. You can lose five to 16 pounds in just a couple of months. By that time, the changes you made will be a habit. And once you reach a weight that you’re happy with, you can eat more than when you were losing weight.

Think Of How Good You’ll Feel

There will be times when you need some extra motivation to keep you from eating midnight snacks or to get yourself off the couch and head to the gym. When you’re feeling lazy, it’s easy to forget why you wanted to lose weight in the first place. When that happens, it helps to think about the outcome of your effort. Instead of the effort itself.

Try to picture yourself at your goal weight and comfortable in your body. Or how you’ll feel when you see your weight drop the next morning. That feeling can inspire you to work towards it.

Have Faith

If I have a new patient that can’t get motivated, I’ll ask them if they actually believe that they can lose the weight. Surprisingly, many of them will say no. Some people are so used to

struggling with their weight, that being thin turns into an unattainable desire. Rather than an actual goal.

It makes sense, though. If you’ve never hit your goal weight, then you might not actually believe you can. You might not be able to picture it happening. If you don’t believe you can lose the weight, then you’ll get easily discouraged by slip-ups. You’ll chalk it up to the fact that you just can’t do it.

If you actually believe you’ll lose the weight, you won’t take those slip-ups so seriously. You’re much more likely to realize that it’s just part of the process. And that you’ll do better next time. So have some faith, especially because you’re doing things differently this time.

Don’t Wait For The Perfect Time

Often it seems as though a person will use their frustration from an inconvenience as an excuse to become indulgent. It becomes a reward for whatever negative emotion you’re experiencing. You missed the train, you lost your keys, and your day isn’t going as planned. Your day isn’t going perfectly so what’s the use in staying on track with your diet?

Your weight loss plan won’t be hard. But will require consistent motivation to reach your goal. If your motivation disappears every time there’s a bump in the road, then you’ll never get there. Don’t keep waiting for the perfect time to stay on track, because there will never be one. Stressful situations

will recur like clockwork, and they’ll knock you off track every time if you let them. You can’t keep using them as an excuse to lose motivation.

There’s a time and a place to enjoy all the foods you like, but your plan won’t work if you need to use food as an emotional crutch. In the next section, we’ll work on ways to manage mood and anxiety so that you don’t need to use food to feel good.

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