When Numbers Aren't Enough
If you woke up thin, your life would not change very much. It’s nice to think so when you’re trying to lose 50 pounds, but the truth is your new life begins at the point you decide to make a positive change and seek a better life. While weight loss appears to be the goal, many who want to lose weight want a better life. What a better life means is as varied and complex as fingerprints, but it’s not a total mystery. Gaining confidence, improving health, and living longer are usually mentioned, but typically the most frequent answer to having a better life is finding happiness. When our weight seems to be the only thing we can readily change to be happy, a look into our lifestyle may tell a different story.
The sum of the decisions you make and the experiences you encounter because of them are all you have to work with. While some have an ah-ha moment and turn their lives around to follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen, others of us struggle to get on track despite the will, ability and knowledge to do so. Either we’ve lost and gained weight time and again, or a major life event brought on the extra pounds. Regardless of how the weight was gained, without exploring your change in behavior because of it, you’re only half-equipped to lose it.
What’s Eating You?
Once you explore the nature of the shift, that is, when it happened, what behaviors did you change, and how your feelings/thoughts about yourself and life were affected, you can make better sense of why you act the way you do. That starts with self-monitoring. Not only your current, but explore your past eating and exercise behaviors. Did you start eating more when you got married? Did you stop exercising after college? What positive behaviors have you given up, and what can you do to restart. Someone else’s prescription for your life changes will not last if you don’t apply your life experiences to their plan. If you’ve never eaten healthfully, or exercised regularly, it’s harder to explore how to stick to new positive behaviors, but for many, being sedentary or overeating started somewhere you can pinpoint.
Now that you know the specifics of the parts of you that don’t line up with a healthy lifestyle, it’s time to assess what it will take to make the switch. This has to do with changing behavior parameters. Write down your strengths and weaknesses with diet and exercise as well as the risks and benefits of changing certain behaviors. Now you’re ready to set goals with a realistic view of the time and cost it will take to gain success. Be sure to consider both weight loss and maintenance in your planning and go for it.
Along your journey, here are some resources to accentuate the positive.
Beyond calorie counts, pounds, and macronutrient breakdowns, what variables are you missing to make your healthy habits stick for life?