6. How to Commit to Weight Loss
Welcome to episode 6 of the Mindful Weight Loss podcast and thank you for tuning in. It's really exciting to check out the podcast data and to see where you guys are tuning in from. I am from Seattle in the U.S. and I can see that some of you are from nearby Oregon and then farther away in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, and then there are some of you who are tuning in from other countries like the UK, France and the Phillipines which is just so amazing. So wherever you are, please know that I appreciate you and I'm sending you good vibes.
Today we are talking about what it means to make a commitment specifically to weight loss because I think most of us have the wrong idea.
We seem to think about commitment as a singular or one-time even't. I think because when we make public commitments those often are one-time events like getting married or signing a contract. And in fact I've been through weight loss programs that have you sign a contract with yourself or write a commitment letter to yourself and I can tell you that those one-time commitments aren't enough.
The word commitment has a lot of forms and it can simply mean a pledge or promise, and that's what these events are, pledges or promises to act in a certain way in the future, but there are no guarantees that will actually happen. Marriage vows aren't always kept and contracts are often breached. We don't always keep our promises.
And on the flip side you don't have to get married to have a deeply committed relationship. You can be incredibly committed without the initial promise or ceremony. And that state of being committed is stronger than a promise to be committed in the future. This is living commitment every single day.
And that's the kind of commitment that is required for weight loss. And you don't just decide one day to create that state of mind and then assume that it will show up for you. You need to recreate that state of mind each and every day.
This was a huge game-changer and I continue it to this day and not just in relation to my weight, but regarding anything I'm working towards creating in my life.
When I as losing weight I had to create my mindset, I had to think on purpose to create the emotions and behaviors that would lead me to the outcomes I wanted.
In my last podcast I talked about the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model which tells us that our thoughts generate our emotions which then motivate our actions. And this is how most habit models work as well. We are prompted by something in our environment. We think a thought about that and that creates the emotional response, usually a craving or desire, which motivates the behavior.
So on a very simple level, when you consistently overeat you have patterns of thought that support the overeating habit and in order to lose weight you must focus on creating new patterns or habits of thought that support or motivate the opposite.
And that requires intention and practice. And to this day, every single day, I create the mindset that I want to have to help me create the outcomes I want. And this goes beyond weight. This is for anything I'm creating in my life. I purposely think empowering, motivating thoughts that help me get excited about the actions I need to take. Like writing and recording this podcast for example. I get myself inspired. I think about what I'm excited to share with you - maybe a learning that's been reinforced for me recently, or course material that I'm really excited about and I think about you guys listening and I think about coaching my clients and helping them feel these amazing feelings and creating the thoughts, emotions and behaviors THEY want and I'm just so pumped then to write and record this.
And you can do the very same thing for weight loss.
And the beauty of this daily commitment is that your whole weight loss process becomes focused exactly where it should be, which is on today. There is no single action that equals losing 30 pounds. You can't lose 30 pounds like you can take a shower. Losing 30 pounds is an aspirational goal which is great to focus on and contemplate to create positive, motivating feelings, but it's too big by itself.
Weight loss happens one day at a time. You can't lose 30 pounds in a day, but you CAN control the thoughts you give more attention to and those that you ignore. You CAN control your emotional state and your mood during the day in regard to your weight. And you CAN behave in certain ways and take actions that lead to weight loss.
When you optimize those things each day, you allow your body to do it's job and lose the weight.
Oprah said "It's only when you make the process your goal that the big dream can follow." and she's exactly right.
Your weight loss process is the work you do daily and that needs to be your goal. You take it one day at a time, you decide on the behaviors and actions you want to take and then you work backwards to create the thoughts and emotions that will make those behaviors and actions more compelling and easier.
When you approach the day with a positive frame of mind, decide to think positive thoughts, and create a positive mood, it is so much easier to do the actions that will lead to weight loss. And when we focus on daily actions, they are so much more doable. What's harder to lose 30 pounds or to add a vegetable to your lunch?
So let's forget these grandiose promises and let's stop trying to lose 30 pounds all at once. I know that sounds silly, but that is what so many of us do that makes weight loss impossible. We think we'll ok, I'm just going to be that person who is 30 pounds skinnier tomorrow - i.e. I need to do everything perfect from now on. I need to hydrate and eat nothing but vegatables and protein for breakfast lunch and dinner and I need to do this intense exercise program, and I need to hydrate and oh and in order to do this I need to get the rest of my life perfect so I can eliminate my stress and make more time in my day and get the house clean and, I need to do this tomorrow because I need to be this thinner, skinnier person as soon as possible. I need to be that person now. And we just can't do that. And that is demoralizing.
So please stop that. Put your focus on what you CAN do. Find a positive action you can take today and it can be small. Small steps forward are so much more sustainable than big leaps forward and back. And psych yourself up for it, and celebrate it when you do it. And then repeat that process again tomorrow and then repeat it again and again and again, even if you overeat, even if you don't feel like you've got it all figured out. Keep committing and taking a step every day. That positivity, that intention, that effort, it's like a seed that you plant that will grow. You will feel a sense of success and that will propel you on to make more small changes that will compound over time.
So do some homework. This week take 5 minutes when you have your coffee in the morning or whatever your morning routine is, find 5 minutes to sit down and write out your intention. Pick one small action you want to accomplish, 1 small, easy step towards your goal - like drinking an extra glass of water - write it down, and then get motivated to make it happen, figure out what thoughts you can think to motivate yourself to do it. And then do it again, and if you forget one day, do it again the next day. That daily work. That is true commitment. And that is how you lose weight.
Thank you so much for listening. Sending you guys lots of love. Get out there and make it a great week.