If you’ve read any of my previous posts or pages you know about something I like to call the Fitegic Trilogy: Meaning, Motivation, and Method.
How you do it = The METHOD you are using
Your incentive for doing it = Your MOTIVATION
The underlying purpose for doing it = MEANING
My experience is that most of us pay all too much attention to the first two.
Not that the methods we use aren’t important. First (although unfortunately many would put this second) our methods for attaining and sustaining a healthy weight must be healthy. Second, they need to work.
Additionally, we certainly need to maintain a level of motivation strong enough to fuel our ability to continue to engage in the behaviors (our methods) that result in attaining and sustaining a healthy weight. Unfortunately, many if not most of us, think that reaching (or maintaining) a certain number on a scale, or clothing size, or our physical appearance will have the power to keep doing what we’re doing to attain and sustain a healthy weight.
Even if our motivations don’t rest on physical appearance quite often, only 1 out 5 keep the weight off, we still relapse back into our old behaviors and gain the weight back. For instance, say you wanted to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. You lose your weight, your Doc takes you off your blood pressure medication. You breathe a sigh of relief, you did it, your journey is over …
You know the rest of that story.
I know I sound like a broken record – but in order for method and motivation to have the power to drive us to “stick with it” they MUST be meaningful to you NOW. Today. This minute.
Don’t go a day without examining your purpose. Question yourself. What exactly is it that I intend to do here? What exactly do those size 6 jeans represent in my life? Am I looking to be self confident enough to enjoy myself when I socialize? Am I looking to have the confidence to get a better job? Do I want to get married? Am I afraid of dying of a heart attack? Do I miss being able to do things I used to enjoy?
However, even when we understand our purpose, that purpose must be in agreement with the values and principles we live by. I guarantee you that, if it isn’t, those size 6 jeans will just be a memory before too much time goes by.
We hear a lot about how much of the “weight” we need to lose takes place in our thinking. How we think about ourselves – and it is my experience that this is very true. But that’s just one side of the coin. It goes much deeper than that. I believe that attaining and sustaining a healthy weight successfully is a metaphysical process – and by that I mean this process transcends the physical. In other words, it takes place in that part of ourselves that we cannot physically observe. The part where the very principles and values that direct the kind of person we strive to be live.
We’ve all heard about the person whose goal was to get rich – and then did only to find they were living an empty life. Their lives are empty because their goal was superficial. Being able to buy a big house in and of itself is not meaningful. Being powerful in and of itself is not meaningful. Social status in and of itself is not meaningful. Of course, those people don’t necessarily behave in a way that causes them to lose their fortune. But I believe that they suffer an even worse fate – an empty life.
The same is true when it comes to reaching a goal of attaining and sustaining a life-long healthy weight. Even if you DIDN’T gain the weight back (which you probably will) – what you look like in and of itself is meaningless. Even losing weight for health reasons is meaningless unless it co-exists with the goal of living your life according to your principles and values.
I’m certainly not trying to convince that you shouldn’t celebrate achieving your weight loss goals. God knows I literally scared the woman in the next fitting room half to death when I screamed in triumph after zipping up a size 4 instead of a size 20.
What I am saying is that I would certainly be back into those size 20s these 30 years later if I hadn’t continued to match the meaning of sustaining a healthy weight with the principles and values that guide my behavior towards myself and others.