How many times have you failed? I can’t count the number of times I have failed. If I started thinking about it too much I would go back to bed and maybe get up sometime next week. I believe that one of the reasons we don’t succeed is there is too much noise. Too much information, too many distractions, too much room for not giving it your best shot, for not making a decision, for overwhelm.
Let’s take weight loss as an example.
Most people fail at weight loss, not because they can’t lose weight, but because they are fed the belief that it is a quick fix, that it is next to impossible, that it is a secret. But, it is not. It is a matter of changing our habits and that is difficult. Change often takes more than one try, or many changes, tried a number of times, until you figure out what works best for you.
Maybe you have heard some of this before? Eat 6 small meals, eat only 3 meals, don’t eat after 8:00 PM, always eat breakfast, always eat before you are hungry, only eat when you are hungry, count calories, watch your portion sizes, eat slowly, be mindful.
What works? All of them.
It doesn’t matter which one you chose as long as you chose one and do it. But, that is the problem. With all this noise it is easy to get distracted into thinking we are “doing” it when really we are not. We are surfing the edges, but not committing. Only eat well and watch your portions on weekdays and you eat whatever all weekend long? Decide to track your eating patterns, but never actually write anything down? Because, you know, “I’ll remember it”. Never really prepare and end up eating convenience foods more times than not? Decide to lose weight, but never change your eating patterns, or what you buy or how you cook? The result is the same.
Nothing has changed, so you don’t either.
Why? Because a series of decisions you make through the day drains your willpower and we are inundated with messages to eat. Eat cheap, fast, convenient foods. Messages to eat more food, not less. And it’s working. And it isn’t just you, but you can change it.
20% of the the world’s obese population, 118 million people, live in 6 countries. English speaking, high income, countries. Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK and USA. People that live in these countries get the most messages about eating, eating all the time, anywhere, everywhere.
The research, published in The Lancet, suggests that ‘new policies that can slow down and stop the worldwide increase in body weight must be implemented quickly and rigorously evaluated’.
Maybe. But, I wouldn’t wait for that to happen because food is a business. Businesses are in it to make money, encouraging people to eat less means making less money. So you can see where the problem lies in the policy option.
What can you do?
You can lose and maintain your weight. This is something I know for certain. Let me give you some examples. In the last year these are some of the people I have helped lose weight. People just like you. People with busy lives, jobs, kids, commitments.
The common factor is their desire for change. And that is the critical component. If you are comfortable with the way things are then changing is not worth it. If you are not comfortable then you will change.
Karen, is a mother of two and her husband works out of town. She was tired of being too big to play with her kids, with being unable to move comfortably. She purchased some exercise equipment, since she can’t afford regular childcare, turned her garage into a gym, she exercises when her kids go to bed. She walks with them. She arranges for the neighbour to watch them on Saturdays so she can go to an exercise class. All of these options seemed impossible when we started, but slowly she started trying a few of them and now she exercises for mental and physical health. She decided to reduce processed foods. Eliminated most of the junk from her kitchen, only eats one square of chocolate a day instead the whole bar. She lost 30 pounds between September & December and hasn’t gained any weight back.
Steve, mid 50s, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, on 5 different medications. Wants to live past his retirement. Now weighs the same as when he was 25 years old. Off all his medication. Decided to go to spinning classes. Now he has a road bike and goes to the gym 4 times a week. Decided to not eat anything out of a package at work. Committed to drinking more water. Only eats dinner, no snacking before or after. Had to buy new belts because he could step in and out of his old ones.
Dave, was admitted to hospital because of his weight. Decided he wanted to live instead. Makes all his own meals now instead of eating out. Exercises 4 days a week and walks for all his errands. Monitors his food intake. Has lost 75 pounds and still working on a little more.
Mike, his wife was expecting their first child, he decided he wanted to watch his child grow up. Started only grocery shopping with a list, read all the labels, pre-made his lunches, used his lunch hour for a workout and ate his lunch as snacks throughout the day. Started walking after work. When his wife delivered their son he had lost 30 pounds and even with the new arrival has lost another 10 since.
Ricki, mother of 4, full time job, husband works full time. Was tired of not being comfortable in her clothes, feeling out of breath all the time, couldn’t get up a flight of stairs without stopping. Started by substituting water for pop and reading food labels. Wanted to start to run, went out with her kids on their bikes while she started a walk/run program. Thought her family wouldn’t make any changes when she began. Her kids don’t drink pop anymore, they read all the labels when they go grocery shopping and tell her “Mom, we shouldn’t be eating this.” She lost 40 pounds, got a new job. Ran her first 5 km and is signed up for a 10 km. She says that the best change has been her kids. That they have changed what they eat because they wanted to help her. She thinks she has given them the gift she never had when she was young.
You don’t need a policy to change your health. If you live in one of those 6 countries, most likely you are educated and have a regular income. You may need help. You may need guidance or support. You can get those things, but the one thing you can’t get from someone else. The one thing that matters more than any other? The desire to change. That comes from you.
I can tell you it can be challenging, it can take time and you will fail, more than once. But you can do it. I see it everyday. It’s the reason I keep trying, every time I fail. I think of all the people I know that have been successful in their personal journey. All the obstacles they have overcome, and it reminds me that I can do this, and so can you.
Change your mind, change your health,
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