Do you want to increase your chances of success? Here’s how.
ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
Have you noticed something? All the weight loss commercials on TV promise that we will lose weight and feel great as soon we start using their products. A part of that may be correct — but the second part couldn’t be farther from the truth, which is why most people fail to accomplish their weight loss goals. The part where they tell you that you’ll start losing weight might be accurate, but let me tell ya, you’re not going to feel like a million bucks in the beginning or for a long time. And that’s why you need to be prepared and educated to get over that hump.
As we start our weight loss journey, most of us fail to accomplish our goals because we have the wrong expectations. We often set new goals when we suddenly feel motivated or become sick and tired of feeling overweight and out of shape. In both cases, when that happens, an afflux of adrenaline rushes through our bodies and makes us feel ready to take on the challenge. However, after the honeymoon period is over and things begin to get more challenging and mundane, we’re not going to feel like exercising or sticking with the newly adopted lifestyle. To increase our chances of success, we need to adjust our expectations. We need to stop expecting to feel like running or exercising for us to actually go running or exercising. Don’t expect all of a sudden to feel like eating steamed vegetables and salmon on a Tuesday night when for the past, let’s say, two years, you’ve been eating pasta and garlic bread on Tuesday nights. Our habits and life-long behaviors are responsible for our excess weight gain, not the food. It is an unrealistic expectation to suddenly feel like exercising and eating clean after a lifetime of eating junk food and being sedentary. Expecting to feel motivated and energized just because you’ve set a new goal for yourself would be the same as expecting a Honda to drive like a Ferrari just because you’re giving it superior gas. You need, first, to become a Ferrari to perform like a Ferrari. Now, this is how you do it.
When things get more challenging, acknowledge how you feel — but don’t be influenced by how you feel. Keep your eyes on the prize. Make yourself eat the steamed veggies and the grilled salmon even when you feel like giving in to the old unhealthy habits. Set the alarm an hour earlier and make yourself exercise, even if you don’t feel like exercising. Put your workout clothes beside your bed and get dressed as soon as the alarm goes off. Put your shoes on and get out of the house quickly. Stop overthinking it and stop dwelling on how you feel. This is not the time and place for that. Whether it is exercising or eating clean, don’t expect to feel like doing the right thing. You won’t. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Therefore, stay focused on what you need to do, not on what you want to do. Here’s a list of things you can do that will help you stay on track:
- Be flexible with yourself. Prepare for a fight against your old self. Your old habits won’t go away just because you ask them to. Cut yourself some slack when you mess up.
- Expect it to be difficult saying NO to foods and activities that don’t support your goals. Put into place strategies that will help you stick to the new plan.
- Play the “what if” scenario in your head over and over again to help you deal with the unexpected. (What if I hit the “snooze” button in the morning?) Find another way to get yourself up and going — invite a friend and exercise together. (What if my friend doesn’t show up?) Invite more friends!
- Keep a journal. At the end of each day, write about your struggles and what you did to overcome them. It is essential to honor your feelings — there is a time and place for that — but not when you need to be focusing on what you need to do to accomplish your current goal.
- Stay positive. Share your wins and dump the losses. Don’t focus on what you are doing wrong. Talk to others about what you are doing right.
- Don’t expect things to get easier. Expect yourself to get stronger. The journey is long, but eventually, you will adjust to the new lifestyle.
The same as cold freezes water, the environment plays an essential role in your transformation. Even though change happens from the inside out, it will help if you create an environment around you that will force you to change. Don’t expect the environment to change. Expect yourself to change. Adjust your expectations to match the size of your obstacles. Apply these principles to your weight loss strategy, and I promise that your chances of success will increase. Our expectations act like insurance policies on our goals. The more realistic you are, the better prepared and the bigger the payout.
Thank you and good luck.