Two Important Questions...
Hands up if you’ve ever been on a diet?
I’m guessing that would be about 99% of you so you’ll already know that it doesn’t take much to throw you off track. In fact, weight loss success depends on a few crucial factors being right:
- Food choices
BUT actually, there’s more;
There’s something else… something that comes way before all the food and training stuff. Get this bit right, and you massively boost your chances of not just losing the weight, but keeping it off. Not many people bother to do this groundwork, but I promise it will change the way you diet forever! All you need is a pen and paper, and enough space and time to dig into some home truths.
Question 1: How Did You Gain the Weight?
We all know that gaining weight is about eating too much, moving too little, or a combination of both. But HOW did you gain your excess weight? Was it at social events or work lunches? Have those increased recently? Or was it with family (has your family/home dynamic changed?) Or did you gain weight from eating by yourself. When was that? Is your weight gain down to snacks and grazing, treats, or large meals? Or is it down to a change in your exercise or activity patterns? Have you been ill or injured? Or has a change in your routine meant less time for walking?
Question 2: Why Did You Gain the Weight?
Now you know how the weight went on, you need to do the challenging work of finding out why. After all, we know that weight loss is down to eating less and moving more. But it’s not that simple - because we are emotional beings, not robots.
So drill down into each of your “how” scenarios to ask “why”. Why do you overeat when you get in from a stressful day? Why do you eat too much at family gatherings? Why do you find it difficult to go to the gym after work? Why have you been unable to keep up with your weekend walks now the kids are older?
You’re trying to find out what food and activity mean to you, so you can untangle the emotional connections.
It’s really important to be honest and dig deep. The closer you get to the root of these issues, the more chance of success you’ll have. Keep asking yourself “why”, “so what”, and “what does that mean?” Brainstorm and write down whatever comes into your head. The answers might surprise you. But they are the root cause of your weight battles. And now you know about them, you can acknowledge them and get past them.
Here’s a working example:
Jane has gained 12 lbs in the last 6 months.
After sitting down and brain storming she discovers the reason she has gained weight is that she has been training less and less and snacking more at work.
The reason Jane has been training less and less is she’s always tired after work and just wants to go home and flop on the sofa.
And the reason she is snacking more is that she’s skipping breakfast in the morning.
But now Jane has addressed the issues, she can implement strategies to change her current habits:
- Aim to get to bed 30 mins early at night.
- Start reading for 15 mins before bed and stop watching TV to improve sleep quality
- Wake up 30mins earlier now.
- With the 30 mins extra time Jane will prepare a healthy breakfast keeping her fuller for longer, therefore less likely to snack in the office
You might find these two simple questions tough to answer. But it’s the difficult stuff which moves us forward.
So if you’ve been struggling with yo-yo dieting for years, or find you fall off every diet wagon going, maybe it’s time to ask yourself a couple questions and fill in the gaps.