Published on February 1, 2016
I was recently asked this question, “Why is getting in the right frame of mind the key to achieving weight loss results?” Now, obviously, by starting that question with the word “why” instead of “do you think,” or “is,” this individual was (a) telling me what he thought to be a fact; and (b) assuming that I agreed with him. I do not.
For most who are very overweight or obese, it’s not about waiting to get in the right frame of mind . . . or becoming “ready.” In my experience, most won’t. Instead, they’ll wait for a major event in their life — a heart attack, a stroke, a cancer, a diabetes diagnosis, etc. — to give them the wake-up slap in the face they need (and I’m amazed at how many people do experience those major events and STILL aren’t “ready”). When I hear this from someone, I’ll flat out ask them, “What are you waiting for? Your next stroke? The one that leaves you paralyzed?” Or, “When will you be in the right frame in mind? . . . when the diabetes turns into Type 1 and you’re on insulin?” Or, “What are you waiting for? . . . the cancer to return and take your other kidney?” These folks, and anyone else waiting for the God-of-The-Right-Frame-of-Mind to come to them in a vision, just need to own up to the fact they are fat and that they must lose weight . . . whether they’re ready or not. Very few overweight or obese people wake up one morning, throw their legs over the side of the bed and say, “That’s it. I’m fat, I’m fed up and I’m in the right of frame of mind to go on a diet” . . . and then follow that up from that day forward by being 100% driven, focused and successful. In my experiences, it just doesn’t happen . . . and I’ve been doing this for a long time.
When trying to conquer an addiction to drugs or alcohol or gambling, you just have to recognize you have a problem, you have to say it out loud, you have to get yourself to a meeting, and begin . . . whether you’re “ready” or not and, let’s face it, most aren’t . . . at least initially. Some are ordered to do so by the courts as a condition of avoiding jail; others are told by an employer they must do so as a condition of keeping a job; or, some might be told by a spouse they must as a condition of not being thrown out of the house. Most addicts don’t go for help initially because they’re in the right frame of mind and eagerly looking forward to the process and the tough battle of becoming clean and sober. Instead, they are nervous; and they are afraid they will fail . . . and, for many, that would be fail “again.”
No one is ever “ready” to begin that which they know must be done and that will be emotionally challenging and even sometimes physically and psychologically difficult. The key is: Once you know it needs to be done, just begin. Walk into the 12-step program. Just sit, and listen. The more you listen to others sharing, the more you’ll learn. The more you learn, the more you see it is possible to get clean. The more meetings you attend, even if you you’re still using, the more comfortable you’ll feel. The more comfortable you feel, the sooner you’ll find “the one” to be your sponsor. When that happens, you keep going because you have an anchor, someone to lean on and support you, and when that happens, eventually there’s a miracle around the corner . . . and you wake up one day realizing you’re clean and sober for a week, for two weeks, for three months, for a year, etc. With each passing day and week and month and year, you become stronger, more confident, happier and healthy and stand the best chance of never using again.
Breaking bad eating habits to achieve weight loss goals and good health is the same. No one who has been battling excessive weight and eating issues, who has had no restrictions on what or how much they’ve been eating or drinking, EVER looks eagerly forward to going through the emotional process of diet and lifestyle change. No one. But, being fat, unhappy, unhealthy and uncomfortable, and with the prospects of becoming immobile and dependent on others as you age, should be the catalyst to at least start.
The truth is, weight loss success (just as with any other addictions or bad habits someone is trying to conquer) is a series of small steps, and you have to start before you’re ready.
“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything, is ready … we shall never begin.” ~ Ivan Turgenev
Which step are you on today?