“I want to lose 30 pounds in three months”. Many of my patients will verbalize this or a similar goal when they walk through the door of our wellness center. Over the past twenty years, I have come to realize, that having a goal by itself does not lead to success. Surely, a stated goal is something we want and try to make happen, however, losing 30 pounds is not a wish, it is a performance outcome.
What does this mean?
Many of my patients come in motivated to lose weight and make dietary changes by the desire to feel better, look better or due to fear of the development of medical problems, however these strong feelings only produce the initial desire to lose weight. The rest of the process relies on performance and taking an action, or vice versa, a non-action.
I’ll further explain.
If an action results in the outcomes we want when following a meal plan and eating healthy foods, a non-action occurs when we don’t buy the temping candy or cookies when we are tired or frustrated. Having control over our performance when we make promises to ourselves to take or not take certain actions is empowering and give us control over the situation.
High Performance Weight Loss
We perform actions that results in the outcomes we want when we follow a meal plan by eating the foods that are recommended, and we perform non-actions that result in the outcome we want when we do not buy candy or cookies at the store that tempt us to disregard our meal plan when we are tired or frustrated.
Action Steps to Take
Clear your home or work environment of foods that tempt you and do not work with your metabolism and agreements in your plan.
Ensure you have adequate lean protein at every meal.
Ensure you are not exceeding the carbohydrate amount per meals that was determined by your lab work.
Purchase the foods you need for your plan and have them readily available.
Plan in advance what you are going to eat for the day.
Make plans for restaurant eating that follow the plan and stick to it.
Ensure you have adequate hydration with quality water and fluids.
Record what you are eating right after eating or even consider first writing down what you will be eating and then follow that plan.
Wear a pedometer and record the number of steps you take daily.
Continue a regular exercise program or start one if you are at that point in your weight loss plan where you are gaining confidence in your ability to follow the meal plan.
Actions to Not Take
Do not shop for food when hungry, upset or bored and vulnerable.
Do not bring food into the house that you know does not work with your plan and tempts you.
Do not arrive at a party ravenously hungry especially when you do not know if there will be foods available that work with your plan and your body.
Do not skip meals all day in anticipation of going out to eat later in the day.
Do not schedule things that conflict with your ability to keep the agreements you made with yourself about your exercise plan.
Using The Right Language To Declare Your Action
So what’s in a word when it comes to declaring action? Everything And one word in particular can hold you back more than most. A problem with our action plan is in the language we use. We use the word goal often. Remember a goal is a wished for future and something we want to try to make happen. We say, “My goal is to make it to the gym four times this week” and often unconsciously to us this means, “I will try to make it to the gym four times this week.”
My favorite line from the Star Wars movies is when Yoda tells Luke, “Do or Do Not, there is no try”. Yes you should try to achieve your goals or more correctly, your planned actions, but trying leaves wiggle room and a small opening for an excuse if something comes up, and because you are in a “trying” mindset you are less likely to make it happen.
The other problem with try, is that once you’ve tried and failed, then you are less likely to try again. Attempting something is one thing. Doing it is another. When you are in a doing mindset, you are going to make it happen no matter what comes up. You’ve made an agreement with yourself or a promise to yourself that you are going to do it.
Action is what impacts our performance outcome, and while we’re “trying” we subconsciously implying that it is okay if we don’t do what we said we were going to do, we tried and that is good enough. The problem with trying is that only. Your performance outcome is weight loss and a profound transformation that makes a lifelong difference in your health and well being. This is a bold performance outcome and it requires action.
Losing weight requires us to change our ways of being and acting. If we have been sedentary, or if we are not used to planning meals, and instead we are used to relying on what is quick and convenient when we are hungry, then we have to take different actions every day. Luckily, as dynamic human beings, we have the power to change to attain the result we want for ourselves.
Transforming your Health
The problem with stubborn metabolic problems that result in weight gain, is that it really requires some serious effort to correct and reverse it. I know this first-hand. I have worked with thousands of patients who were able to implement the advice I gave them on diet, lifestyle, protein, carbohydrate and fat and activity. These individuals were able to change their relationship with calories, food, and exercise, so that when I presented them with a treatment plan based upon their individual chemistry and metabolic issues, they already knew that the way they had always done it wasn’t working.
I have often thought that my successful patients were ready for a lifestyle change. With the support and recommendations of the medical and dietary team patient were ready to incorporate and begin to consider as their own. When my patients graciously thank me for helping them change their life, I always say, “Thank you, but you did all the work.”
The Secret of the Successful
My successful patients are remarkable because they do what is necessary, they do not try. They take action, and they take it seriously. They make promises to themselves to do the actions they agreed to do. This allows them high performance with weight loss.
What if instead of having a goal of going to the gym four times this week, instead you made it a promise to yourself go to the gym four times this week. “Whoa”, you may say, “My life is so hectic and I have so much going on, I can’t promise that to you or myself.” Indeed, most of us feel strongly about the commitments we make. If we don’t follow through with what we have promised, in essence we let ourselves down, or maybe we let someone else who is relying on us down. If we are not true to our word and what we promise, than what are we true to?
That being said, we live in the real world. Certainly the unforeseen happens in life, and sometimes we have to break promises we make to ourselves and others. Breaking a promise should not shame us. With weight loss, we have to acknowledge what works and what doesn’t, and accept them both. If we have a plan that works, we will have results if we commit to doing it. Promises we make to ourselves are just as important as the promises we make to others. When that becomes resolute and unwavering for us, real lasting results are possible.