Have you had trouble achieving your weight loss goal, despite feeling gung-ho at the start? Do you lose weight and then encounter someone or something that knocks you off course? Do you feel paralyzed by the thought of missing out on the fun of eating whatever you want? Goals are journeys with exciting starts, exhilarating finishes, and mundane, just-get-through-it middles. This blog post will help you navigate the ups and downs that are sure to happen as you head to your ideal weight.
Reaching Your Weight Loss Goal – Summary
- Starting a goal causes a rush of hormones that produce a feel-good sensation throughout your body.
- Uncomfortable feelings come up as you progress. Those who study the goal achievement process identify predictable patterns in motivation and demotivation.
- Allow weight loss to happen by cleaning up your environment, using Stoppers, and feeding your body healthy fats to control hunger.
- Opportunity cost is the understanding that for every new opportunity that we accept (i.e., losing weight), there is another opportunity that we must let go of (i.e., eating junk food).
Losing Weight – Start, Achieve, Deal with the In-Between [Video]
Goals – Why Starting is Fun
When we truly make up our minds to lose weight and start taking action, most of us experience feelings of excitement and motivation. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, who is a cognitive neuroscientist, those positive feelings are due to a rush of hormones, specifically dopamine and serotonin, that produce a feel-good sensation throughout your body.
Starting a goal feels great! And, if you are transitioning from a poor diet to a healthy diet, results on the scale come quickly. Of course, you can chalk some of that up to losing water weight, but it is still fun to see. We bask in this “I can do this” motivating mindset for the first four or five days of a new goal. Unfortunately, this hormone high doesn’t last. When it decreases, so does your motivation. This doesn’t mean something has gone wrong with your plan.
It is simply the way your physiology works. However, if you are not aware of this phenomenon, you can give up on your goal or jump ship looking for the next new diet plan because starting anew gives you a fresh hit of the feel-good hormones.
We all know someone who is always enthused about something new, yet their circumstances never seem to change. It’s not that they don’t have good intentions; it is that they never leave this new-start loop. The good news is that you can work through these mid-goal blahs. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Disappointments are Part of The Game
The first thing is that disappointments are part of the game. We live in a fast-paced world where we demand solutions to problems fast. We also live in a social media-driven world that seems to gloss over the ugly details and showcase success. The reality is that on the path to your goal weight, there will be days when the burden is more apparent than the blessing.
Those who study the goal achievement process identify predictable patterns in motivation and demotivation along the path to success. In other words, it is normal to think “I’ve got this” on Monday and “I’m frustrated” on Thursday. The beauty is that doing the right thing for your body, even as you are feeling unmotivated, allows your brain to change and establish new patterns.
At that point, your new behaviors become self-sustaining, bringing your goal within reach.
The thing to remember is that it is normal to experience uncomfortable feelings. Your job is to stay in the game.
Less Forcing. More Allowing
A great way to stay in the game even when you’re feeling uncomfortable is to stop forcing change and start allowing weight loss to happen.
The human body is an amazing machine. Unlike mechanical machines, your body has an innate desire to keep you alive. One thing the body needs in order to accomplish that is energy. That energy comes from food. If you don’t use up all of the energy you eat during a meal, your body is smart enough to store the excess, so you never run out.
You might look in the mirror and think, “I must get rid of this body fat.” While at the same time, your body is thinking, “I’m doing great! Look at all this stored energy.” I tell you this to illustrate the fact that your body is naturally inclined to store body fat, not lose it. To get your desired outcome, you must allow your body the time it needs to change and find ways to enjoy the journey.
If you follow my channel, you’ve heard me refer to a symposium held to determine what makes us stick with a goal long enough to see results. The participating doctors found that we stick with our goals when we have a plan that is easy-to-follow, enjoyable, and effective.
There are many ways to force weight loss, from three-hour workouts to drastically reducing your calorie intake to simply not eating. Those forced practices might be effective in some sense, but they are not enjoyable and, therefore, not sustainable. The alternative to forcing an outcome is to set up your life for weight loss success, thus allowing it to happen with less effort.
One action that allows weight loss is cleaning up your environment to keep tempting treats out of sight. Using a Stopper, which is an item, drink, or activity that separates you from eating is another way to allow weight loss rather than forcing it. Examples of Stoppers include brushing your teeth to change the taste in your mouth or sipping a cup of tea after dinner to give your body time to shift away from the desire to keep eating.
This focus on allowing weight loss is where I have found low-carb dieting beneficial. A well-formulated low-carb diet replaces refined and starchy carbohydrates with healthy fats. Fat is a hunger-satisfying nutrient that your body can use for energy. If you are not bugged by hunger and fatigue, you will find losing weight easier and more comfortable.
Setting your life up in the ways we’ve discussed will make your journey much more manageable. But there is one more puzzle piece to understand for the best results. That is the concept of opportunity cost.
Goals Come at a Cost – Opportunity Cost
In my free video series on how to lose weight, I discuss the vital role that opportunity cost plays in reaching your goal.
Opportunity cost is the understanding that for every new opportunity that we accept, such as losing weight, there is another opportunity that we must let go of, such as eating junk food.
Here’s an example to illustrate the point:
My grandmother is 102 years old and doing great. She walks every day and is still doing great mentally. Grandmothers have the reputation of wanting to feed you, and my grandmother is no different. She was teasing me with a box of opera fudge, asking me three times if I wanted one.
Well, of course, I wanted one. Opera fudge is a creamy, delicious piece of candy. I knew if I took one bite, my brain would tell me that this is a little slice of heaven. But if I had taken that opportunity to eat the fudge, I would have had to put the opportunity to maintain my ideal weight on hold.
In other words, to reap the rewards of weight loss, we must make choices. This is where most of us go wrong. We don’t want to make a choice. We want to keep eating our favorite treats and lose all of the extra pounds. This conflicting desire has not escaped the attention of food manufacturers. It has only been a few years since low carb dieting gained a resurgence in popularity.
In those short years, we went from virtually no processed low carb foods to having entire sections of our grocery stores taken up by keto-friendly snacks and desserts. These treats hold the promise that we can continue to eat sweet treats and lose weight. The unfortunate reality is that these calorie-dense extras easily become obstacles to progress.
The takeaway is this: starting a goal is exciting and gives us a hormone-driven high that makes starting anew fun. However, before the first week is out, that hormone rush will peter out, leaving us in the middle stages where the work needs to be done.
While no one enjoys the grind, this is not a time for force. Instead, allow weight loss to happen by cleaning up your environment, using stoppers, and feeding your body healthy fats without the refined carbohydrates, so you don’t have to deal with hunger. Also, keep in mind that freedom comes at a cost, specifically an opportunity cost. You may need to give up the opportunity to eat sweets, but you’ll get the opportunity to live life at your ideal weight.
If you’d like to learn more about handling this opportunity cost, enjoying your diet, and sticking with your goal long enough for the magic to happen, I have free resources available.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!