My mom had a copy of Dr. Phil’s book, “The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom.” I don’t want to harp on the good doctor, but he is a pop-culture icon in America, that makes him fair game and he is trying to make a buck off of America’s expanding waist lines. What struck me about the book was the title. I noticed the word focused on “weight”
We all know how to lose weight, right? Diet and exercise. Yet, so few people actually manage to lose weight and keep it off. There are vast libraries of books about losing weight, and countless videos about weight loss and exercise.
Losing weight is a billion dollar industry and it’s poor at producing results. Americans are facing record levels of obesity. Diabetes is on the rise. People are demanding the government and businesses do something about it.
I asked myself, “why are people having so much trouble losing weight?” The key reason people have trouble losing weight is because they are focused on the wrong thing. People focus on their weight. What is it that people want from losing weight? That’s what people want from losing weight. Typically, people want to lose weight, and look like Olympic athletes and live a lifestyle of little effort to achieve looking and feeling great.
Ultimately people want what they get from losing weight; looking and feeling great, better health, being sexier and more attractive to potential mates, and the boost to self -esteem from looking and feeling great.
Science might someday create a magic pill or diet formula that can make us Olympian couch potatoes, and that would be a bad thing. We could look like supermodels or celebrities, and we would not appreciate it one bit. Self-esteem comes from working toward a goal and achieving it. Progressing toward a goal and taking action to meet an end result is the real booster.
The real trick to weight loss starts in the mind and how we frame our self-concept. People get overweight and obese by harboring a life style that creates an overweight or obese body. Skipping the stairs, having that extra slice of pizza, downing a case of pop and parking ourselves in front of the television or internet gives us galactic waistlines. We can laugh it off and call it our “buddha belly,” or try to hide it by wearing baggy clothing, however we cannot escape looking at ourselves in the mirror. True weight loss and physical fitness begins with our being honest with ourselves.
People try diets and exercises and fail. That becomes a downward spiral. That’s not a surprise because Americans are poorly educated about diet and exercise. We’re also highly encouraged through endless media promotion to consume products that make us gluttons. It’s not entirely our fault. The fast food industry and other manufacturers of junk food don’t make it easy on us to live a healthy lifestyle. However, we choose what food to put in our mouths and how much to work our bodies.
Fad diets and pop-culture exercise programs don’t work because they’re geared toward making money.
Here’s the good news, we can reverse the downward spiral. It’ll take some work, and it’s simple and painless to start. The first thing we need to do is look at our relationship with our body and our environment. When your sad or upset, do you go for food or beverage to pick up your mood? I did. I’d get stressed out and go for a can of Coke to relax.
At 5’7″I got up to 180lbs. I was developing a Buddha belly. I laughed it off, but when I weighed myself at 180, I knew it was time to turn my weight gain around. Add to the fact that my parents developed health problems as they aged partially, if not directly, as a result of being overweight.
I weighed 140lbs. in high school. I was stick thin. I’ve been currently exercising 30-60 minutes a day for the past two months. I’m down to 169lbs. I’m not sure I will get to my high school weight, but that’s not important.
The Buddha is shrinking and I’m developing a physically fit body. I’m focused on being healthy, sexy, and having more energy. I’ve been able to keep myself in the game of losing weight by not focusing on my weight, I focused on the end result; my fitness and health.
The key to weight loss is not to focus on weight loss. The key is to focus on your lifestyle. What kind of lifestyle do you want to have now, and what kind of lifestyle do you want to have when you’re old and gray? I saw a video of a 95 year old lady who was running marathons. She looked like she was in her 70s. I’m not sure I want to live to be 95, but if I do I want to be as physically fit and energetic as she was.
Exercise and a healthy diet are the key to longevity and positive self-esteem. Focus on who you get to be and what your life will look like as you become physically fit. Focusing on the end game will keep you going when you hit a point of frustration, and keep you in the game of building your ideal body.
Once you’re in a groove of eating healthy and exercising regularly, you’ll find you won’t crave the junk food as much, you’ll look and feel better, you’ll feel younger, and your outlook on life will be upward and upbeat.
It’s your life and your body. You can choose to live it how you want (within reason. Don’t be a hedonistic criminal.) If you want a beer and pizza, and want to watch the game on TV, go for it. Just focus on the effect of your habits on your life and lifestyle. You have the power to change that, and that is also another benefit of living a fit lifestyle; knowing you have the power to change your life at any moment.