I vividly remember riding in the car with my parents on the way to the beach.
My brother and I would be crammed into the back of our wood-paneled station wagon with suitcases, our two hamsters, and a bunch of other stuff we didn’t need, playing I Spy to entertain ourselves.
Every 20 minutes or so we would ask, “How many more minutes?” or “Are we almost there???”
We literally couldn’t focus on anything other than how miserable we were in that car and how desperate we were to just be there already. (And I know my parents were even more miserable.)
This mentality is very similar to how we approach losing weight. And this hurry-up-and-get-there mindset, rather than helping you achieve your goal, actually keeps you stuck.
That’s because you’re focused exclusively on the result, and this is a problem.
First of all, you need to remember that weight is only a symptom of the problem — the way you eat. And as long as you keep attacking the symptom (the weight) instead of getting to the real problem (emotional eating), the weight will come back.
Focusing on the weight also keeps your attention constantly on what you don’t want and what you’re trying to get rid of. When you’re desperate to lose weight, that’s all you can see: the weight on your body.
And constantly staring at your body, hating what you see, creates massive resistance. And if you’ve trained yourself to use food to feel better, you will eat to neutralize this resistance.
All of this keeps you stuck in the diet/failure loop. You obsess about the weight, you keep dieting to get rid of it, you fail, and you do it all over again.
Most of all, when you have the mindset that the only thing that matters is getting there, you never learn how to change your habits around food and eating. And if you don’t ever change those, the weight will keep coming back.
Being solely focused on the outcome creates only two options: you’re there or you’re not. You either succeed or you fail. So you get none of the small wins along the way keep you motivated and build your confidence, both of which you need to be successful long-term.
The results mindset ironically keeps you from achieving your results. That’s because once you start to get close, you pull back your efforts. Then when you get too far away, you ramp up all the extreme tactics to get back to where you were.
Ok, I know you’ve heard that it’s a journey not a destination (insert puke emoji). But it really is true. If you change your mindset and look at this process as a journey, the whole picture changes.
If you change your focus from weight loss to being healthy and feeling good, you’ll be able to embrace the concept of making small changes over time — as opposed to radical changes in 30 days or less (in other words, dieting).
It’s easier said than done, I know. It’s hard to let go of the idea that there’s that one magic diet out there that will finally work. But it’s not out there, because it doesn’t exist.
The sooner you change your perspective, the sooner you’ll be on the road that does give you results — permanent results. And as the saying goes, a year from now, you’ll wish you started today.
So here’s how to start changing it:
Visualize. See yourself standing in front of a paved highway, with some cheesy diet doctor handing you the key to a new Ferrari, promising you that if you start it up and cruise down the highway, you’ll finally have the perfect body.
Now see yourself turning around and walking toward a beautiful path lined with flowers and trees. See yourself taking that first small step on it, knowing that you’re making the right decision to leave all the false promises behind and start a new journey toward something better.
Accept. Accept where you are right now. You’re not a failure — you just have certain results because of the actions you’ve taken so far. And you can’t change anything as long as you’re resisting what you see.
Making healthy choices begins from a place of self-love, and you can’t feel that as long as you’re hating yourself and your body. Accepting yourself and the body you’re currently is the actual first step on the journey of pursuing health rather than simple weight loss.
Commit. You have to commit to changing how you see things, which means making the conscious choice to turn away from the allure of the road to fast results (that never actually materialize).
Commitment means making a decision, rather than acting out of desperation. The good news is that once you commit, you’ve already won half the battle because that’s when you’ve . . .
Access. . . . accessed your personal power. You have the power to make your own changes, and once you actually start making them you’ll feel it.
You can’t access your personal power as long as you feel desperate, and the results-focused mindset creates nothing but desperation. But once you start making one small change after another, your feeling of confidence and control will grow. And this will magnify the power that’s been there all along.
Think about it this way: you may not be there yet, but is there really a there? And what happens when you do get there? Is it about arriving or what you learned along the way? Once you arrive, then what happens? Who have you become?
Losing weight permanently happens when you change your habits and thoughts around food and eating — not when you limit yourself to 800 calories a day.
You don’t learn anything by starving yourself. You don’t grow and become better. And you certainly don’t become healthier.
Remember what you’re after isn’t weight loss — it’s how you think you’ll feel once the weight is gone. If you start making choices that will give you that feeling right now, the weight will come off naturally. And making these choices requires a massive shift in perspective.
Stop trying to skip to the finish line, because there really isn’t one. Your goal is to learn how to eat differently and to be healthy — and there’s no end to the improvements you can make. When there’s no final destination, there are endless possibilities and unlimited ways to get “there.”
And you may even end up in a place that’s better than where you thought you wanted to go.