Losing weight can be painful. It is not uncommon to experience psychological, emotional and even physical pain when losing weight.
Desire can be a powerful motivator and if you are reading this you probably have the desire to lose some weight. The ability to navigate the potential pains of weight loss could greatly help you sail to your desired new weight. But its not all plain sailing is it?
You most likely know people who are a healthy weight and look good with it too. These people often seem to eat what they want and still continue to stay a stable healthy size. Their secret is not genetics but they do have one secret in common.
I will share this secret and more importantly how to apply it later in this post. First though, understanding your own desires to be a healthier weight is of the utmost importance.
Soon it will be New Year and with it people all over the world setting resolutions or goals to make their life better and more enjoyable. Often such goals are not reached. They are started but not maintained. So you need to understand your motivations!
Understanding Your Motivations
It’s not really enough to decide to lose some weigh and off you go to join a gym or hire a dietician. All of this can help but unless you have a very clear understanding of your own values, the deep reasons for starting this journey, you might not maintain the volition to stay on course and reach your destination.
It is more common for people to want to avoid pain than seek what will make them feel better. This is simple biology; for an equal amount of pain and pleasure the pain hurts more. In more psychological terms this is called either problem or solution focused and to make changes you need to have both.
For instance are you more motivated to avoid, to move away from being overweight? Or are you more motivated to seek to be the weight you want to be? You need to know your own biases because it will make it easier for you to reach your goals.
What is the bigger picture or what will losing weight actually do for you? Weight loss is never just about weight loss. What kinds of values are you willing to make use of in order for you to reach your goals? How will this affect the other people in your life? What is the long term purpose and utility of attaining your weigh loss goal? Again you need to explore and know all of this. Why?
Why You Need to Understand Your Motivations
If you look back over the history of you life, you will see that everything you have attained of genuine value has taken some effort. Effort can be physical , psychological and emotional. Effort or lack of, creates your habits.
In order to establish a new habit like healthy eating, it will require you to quite literally change your brain. Our brains are inherently plastic and what we do regularly strengthens those parts of our brain that drive our habits.
Exploring and deeply connecting with your own true motivations will help you to change that part of your brain that runs your personal auto-biography. This is the story we tell ourselves about ourself. It will help you stay on course. Think self fulfilling prophesy.
Changing a habit is therefor effortful. When you are truly aligned with the value of your goals, the bigger picture and can see the clear benefits. Putting the effort in to attain your goals becomes easier!
The Pains of Weight Loss
OK so we both know weight loss is not always plain sailing. If you have dieted before you probably know most diets work well for a while and then they tend to go off course and stop working. Only something like one in ten people who start a diet continues in life keeping the weight off. A significant portion also end up gaining weight!
Diets fail for a number of reasons. Mainly I think a lack of sustained motivation, diminishing returns and a combinations of life stressors blow people off course and that is when the old habits resurface.
Knowing just a little about how life stressors affect you can be a great aide in maintaining new habits long enough until the become your normal habits.
There are two very important aspects to setting and maintaining new habits and these come from the work of Dr D. Kahneman and equally Dr R. Sapolsky and Professor M. Marmot.
First from Kahneman is Prospect Theory and Regression to the Mean. Secondly from Sapolsky and Marmot is how stressors affect people. You don’t need to know the names just the concepts because they will help you sail through the pains of weight loss.
- Weight loss is immediately to the weight you are now. Not some weight from the past or future but now.
- The psychological pains or pleasures from weight gain or weight loss will feel less emotional over time. So regular updating your goals and motivations is important. This is a key factor in the failure of diets and the formation of new habits.
- If you gained 1kg or lost 1kg, the weight gain will be more emotionally negative than losing 1kg will give emotional pleasure.
When people are stressed around two thirds of people turn to high carbohydrate foods. This actually reduces stress and makes us happier – but only short term.
- Events being unpredictable. The more unpredictable your life is the more stress you experience.
- Feelings of being out of control. The more out of control your life feels the more stress.
- If there is a sense that life events are getting worse you will feel more stress.
- If you are stressed and don’t have outlets for your stress you will feel more stressed.
- Lack of social support makes stress more stressful.
We both know that weight loss is going to be more like a wave than a calm ocean. So you will likely both lose and gain weight over the days and months to come.
If you know that some days you may gain a little, knowing that weight gain will have a negative effect. Simply knowing about this effect means you are ready to deal with better. This means weight gain is predictable and the potentially negative emotional effect can be controlled.
Working with me you will be keeping a daily record of your weight. This is really useful because you can chart your progress and notice the patterns of habit formation in relation to your emotional states.
“When you are in love pain doesn’t hurt” – Joseph Campbell
Aligning your values and purpose and loving those emotions like the wind in your sails to reach your goal could help you make all the difference. To stay on course avoiding the stressors your going to need to navigate and keep going sailing towards the kind of future you want.
So What is that One Secret?
These people have habits that are aligned with their emotional outcomes and have been strengthened over time to become their usual behavior. They learned to be that way. And habits are learnable with effort and the correct motivations.
You could become a new you by changing your habits.
Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss in Newcastle
Understanding and fully using your motivations coupled with effort is a great way to make the habits of healthy eating a permanent vacation. It will take real effort on your part and most things you have attained in life of real value have required effort.
Aligning your emotional values with your goal is incredibly important. Understanding how and why stress will affect you during new habit formation helps you stay on course.
What I can help you with is maintaining the positive psychology to help you change old habits for new. This will also involve regular follow up conversations following any hypnotherapy sessions we have.
When you are ready to set a new course in your life. When you are serious about losing weight through the establishment of new habits please give me a call to find out how I can help you.
Thank you for reading!
Nigel Hetherington 0770 481 8467