Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lower Your Expectations? – Rule 12 to Control Your Appetite

You have to find a reason, a reason beyond food, to eat less, to lower your appetite. To weigh less. You need a counterweight to your hunger.

That is where, if you are like so many of us, you get stuck. And keep getting stuck.

Have you ever wondered why you can successfully lose weight, then gain it all back later?

When you treat weight loss as a problem with a bundle of calories, you’re going to get stuck. Because the calories you eat are tied to the human person holding the fork. It is the motivations of the human person that drives every successful weight loss effort. Plus, every failure.

Your motivations are complex. They may be not all be clear to you. Trouble is, many of your motivations may run so deep, so close to the core of who you are you don’t even notice they are in conflict with other, strong motivations.

You may want to lose weight, and are actively doing something about it. But other, hidden, internal “scripts” can get in your way. It is unintentional, self-defeating behavior.

Think about when you were growing up.

Was there a time when you were young that you had a sense of adventure, when you knew you would do great things when you got older? Did you have a dream, specific or general, that moved in your core – that was a beacon of light shining on your future?

Did you feel that sense growing in you as you got a bit older? Then high school and post-high school years, college, jobs, relationships, marriage became your focus. And before you knew it, you lost your path. You lost your way. Have you gotten lost on becoming who you knew you would be?

So you tried to re-direct your life, to get back to where you knew you were destined to go. But could never get back to that same sense of adventure and bright future you had imagined years before.

So, silently, you changed. Over the years, in spite of successes, and finding people you dearly love and respect, and need in your life, you felt something missing. And realized you were never going to get where you thought you were headed? So you lowered your expectations of life?

Growing up is often the process of lowering your expectations.

In your middle years it is hard to know how you can get back to seeing that bright light that had been focused on your future when you were much younger.

Sometimes you just give up. Not everything. Just enough that, as you invest in the lives of others that are so central to who you have become, you sacrifice pieces of your dream. Pieces of you. You sacrifice because that is what is needed to keep it all going. You do it willingly. Joyfully. Because this new reality is important to you, too. As it should be.

Then you get faced with a problem like excess weight. In the vast scheme of things, it seems so small. There are other problems, important ones to deal with. Money. Job. Spouse. Kids. Parents. In-laws. Your weight control problem seems so minor.

The realities of having a lot to worry about, so much else that needs to be done and prioritized, your struggles with weight are just not that important. Right? So, you slowly gain more weight. Add a few extra pounds. And, over the years, it accumulates.

Then, one day, you decide you must “really” do something about it. You diet. Start an exercise routine. But somehow, after weeks and months, the success of these efforts dissipate. The weight begins to reappear. Discouraged, you fall back into old patterns.

This is an old cycle that most people go through. The average person tries 7-9 times to lose weight before they finally succeed (usually gaining 5-10 pounds each time they fail). What makes them succeed in the end? It wasn’t a change in food or exercise. Those were the result, not the reason they lost weight permanently.

When successful weight loss becomes a lifestyle.

Successful weight loss becomes a lifestyle because something changes inside you. You quit lowering your expectations for yourself. All your life you faced other serious challenges and difficulties, priorities and time constraints. Each time you came last – your needs were less important than the needs of others that you loved.

To lose weight permanently your body needs to come first. You need to feed it, and exercise it in a way that supports you becoming lighter. And stronger. “You” needs to be the priority to do that.

You need to focus a bright light on your own future and say, “How am I going to keep being there for them in the future if I can’t be there for me now?”

At some future point you know that, with accumulating weight, even if holding steady at 30-40-50 + pounds overweight – your health will be at risk. Perhaps it already is. You need to take care of yourself. No one else can it for you.

This is not a repudiation of your love for them. It is a re-focusing on you and the unique spirit and body, hope and affirmation you were created with. It is a realization that the beauty of life that stirs at your core can be revitalized. With that, you can do wonders for them. And great good for yourself.

To lose weight successfully, and keep it off permanently, you have to get unstuck.

You need a counterweight to your hunger.

You have to find a reason, a reason beyond food, to eat less, to lower your appetite. To weigh less. You need a counterweight to your hunger.

When you treat weight loss as a problem with a bundle of calories, you’re going to get stuck. Because the calories you eat are tied to the human person holding your fork. It is your strong motivation that will drive your successful weight loss effort.

Reverse course. Raise your expectations for yourself. Regain the power of the bright future that lit your youth. It doesn’t have to be the same dream. It just has to be who you are now. Who you want to be 10 years from now.

You are important. Let your beauty shine again. Become out here, where we can all see it, what you have hidden inside while sacrificing to make the lives of others better.

When you do that, really do it, you have your counterweight to food. You control your appetite because it is the natural result of living out loud what had hid silently for so long.

Are you ready to do that?

How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion 12: Lower Your Expectations?

Next article...
How do you control your appetite:
Rule 13: Sleep ‘Til Noon

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