Why are you dieting? Why do you want to lose-weight? Why do you want to make a lifestyle change? This is probably the first question you need to ask yourself before starting a new diet or lifestyle.
Why are you doing it?
As simple and cliché as this sounds, it’s true. The reason(s) for which we decide to start a new diet or lifestyle, will affect everything downstream. Everything from what you buy at the grocery store, to what you eat when you go out, whether you have that 3rd drink or not, if you go to the gym after work or decide to just go home and rest because you are tired.
On, and on, and on. All of these small decisions accumulate, to either: 1) Get us closer to our goal (if we make the right ones) or 2) Keep us where we’re at, frustrated, unhappy and depressed, or worse… take us even further away from what we truly want.
Now, I’m not arguing with the statement that you are tired, you very well could be (I don’t know your life). You might have an extremely stressful job, work 10-12 hours a day, have kids and are dealing with a host of other life stressors, good or bad. All of these things may very well be true, I may have even just described your exact life (pretty crazy, right?), and even with all of those things going on, some people still find a way to make time for their own health, body and longevity. How? How do they do it? How do people like Barack Obama, Will Smith and your next door neighbor still find time to take care of themselves, even with all of these other things going on in their life? HOW DO THEY DO IT?!?
The question isn’t so much as how, but rather why? Why do they do it?
Everyone has their own reasons. For some, it’s because they’re an athlete, and in-order to be able to perform the way they need to, they have to maintain a certain physical condition. Others just thoroughly enjoy it, they take a certain sense of pride in keeping their body looking and feeling a certain way. Some for work, some for vanity, some for a vacation or wedding, some to attract a spouse, and some for completely other reasons entirely: so they can live a long healthy-life, and enjoy many wonderful years with their family, or to serve as a role-model for their kids, family members and friends who look up to them.
Whatever the reason, they have one. And the reason they have is strong enough to cause them to make the right decisions, day after day, which ultimately gets them to their goal, and allows them to live the lifestyle they truly want.
There are so many different ways to “diet”, and make positive lifestyle changes that will get us to our goal. Some ways are harder than others, some more sustainable, some more enjoyable, but regardless, there are an infinite number of ways. And the funny thing is, even if we take a more difficult “road” than is necessary to help us get to our goal, if our reason for doing it, our why is strong enough, then we will stick to it, because it’s that important to us. However, even if we have the easiest, most effective, "optimal plan" in place to help us get to our goal, if we don’t have a strong enough why, none of that matters. It just isn’t that important to us, so when we're faced with one of those daily decisions, we will often end up just choosing the option that is the easiest, most convenient, or tastes the best.
This is why some people will spend their entire Sunday cooking and putting meals together, to make sure they are prepared for the week (I am NOT saying you have to do this, it’s just an example), and why others can have all of their food conveniently made for them by someone else, not having to put in nearly the amount of time, work or effort, and still not follow-through. Even though their “method” was easier (their food was already pre-prepared), their why wasn’t strong enough to keep them accountable, so when they walked by the food court at lunch, they said, “Screw-it, I want a burger and fries.” (I’m not saying we can’t or shouldn’t eat these foods, I’m just using this as an illustration).
Having a better “plan” can rarely replace having a strong enough WHY.
(In-regards to just following through)
Even with the best “plan” in the world, losing-weight, at some point, is going to take some sacrifice. It’s going to require you to plan ahead, and to make sure you have a strategy in place for the day, so you don’t end up over-eating, “flushing” all of your hard-work down the drain. It’s going to take time. And yes, you are going to be hungry at times. This is oftentimes over-looked when starting a diet. We may know intellectually that we will be hungry at times on a diet, but actually adhering to the plan (whatever that plan is) when those moments happen in “real-time”, is a completely different story. You are trying to lose-fat, and your body doesn’t like that (it wants to keep that fat around in-case a famine were to arise), so it only makes sense that our body is going to “ramp-up” hunger levels in order to make us want to eat more, so that we don’t lose (in it’s eyes), a valuable source of energy (aka fat), for if/when times get rough.
And this of course leads back to your why. Having a strong enough why, will help you take the necessary time and forethought to plan ahead, pre-prepare the meals, or whatever you need to do, in-order to reach your goals. It will help you make it through those times of hunger, and to resist that second serving of dinner.
Not only will it help you to do these things, but it will make you WANT to do these things, because reaching your goal/changing your current lifestyle is THAT important to you.
Right now, if you are currently “dieting” for a specific event, or are in the process of making positive lifestyle modifications to live a healthier life, or you are thinking about starting to do these things, take a moment to truly ask yourself, why?
Why do I want to do this?
Why is this important to me?
IS this actually important to me?
(If it’s for a specific event)- Is now the best time to focus on this, or should I wait?
Ask yourself these questions, and be honest with your answers. If you truly want to change, improve your health, lose-weight, or do a specific event, why? Why? Why? Why?
Once you’ve found your why, and if it’s important enough to you, then the rest will be a whole lot easier. You will stand a much greater chance of actually reaching your goals, making the change, doing the “thing”, rather than succumbing to the daily decisions which will knock you off-course, and leave you feeling frustrated, unhappy and stuck.
WHY do you want to do this?
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