PSYCHOLOGY OF WEIGHT LOSS
I saw a patient recently who is seeking to lose weight and wanted my advice about the best method for doing so and keeping it off. After we talked about a range of options including enrollment in the medically supervised weight loss plan, it became clear that there was something psychological holding him back. After talking about the various program options, the patient confessed to me that really, he just wasn’t psychologically “ready” to lose the weight.
For many people, there clearly is a psychological “readiness factor” and this has to be listened to.
Life is certainly full of a great deal of responsibilities, burdens, chores and struggles. It takes some psychological organization and energy to effectively put all the pieces together that are necessary to lose weight and keep it off. It may be part of the reason why most people “try” several times before they finally succeed in losing weight.
The same kind of phenomenon is observed with smoking cessation or any other major change in longstanding habits and behaviors. It is not easy to change those habits and behaviors, especially of they have some nice positive reinforcement associations like the enjoyment of eating good meals, sweets and treats. And let’s face it, tackling a major project like serious long-term weight loss, requires hard work and planning. It takes learning and it takes time to acquire the tools to succeed. That often means learning better ways of shopping, better lists of ingredients and better understanding of what foods and snacks and produce you should be buying on a regular basis. And then it can take time to settle into some new routines.
That can mean changing what time you get up, what snacks you take to work, your route in the commute, and a host of changes in life.
So we have to be “ready” to invest in those changes and the time it takes to form new habits. But even before you are totally “ready”, you can begin the planning process. It is no reason to throw in the towel, just because life is too hectic to think about protein shakes this week.
I say, take advantage of this preparation time. Start listening to audio programs, start purchasing the things you might need, like the protein mix, and the shaker cup. Don’t commit to anything yet. Don’t start beating yourself up over not losing pounds yet. Just start preparing.
Then, once you have done some preparation work, the day will soon come that you feel truly “ready” to begin. Then jump in with both feet – you are on your way.