The Weight Control Factor Even More Important Than Diet
No, it’s not exercise or genetics. Those are less important for most people when only weight control is considered.
When you see my answer you might want to roll your eyes and stop reading, but hear me out.
The truth is that most people who spend their hard-earned money to get our help with weight control already know some things they can be doing to reach their desired weight, but they’re not doing them. Attributing this to laziness, lack of motivation, or insufficient discipline is short-sighted. Of course we at Fight 4 Fitness know more than the average person about using nutrition and exercise for weight control, but our methods are still unsuccessful if we don’t examine the most important weight control factor: your mind.
Here are a few of the most common mindset issues that prevent weight control success:
- Because of your current situation, what you would have to do to be able to control your weight is crazy.
No time or energy for cooking and exercising? People probably tell you to just make time, and that exercising and eating well will give you more energy, as if you haven’t already thought of that. If you have this problem, deeply examine what you would have to do in order to have time and energy to control your weight. Would you have to get a new job that doesn’t overwork you? Cut out the one activity you truly enjoy in your week? Spend less time taking care of loved ones? Neglect taking care of your home? The truth is that it doesn’t matter if others think it’s crazy. Only you can decide if it is worth it for you.
We suggest considering if the situation is short term or long term, and whether your weight is detrimental to your health. If you are in good health and your only concern with your weight is appearance, you probably shouldn’t obsess over a few pounds difference during a short term emergency. But if you are overweight, at risk for heart disease, and your situation is projected to be the same a year from now, it is in your best interest to control your weight even if it requires drastic measures. If you can’t change your circumstances now make a long term plan.
- I’m not worth it. I don’t deserve it.
This mindset is usually subconscious, bubbling beneath the surface. For people who have this mindset it usually is evidenced in their behavior. They don’t treat themselves as if they deserve to be healthy and happy. For example, maybe you cook what your partner likes to eat every night instead of what is healthiest for you. As if they deserve to eat their favorite foods more than you deserve health. Perhaps you have time to stay late at work, help your friend move, and buy food for your grandmother, but not to go to the gym.
If this is you, try to imagine how you would treat a loved one in your situation. Would you go out of your way to support them in their goals? Then do it for yourself, too!
- It must be my genes. I just have a slow metabolism.
Everyone can achieve a healthy weight and body composition, no matter what your genes are. And no, you don’t have to eat only lettuce or work out seven hours a day to do it. Your diet and lifestyle actually determine which genes are turned on and off, and how fast your metabolism is. By eating, exercising, and sleeping reasonably well you can send the right mix of hormones through your body to control your weight. If you have a condition that affects weight control, consult with your doctor to see what treatment options are available, and be sure to ask about natural solutions.
Many people, however, don’t just want to be within a healthy weight range. They want to achieve a body composition that they find attractive. Depending on what your ideal is your genes might make it difficult to achieve while managing your job, family, and other responsibilities. You might have to be very strict with your diet, packing food to bring to work with you every day and avoiding most food at social events. You might have to train for a couple hours a day. But for most people this isn’t the case, and you can probably have a body you love by just eating well most of the time, working out for an hour most days of the week, and taking practical measures to manage stress.
- You’re saying I have to do what? That’s crazy! Fanatics do that, not normal people.
Where do we start with this objection? First, when it comes to your health and taking care of the only body you’ll ever have, you should be a fanatic! Second, most adults in the United States are at an unhealthy weight and the most common cause of death is heart disease, which is almost completely preventable. If that’s what happens to “normal people”, isn’t it better to be crazy?
- Keep in mind On the other hand, some people have real concerns about taking measures that they think are extreme, wondering if it would mean they have an eating disorder. Again, note that what you see around you as normal probably isn’t healthy, so it’s not best to judge by comparing yourself to others. Your family and friends might genuinely be concerned when you begin eating the right amount for your body, so be sure you become familiar with calorie counting or portion sizes if this is a concern for you. Be aware of the signs of overtraining so that you know you are not going overboard. Make sure you are not neglecting your work, loved ones, and home just to look better. If you are still concerned that you are being fanatical about your weight, seek the advice of a mental health professional.
If you want to control your weight, consider cleaning the junk out of your mind in addition to your fridge. Your thoughts control your actions, so a healthier mind will lead to a healthier body.