Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Weight Loss and Why people fail at it.

In my last “weight loss” post I said I’d get into the specific steps I took to lose weight and this seems like a good time to cover some of those things.  I also had another weight related post that mentions some of those steps and you should be able to find them all on here.  ( if not, by all means, please let me know ) Today I want to get into what you should think about before you start a weight loss program.

The Tipping Point.:  Losing weight is difficult.  There’s no way around that fact.  I really and truly believe that the only way anyone will ever have success with a weight loss plan is when the difficulty of being overweight is more than the difficulty of losing the weight.  Otherwise you wouldn’t go through the process.  The reward isn’t there.  Despite what you see on “reality” television, Humans are rational beings, and won’t follow through with something if the reward isn’t greater than the cost.  This may be a revelation for some of you, but it should also be a HUGE RED FLAG !!!   Before you make another run at losing weight think about that .  If you failed last time you did this, one of those factors MUST be different or you WILL FAIL AGAIN.  Either being overweight must have gotten more difficult, or losing weight must have gotten less difficult.  If neither of those changed, your outcome will be the same as last time and will only depress you more.  Don’t Bother.  I can hear some of you screaming at your computers as you read this:  “ Hey running, blogging guy…what do you know !?!?  I come here for motivation and you’re telling me not to even try because I’m going to fail !?!?!?  It’s no wonder you only have 4 people following your blog !!  ( side note:  I am eternally grateful for the 4 of you )  Well, the truth can’t be avoided and it isn’t always uplifting.  Repeated, failed attempts at weight loss are very damaging to your psyche and self esteem.  I honestly think you’ll be better off if you wait ( weight ?!?!  ) until you have a better shot at success before you try.  It will happen eventually.  There will be a single event of major proportions or a series of minor events, that will add up to have enough impact that you will have had enough.  For me I was embarrassed by taking my shirt off in a situation that I should have enjoyed, my son just matter of factly said I was fat, I was unhappy about wearing pants with a 36” waist and they were getting too tight,  and the number on the bathroom scale was uncomfortable to look at.  This series of events, along with the years of general dissatisfaction with the way I felt and looked was enough for me to get started.  Keeping the weight had become more difficult than losing the weight.   I can so distinctly remember the very instant I said “THIS STOPS NOW” 

Once you make that decision, your next steps are very important.  Everyone who wants to lose weight has put a lot of thought into what it would take.  It’s probably an idea that’s been bouncing around inside your head for months or years.  Because of this you could instantly reel off a dozen steps you could take to get things going.  You want to do this and give it a full effort so why not do everything you can right ??  Well…no.  That might work for some, but I never would have made it with that approach.   Remember the basic weight loss equation:  Keeping the weight has to be more difficult than losing the weight.  If you have a dozen steps that you implement immediately you are going to throw your life into upheaval, make the weight loss more difficult, and possibly alter the balance of the basic weight loss equation.  I picked one thing to work on. Only one.  I needed to have a successful step in the right direction.  For me, one of my big problems ( and we all know what our biggest problems are if we think about it ) was eating late at night.  Just before bedtime I would have a huge snack, practically a meal, and generally not a healthy one.  I knew from past experience that this was going to be a difficult one for me so I didn’t quit cold turkey.  I just stopped eating after 11:00 at night.  Then to help matters I tried to get into bed by midnight.  The earlier I went to bed, the less time I had to do without a snack.  As I started running more, getting to bed earlier became easier, but that was a few months into things.  After a week of not eating after 11:00, I moved it up to 10:30.   I’m not going to lie to you.  There were times when I started stuffing my face at 10:15 just because the deadline was approaching and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it until bedtime.  The thing that I was surprised by was the self satisfaction of this little step.  I thought the only reward would come when the numbers on the scale started retreating.  I felt great about the fact that I was able to pick an action and follow through with it.  That little bit of success was instrumental in keeping things going.  Every little step I was able to complete made me feel good.  This is good, because it takes a while for your efforts to show up on the scale, and even longer to show up in the fit of your clothes.  A little string of successes can really snowball and empower you.  I guess everyone is different, but I got such a boost out of moving down a waist size on my pants.  I had a bunch of clothes that I outgrew and I would periodically try them on to see if I could wear them.  It took a little while, but the first time I snapped the snap on a pair of jeans with a 34” waist, I was pretty psyched.  Most of what I wear now has a 32” waist and it’s a little baggy.  For Christmas I bought myself a pair of jeans with a 31” waist just because I could. 

This is much longer than I figured it would be, but it’s been good for me to remember this process and I hope it’ll be helpful for others to start the process and have success with it.  Keep the basic weight loss equation in mind, and whatever you do….

Just Don’t Stop Running…..


  1. I find that if I make a conscious effort to remind myself that eating is not for delight and pleasure AND that I can find more delight and more pleasure in many other things that are way better than consuming processed junk, that's enough to keep me on track if I'm trying to lose weight. (Which I am, right now, though I'm not aiming for a huge loss or anything.)

  2. That's a great way to look at things. It strikes me as really weird that weight loss is an entirely physical thing, but the obstacles seem to be entirely mental. I find the physical/mental connection to be fascinating. "mind over matter" is such a cliche, but there's really something to it.

  3. @ Greg:
    I definitely agree with you. Mental thing has a big factor when one is under a diet. Imagine it will take super power for one to avoid such foods that he really craves.

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  4. Glennda,

    Thanks for the feedback. The "the superpower" can be something as simple as the need to fit into a pair of jeans, or get to "X" pounds or to get the attention of some one you have a crush on.

    Thanks again for writing. I've need a push to pay attention to the blog again, or your comment was just what I needed. I hope you continue to follow the blog, and that I can continue to post material that you find worth while.


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