The Importance of Measurable Self Image Goals

“I am fat”.  “I am unfit”.  “I am unhealthy”….. or am I?

The age old question of “to be or not to be…”

Working through my self image issues as I progressed with my fitness and health quest, has been no simple task.  No matter how successful you end up being, since self image driven results are so subjective, there will always be that niggling disbelief in the result.

Even when you reach your weight loss goals, it is easy to still look in the mirror and be unsatisfied with your appearance.  You still have that skin or this shadow in the wrong place.

This inevitably becomes a significant source of stress and agitation leading to other issues, including eating disorders and psychological conditions including depression and anxiety or just a simple lack of self confidence.

Despite the fact that I have successfully lost 80 pounds, and by any definition would be considered a very fit individual, I still look in the mirror and remain unsatisfied.  I am still uncomfortable to take my shirt off in public.  My focus tend to significantly be on my areas of failure, rather than my extraordinary success.

For me the solution to dealing with this insanity at least somewhat, proved to be clearly defined and measurable goals.  Weight loss is simple to measure.  Just get on a scale.  Once the goal was reached I also had a marker of weight that I could hold to.

A generally accepted measure for fitness is heart rate.  Beats per minute.  I am currently at a waking pulse below 50 beats per minute.  I am fit and I can measure that.

Health.  Probably a little more difficult, but a regular checkup with your doctor should do the trick.  Take advantage of regular blood tests to help you figure out your best life strategy for change or maintenance.

What’s left.  Waistline skin and muffin tops.  I found this a particularly tough one, because it is so hard to measure.  The best you can hope for is to measure progress.  Let that be your goal.  A photo works well for comparison every month or two.

The point is this.

Whatever goal you seek to achieve, make sure that it is clear, and definitively measurable.  Do not get caught in the subjectivity trap that is self image.  Sure, you may find that you are still not satisfied when you have reached your goal.  It is fine to reassess and set a new goal, but make sure that it is measurable and safe. That’s it…

The Most Powerful Weight Loss Tool Ever

In a world where instant gratification is not only a way of life, but expected and often anticipated, it is no surprise that we so easily forget to use one of the most powerful tools ever to exist.  A tool that everyone of us already possess, if we chose.

This is even more true when it comes to our weight loss struggle.  When we start, our expectations are often misguided. We want to believe the advertising and marketing that so dramatically takes advantage of our desperation.  Unrealistic promises and beautiful models sell stupidity, fuelling completely unrealistic expectations.

Sadly all the hype usually just results in nothing.  We fail because we want to believe the nonsense which causes us to ignore the most powerful tool in our personal tool kit.  A tool which when combined with anything else we do, will change the outcome every single time.

That tool is “Patience”.

If you apply patience to anything you endeavour to do, your chances of success grows incrementally.

Do exercise and be patient.  You will get results.

Diet and be patient.  You will get results.

No matter what you do, with patience you can be completely unstoppable.  The results of whatever you do with patience is always there.  You can be certain of that.

That’s really it. Simple, effective and guaranteed to yield results, if you have patience…

Food. Food. Glorious Food.

Fad diets. Special smoothies. Appetite suppressants. Diet supplements.  Instant, do nothing loose weight secrets.  The list is never-ending….

Too bad most of these never really work as advertised, and even if they do work somewhat, any results you get from these are short lived and never lasts.

No matter which one of these you end up on, you can only do them for so long.  They are simply not sustainable.  Any gains that you have made will likely be lost the second you stop.  More often than not, the gains also come at a cost to health and well being, especially if followed for extended periods of time.  Somewhat counter intuitive.

The answer is food. Real food.

True, the results you seek may take a little longer.  True, it may seem a little more complicated than just taking a diet supplement or drinking a smoothie.  It may even require some more planning and care.

It will serve you much better to rely on real food to get you there. Especially if you wish to loose weight sustainably and stay healthy throughout the process.  You will also be able to develop a lifestyle that is conducive to staying where you are once you have reached your goals. What is really the point of putting your body through the discomfort of reaching a weight loss goal, if you are not able to sustain it once reached?

Some of the benefits of eating real food are :

  • It is easy to track.
  • It is easy to adjust as the need arises.  You can create a long term lifestyle around it.
  • It is much healthier (if you don’t eat junk food).
  • It is indefinitely sustainable.
  • It usually tastes a bit better.

I live by this rule.  I eat real food.  I lost 80 pounds.  I have kept it off for years now.

So can you…

Keeping Change Permanent

As if reaching weight loss goals are not hard enough, once you reach those goals, staying on track and not reverting back to your previous self is nearly impossible.  In most instances, once goals are reached we tend to sigh  and then revert back to old habits.  Habits that got us to the unhappy place to begin with.

Therein the crux of our success, and failure.

It’s about habits.

In order to succeed at your weight loss, you would have had to develop and maintain some very specific habits to help you get there.  Once you reach your goals however, those habits do not work any more.  At some point you want to stop loosing weight.

Stopping the habits that got you there however will likely prove disastrous. Rather than stopping your habits keep on following them but adapt them to your new situation.  This may require some experimentation, however if you keep your weight loss habits as a foundation and always revert back to that in case your adjustments do not work, you will be able to stay the path.

This is the secret.  Keep the habits that helped you to loose weight.  Adjust the habits slightly to your new situation.  Keep on experimenting until you find the right mix.


That’s it.  Simple. Effective. Proven.

What Motivates You

When we make a choice to change, the decision is often followed by some half hearted attempt to affect the change, and then dismal failure.  After numerous attempts for most of us the choice not to change becomes just easier.

Why then is it so easy to fail?  Why is it so hard to succeed? Why …?

Rather than focusing on the reasons for failure why not focus on what really motivates us.  These are the questions that will decide our success or failure.

What is your real motivation? Why do you want to change?  What would you do to achieve it?

The funny thing about this is that even the threat of impending death is rarely enough to actually motivate us.  Consider this.

Do you like to eat chocolate or baked goods filled with sugary goodness?  If you do, I have to ask.  Are you not afraid of diabetes and obesity and all the issues that stem from that?  If you are, why do you continue to eat it then?  You like it?…

The reality is that most things that are not clearly impending (and sometimes not even then) are enough to motivate us to change, and stay the course when we do.  We need something else.

Think of something you like to do.  Something that gets you out of bed.  Something that is not hard to do over and over again.  What makes you do that?

I simply love doing the things that I love to do.  I enjoy social interaction a lot.  An opportunity to hang out with friends and of course meet some new ones.  Easy to do every single day.

Knowing this and knowing that I needed to do some exercise then helped me figure out that I needed to find a way to combine the two.

I do Zumba (and some other) classes.  Exercise, social interaction.  Lots of friends.  Love it, love it, love it….

I have been motivated, and continue to be so for years now.

That is the secret.  Find what you love, combine it with what you need, and see the change happen.

Simple as that.

Picking the right exercise

For most doing exercise as part of a life change plan is a lost cause, often before it even starts.  The commitment required to keep at it is just too much.  Conventional wisdom also pushes towards some sort of gym connection.  The expectation is : go to the gym, exercise, loose weight and look perfect.

And though this can be true, few ever really achieve success following this path.

The problem is boredom.  It is so hard to get excited about exercise if it is a chore and especially if it is boring.  You will keep on finding reasons not to do it.  Guaranteed fail.

For me there were three things that solved this problem.

Do something you love.

If you love the thing you are doing for exercise, it is very easy to stay the path.  It also does not really matter what it is, as long as you keep moving.  Whether it is cycling, running, walking, hiking, martial arts, Tai Chi, yoga kayaking, dancing or whatever.  Find the thing you love and do that.

Make sure it can be repeated.


Whatever you choose to do, be sure that you can repeat it over and over, until you meet your goals.  No point in doing something that you can do once or twice only or that is too restrictive.

Friends.

Be sure to connect with people over it.  Whether you meet them there or they come with you.  Friends will keep you motivated.  Call you when you don’t show up.  Make it enjoyable when you go.  If your exercise becomes a social activity it is very easy to keep on going.  This will prove true even if the actual exercise is not that inspiring.

That’s it. Find what you love, make some friends, keep on doing it.

How to Avoid Suicide By Sugar.

Sugar…  How much do you consume?

According to data from the U.S., in 2008, people consumed over 60 pounds (28 kg) of added sugar per year and this does not include fruit juices accounting average intake of 76.7 grams per day. 19 teaspoons or 306 calories.

This Much….Every single day…

If you do not believe me, let’s add it up :

Breakfast cereal 60 grams – 26 grams sugar
Breakfast coffee 2 teaspoons – 10 grams sugar
Hotdog & fries for lunch, 2 x Tablespoon Ketchup – 8 grams sugar
Lunch time coffee 2 teaspoons – 10 grams sugar
Night time coffee 2 teaspoons – 10 grams sugar
HP sauce steak  1 tablespoon – 4 grams sugar

Without sodas and snacks –  total 68 grams sugar per day.

Although sugar lobbies have done everything they can to limit evidence to support this, there is no doubt in my mind that sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of obesity (and resulting diabetes).  A recent study by the University of California, San Francisco examined increase of sugar availability in 175 countries, and found a direct link between sugar availability and an increase in cases of diabetes in these countries.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) statistics in 2014, 9 % of adults over 18 had diabetes worldwide. In 2012 1.5 Million deaths were directly attributed to diabetes (this is 300,000 more than from HIV), and WHO expects that by 2030 diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in the world.

If you believe this, there is really only one thing to do.  Reduce your sugar intake dramatically.  This will not only make it easier for you to loose weight (if that is your goal), but will improve your overall health, and even potentially increase your lifespan and life quality.

I also know it is possible as I have successfully reduced my added sugar intake to less than 5 grams (1 teaspoon) per day.  Life changing…

Here are some of my secrets for succeeding :

  1. Eat Fresh Food (not prepackaged / preprocessed food).
  2. Substitute with sweeteners or similar alternatives.
  3. Avoid store bought sauces and condiments (read the labels if you must eat it).
  4. Avoid sweets and sugary snacks and drinks.
  5. Eat your fruit (do not drink it).
  6. Be aware that many more things than you realize have loads of sugar.  Read the labels.

It might be hard but it is worth it….

The Right New Years Resolution

The new year has arrived.  Time for a change?

Countless choose to have a go at weight loss at the beginning of every new year.  This is the time when self assessment happens for most of us, and choices of change and improvement are made.

Unfortunately these resolutions often become just more unrealised dreams.

Having successfully undertaken this journey, I have discovered the reason why this happens.  We so often express our resolutions in ways that are no more interesting than rice.

“So you want to loose 30 pounds?”

That is a problem.  It is just a number.  It has no real meaning which makes it impossible to personalise into something motivating.  It just does not work.

For a resolution to really stick, ask yourself why you want to loose the weight.  Make that your resolution. Express it in terms of something that you like or wish to be able to do, but cannot right now.

I love hiking. When I started, it was so far out of reach for me to do a 10 mile hike that it was just unimaginable.  I made that my goal.

I want to do a 10 mile hike.

After figuring what I needed to do to get there, I did what I had to and have since done several of those.

To succeed at your resolutions follow this formula:

  1. Figure out what you want.
  2. Make sure that you can personalise it into something that excites you.
  3. Figure out what you need to do to make that happen.
  4. Then… Just do it…

If you loose your motivation along the way, go try whatever it is you were hoping to reach. See how much closer you have gotten to reaching your goal.  “Do a 2 mile hike.”  You might be surprised what you have achieved.

Good luck with your journey.