Obesity Is On The Rise, And Growing Rapidly!
It is no longer a surprise that 7 out of 10 adult North American women are now overweight. Blame it on lack of activity, junk foods, or even genetics, the fact doesn’t change.
It’s also no surprise that most of you who are nodding right now have tried more than one diet or workout program (probably with not so great results).
And that’s why I decided to write this post!
Today’s post is going to be for those readers of mine who really want to lose weight, but for one reason or the other, haven’t seen the kind of results they wish.
And the number #1 reason for that is… a lack of motivation!
The only reason you lack the motivation to stick with an exercise or diet plan is because you’re more motivated to engage in other behaviors instead.
And what motivates you to engage or not engage in any particular behavior is based on what you perceive will move you towards pleasure and/or away from pain.
For most women, you couldn’t pay them to change their unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Watching TV, drinking soft drinks, and eating fast food meant pleasure, and giving those things up in exchange for vegetables and hard work in the gym meant pain.
But are those things inherently pleasurable or painful, or are pleasure and pain something we create for ourselves based on our own perceptions?
Those Who Exercise Are Probably Crazy!
You can probably think about people you know that absolutely love exercise and consider themselves health nuts. Perhaps you even think they’re completely crazy and that YOU could never be one of those people.
I might have agreed with that at one point in time in my life, but I now consider exercise to be quite enjoyable and would find eating junk food all the time miserable.
And being someone that was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum years ago, I can say with much confidence that the pleasure and pain we find in various activities has everything to do with our perception of those things.
But the real question is, can we purposely reprogram our brain to find pleasure in something we previously found painful and vice versa?
Cloe Madanes and Tony Robbins have talked about the six human needs that drive all of our behavior. Those needs are certainty/security, variety/excitement, love/connection, significance/control, growth, and contribution.
If there is anything you do in your life through your own free will, it’s because it’s meeting one of those needs. Even unhealthy behaviors like staying in a bad relationship can be traced back to how it will meet those needs.
The reason why it’s hard for people to give up their favorite foods and old habits is because those habits meet one or more of those six human needs.
That means if you want to get more motivated to do something else like eat healthier and exercise, you’ll need to mentally connect the dots of how those new behaviors (and the outcomes like a more fit body) will also satisfy those emotional needs to an equal or greater extent than the pre-existing bad habits will.
It’s been said that we each tend to have 1-2 of these needs that dominate over the other ones at any given time. For myself when I was out of shape, my desire for certainty and connection was higher than my other needs.
So let’s take my own example, how was I meeting those needs during that time in my life?
I met my certainty needs by staying in my comfort zone and eating the same fast food meals every night. Yes, I literally ordered the same meal from the same place almost every night of the week.
I knew no matter what was going on in my life, I could always come home to my treats and get a sense of comfort and connection with the food.
This Comfort Zone Made Me Try Some Dangerous Stuff As Well!
To break free, I did initially try some of the “magic” products out there. I tried stupid belts like the It Work body wrap, of course tried Weight Watchers, then someone asked me to follow the Atkins diet, so did that too, and finally even tried some shady diet pills.
End result? I never saw any results, or quickly gained back any weight I had lost.
So after a while, I had to redirect my thinking to find how my current behaviors would ultimately cause me pain, and then figure out how healthier behaviors could be introduced that would meet my six human needs adequately.
Here’s The 2-Step Process That Will Help You Accomplish This.
1. Write down all the short term and long term problems (pains) with continuing to engage in an undesired behavior. (Eating junk food, not exercising, et)
It can help to ask, “where will I be a year from now if I keep doing this?” “Where will I be FIVE years from now if I keep this up?”
Examples of these problems could be lacking energy, disease and sickness, weight gain, etc. When I thought about this, I realized that if I kept doing what I was doing, it would only be a matter of 10-20 years before I had developed diabetes, out of control weight problems, low energy (was already an issue), premature aging, and more.
For some, those problems may already exist or be right around the corner.
The discomfort of this realization meant I could no longer continue to engage in my unhealthy behaviors like eating fast food every night and still meet my comfort needs.
It’s also critical to ask why those things would be a problem.
This could mean not being there for one’s family, not being able to pursue a passion, feeling out of control of one’s life, etc. In other words, what are the indirect effects of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
People who commit to losing a lot of weight successfully don’t do so because they just “kind of felt like it.”
To make a great change in your life and body requires a huge reason why it’s important to you. Wanting to look a little better in the mirror won’t typically cut it, but losing weight so one doesn’t die before getting to see their kids graduate typically will get the job done.
Naturally, you’ll need to find what it is inside of you that really drives you until you’re filled with a burning passion to take control of your body’s health.
2. Write down all the short term and long term benefits (pleasures) with engaging in a desired behavior. (Eating healthier, exercising, et)
Examples of these benefits could be more energy, a sexier body, less aches and pains, not having to take prescription drugs, etc.
It’s also critical to ask why you want those things until you tap into how they meet your needs for more certainty, variety, connection, significance, contribution, and/or growth.
For instance, a person that is very certainty/comfort driven may connect eating healthier with a feeling of ease in knowing they’re going to maintain good health over the years, they won’t suffer sickness as often, and they will have more energy to do what they enjoy doing each day.
A person who is very contribution driven may connect eating healthier and exercising with being a good role model and inspiration to their peers, co-workers, and/or kids.
By mentally rewiring the way I thought about the foods I was eating and exercise, I was able to start to associate unhealthy behaviors with pain and healthier behaviors with pleasure.
Over the years, these feelings solidified to the point where you cannot pay me to go back to my old unhealthy habits. I now get so much joy out of taking care of my body that it would be a major sacrifice in my life to give that up.
And this is all because I mentally reprogramed my perception of things.
- 1. Find the pain in undesirable behaviors. Ask, “what will my life be like a year from now and five years from now if I continue to do these things?”
- 2. Find the pleasure in healthier behaviors. Ask, “how will these new behaviors satisfy one or more of my six human needs?”
- 3. Remember, a healthier behavior doesn’t have to be diet or exercise related. If someone eats candy bars in order to feel love (fulfilled), then there could be many non-food related ways to satisfy this emotional need for love.
That’s it my dearies. Just try this simple approach in your life and I guarantee you that you’ll see some pretty decent results without going on a diet, or trying any other dangerous product.