Summer is nearly here and more people are starting a passionate — perhaps brief — I’m-going-to-lose-weight phase.
As the warm months ticks away and the scale doesn’t seem to budge, it’s easy to blame BBQs, our bodies and Oreo cookies.
But, there’s a bigger culprit that’s at least partially responsible.
Commercial after commercial for highly palatable, calorie-dense foods bombard us on a daily basis. Scroll through Facebook, how many food photos do you see? How many of them are ads trying to lure you to buy something?
Kima Cargill, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Washington in Tacoma, argues that this consumer culture is what feeds our inability to make better food choices.
“When I go to the grocery store, it’s almost this exercise in decoding propaganda,” she said in a news release last year. “I feel like I’m on this high alert of reading labels and putting a lot of effort into figuring out how they’re trying to trick people. I felt manipulated, and I wanted that story to be told.”
Cargill is the author of “The Psychology of Overeating.” In it, she writes about tactics food companies use to try to market their food as healthy.
If you’re struggling with losing weight and you feel like you have a serious lack of willpower, it may not be completely your fault. And there are ways for you to overcome it.
First, understand that our consumer culture will not go away. We will be inundated by food advertisements, by weight-loss program advertisements every single day whether we like it or not.
Second, you need to convince yourself that the only person who has complete control over the decisions that you make and the life that you have is … you!
IT STARTS WITH US
Consider Einstein’s quote.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If we want to make a change with our bodies, it has to start with us. And yes, the lifestyle must be permanent in order for the change to be permanent.
Does that mean you can never have pizza or ice cream ever again? Well, no. But, every meal? Probably not.
I’m a firm believer in not restricting any one food from your life. You want a doughnut? You eat that damn doughnut! You want a couple cookies? Have at it! But, be conscious of those decisions and balance it with healthy, whole foods and a bit of exercise.
Don’t think you can eat nothing but crap and still be healthy and fit, it doesn’t work like that. Sure, you can technically lose weight if you eat the correct amount of calories from just doughnuts, but you’re sure as hell not going to feel very fantastic.
IT’S NOT A DIET
Have you heard one of your fitness fanatic friends say this? “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!” Well, they’re right.
You’re fooling yourself and you’re ruining any progress you make if you start a fitness journey with the “diet” mentality.
This is not a diet, this is a lifestyle.
If you expect to achieve your goals by not changing your habits for good, you’re going to fail. Your summer body goals and your motivation will be gone by the time summer solstice rolls around.
Don’t give up though. Changing your habits is hard. It takes patience and diligence. If your goal means enough to you, you will achieve it.
Figuring out your “why” is vital to your success. The stronger it is, the more likely you’ll stick with your new lifestyle. Ultimately, your “why” should make you cry. If it doesn’t, dig deeper. Ask yourself these questions (out loud) to figure out your why. Write your answers down if you have to.
- What is your ultimate goal?
- What will you gain by achieving your goal?
- Why does that matter to you?
- Why does that matter to you?
Continue asking yourself #4 until you’ve dug deep enough into your soul that your answer gives you goosebumps or makes you sob. That’s called finding your purpose, finding your “why.” Hang on to that. Write it down. Remind yourself of it every single day so you can stay on track.