As we head into summer, my phone rings off the hook from people who made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. They joined a gym and went for a few weeks but haven’t been back for a couple of months. Now, warm weather is upon us, and coats and sweaters are making way for shorts and swimsuits. Sadly, they often say they weigh more now than they did on January 1.
One question I usually ask is, “Why do you want to lose weight?” People are often startled by this and stumped for an answer. “Because I should,” “For my health,” “To look better in a swimsuit.” With further conversation, they admit they never really thought about why. As a result, they don’t have a real goal with a genuine commitment.
If you want to lose weight, are you clear as to why?
As I listened to Gerry in a weight loss hypnosis session, it became clear that he had no idea where he was going. He sounded lost. When I pushed him for clarity, he couldn’t tell me what life might be like at his goal weight, or why he wanted the change. When I asked if he ever just left for vacation with no destination in mind, he made it clear that he’s an obsessive planner and didn’t allow any unscheduled side trips. Yet, he told me how he’d noticed more unconscious eating and lack of focus lately.
So, I put two dots on my white board. One dot was Palm Springs and the other Seattle. I told him that when I recently flew from Seattle to Palm Springs, turbulence kept blowing us off course and the pilot had to make continuous course corrections. If he hadn’t, we might have ended up in Oklahoma City instead of Palm Springs. As with life, there is turbulence. There are relationship changes, job changes, holidays, birthdays and other bumps in the road. All too often, people never make course corrections; they never get to Palm Springs. I encouraged Gerry to think of his eating in the same way he plans the rest of his life. Be intentional. Understand why you eat what you do.
Another client, Patty, told me she had no idea what it would be like to be at her ideal weight. In the past, she had dieted and lost a lot of weight rapidly, only to discover that all her life’s challenges were still there. “Do you believe people can really change?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied, “but you must know what you want, and you really have to want it. And keep reminding yourself of those reasons.”
Client Brenda asked how to deal with life’s turbulences, so I asked her what it would be like for her to be a Principled Leader of Her Self. “What would it be like to be a cause rather than an effect; to no longer be a victim in your life?” When you have a clear plan for your life, you can then be that Leader of Self. You take back your power from food, people, work, events, life and circumstances.
So, I challenge you to take some time in the next few days to write, draw or paint a realistic picture of what your Palm Springs — your destination — would be like for you. My hope is you’ll come up with detailed and compelling reasons for reaching your goal weight.
Letting go of weight, whether 20 or 150 pounds, can be daunting. Staying focused on just the next two pounds makes it more doable.
I remember years ago, I set out to climb Mount Rainier — all 14,410 feet of it! We climbed to base camp carrying heavy packs, then set up our tents on a glacier. After a few sleepless hours on a bed of ice, we were up at midnight to begin the ascent. At 8 a.m., I looked toward the summit. It loomed massively in front of us. We still had hours to go, and I was exhausted and discouraged. I wondered why I’d thought this was a great idea. At that moment, the fun was gone. I just wanted to sit down and tell my fellow climbers I’d be right there when they came down. I wanted to quit.
Then I recognized that I was at the moment in life when I always quit, when things got really tough. I was having the exact same feelings and thoughts. Feelings that had held me back in most areas of my life—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
So, I stopped thinking about the hours ahead of me to reach the summit and focused on my next step, and then the next and the next. And finally, there before me was the crater on the summit. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and I could see forever. By taking one step at a time, I made it. I share this experience with clients as a metaphor for focusing on releasing two pounds each week.
I urge you to find your own metaphor to represent your weight loss journey, and whatever it is, take the first step toward your goal. And then another.
Roger Moore is a certified counselor and medical hypnotherapist with Palm Desert Hypnosis. For more on this topic, visit www.HypnosisHealthInfo.com, or call (760) 219.8079. All sessions are online telehealth. His book, Becoming the Greatest Expression of You, is now available on Amazon.com.