Master Weight Loss: Find Your Reason to Lose
By Richard Rubin, PhD, CDE
Do you want to lose some weight – and keep it off? According to the "weight loss masters" I've worked with over the years, the key to success is finding your reason for losing weight. I know, there are lots of good reasons to lose weight, and you probably know almost all of them.
But none of these good reasons will help you lose weight unless it is your reason. People who have found their reason say it is like flipping a switch; suddenly eating carefully and staying active are much easier.
Needless to say, most of us have not yet found our reasons for losing weight. We eat too much and we sit too much, and as a result, we often weigh too much. And that extra weight is bad news. There's growing evidence it hurts us two ways: it takes years from our lives, and it takes life from our years.
The weight loss masters I've known, patients in my clinical practice and participants in my research studies who have lost weight and kept it off, offer the following tips for flipping your weight loss switch and keeping it flipped:
Make it personal
One man said he started losing weight because he wanted to keep up with his grandchildren when they came over to play. A woman told me her switch flipped with the decision to look her best for her daughter's wedding. Another woman said she had been steadily losing weight since the day she had trouble fitting between desks when she walked down the aisle at the office. Can you think of anything you care enough about to flip your weight loss switch?
Accentuate the positive
As you think about your reason to lose weight, try to focus on positive reasons. I'm struck that most of the weight loss masters I know are motivated by the promise of things they want, like feeling better, being able to do more, and feeling in more control of their lives, rather than by things they want to avoid, like diabetes complications. So look for positive reasons to launch your weight loss efforts.
Keep track of the benefits
Staying positive is also crucial once you have started your weight loss program. Keep track of the good things you see happening as a result of your efforts. Do you have more energy? Are you sleeping better? Do you feel better about yourself? Has anyone complimented you on your appearance? Write down these positive outcomes.
Give yourself pats on the back as well. Note the times you walk – even when the weather is bad, and the times you stay at the office and eat the healthy lunch you packed – even when your friends ask you to join them at the local All-U-Can-Eat.
Be sure to look at your notes on days when your motivation is low. At those times seeing what you have accomplished can rekindle your motivation and help you stay on track.
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...