Before you start that diet: ask yourself some questions

I’m not really that into navel gazing. I came from a  religious family so I’ve had my fill of sitting quietly. On top of my christian praying and reflecting  experience, my mother and brother even  fell for that 1970’s transcendental meditation craze. So I had to put up with that too. Being 14 and being made to meditate wasn’t fun.

Never the less  there are some lessons to be learned from “sitting with yourself”  or  as Socrates said,  “the unexamined life is not worth living”. To sensibly ask yourself questions is actually a good idea. To actually listen to the answers is probably better!!

So you’ve decided, once again to lose weight. This time, rather than just jumping on the first weird diet you can think of, why not ask yourself some questions. Here are some useful ones.

Spend a bit of time thinking about the past ( both recent and longer term). Not too much, otherwise you can lose yourself in the mists of time. But get a handle of your history. 

Are you  overweight now?

Why are you overweight? (This is  a very stark, rude question, but was it illness, unhealthy eating, too much food, not enough exercise etc).

Have you ever lost weight before?

If so, what helped?

and what hindered?

Ok, so you have lost weight in the past! What made you put the weight back on?

Ok, thats your past, or as much as you realistically need to consider, what are your views and targets now?

Are you looking for a  short term  fix (a wedding in 2 weeks), or are you prepared to have a long term target

To be successful you need to change your approach to food, weigh and measure, change choices, record your eating habits, and exercise, and all this will no doubt make you feel uncomfortable. So, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is high)  answer these questions.

Be honest, as we can all want to lose weight but not have much motivation because we know it’s hard work?

How motivated are you to lose weight?

How motivated are you to change your eating habits?

How motivated are you to increase your physical activity?

Will you try new strategies/techniques for changing your eating, exercise, and other behaviours?

Are you prepared to spend time studying reading materials  about nutrition ?

Will you record your exercise  and everything you eat and drink,?

Will  you  change your eating habits?

 Will  you be able to work regular physical activity into your daily schedule?

Will  you be able to exercise  and be active most, if not everyday?.

If you make a mistake, have  a lazy day, or give into temptation, can you forgive yourself, and “get back on the programme”?

Do you have an emotional connection with food?

Do you eat more when you are upset, annoyed or miserable?

Do you eat to celebrate?

If you have  confrontation, do you seek comfort in food to calm down?

A SERIOUS BIT

Think about this question carefully?

Have you ever purged (used laxatives, diuretics, or  vomiting) to control your weight?

If yes,  is this “often” (About once a month  A few times a month  About once a week  About three times a week  Daily.)

If purging is part of your present weight loss strategy, and you feel unable to stop, you probably need to chat to your doctor who could get you some  one to one support to deal with this issue

Thats just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like more help or thoughts on managing your weight, do join the mailing list of email me directly on Andrew@andrewstemer.com

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Epiphany, conversion, or resignation

During my life, I’ve had lots of dramatic changes, Drinking too much, to drinking very little, smoking 100 cigaretes a day, to stopping totally, being sedentary and inactive, to becoming active and fit.  Ive changed career  many times. Whilst there was a day on which the big event happened, it was never an epiphany, or a conversion. It was simply resignation.

Little is to be achieved by histrionic  pledges. We all know that new years resolutions are not worth the dime. Many of us have seen the over enthusiastic conversion, and then lapse of the drunk or druggie. Its easy to whip a roomful of the overweight into pledging to eat healthily. Its rarely successful. Self pressure sales techniques are interesting. A pressure salesman may  flog you some rubbish ( shares, windows… what ever) ,but their aim is just to get your signature: if you join a gym, buy rubbish shares, you don’t have to do anything… just pay. Real changes that you have to make need to be grounded in something more than sales tricks.

In my experience, effecting change, is a long term process that needs experimentation, practise and a “terrorise the habit” process.