For years, I’ve quipped, “Losing weight is not rocket science.
Shut your mouth and move your feet and you’ll drop the weight.” (The difficulty is all the “mental noise” that gets in the way.) Anyway, I’ve been proven wrong, as it apparently IS rocket science.
Let me explain.
I coach folks all across this vast land that find me via the internet or through referral. Of course, if they don’t reside in the community I call home, our sessions are via phone. Consequently, it’s unlikely I’ve met them face-to-face, or even know what they look like. Most times, unless it comes up in conversation, I am unaware of their vocations, as my purpose is to help them guide them past the pitfalls of shedding weight or changing another habit they don’t like about themselves.
With that as backstory, after calling my client, he asked me to hold while he shut the door to avoid disturbing his co-workers. This prompted me to ask, “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a rocket scientist,” he said, “I study [something I couldn’t even begin to understand about solar winds].”
After getting past my initial geek-fest about really working with someone who is doing what I would have loved to do (if I was willing to have been a better student in college of course), we got down to brass tacks about his progress; which had hit a rough patch. Most people who are losing weight — at a healthy and sustainable pace — drop maybe a pound a week as a long-term average. He had only shed about 16 ounces in three weeks, and was understandably disappointed.
However, what smacked me was how he handled this unhappy slow down.
Many of us, when the weight isn’t coming off as expected, “freak out.” There’s no other way to say it. Bad news at the scale triggers all manner of horrific thinking: our entire weight loss will be reversed and we’ll never “get there.” This activates an exaggerated emotional reaction, which begets the damaging belief, “It’s not working. Why bother?” That, in turn elicits the urge to go back to how we used to eat, which of course puts on the very weight we were losing (albeit slowly), causing a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Rocket scientists, or at least this one, apparently think differently.
He said, “I’m not getting the results I expected.”
“I understand,” I replied. “How can I help?”
“I don’t think you can. I just have to analyze the variables in the equation and adjust them as to alter the outcome.”
“What do you mean?”
“Apparently, if one is to judge by results, I’m either eating too much or not active enough – or both. So, I will increase my activity to 10,000 steps a day and monitor the consequences. If that works as planned, I should be on my way. If not, the next step would be trim caloric intake. Does that sound like a plan?”
“Uh, yeah.” It did. And it does.
See, that’s the thing. Losing weight is just another objective, and with every goal comes a plan. For example, should we decide to drive across the country, we don’t just willy-nilly hop in the auto and head out. We figure out what we need to pack, determine a route, and locate lodging. Those don’t ensure the strategy will work as expected. After all, roads close, weather happens, suitcases get lost, cars break down. We don’t like it, but we adjust as necessary until we get where we’re going.
Planning is not a panacea for success.
“Stuff happens” all too often. Yet, just like any journey, when we hit a detour, we don’t just park there and live. We adjust and move forward.
After all, losing weigh is not brain surgery.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a nationally known weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. Check out his new series of free weight loss videos and other inspirational material at www.FourMonthsToGoal.com