Let’s cone this down to the basics: To lose weight and keep that weight off we all need to prioritize delayed gratification behavior patterns over the immediate gratification ones. Being more specific, the food and drink items that derail our weight control efforts basically bring us an immediate gratification. The pina colada you enjoyed 2 nights ago does absolutely nothing for you today. The chocolate bar that made you feel soooo good yesterday brings you absolutely zero gratification today.
Switching to the other side, i.e. the gratifications we get from losing weight: These do not occur for awhile. The very first day you begin your weight loss efforts, you will NOT: change clothes sizes, come off of a blood pressure med, experience less pain in your sore knees, have people around you state how great you look, etc etc. All of these benefits/gratifications will be delayed in their appearance. You will grind through the work required to lose the weight, bypassing those immediate gratification items, hoping, at some point, that the delayed gratification benefits start appearing.
During the weight journey, there will be “milestones” that will be reached that may not carry the full “power” of the goals you have when attained when the full amount of weight has been lost. Such milestones may be:
- Changing categories: As an example, dropping the BMI below 30 changes the classification from “obese” to “overweight” and for many people, that “O” word is not a the fun one.
- Being at a weight that you have not seen in several years: Yes, there may still be lots of weight that needs to be lost, but have a recent “self best” number may provide great encouragement to continue.
- Changing one clothes size: Perhaps your goal is to lose many sizes but nailing the first one is a great milestone.
“Patting yourself on the back” (i.e. self-encouragement) is an important contributor to successful weight control efforts. Please take the time to acknowledge your positive milestones, even when there are many more in front of you. Soak in your successes as a way of motivating yourself to continue your efforts to improved health and happiness.