Yesterday I had several of my patients, during their weekly visits, lament that their motivation has been lacking. They did not lose weight for the last several weeks, feel frustrated and find themselves going back to old habits. These habits include: snacking on derailing foods at night, drinking more alcohol than they were when weight loss was occurring, not planning their meals, not generating a shopping list before going to the stores, etc, etc.
My recommendation: Get out several 3X5 cards and on each of those cards, place 4-5 bullet points that represent the major reasons why the person wants/needs to lose weight. Some of these reasons may include:
- Getting off of medication(s) that are being prescribed for weight-related co-morbidities, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, acid reflux etc
- Fit into those beautiful/stylish clothes in the closet that do not fit
- Feel more energy
- Look younger
- Reduce/eliminate knee, back or other weight-bearing joint areas
- Being able to keep up with your children/grandchildren
Many more bullet points could be added that would be in the top 4-5 reasons people want o shed weight.
Once 4-5 of these cards are generated, post them to areas that will allow you to see these reasons before reaching for those derailing food/drink items:
- The pantry, where the snack foods, such as chips and cookies are stored
- The refrigerator/freezer, where the ice cream resides
- The work desk, where people will often snack in an absent-minded state as they are focusing on work
- The car, where we will be when tempted to go through a fast food drive through
Try as best as possible to remind yourself WHY weight control is so important to you. By doing so and taking a few second delay from the derailing action, you may decide that the long-term gratifications that weight loss brings us is a much better choice than the eating/drinking activities that harm us.
In this day and age of smart phones, tablets and other electronic devices, use of the old fashioned 3X5 cards has diminished dramatically. We must remember that 40-50 years ago when electronics like we have did not exist, the obesity rate in America was 3.5 X LESS than what the rates are now. Clearly, old fashioned 3X5 cards have a better chance of helping us shed weight than the newest I-Phones. Use them!