I see them all the time at the local courthouses – tremendously successful business people, clerks, attorneys and judges – well respected for their business acumen or understanding of the law, yet massively overweight or even morbidly obese. I also see a familiar look of frustration in their faces. These men and women, accomplished professionals in their fields, have not been able to successfully overcome their eating.
From within, I know the feeling – I had “climbed” the business ladder and the athletic ladder to comfortable levels of success, and yet I could never keep my waistline below 48 inches. Year in, and year out, I made goals, read books, found inspiration around me, and used it to build my various successes – but I could never apply it to my eating and exercising!
Many of these men and women have fought, like I had, for decades to overcome social prejudices and professional obstacles to attain these life successes, but felt a great personal disappointment at the area of their life that was so visible to the rest of the world, and so clearly unsuccessful. I would talk with many of my peers to figure out what we were missing, what we doing incorrectly to apply the same focus and discipline to our obesity.
After years of struggle; crash dieting and binge eating, resolutions and promises made public and private, small fortunes spent on this diet or that, countless hours of conversation and examination of my behaviors – I came to understand a fundamental concept.
If we (the majority of the millions of obese and overweight individuals worldwide) gained this weight in small, unnoticeable increments; if we had added imperceptible amounts of weight to our frames over years, without any conscious thought – What if we could take it off that same way?
After all, the successes in our other areas of life were built upon small steps repeated day after day, week after week. Couldn’t we break down the weight loss process into a barely noticeable succession of tiny actions repeated daily? The life goals we had achieved didn’t require, or permit 100% focus at every moment of the day. Certainly, I had always worked toward the goals of this promotion or that athletic accomplishment. But, unlike my previously UNSUCCESSFUL periods of dieting, I didn’t focus exclusively on it. In other words, life marches on.
On a daily basis, animals had to be fed, houses had to be cleaned, yards had to be mowed, bills had to be paid, etc. I did all of those things while finishing a degree, applying for jobs, and training for athletic events. During these times, I didn’t tell every one of my friends and family my every action or success (like calling my friends to relate my daily struggle with a candy bar). To those of us motivated by goals and believing in the constant need of focusing on those goals, it seems contrary to success – but the truth is, if we make permanent, sustainable weight loss a LIFE goal, instead of a temporary goal, it fits into the groove of daily life – instead of becoming the obsession of every waking moment.
While still having a goal of a certain size or pair of pants, we can cut this pervasive battle of obesity and food down to a daily action that is neither big or small, good or bad – it simply is.
As we must eat to live, we can use this shift in perception to conquer decades of morbid obesity and food obsession without giving our lives over to it. Consider this – what were you doing two years ago today? What size or weight were you? Chances are good that you have been battling obesity and weight loss for more than two years…doesn’t it make sense to lose a lifetime of weight over an extended period of time?
What if, daily, we could just do one or two SMALL things to change our bodies? What if we make this process of battling morbid obesity similar to getting a degree? It may have taken you two or four years (or MORE!) for your professional degree…and yet, it is going to provide you with payoffs for decades. Why not look at losing weight the same way?