I once saw a cartoon about the differences between men’s and women’s brains. According to the illustration, men’s brains keep everything in their lives separated into nicely organized boxes: a box for relationships, a box for work, and a box for leisure. Women, on the other hand, have no boxes in their brains. Instead it’s just a big squiggle of lines connecting all areas of their lives.
If you are trying to lose weight, you might be compartmentalizing your weight loss experience. Here’s why you need to interconnect weight loss with the rest of your life.
A lot of people I speak to about weight loss try to lose weight independently from the rest of their lives. They try to put weight loss in its own special box.
Why do people tend to do this?
I think the reason is twofold. See if either of these fits you.
First, you want to continue living your life as you always have and don’t think that the rest of your life should be affected by weight loss.
Second, you view the weight loss experience as an item to check off the to-do list of your life.
I was guilty of both of these. I didn’t want to accept the fact that to lose weight successfully I needed to change more than just how much food I put in my mouth. And I surely didn’t want to believe I would have to make any of those changes for a lifetime.
Like many people, I wanted to lose weight and get back to my normal life.
The problem is that for most people who need to lose weight, habits in their normal life are what got them into weight trouble in the first place.
Look at the Whole of Your Life
You are much more than a number on a scale or how many pounds you’ve lost. Simply focusing on reducing the number without taking into account how that number affects the rest of your life is a mistake.
When you begin to lose weight, take inventory of what’s going on in your life. Think about things like:
- How current habits affect your weight
- The role that the relationships in your life play in your weight issues
- How your work affects your weight
- Your emotional eating behaviors
When you answer these questions you will probably see how intertwined your weight issues are with the whole of your life. I know I did.
Because of the natural intersection between your weight and your life, I want you to quit thinking about weight loss as a box to be checked, but instead as a step toward adopting a healthier lifestyle.
When you do that, you will be far more likely to maintain your weight loss for a long time.
So how do you adopt a total lifestyle change when losing weight?
Acknowledge that there are habits, people, and activities in your life that positively or negatively affect your weight. Embrace the positives and work on eliminating or minimizing the negatives.
When I finally changed habits that were causing me to gain weight, dealt with emotions and relationships interfering with my weight loss efforts, and learned to incorporate a healthy outlook on my work–life balance, I not only lost weight but kept it off permanently.