Today, I’m going to talk more about the five PRINCIPLES we first discussed last week, The Five Principles of BODY FREEDOM. These five principles are universal laws that will move you from feeling stuck in your body to achieving permanent weight loss and BODY FREEDOM. If you’re suffering from weight loss fatigue, always thinking about weight and food, and feel like you’re not in control, these principles are for you. Following these principles will help you to achieve body freedom, where you are happy with your body physically and mentally, and you establish healthy eating habits that become second nature.
You will move to the point of an empowered mindset, knowing what, when, and how much to eat, and you can choose to indulge without feeling guilty. BODY FREEDOM is the point when you are in full control of your eating habits and have a healthy relationship with your body and with food. To get to the point of BODY FREEDOM, we follow the five principles. Last week, I talked about the first principle, which is creating a plan that’s right for you. It is essential to have a plan to provide you with structure, direction, and clarity in your weight loss journey.
The Second Principle: Your “WHY”
The second principle is your “WHY”. Your “WHY” does not just mean an impulsive urge to lose weight, as these bursts of motivation and excitement are often short-lived. It’s necessary to achieve true motivation – a deeper, intrinsic motivation that will push you through the hard times and keep you on track. Motivation is not deep enough if it’s coming from a place of: “I want to look good for my high school reunion” or “I want to look good for my friend’s wedding.” While these can be motivational influences, it isn’t enough when it comes to achieving body freedom. We’re talking about permanently putting the whole challenge of losing weight behind you.
How Do I Find My Motivation?
Your “WHY”, your reason for wanting to lose weight, needs to be very value-driven. It needs to be about something that is very important to you. If you look at your life and your value system, losing weight is about more than just looking good, or the number on the scale. Maybe your desire to eat well and lose weight is because you love your body, you want to take care of your body, and you believe that you are worth it. You want to learn about yourself and get through to the other side; that takes tenacity, and it’s not always going to be easy. The only way that you can do this is by really connecting your reason for wanting to lose weight with the things that are important to you – and only you can answer that.
Developing your “WHY” does take some work. At surface level, many people think they want to lose weight to fit into their old clothes. Sure, I get it, and I’m excited about that as well. But why is that actually important to you? One method for figuring out your “WHY” is by recording yourself answering these questions:
“Why do you want to lose weight?”
As you come up with your first level of answers, you then ask:
“Okay, but why is that important?”
Complete this several times until you reach a deeper, value-driven reason.
Real Life Example
I had one client several years ago, whom I completed this exercise with. She had two young children, and after gaining weight, she found she was not able to enjoy and partake in some of the activities they would do, like bike riding. She took their family photos, and wasn’t in them, because she didn’t want to be in front of the camera. So, she identified her “WHY” was that she was missing out on experiences with her family. This was something very important to her, because she wanted to be able to join in on experiences with her kids.
After this realization, her motivation increased dramatically. And this type of motivation is not an excited, manic motivation. It’s an inner drive, where you want something to happen and you’re going to make it happen. So, your “WHY” is extremely important, as is having ways to remind yourself of it. Reminding yourself of your reason for losing weight is strong enough to override the short term pleasure of a donut, chocolate, beer, glass of wine, or whatever it is that might be pleasurable in the moment, but ultimately is sabotaging your journey.
The Beauty of Your “WHY”
There we have the first two principles: having a plan, and establishing your “WHY”. You can see that the first principle of having a plan is much more logistical, whereas the second principle is much deeper and more value driven. I will continually ask clients these types of questions, about their “WHY” and their values, and they learn a lot about themselves. They realize what’s important to them, and that’s an amazing thing.
This journey can be very enlightening and fulfilling, because once one discovers why they want to do this, they can refocus the time and energy spent on weight and food, towards the things that are actually important to them. This creates a much higher level of fulfillment, and the desire for these short term pleasures that one can get from food begins to diminish. Ultimately, this makes the entire journey of eating healthy and losing weight much easier, as you intrinsically want to eat well most of the time. I like to go by the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time you eat well, you’ll be fine. And yes, there will be birthday cakes, and special dinners, and that’s okay once in a while.
I encourage you to give these questions some thought. Ask yourself: what is your “WHY”? And ask yourself several more times: “but why is that important to me?” When you get to the crux of it, often it’s quite an emotional feeling, and that’s what you need to hang on to. You will then have a much higher likelihood of following through to the other side, and achieving body freedom, where you can feeling good in your body and feel empowered to make healthy choices. If you would like to learn more about this topic, return here next week when I will be talking about the third key principle in achieving BODY FREEDOM.