February 2, 2017

Slimmer of the Year finalist, Chris F, lost 12.4kg and 42cm.

Outstanding results don’t come naturally. Expertise and the achievement of goals requires effort over a long time, making mistakes and trying again. For most of us, losing weight is no different: a few steps forward, a step back, move forward again.

Instead of an all-or-nothing, success-or-failure approach, we should be treating weight loss as we do any other endeavour.

The baby learning to walk doesn’t give up because she falls down. She has support and encouragement around her, saying “Up you get” and so she does. She manages a few steps and is motivated by rapturous applause to take a few more steps. She looks around and sees smiling faces, and she loves the feeling of achievement and success.

She doesn’t focus on the falls; she focuses on the all-important successes.

Every one of us went through this process. We learned how to walk, ride bicycles, write, and brush our teeth using a similar process. Trial and error. Practice.

When did we lose the ability to accept a learning mentality? When did we expect perfection at the start?

Losing weight can be an emotional journey. There’s motivation and trepidation in the first days, elation at the first weigh-in, pride at sticking to the plan. It’s easy to take the next step forward.

Conversely, there’s despair if the scales move in the wrong direction, guilt at eating something ‘bad’, disappointment at ‘failing’. For some, it’s easy at this point to give up.

It’s essential to keep emotions and results in perspective. Emotions are often dictated by results, but the reality is that results are simply a reflection of behaviours. So, focus on the behaviours.

Think of losing weight as a learning process: you know how to eat, but the learning occurs by figuring out the foods, and amounts, and the eating times, that best suit your body. Once that is figured out, results take care of themselves.

From the outset, accept that there will be mistakes. Accept that the scales won’t always move in the direction you want. Accept that despite your best endeavours, you’ll sometimes make mistakes. This is all part of learning.

Stick with it. The longer you do, the more you learn and the fewer mistakes you’ll make. Results can and will be yours.