We’ve all been there, seriously gung ho about losing weight, getting into our ideal bodies, feeling light and hot and free from all the body shame. For a short stretch of time, we are on fire. Then, life happens, overwhelm ensues, motivation wanes and before we know it, we are ten pounds heavier than when we started eating an entire bag of chocolate covered pretzels, downing a bottle of wine, and then crying to the Gods, “How did this happen?!?!”
Was that just me?
Starting is easy. It’s exciting. It’s fun. Who knows what could happen?! It is the follow-through that can prove not only challenging, but downright insurmountable, which leaves us in a constant holding pattern, grabbing for the next quick fix, wondering “Will this work for ME?”
Here’s the good and bad news There is no quick fix. There is no band-aid. There is no pill. Just like any project, losing weight sustainably takes time and effort.
Most people equate this with drudgery and deprivation but I know it DOES NOT have to be that way. In fact, the more depriving and “all or nothing” the approach, the less likely people are to succeed. The more pleasurable and enlightening the process of change, the more sustainable.
I know I have some seriously creative people reading, so I’m going to draw an analogy. When you are working on a creative project you are excited about, it’s not just about the big reveal, right? It is about the bonding with others and yourself, the self-discovery, the setbacks, trial and tribulations, the blood, sweat and tears that all culminate in something beautiful that you create. It is the journey that makes it something truly significant. There are some days that are gloriously awesome, and you are on top of the world. The next day, the worst slip up in the world can follow and you end up screaming at the heavens again but you learn just as much, if not more from those “bad days” the good ones. Oftentimes the worst valleys are followed by a steep elevation in understanding and the project starts to pick up speed.
Thing about a health project in the same way: the ride and the self-discovery that culminate in an amazing transformation. There will be slip ups, set backs and incredible successes. It is all a part of the journey. In the beginning, you could never quite have envisioned how magical the project would become. All of those experiences brought it into fruition.
So, now that we have accepted that weight-loss or a similar health project will be gloriously IMperfect and that is not only OKAY, but actually IMPORTANT for sustainable success, I have a formula to share that will aid in the actual follow-through part.
I got this baby from an amazing woman named Marie Forleo (check her out to the left). If you don’t know who she is, you probably will soon. She has been recognized by Oprah, Tony Robbins and Richard Branson as a thought leader for the next generation. She is part business strategist, part marketing maven and part spiritual ass-kicker with a side of hip-hop swagger. She created B-School, a massively successful program to help female entrepreneurs create a life and business they love on their own terms. I have been through her program (I am a big time believer in investing in myself) and have employed her Follow-Through formula not only for my business, but for my clients in their health projects.
So, first decide and get REAL with what you are wanting to accomplish and the time-frame in which you are going to accomplish it.
Now, follow this formula to set the conditions for inevitable success:
1) If it ain’t scheduled, it ain’t real. It is human nature to procrastinate, so we must create the space and schedule the moving parts of our projects so we are accountable to them. Any old calendar will do, but I find google calendar best because you can sync multiple calendars on your smart phone, share it with your partner (so they know not to schedule you). So, if you are trying to create the space to cook more (key for weight-loss), schedule when you are going to the grocery store, when you are prepping food for the week, self-care time and when you are moving that bod of yours. If you leave big chunks of time unaccounted for, activities tend to slip away and BS starts to take up the time and we say “screw it.” Plan out your week and that includes chunks of time where you are doing absolutely nothing and wasting time. That is important to prevent burn out.
2) Inner chaos creates outer chaos. If your mind is filled up with fears, anxieties, all the things you SHOULD be doing, the constantly running to-do list, it creates outer chaos because you can’t successfully focus on one task at a time without all the mind-buzz and chatter. Get it out. Write down all your fears and anxieties on paper (ex. I’m afraid I will succeed and gain the weight back, I’m afraid I’ll lose my best friend if I lose a lot of weight, I’m afraid I will have to buy new clothes, I am afraid I’ll fail in an epic way.) Say them out loud and release them. It’s okay to be afraid. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Write down the to-do list, and prioritize it. Anything that isn’t relevant right now, put in a section on your computer called “back-burner ideas” for months or years from now. Write down all the things you SHOULD be doing. Cross out anything that isn’t directly related to your priorities at that moment, which by the way, should be no more than 5. Make a decision to put all the currently irrelevant mind-chatter/to do’s/shoulds in a magical bubble and give yourself permission to blow that bastard away.
3) Clear the Clutter. We can’t create something out of nothing. We need to create the space for it in our lives, which may take some rearranging. It may even take some growing some balls and asking for what you need. So, ask yourself, “Is there anything in my life right now that I can see standing in the way of this goal?” If the answer is time, it may mean cutting down on the social time, asking your boss if you can actually take that lunch hour, or asking your partner to help with the laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping you can take that yoga class on Thursdays. If your obstacle is more social (“I bond with my friends by drinking,” “my wife keeps a lot of sugar around the house”), it may be time for some new conversations with those people. So, make a list of all the possible obstacles and start getting real with what can go or how you can support your own choice.
If you are worried about going all MIA and disappointing people in your life, have private conversations with them. Explain to them that you may be less visible for a while and that it’s not because you aren’t committed to the relationship, but because you need to focus on yourself more than have in the past. Dare to be vulnerable.
4) Hop on the No Train. Stand in your empowerment and start getting comfortable utilizing NO a lot more often. You can be nice about it but remain steadfast. You are allowed to decline invitations to events if they don’t fall in your priorities right now or you don’t really want to go. You are allowed to say NO to your aunt’s garlic bread or rhubarb pie (especially if you don’t really like them anyway). Just are allowed to say NO to spending your money on an expensive baby-shower gift when you need it to take yoga classes around the corner.
5) Social Accountability. Make your goals known. For a lot of people, this is super scary. If you tell the world you are trying to lose weight, or deal with your sugar addiction, or clear up your skin for good, it can feel super vulnerable. Plus, you run the risk of failing in front of them. I get it. I know because when I told the world I was becoming a health-coach, I was terrified I would fail big time and everyone would laugh at me. If I listened to that fear, I may never have achieved a full practice and a job I love on my own terms.
By telling people around you what you are doing and why, you are also investing in yourself in a new way. Suddenly, when you are out to dinner with them, you are aware you have made your goals known, and it informs your decision. Plus, you can then go to them for support. By making your goals known, you are setting a new standard for yourself and saying “I believe I can do this.” Because you don’t want to fail publicly, you may be more likely to hold your ground when your will power starts to diminish. You will dig deeper to overcome.
So, there you go. You get Marie’s formula for free! Please share what you found most helpful! Jump in the conversation!
Rock On and Be Well,