Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) gives you the freedom to take control of your mind and your body. This self-knowledge is the key to becoming a formerly overweight person.
Imagine getting in the car to go on a family vacation without a clear idea of where you wanted to go. You’d drive around aimlessly, and you would certainly get somewhere, but it probably wouldn’t be the same place you’d end up if you’d chosen a destination at the start. It’s the same thing with weight loss.
Here are some tricks to get your head looking in the right direction. Do that and your body will follow.
Any behavioral psychologist will tell you that you are more likely to achieve change in your life if you have a specific picture in your mind of how you want to change. So set a specific goal for your weight loss. Planning to lose 35 pounds, for example, is far better than planning to lose “some” weight. You will likely lose some weight, but you probably won’t lose the full 35 unless you hold it in your mind as the destination of your journey.
In other words, once you’ve said, “OK, I will lose 35 pounds and I will weigh 140 pounds again,” go even further. Instead, imagine how your body will look. Think about the clothes you hid in the back of the closet that you’ll be able to wear again and the admiring looks from your friends and family. Imagine actually being comfortable in shorts or a bathing suit or feeling confident on the ski slopes or going for a jog. If you are like many people, over the years that you’ve gained weight, your world has gotten a bit smaller. When you went to a pool party, you came up with some excuse to avoid going in the water. When your kids wanted to play, you just weren’t up for it. When your friends hiked up a hill with ease, you had to lag behind, huffing and puffing—or had to just call it quits. At work, you may have had a great idea at a meeting but been too self-conscious about getting up in front of the group to express yourself. Imagine all the things you will be doing with ease and pleasure with your friends, family and coworkers. Visualize, visualize and visualize. Then go out and make it happen!
Having a specific goal also helps you monitor your progress as, week after week, you get to see the pounds vanishing. So when you’ve sent 15 of those 35 pounds reeling into oblivion, you know you’re almost halfway there. After so many years as the enemy, the bathroom scale and the measuring tape are about to become some of your best friends. The mirror, too. You know that mirror, the one you could barely look at? And when you did, some overweight person you barely recognized stared back.
Rethink the Meaning of the Word “Diet”
There are people who don’t ultimately succeed with the Atkins Nutritional Approach because they can’t get past the notion that a diet is something they get on and then get off, as you would a bus. But a true “diet” is not an excursion. Such individuals—who get on and then off Atkins—are often the people who need to lose 40 pounds but lose interest at 28. Then they go back to their old way of eating, and four or five months later they’re back where they were to begin with. Typically, each excursion and retreat leaves them with a few more pounds than the last time. Don’t be that kind of person!