When you think about dropping a dress size, do you think about the result or the person that you become by achieving that result?
For decades, magazines and social media have tried to give you the solution to drop a dress size in a week. But if you look closely at their ‘solutions’, it’s clear to see that they are just quick-fixes that focus purely on restricting calories and exercising.
Even if you do manage to stick to their rigid rules and lose weight, it always comes back because you haven’t addressed the reasons you became overweight in the first place.
But what if you delved deeper and discovered what led you to put on weight?
What if you began addressing these issues?
And what if you lost weight as well?
The answer — you’d drop a dress size (or more), and become a different person, who would never have to worry about their weight again.
Habits lead to weight gain
Ask anyone what causes someone to gain weight and you’ll probably hear the answer ‘eating too much and not exercising enough’. This is true. Consuming more calories than you burn will lead to weight gain. And this is why diets focus on calories in and calories out. But weight loss is much more complex than a simple caloric formula.
The problem with diets is that they don’t address the reasons people eat too much or don’t exercise enough in the first place. Which is why when people come off the diet, they go back to their old habits, and before they know it, the weight is back, along with more, due to the damage that dieting did to their metabolism.
This is why it’s crucial to overcome your habits and develop new ones, if you want to lose weight and keep it off for the long term.
Habits around food and exercise
For many, the easiest habits to develop are those surrounding food and exercise. While diets focus on restricting calories and burning them off, long-term weight loss occurs as a result of lifestyle changes. That is, developing new habits around how you eat, and how you move.
Someone with poor habits relating to their food and exercise routine can achieve some great results simply by developing new habits. For example, someone who doesn’t exercise regularly will notice a drop in weight simply by developing a new habit and moving more, because they’ll be burning more calories than they used to
Similarly, someone who binges a lot or drinks alcohol regularly will also experience weight loss if they overcome these two habits, simply because they are now consuming a lot less calories than they used to.
Developing new habits around your nutrition and your exercise is powerful and will lead to weight loss.
However — if you fail to address other habits that you have and purely focus on food and exercise, you’ll find that eventually your results will stall, or you’ll go backwards.
The truth is that to change your body shape, you have to change yourself first.
A very common habit
One of the most common habits that lead to weight gain is people-pleasing. Having trouble saying ‘no’ to people even when you want to, putting others before you, at your own expense and being ‘too nice’ are all signs that you’re a people-pleaser.
This habit of saying ‘yes’ to everyone is out of a desire to be liked and accepted by everyone. But the irony is, that while you’re busy trying to get everyone else to like you, the person you need to like you most is yourself. You see, people-pleasing is born out of a lack of self-worth. The reason you spend time running around pleasing everyone else, is because you need everyone else to like you, because you don’t like yourself.
How people pleasing impacts your weight
To illustrate how this habit impacts your weight, let’s look at an example.
Cheryl has always struggled with her weight. In addition, she has always had low self-esteem. She never feels she is good enough, constantly compares herself to other people, and believes that unless she loses weight, she’ll never be happy with herself.
Cheryl has always been a dieter, following one program after another. She gets some results initially, but every time, she ends up falling off the wagon and going back to her old habits. She’s incredibly frustrated by her lack of progress, despite working on it for years.
Eventually, Cheryl realises that diets aren’t the answer, and that she needs to overhaul her lifestyle. She signs up for a 12-month Body & Lifestyle Transformation and believes that she’s finally found what she’s been looking for. However, for the first few months, she finds things a bit of a struggle.
She has a lot going on in her life — a busy job, raising a family, looking after elderly parents, as well as working on her son’s basketball club committee, and trying to keep up with her social circle.
Cheryl believes that in order to make this a lifestyle change, she needs to work on her habits around eating healthy food, and committing to her training schedule. But things keep popping up that continually put a spanner in the works. Either her kids need her to drive them to their social events, her parents ask her to do things for them, and her friends put pressure on her to come out drinking with them.
Cheryl finds it hard to say ‘no’ to all these things because she likes to be helpful and feel needed. So she says ‘yes’ even though she knows it will make her transformation journey a lot harder.
After three months, Cheryl is ready to give up on her weight loss goals because life is just too busy. She’s often missed training because she’s too tired from getting to bed late after working extra hours, catching up with her friends, or running her kids around. She still hasn’t nailed her food prep skills, because her weekends are filled with household chores, and working at the basketball club. And worst of all, she hasn’t lost any weight. She can’t seem to fit everything in, so she thinks she might wait until things settle down and she has more time. She discusses this with her coach, who helps her understand that time isn’t the problem, it’s how she’s spending her time that is making it difficult.
Saying ‘yes’ to her friends, her kids, her parents, her boss, and the basketball club means that she doesn’t have the time to focus on herself. Cheryl’s coach helps her to see that the key habit at play is her need to be liked and accepted, which has caused her to develop a people-pleasing habit. Her coach tells her that if she really wants to lose weight, she must start putting herself first and stop running around pleasing other people. Cheryl had no idea that this was one of her habits, until her coach pointed it out to her. Instead of throwing in the towel, Cheryl committed to working on her habit of people-pleasing.
Together, Cheryl and her coach made a plan and for the next three months, she worked on this plan. She began prioritising herself, to ensure that she had time to prepare healthy meals for the week. She started to say ‘no’ to her boss when he asked her to work late, and instead made sure she was home in time for a healthy dinner rather than grabbing take-away on the way home like she used to. She asked her sister to help with the care of her elderly parents, explaining that she just couldn’t do everything for them anymore, and she resigned from the basketball committee, because she no longer had the time to commit. She also enlisted the help of her family to get the household chores done on the weekend, so she had time for her food prep. While she still catches up regularly with her friends, she now does this over breakfast at a café on the weekend before her weekly grocery shop, or on a weekly walk, instead of going out for drinks at night like she used to do.
Cheryl found that saying ‘no’ and prioritising herself meant that she had the time to be able to develop habits that have enabled her to be consistent in her training and her weekly food prep, and have helped her to reduce stress, get more sleep and feel more energetic than ever.
After three months of practicing these habits, Cheryl no longer felt guilty about saying ‘no’ to other people. She was also delighted to discover that she had dropped a dress size.
Habits change your life
Many people make the mistake of thinking that their life will change when they lose weight. They think that dropping a dress size will make them happier, more confident and result in a healthier lifestyle. But in reality, it’s the other way around.
To be able to drop a dress size (or more), you have to develop new habits, and overcome old ones. You need to become a different person to the person you were before. You have to start putting yourself first, prioritising your goals and drop the habit of people-pleasing. You also have to learn to love yourself. If you don’t, you’ll continue to be a people-pleaser and your weight will continue to yo-yo.
In the case of Cheryl, her weight only began to change when she began addressing her keystone habit of people-pleasing. Until then, she was letting everyone else’s needs come before her own, which meant she was unable to fully commit to her weight loss journey.
The same applies for everyone. If you have habits that are preventing you from fully committing to the actions you need to take in order to reach your goals, you need to address them first. All the dieting and exercising in the world won’t allow you to lose weight and keep it off, if you don’t change your habits first.
Drop a dress size or more this year
If you have some habits that are preventing you from losing weight, we can help you. We have helped countless people drop habits that have been with them their whole life, that have prevented them from having the body they want. To find out how you can do the same, sign up to our FREE weight-loss eCourse by clicking the button below and entering your email. This eCourse, delivered straight to your inbox, will give you the steps you need to finally lose weight and keep it off. Plus, you’ll get a SNEAK PEEK of our Confidence Avalanche Body & Lifestyle Program.
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What was the most surprising thing you learned in this blog? Let us know in the comments below.