There is a time for thinking, a time for analyzing, and a time for assessing. There is also a time when you have to move from the thinking phase to the action phase – at least when it comes to weight loss.
I see a lot of people in real life, people I have coached over the years, and bloggers who want to stay in the thinking phase for a very, very long time. In fact, I’m friends with people who have been stuck in the thinking phase for years.
I understand this tendency because I too spent a lot of time thinking about losing weight and much less time actually taking the steps necessary to lose weight. For example, I would spend months thinking about all I needed to do to prepare my pantry for weight loss but not take the steps to get rid of the junky food or actually buy healthier foods. Another example is an acquaintance of mine who talked for years about how she was working on improving how she felt about herself so she would feel ready to lose weight. That was 15 years ago.
Now, not everyone gets stuck in that cycle. A lot of people (myself included) spin their wheels in the thinking phase for a long period of time and then finally start taking actions to meet weight loss goals. Although the phrase “better late than never” is often quoted, when it comes to weight loss, “sooner is better than later” also applies.
The health implications of weight loss magnify and often increase in severity the longer a person is overweight, and frankly, the toll on your self-esteem is more apparent the longer your struggle with obesity. (Here’s an article from the Harvard School of Public Health on the health consequences of obesity.) For these two reasons alone, it is important to take the steps needed to proactively lose weight.
If you are stuck in the loop of over thinking or over analyzing the weight loss process and having trouble taking those first steps, I’ve put together a list of ten things you can do this week to get started. And even if you aren’t stuck in the over thinking loop, but rather have a hard time starting, this list may help you as well.
1. Make the decision to start. Write down a commitment to yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are going to start, or find an accountability partner that you can be totally honest with and share your decision with him or her.
2. Check with your doctor.It’s always a good idea to get a check-up and see where you are health wise. Get your blood sugar and cholesterol numbers and talk with your doctor about whatever weight loss plan you are interested in following.
3. Write down five reasons you want to lose weight. Be brutally honest with yourself. My list would have looked like this:
- Feel better about myself
- Look better
- Be able to walk without getting out of breath
- Stop getting into tight situations such as being stuck in restaurant booths or not fitting into chairs.
- Have more energy to keep up with my children and do day-to-day activities.
4. Take your measurements and current weight and write it down. This is never pleasant but can be eye opening and a bit depressing. It gives you a benchmark for future progress. I wish I had taken my measurements more regularly along the way. I did weigh everyday but did not measure myself very often.
5. Set realistic goals. I encourage my clients to set goals in three areas: Weight, Fitness, Personal Goals
6. Decide what weight loss plan you want to try and write down any food you need for the coming week. With so many plans out there it can be hard to know what to do. I’d encourage you to chose a plan that offers you the ability to eat a wide variety of foods to give you adequate nutrition and avoid the feeling of deprivation that often comes with changing how you eat.
7. Write down a menu plan for the coming week and go shopping. Just do it. Use the Internet for recipes, google recipes that are associated with healthy eating or your particular plan, or use your favorite “diet” cookbook.
8. Identify barriers to starting. A barrier could be something as simple as not having the right tools in your kitchen to prepare the meals you desire to as complex as having a spouse or family member who is not supportive. There are few barriers you cannot overcome but some barriers are definitely easier to overcome than others.
9. Set up a way to monitor your progress. You may want to use a website such as My Fitness Pal or Sparkpeople, use an Excel spreadsheet, or even a simple paper journal. There is no wrong way to do this. You have to do what works for you and use what fits within your lifestyle.
10. Just do it. As the Nike commercial slogan says: “Just do it.” You have to stop thinking and not taking action and start thinking and taking action.
Thinking is good and important, but thinking alone will not cause you to lose any weight. It’s almost like wishing you would lose weight and being frustrated when nothing happens.
How did you overcome simply thinking about weight loss and move to “doing” weight loss? Diane