Body Politics

Overcoming self-doubt and fear

Last week, I said I would share with you some common roadblocks that cause people to have a tough time believing they can win at weight loss. Well, it’s that time and here we go!

Mental barrier No. 1 is self-doubt. William Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” Shakespeare hit the nail on the head. Over the years, I’ve witnessed, in many instances, people walking away from achieving weight loss goals because of self-doubt.

When you experience doubt, you experience feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. You see, when you are uncertain about whether or not you are going to win at weight loss, you don’t maximize your efforts and sooner or later you will throw in the towel and give up.

To avoid falling prey to doubt is to first acknowledge what it is that you doubt. To do this, simply ask yourself, “What is it that I am unsure of or concerned about?” Answering this question on a sheet of paper will prepare you to begin the process of discovering a solution.

Dealing with doubt

Valerie, age 46 and 5’2” tall, weighed 275 pounds when I met her. After over a year of coaching, Valerie made little progress in improving her body composition. Finally, one day she walked into my office and confessed to me and to herself that she had doubt that she would ever win at weight loss.

When I asked her why she had doubt, she said, “When I was 26 years of age I had a psychologist tell me that I would never find love until I lost the weight.” Valerie continued to say, “After being fat and single for over 20 years, I am afraid that if I lose the weight I will still be single and alone.” This doubt was doubled sided, as Valerie also felt it would be quite sad to learn that her appearance could be the sole reason she hadn’t found love. Basically, the rebellious side of Valerie helped her to remain overweight because she didn’t want the psychologist to be right.

Four years to the day, Valerie reshaped her body and had released over 100 pounds. During the process of winning at weight loss, she did meet someone and is now happily married. If you were to sit down and speak with Valerie, she would quickly share with you that her success was not an overnight event. It was a process.

The first step of her overcoming her self-doubt was acknowledging she had it. Secondly, she began investing time and energy into her self-worth and importance. At that point, everything else fell into place.

Frozen by fear

Self-doubt may cause you to be cautious or hesitate when faced with opportunities, but it is fear that can imprison you. Little to no progress can be made when fear is part of the equation. Simply put, your drive to win at weight loss is likely to come to a halt when fear is present.

Body Politics

Believe and you’ll succeed

I am the kind of person who buys every exercise and diet book I can get my hands on. My friend says I am looking for shortcuts. I feel I am looking for the secret. Are there any weight loss secrets you can share that would keep me from rushing out to purchase the newest diet book?

— Moreen F., Ventura

Before answering your question, I randomly asked 100 people the question, “If there were a secret to weight loss, what would it be?” and the three most common answers where: “I wish I knew,” “I don’t think there is a secret. It’s just hard work,” and “Eat less and exercise more.”

The only secret is in believing you are going to succeed. Having significant knowledge of nutrition and physical fitness are essential to maximizing weight-loss efforts, but if you don’t first believe you are going to win at weight loss, all the knowledge and know how in the world will mean little to nothing.

I understand you may be thinking it can’t be that simple. Well, it is. The fact is that when you don’t believe you are going to win at weight loss, you’re most likely not going to succeed.

In 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person in recorded history to run the mile in less than four minutes. His actual time was 3:59.4.

I share with you this story because, yeas after Bannister broke the record, he said, “I, myself, did not think it was a physical barrier. The barrier was more psychological than physical.” Even so, Bannister believed he could do it and, after careful planning, his vision became a reality. Today, over 1,000 people have gone on to run the mile in less than four minutes.

You may be the only person in your family, at work, or in your circle of influence that believes you are going to win at weight loss. If this is the case, you are in a healthy place because you believe.

Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Dreams are the basis for our imaginations, and it is dreams that serve as the light to encourage us to believe dreams can become reality.

If you believe you are going to win at weight loss, you don’t have to know everything about nutrition and physical fitness. All that is necessary is for you to first believe and, in time, all will fall into place.

Now, no one said it’s going to be a walk in the park. Adversity is part of the process.

So, to help you better deal with adversity, master communication in your mind and lift any mental barriers you may be facing, I want you to take five minutes and write down any reasons why you may not believe you are going to win at weight loss.

Next week I will share with you some of the common roadblocks to why people have a tough time believing and provide you with a plan to remove the psychological blocks that may be limiting your potential.

Body Politics


Discover for yourself

Ever wonder why one person is successful at weight loss — releasing fat and keeping the weight off for good — and another isn’t? I’m asked this question often. After much contemplation and reflection of the thousands of people I have advised over the years … my answer remains the same: self discovery.

You see, what I have found is that what you discover to be true and to be beneficial for you is one hundred times more powerful than anything I or anyone else tells you. For instance, I can tell you how exercise is going to help you feel better, but until you decide you want to exercise, you’re more likely to remain inactive.

Your doctor may say you need to eat more healthfully. Your loving spouse may support and encourage you to follow the doctor’s orders. Your children may even sit down with you and share how they want you to take care of yourself so that you can be around to see their children grow up. You may even tell yourself that you should begin eating more healthfully, but guess what? If you are like most people, you will continue to do what you do until you discover how to make being healthier work for you.

It’s human nature to rebel against being told both what to do and what not to do. Take the Bible, for instance, which says God gave Adam and Eve the world and only asked that they not eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Unfortunately for Adam and Eve, they fell prey to the inner voice of deception and did what they were told not to do. Parents often experience rebellious behavior from their children after telling them what to do. Time and again, however, adults and children have shared with me that even though their parents were right, something inside of them yearned for independence in the decisions they made and the actions they took.

Believe it or not, folks, many of us are still being led by the same thought process. We don’t like being told or instructed on what to do. This is why it is essential that self-discovery become a key to your winning at weight loss and embracing a lifestyle in which you never gain the weight back. As you discover how to eat healthfully and exercise effectively for yourself, you will become empowered and better able to outwit negative inner dialogue.

In order to move forward and win at weight loss, however, I encourage you to become familiar with the three common roadblocks to self-discovery: pride, stubbornness and ignorance.

First, it’s OK to ask for help. Pride has stopped many people from taking the necessary steps to achieving the desired outcome. Secondly, it’s to your benefit to keep an open mind — be flexible. Lastly, become aware of the advances in nutrition and exercise science, as you can achieve weight loss more easily today than ever before. What I mean by this is that quality fitness equates to less time exercising. Also, it’s becoming a known fact that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring and bland.

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