In December of 2013 I was ecstatic. I had successfully lost 70 pounds over the past five months. That is an average of 14 pounds per month!
When I set out to lose weight back in July of 2013 my goal was to go down from 348 pounds all the way to 275 pounds. What a Christmas present to myself! I was now only a few pounds away from achieving my goal. I was feeling good. Clothes that hadn’t fit for over five years now didn’t fit for an entirely different reason. They were too loose! Since it was the holiday season and since I was so close to achieving my goal I felt like eating a bit more, and going out with friends drinking once again. And that’s what I did.
The holidays came and went. My weight didn’t seem to go down much during that time despite the dramatic losses I had experienced during the previous months. My ritual during my entire weight-loss journey was to weigh in once a week and I had been doing so consistently ever since I started the Take Shape for Life program back in July of 2013. And I stayed with this routine as the new year began despite feeling like I had hit a plateau.
In early February of 2014, I left for a business conference in Philadelphia. This was a five-day trip and there were many temptations. My previous weighing in routine went out the window, and the level of my indulging myself increased somewhat. But what the heck, I’m away from home, I rationalized to myself.
The following Saturday morning arrived and it was time to get back on schedule with my weekly weigh in. Standing in front of the scales, I almost wanted not to weigh in this week since I wasn’t expecting to have lost any weight. In fact, I thought I might have gained a pound or two. With great trepidation I stepped on the scales. And just as I feared, I saw that I had gained six pounds during the past two weeks!
This amount of weight gain was something I hadn’t been expecting, and it woke me up from the complacent feeling I had been experiencing the past several months when I had lost 70 pounds and had felt so good.
I began thinking about my previous history with dieting.
I had lost 70 pounds three times in the past ten years only to put it back on within a year.
I was determined not to allow this to happen again. Immediately I recommitted to my program and to my goal. In fact, I decided to set an even bigger goal for myself. Instead of getting down to 275 I decided I would set my new goal for 235. I hadn’t been down at that weight for fourteen years, back at the time when I had met my wife in Japan.
What I have just shared with you is a true account of how I almost allowed myself to yo-yo diet once again.
Statistically speaking, 85% of people who diet will regain the weight they lost within two years.
What I learned from this experience was a very key lesson on how to avoid yo-yo dieting, and how to make a fundamental transformation in my life. The lesson was this:
Pain will push until desire pulls.
Once I had nearly reached the first goal I had set for myself I had become complacent. The pain had lost its pushing power. This is one of the key factors why people yo-yo diet.
The solution? You have to create a compelling vision for what you want to create in your life. At that point a diet stops being about depriving yourself of food for a short period of time. Rather, it becomes a new way of living. A new lifestyle built on new habits. You don’t want it to stop — you want to experience it more!
So what are the action steps here?
1. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent. When you reach your goal, set a new goal for yourself.
2. Set a deadline to reach your goal. If you have to move the deadline that is okay. But at least this way you remain very focused on taking the daily actions you need to in order to meet it. And if you have to move the deadline then you should ask yourself “Why?”
3. Create a vision board of the amazing future you want to create for yourself. The more specific images you focus your mind on, both visually and mentally, the better you will be at making the short-term sacrifices necessary to achieve your goal.