The first part of this post will irritate you. I promise.
Last time, I shared with you my response to the question “How did you lose the weight?” My response is “With discipline, focus, intensity, stamina, self dialog, and belief.” No very sexy, I know. I promised to unpack this a bit, so let’s start with the “other swear word” called discipline.
Merriam-Webster defines discipline as “a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders.” Ugh. If it were only that simple.
Is discipline only a matter of will power? Sometimes it is. But for those of us that struggle with weight. it is a much more complex problem. Why is discipline so difficult when losing weight and becoming healthier? Let’s look at three reasons.
1. There is no immediate result. In other areas of your life, having good discipline often results in immediate payoff. When cooking, having good discipline means a delicious meal that is consumed on the spot. The immediate feedback of your effort and discipline is happy, full tummies. This is not always true with losing weight. What is the result of NOT eating that plate of tacos? Immediately, nothing. The positive results of having good discipline with weight loss happen very slowly, and that can be discouraging when you are first getting started.
2. Having discipline during weight loss is not something that is routinely celebrated. Sure, there’s celebration at the end when you’ve shed a few pounds, but what about the beginning? What about your very first act of discipline? Can you imagine someone saying, “Hey, good job not eating that entire plate of donuts.”? Yeah, neither can I. Not many people are going to celebrate you following the rules. Most wont even notice. Having discipline can be a very lonely place at first.
3. In other areas of life, failure is seen as an acceptable, natural part of any process. Every great sports team loses a game or two, right? But when failure occurs in weight loss, men usually see this as a breakdown in discipline and personal failure, not a part of the process. The dialog sounds like “I didn’t have enough discipline to avoid the cheesecake. I am a failure.” Even though failure is considered part of every other growth process in life, there is not much tolerance for failure in weight loss.
So what to do with discipline, guys? What do we do with the failure that is sure to come by starting something new? I think one way to tackle this problem is to look at what sits at the core of all discipline. That’s the word no.
It is a powerful word.
Anyone who has kids, been around kids, or was once a kid will tell you the next phrase that follows no is “why?”
And why is a fair question. Because in order to be able to have the discipline to say no, you must first discover the why behind the no.
You are at the office. The plate of Christmas cookies is going around. Everyone is taking one. It is a fun, festive time. The plate comes to you. Do you take a cookie? I mean, what harm will one cookie do? You don’t want to be a rude party-pooper do you? And really, it is just one cookie, right?
So why no cookie?
Because I chose life, over a cookie. Because I want to be able to sit comfortably in a movie theater chair more than a cookie. Because I want to see my kids graduate more than a cookie. Because I love my spouse more than a cookie. Because I hate feeling horrible, out of breath, and tired, more than a damn Christmas cookie.
You must find the answer to your why. It has to be on the tip of your tongue. I want ____ more than I want ____. Notice I didn’t ask you to pretend you hate cookies. I didn’t say try to convince the office to start eating carrot sticks. I didn’t say slap the plate out of the person’s hand and burn down the local cookie factory. But in order to have the discipline to say no to the cookies, you have to want something more than cookies, and have that thing clearly in focus in the front of your mind. Make it your “walking around” knowledge. It will help propel you through those times of temptation.
You are a white belt in discipline. You will fail at discipline for a while as you begin the journey to a new you. Keep trying. Keep your why burned into your mind. As you begin to unleash the person you were designed to be, hold tightly to the why behind your no.
Because I want you to be healthy more than I want to you to be perfect.
You are worth it.
What is the why behind your no? Leave a comment or email me directly. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.