You need a compelling reason to say “no” to something good so you can say “yes” to something better. I recently heard a man describe his fail diet attempt with what he called a “food coach.” His predicament is unfortunately the norm and not the exception.
After seeing a friend lose close to 40 pounds, this man decided to join the same program and hired his now thinner friend’s nutrition consultant, which he named his food coach. During their first two-hour call he got the marching order on what to do for the first week, including keeping a log of all his caloric intake while using his coach’s advice on what and what not to eat. At the end of week one he had gained 7 lbs. During the second call, his coached fired him. "Whenever you are ready, you can call me," he recounted the conversation to several men as he humorously chronicled his failed attempt at losing weight.
As I thought about the incident, I know why he couldn’t lose weight. His coach was right and he was not ready. Unless there’s a motivation tied to a goal, it’s hard for any of us to change a pattern of behavior that has defined us over a period of time. Why should I say no to warm doughnuts on a Sunday morning? Why should I eat grilled fish when my entire family is eating fettuccine Alfredo with a loaf of bread?
The answer to those questions will determine your ability to persevere or succumb to the temptation. And the answer might be different to each of one of us. I have some friends who are at risk for heart disease whose answers to these questions have to do more with survival than with vanity. For me, if you ask, my ability to say "no" to a lot of tasty treats has mostly to do with health but a lot of it is pure vanity. Yes, vanity.
I love the way I feel when I’m not carrying extra weight and I’m able to run faster and get more done during the day, but I also like the way my clothes fit and how I look when I’m at my optimum weight. I remember looking at a picture of myself 25 pounds heavier and thinking, "That’s it. I’m making a change today." That was the beginning of a transformation. It happened over a year ago. To date, I’m still on the program.
Whatever your motivation, you need to see the value in changing your habits and creating an achievable goal or you will, most certainly, not succeed. Hiring a nutritional coach, a personal trainer and even buying diet pills can only help once you’ve done business with your mind, found your motivation and set your goal.
Do you have any health/vanity goals? How are you doing?
Maurilio Amorim is CEO of The A Group, a media and technology firm in Brentwood, TN.