Why do you want to lose weight?
What motivates you to keep going?
Understanding why you want to lose weight can be more important than how?
The “who” is you and the “what” is weight loss. The “how” hopefully is, or at least includes, diet and exercise. But, what about the “why”?
The why is different for everyone and hopefully you’ve taken some time to write down your personal why. Here we’ll talk about why having a why is important for weight loss and talk about some possible motivations that could become your why.
The Importance of Your Why
The “why” of weight loss is your motivation. If someone asks you why you’re trying to lose weight and you don’t have an answer, it probably means that you aren’t going to be very successful on your weight loss journey.
Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult and it’s something that no one can do for you. It takes dedication and willpower. The idea isn’t that you can’t do it, the idea is that you have to want to.
But, why should you want to? There’s this idea out there that losing weight is a sort of Socratic good – that it doesn’t need a reason to be good, it just is. Like Van Morrison's lyrics I always remember for some reason “it ain't why, why, why, it just is! Maybe that's enough for you and that’s okay.
But if not, what are some things that could be your why?
A Long Life Could Be Your Why
One great why has to do with lifespan. It doesn’t matter whether you’re up there in years or not, carrying unhealthy weight shortens your life. It's just a fact. Several of the most common causes of death in America are symptoms of a group of illnesses called Metabolic Syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of diseases that are more common in people with unhealthy weight. They include heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions.
The desire to stay alive can be a pretty powerful why. There’s a saying these days that most people say jokingly: “I’m here for a good time, not for a long time.” Maybe it’s funny to say but actually being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes or other warning signs for an early death should change that tune.
Mobility Can Be Your Why
Another great why for you could be mobility or activity. It’s partially a great why because it’s also a great how.
Carrying extra weight makes it more difficult to engage in physical activity. Not only does this limit your options when it comes to what activities you would like to engage in, it also leads to a slippery slope in which high bodyweight makes it harder to be active and not being active makes it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
You might say that physical activity isn’t for you. But, if you think about all of the kinds of physical activity that are out there – from walking to running or hiking to biking or swimming or dancing – it becomes harder to believe that you really aren’t interested in it at all. Right? Right!
Mental Health Can Be Your Why
One possible why has to do with happiness and self-esteem. Studies have shown that engaging in physical activity makes you happier and more mentally healthy – whether you’re overweight or not.
This can be a sort of half-why. If physical activity makes people feel better regardless of whether they are overweight or not, then weight loss doesn’t need to be your reason to exercise even though it can contribute to weight loss.
We’ve talked already about how being fit might not be a priority in your life philosophy. One thing that most people do consider a priority is self-control. This is something that you can practice by watching what you eat and how often you work out. In this way, your why for weight loss can be a mental one rather than a physical one.
Your Family and Friends Can Be Your Why
Finally, weight loss is something that you need to do but YOU don’t need to be the reason that you do it. It may be that you really don’t care about your health or really haven’t found an activity that you care about and don’t feel the need to improve your mental or physical health.
But, there are probably other people in your life that love you, that are worried about you and your health. In the absence of your own why, you can always use someone else as your why.
There are a lot of reasons that a why can help you to lose weight. There are also a wide variety of things that can serve as your inspiration if you haven’t found one yet. So, find your why and be the best YOU that you can be.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode