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A Psychological Look - Q&A For Successful Weight Loss And Fitness.

Often when we embark on a weight loss and fitness programs we assess what it is we are looking to change. This is certainly ideal, however there frequently remain various, often uncomfortable questions. Here are five questions you should try to answer.

A psychological look at why we are not succeeding based on personal experience and practice.

Often when we embark on a weight loss and fitness programs we assess what it is we are looking to change. This is certainly ideal, as without it we wouldn't have any bearings to work from, however there frequently remain various unforeseen questions, often uncomfortable and confronting, that are in dire straight of answering.

The Questioning

I would advise you to set down a piece of paper and with a pen answer the following questions honestly and sincerely, there is no point in cheating or lying to yourself, and as you might find, this could be one of the many reasons we are in this predicament in the first place.

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The Questioning.

1. How Did I End Up With The Body I Have?

    What brought you here?

2. Do I Deserve A Healthy, Fit, Competent Body? If Not WHY? If Yes WHY?

    Be very honest.

3. Is My Body The Only Cause Of Concern In My Life?

    List other worries about any aspect of your life that overshadow your belief in being healthy, that take your time, or that are a constant worry.

4. What Was My Family's Value Around The Body?

    How was the body seen, spoken about, was it respected or abused? As in physical abuse in the family, addiction in the family, sexual abuse, anorexia or perhaps a disdain belief of the body being negative, limited, superficial etc.

5. What Is Stopping You?

    This is a hard one- do you often start things and not finish them? Do you get overly energized about starting a new project to find the energy eventually for it fades once you've found something else or something in life that takes your focus away?

    Do you believe you deserve to change? Are you depressed, in a cycle and can't find motivation? Does it all seem too much? (this is a very important question, our ability to not start and finish something is something a lot deeper in our personality make-up and conditioning than we often give credit too).

The Assessing

Now some of these questions seem confronting, as I felt when I first wrote them out for myself, however, my belief is that our psychological make-up, conditioning and functions (or dysfunctions) can play a very big part in not finding the results you feel you desperately want.

The reason I ask you to face these questions is that often and usually more often than not, our belief about our capabilities, our focus, motivation and values hinder us in our progress forward and keep us in the past, reliving a cycle - that could be weight problems, relationship problems, old belief systems and substance abuse.

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The Assessing.

Honesty is the best policy in this process. Now below I will further enlighten on the first five questions earlier.

1. How Did I End Up With The Body I Have?

    This question asks this for you to take an honest look back at your patterns- that being emotional patterns (cycles you went through with your body), physical patterns- not enough exercise, over eating, reasons you believe contributed to your body today.

    We can't assess what needs to change unless we see what we have been doing for years. When this is honestly dissected we can plan so we can't fall short, as they say "failing to plan, is planning to fail." I would clarify these answers you have written and see any cycles emerging.

    "Failing To Plan, Is Planning To Fail."

    We really only live in cycles, until we become aware enough to consciously change, and usually this process is more than change, it is a 'transformation'- a butterfly exiting its cocoon. Really focus on your answers and go within.

2. Do I Deserve A Healthy, Fit, Competent Body? If Not WHY? If Yes WHY?

    This question addresses the values you hold within and over yourself. Values are belief systems that are very, very influential. These can be formed, and often are, at young ages and thus very hard to change, but this can be done. These will be the core to your success.

    The people that have reached their goals have often come to a point of realization that they certainly deserve this, they are worth every second of blood, sweat and tears and they are undoubtedly worth the pride, admiration and glory that comes with victory.

    Do you believe you are? Do you truly believe you are worth living a long, healthy and invigorating existence? The answer might come quickly as a 'yes of course I am'. But please really be honest here.

    Risk Taking
    'Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.' - E. Joseph Cossman

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    If you truly believed you deserved it, wouldn't you already have it? And you might add, "Oh but I've had obstacles ... challenges ... Problems ... etc.," but there is a fundamental difference between the people that succeed- these people don't see obstacles as tribulations, they see them as challenges to overcome.

    This is not to degrade those people who don't believe they deserve a good body, because I had this exact problem. This particular question helps you address perhaps WHY you believe what you believe! Please examine this and really look inside to see what is holding you back.

3. Is My Body The Only Cause Of Concern In My Life?

    This question is asking about other distractions that may take your time away from YOU! Often we put energy into one or two specific tasks, neglecting our mental, physical and emotional health.

    Life is a balancing act, like scales they need to be constantly weighing up and balancing themselves, this is a hard task, but gets easier after practice. I have learned many times that energy is perfectly demonstrated in the analogy of a pendulum.

    If the pendulum gets swung too far one way, say for example you go on a crash diet, eating towards starvation for weeks. Well, the pendulum must always swing back with just as much force the other way.

Anorexia: Food Is The Enemy! Anorexia: Food Is The Enemy!
Over a year ago I was hospitalized for an eating disorder. The following article explains exactly what anorexia is and following afterwards is the story of my experience with it.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Energy creates energy and it is only transferred not lost. Not just often but mostly always these extreme dieters will gain all weight back and more because that pendulum has so much accumulated force. I always think of balancing like this Indian proverb or axiom that says that -

"Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person."
- Rumer Godden in A House with Four Rooms.

    Acknowledge that areas of your life are out of control. If you focus TOO much on your weight, what is happening to all the other 'rooms' in your 'house?' Often when we take our control and resistance to something away, it starts to fit in nicely with other aspects of our lives.

    As they say, "What you resist ... persists." If you are constantly resisting your weight problem, fitness goals etc. and are hiding behind the veil of denial and compulsion they will persist until your dying day.

    The key here is finding a nice balance between all aspects of your life. Learning when to let go and learning when to take action. These are life lessons, not day workshops. So the lesson here is in practice, and practice is here in the NOW.

4. What Was My Family's Value Around The Body?

    One of the questions I believe to be the most important. It can also become complex. Firstly, was your family obsessive around body image? Was it not important at all? Was there any focus on health? Did daddy or mommy talk badly of fat people? Was the body judged? Abused? Assaulted? Degraded? If you are religious, how did the value of the body affect you in your life?

Growing Up, Did Your Family Focus On Healthy Living?


    I will quickly try to dissect some of these factors from some of my reading. I have recently watched an 80's series called 'The Family' by John Bradshaw. It is a knowledgeable and incredible look at the dysfunctional family and even functional families.

    One interesting fact Bradshaw bought up was that we simply model off our parents, they are the calling cards for morals, values and boundaries. Now if parents were not capable of doing this for us, it is easy to be hazy in these areas.

    Particularly of interest was that often if there was an extreme value in the family, one or many children would rebel. For example if Daddy hated fat people, often you will find one child will be overweight in a passive assertion at the father. This may get rather complex, so I advise you, if you are at all interested to find these tapes.

    Obesity Articles:

    Even so, and to a lesser psychological view, as I'm not (yet ;) ) a psychotherapist, it is interesting to note our values around our body when taken in the context of the family. If the family was overweight, chances are you became obsessive about being healthy, or you got caught up collective family weight problem.

    If fat or bodies were judged, perhaps you became overly judgmental of your own, others and/or rebelled in an unconscious manner and became anorexic, bulimic or an overeater. Perhaps you were physically abused, sexually abused or assaulted and this is particularly damaging to values around the body.

F.A.T. - A First Hand Experience. F.A.T. - A First Hand Experience.
While wiping down any traces of my shame, I flushed the toilet for the 2nd time to discard evidence ... Ashamed of the battle with F.A.T., I slowly started to kick the cycle by focusing on ways of improving.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Perhaps nothing occurred for you that were by any nature dysfunctional. Even so, it is very important to view the collective (by that I mean 'family') belief around bodies. No doubt it will point out many ways in which you exert these patterns today.

5. What Is Stopping You?

    This is probably the hardest question! Because chances are if you knew what stopped you, you probably wouldn't be stuck! However, this question needs deep contemplation- and the previous four questions should shed some light on perhaps what does stop you. I'd like to add here a really lovely quote that might help you get started on your fitness journey-

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world."
- Marianne Williamson

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Author, Rachael Welch.

In Closing - Long Due, I Know!

This is how it was when I started my fitness journey, I say journey because the reality of this endeavor will never be a 'quick' trip - if you like your life fast, then I bid you farewell while you progress through speedy-service drive-through lines and are guaranteed a comfortable bed at your nearest medical centre.

This Journey is long and perspiring but it's invigorating, confidence boosting and life changing. Life is already too short to live hard and fast.

Slow down, appreciate the mechanics and beauty of the body, and promise yourself you'll try and investigate every nook and cranny of that spectacular organism- finding the system to run harder, the method to lift heavier, and the astonishment of knowing you can keep finding is what keeps your results imminent.