Feeling Lost in The Woods

  There are few things harder in life than losing weight. It is a daily struggle against the strongest enemy you’ve probably ever faced: yourself! Losing weight demands tons of commitment, self-discipline, motivation, and courage, and many people end up feeling “lost in the woods” and not knowing where to go. One of the hardest things to accept is that when you are losing weight, you are alone. You may have all the support of your doctor, friends, and family, but in the end, you are the only person responsible for losing the weight and becoming healthier—no one else can do it for you. At this point, losing weight often becomes overwhelming, and many people get lost on their way to getting rid of fat and leaving obesity behind. They jump from one diet to another trying to find the magic formula to lose weight overnight, and when the magic formula does not appear, they quit. Let’s face it. When you are 200 pounds above your ideal weight—or even more—and you decide to make a change, you certainly realize that it is not going to be easy. At the same time, though, you’ll probably start having questions like these: When will I get rid of all this fat? Is this gonna take forever? Will I be able to do it? The problem is that these are the wrong questions. If you try to answer these questions, you’ll suddenly find yourself in the same position of many others who have gotten trapped in a fad diet: not achieving their goals, wasting time and money, and only ending up feeling depressed and hopeless once again. I don’t want you to become just another one of these stories. So let’s dive into a scientific principle that will help you achieve real weight loss success.



  Fortunately, there are certain scientific principles that we can apply to increase our chances of achieving our goals in life—including weight loss. And today I want to share with you a powerful principle that you can start applying right now to increase your chances of success when losing weight. What is curious about this principle is that it comes from one of the most unexpected places you could imagine. In fact, you will never find this principle on blogs dedicated to promoting fad diets or even well-known health and fitness websites. The idea I will share with you comes from Harvard Business School. Surprised? I was too. The principle is known as The Power Of Small Wins and is explained by Teresa Amabile, PhD and Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School. Professor Amabile conducted research for about 15 years to determine how small progress affects the performance of people doing complex work inside organizations. She evaluated 26 project teams from 7 different organizations, comprising a total of 238 individuals. Every single day, these participants completed a survey covering their achievements and setbacks during their daily jobs. Professor Amabile ended up reviewing nearly 12,000 responses to her daily surveys and found that small achievements made people feel encouraged and helped them succeed in the long run—even more so than big milestones. But why? According to Professor Amabile, small achievements made the employees feel like they were actively contributing to something meaningful and bigger than themselves, which in turn made them feel strong and motivated. Pretty interesting, right? Now, how do we apply this principle to our weight loss process? The answer is simple but powerful at the same time.  


  Instead of focusing on how much willpower it will take to lose 200 pounds (the big milestone), start thinking about how you can lose your first 3 to 5 pounds (the small milestone). Commit to that goal first, and do not even worry about the other 195 pounds; focus your effort on those first 5 pounds, and everything will become easier. Remember: if you lose 5 pounds this week and 3 pounds next week and you just keep doing that, you’ll wake up one day and realize that you’re no longer obese. Just the other day, I was reading a post on social media from a very frustrated man who was saying, “I get overwhelmed and fail every time I try to lose weight.” He said that no matter how hard he tries, he always ends up eating a lot of fast food. He said: “I can’t help it—every time I try, I realize that is so difficult to get fit that I become depressed and start eating foods that I know are hurting me once again.” Pay attention to the words he uses: “…it is so hard and difficult to get fit…” That right there is the point of this post! Right now, you are not trying to get fit; that comes later. Your first and only goal now is to start losing weight, no matter how much weight you have to lose. When you’re standing in front of the mirror, it may be kind of hard to notice those 5 pounds you lost. But don’t worry about that, because the benefits of losing even a small amount of weight are huge according to science. To give you some perspective, let me tell you a simple fact: losing just 7% of your total body weight may decrease your risk for diabetes by 58%. That means that if you weight 200 pounds, you just need to lose 14 pounds to enjoy these amazing benefits. Which sounds easier to you? Losing 200 pounds or 14 pounds? Of course 14 is much easier. I know that losing just 7% of your weight won’t make you look like a model, but who cares! The first thing you need to remember is that you are not losing weight to make people like you; you are losing weight to get healthier and live longer. Stop caring about others and start being selfish. This is for you, not for them.  


  Fast food is one area where the concept of small wins becomes especially useful since many people who are trying to lose weight find it very hard to give up fast food. We see fast food advertising every day and everywhere. It’s all around us. Maybe you’ve reconnected with a friend you haven’t seen in quite some time and she’s invited you to eat some junk food to celebrate. Or maybe you are hungry when you get home after a very hard day, and you start dreaming of eating your favorite fast food while you lounge in front of the TV. No matter what the specific situation is, if you find it hard to give up fast food, you can apply the principle of small wins to get started making a positive change. How? Let me show you. The next time you go to a fast food restaurant, give up just one small portion of your meal. For example, instead of eating a hamburger + fries + soda, give up the fries. Is that a sacrifice? Of course it is, but after doing it, you will come out feeling like a champion, and you will realize that you have the power to control yourself. Every single time you face a battle with fast food, try to give up a bigger and bigger portion of it. You don’t have to give it up altogether. You just have to give up some of it, some of the time. Every time that you choose a smaller portion, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your weight loss goals.  


  The Power of Small Wins is a powerful principle, but it won’t work on its own. You still need to be committed and push yourself on toward weight loss. However, applying this principle will make things a lot easier. The most important part of this idea is that you will stop dealing with huge goals and instead start building your new body one step at a time. By taking a step-by-step approach, you will also avoid feeling overwhelmed, and giving up will no longer be an option. To make this principle work for you, it is your responsibility to set doable milestones and get them done. I recommend that you set a countdown timer to when you think your small goal should be accomplished; for example, you could say something like: “I will lose 5 pounds within the next 10 days.” Then just set a timer and start working to achieve that goal. I promise that you will feel encouraged as you see your progress and as your major goal comes closer and closer day after day. Well, there you have it. This is how a scientific principle that’s typically applied to business can actually help us accomplish our weight loss goals. If you found this article helpful, share it with your family and friends, and don’t forget to join the conversation in the comments below! And if you have any questions, just contact us by filling out the form available here.
error: Content is protected !!