I know what you’re thinking, how could a secret help me lose weight!? The La Times recently featured a story that made all the sense in the world! You may be keeping this secret right now, or you could have chosen to let loose and tell everyone you possibly could.
Anita Mills was once 382 pounds. One visit to her family doctor forever changed her perspective on weight lose. The doctor gave her four simple rules to lose weight:
1. Eat 8 ounces of food every 3 hours
2. No sugary drinks.
3. Do not skip meals
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY ….
4. Do not tell anyone what you’re doing!
Mills says that these 4 rules helped her to shed 242 pounds. She credits her “little secret” to helping her get through some rough months. Without someone questioning her every bite or persuading her to break her diet, she was able to FINALLY focus on HER goal.
Jon Walz, Anita’s doctor gives this advice to all his clients saying that it’s human nature resist change.
As human beings we have a difficult time with change, Walz said. So when someone we love alters his or her lifestyle, we have a problem dealing with it — even if that transformation is positive. “(They) will try to change them back to what the culture tolerates,” he said.
Dr. Peter Gollwitzer (professor of psychology) outlined how goals can alter behavior in his paper, “When Intentions Go Public.” He claims that everyone has an “identity goal.” Whether your identity is based on your job, your role as a parent or personal growth, everyone has one. In weight loss, identity is based on being successful.
To reach an identity goal, you need indicators of your accomplishments. For a scientist, it’s published research papers or a boss’s recognition. For a dieter, it could be pounds dropped or praise from friends/family when they see how great you look. Gollwitzer’s studies found that when you tell people what you intend to do, and that intention is acknowledged, the recognition qualifies as an indicator of accomplishment, lessening the urge to follow through.
So how do you avoid being part of this thought process? Simple! DON’T SAY A WORD! Another recommendation from Gollwitzer is to lay out your plan and how you want to accomplish it. Lastly, the doctor recommends that you only tell one or 2 key people that can act as allies that can HELP YOU stick to your goals. Chose wisely!
Don’t forget that you are the key to your success. Losing weight for others or for approval from others is a motivation that won’t last. Knowing that you are the sole benefactor should be your main focus!