The #1 Health Goal: Losing Weight and How to Succeed Where Others Don't

The #1 Health Goal: Losing Weight and How to Succeed Where Others Don’t

behavior change goal setting health personal growth weight loss Mar 02, 2024

"I want to lose weight"

"I would like to shed some pounds"

"I could be tighter in my skin"

"I'm overweight, I need to lose pounds!"

Losing weight, over and over again. It's by far the most common goal in the gym.

100% of the requests we receive in my gym involve losing weight.

Not surprisingly, as I heard on the radio this morning that we've officially hit the magic number of 1 billion people with obesity worldwide.

Ironically, losing weight is also the goal with the lowest success rate. Failing to lose the desired weight is more the rule than the exception.

How is that so? What stands in the way?

Let me explain in detail.

"It's made so difficult for me"

My colleague spoke to a prospect this week. It was a man with severe obesity.

So severe that his obesity is literally life-threatening: He mentioned suffering from high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and even diabetes.

You would think there's a significant urgency to lose the weight as soon as possible. Preferably yesterday than today.

During an intake interview, we engage people with a series of thoughtful questions. These questions are designed to make someone look deeper into their situation. This depth is necessary to paint a realistic picture of what's needed to achieve their goals.

The man in question said he had tried everything, but nothing worked. He was impressed by the depth of the questions. It quickly became clear to him why we are not a regular gym.

We are not a regular gym. We don't sell gym memberships; we sell life-changing trajectories — but that's beside the point.

This means we ask very honest questions that often put the finger on the sore spot. That happened in this conversation too. We ask questions like these:

  • What do you think will happen if you change nothing about your behavior from now on?
  • What will be the consequence of that?
  • What's the impact on your life?
  • Who else does that affect?

At a certain point, his enthusiastic spontaneous attitude turned into a defensive victim mentality, and he said the following:

"Yeah, but it's made difficult for me, right. For example, when I go to the store, they only want to sell me unhealthy things."

My colleague had a brilliant response to that:

"Those unhealthy things, who puts them in your cart then?"

Why I use this example is not to cast this man in a bad light. On the contrary, I use this example because I want to prevent you from making the same mistake.

This is what happened.

Your Greatest Enemy is Yourself

People wish, want, and dream about all sorts of things. However, wanting something badly does not mean you'll do what's necessary to achieve it.

There's one thing most people do not realize. The only thing standing between you and your goal is you.

Not the grocery store, not the government, not your job, not the kids, nothing but yourself. That's exactly what most people don't want to hear.

As in this case.

The moment light was shed on his own responsibility, his attitude changed. Suddenly, he became a victim. Or more honestly, he played a victim.

He pretends to be the victim of the offerings in the supermarket. You and I know that no one gets overweight from what the supermarket offers. People are overweight because of the choices they themselves make. Deep down, this man knows that too.

But how can it be that he says this so convincingly?

The Enemy in Your Own Story

The only reason he says it's made difficult for him is to place the responsibility outside of himself.

If it's the fault of something or someone else (an external factor), then you are not to blame.

Not really, of course, but in your own story. People don't like to be the bad guy in their own story.

Even if your own choices have led to life-threatening obesity. It's easier to blame something or someone else. Then it's not your fault. How convenient.

But what's the consequence of this behavior?

A Healthy Weight Can't Be Bought

This man is digging his own grave. He digs this through maintaining unhealthy, life-threatening behavior at any cost. This happens by seeing discreet lies as truth.

Why I say this is because this man has made a choice, one that could cost him his life. I'm not exaggerating, from a professional standpoint, I can say this with certainty.

During an intake conversation, we bring someone in contact with themselves on a deep level. People start to see things they didn't see before. The same happened with this man; he began to realize how his unhealthy behavior affected his family, for example. When someone has such a realization, a kind of fighting spirit arises, and then it feels very good to say that things must change. That he’s going to take action. Honestly, that's absolutely true.

However, a few moments later, the solution is presented. This solution includes a huge lifestyle shift, a lot of work, and a financial investment. That's a reality check not everyone can handle.

In the blink of an eye, grand plans turn into giant obstacles. We go from a feeling of invincibility to figuratively "running for life!" — avoidance behavior.

Ironically, running for life in a literal sense would be a better choice. But that's not what happens.

What happens is the following. At the end of the conversation, my colleague gives advice and makes an offer. This offer includes the help we can provide to help him achieve his goals. This offer has two conditions attached:

  1. We need 100% commitment from him to change and do the work that's necessary.
  2. He makes a financial investment.

At that moment, the man picks up the proverbial shovel and starts digging hard. He says the following:

"That sounds very good, I just have to discuss the amount with my wife."

An inexperienced coach would find this a legitimate answer. An experienced coach sees right through it. Now, he’s showing his true colors. This is the real problem of this man: running away from his problems.

You might think: yes, but maybe this man doesn't have the money. I can assure you it's not about the money. In just 100% of the cases (like this one).

Ask yourself this question:

If he paid the said amount and his goals suddenly became reality, would he need to think about it?

Probably, even if he had to pay three times as much, he would do it. The problem is, a lean and healthy body can't be bought, you have to work for it. That's where the hitch arises.

Let's Be Real

If you call a cat a dog, does it become a dog?

Of course not. Yet people do this constantly and thereby shoot themselves in the foot. In this case, even in his belly.

Here's how it ended. After an extensive and energizing conversation, the man went home to "discuss with his wife."

An experienced coach knows this is code for "I don't dare say 'no' (or yes) and am looking for a way out".

Because look at it this way, how can his wife have an objective opinion about this? She didn't have an in-depth conversation with my colleague. My experience shows that people are particularly bad at factually reproducing a conversation.

That means his wife, with a clumsy summary containing less than 10% of the power of the conversation, has to make an objective decision about her husband's future health.

That would be the same as asking his wife in 1993 to invest their savings in the internet, without any idea what the internet exactly is. Any sane person would have their concerns about that.

Did We Live Happily Ever After?

This is how it ended. The agreement was to call a day later at 3 pm. Instead of a promised phone call, my colleague received an email saying "it was too expensive".

If that was really the case, didn't he know that the day before as well? Let’s be real, every person knows their own financial situation. It has nothing to do with that.

What's happening here is someone just letting the chance of their lifetime pass by.

Someone who has tried everything, but nothing seems to work.

Do you know what doesn't work when "something doesn't work"? You.

If you want a different future, you'll have to make different choices.

You'll have to look at yourself in the mirror and take responsibility.

You'll have to take a leap of faith.

You'll have to make choices that hurt at the beginning.

You'll have to bite the bullet, time and again.

Only then there’s a chance of success. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Sooner or later, you'll have to do a risk analysis.

What do I gain by changing and what does it cost me?

What do I gain by not changing and what does that cost me?

Take an honest look, what do you see now?

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