psychology of weight loss

The Psychology of Weight Loss (Good TED Talk!)

TED Talk about weight loss: If you are trying to lose weight or start a diet without addressing the psychological component of weight loss, you might be doomed to failure.

Here’s a really good, motivational TED talk, by Laurie Coots, about weight loss that focuses on the all-important psychological component of losing weight:

(Click above to play the TED Talk video)

So, that was me in 2006. I weighed over 300 pounds I had triglycerides of 500, and I had just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Now, Type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

I like to imagine it as this sugar sludge going through my bloodstream to the soundtrack of Jaws!

Like 30 million other Americans, I was sent home with a diet, a prescription, and a little booklet about my disease, and as I dug into it, I learned a dirty little truth; two, actually:

Two Truths of the Psychology of Weight Loss:

The first truth says, in America if you’re diagnosed with type two diabetes, you carry the same health risk as somebody who has already had one heart attack.

Second, the object of the game, unlike cancer or anything else, is to “manage” your diabetes; not cure you.

So, your doctors will work very very hard to try to prevent complications that might ruin the quality of your life or kill you.

So, I knew that this was not going to work for me. I was a hard-charging type a global executive and “managing” my diabetes was not going to be an option.

There Was Nothing Physically Wrong With Me

So, I enlisted the help of the people at Canyon Ranch in the medical department who I knew were a little bit more ambitious, and here’s what we learned on a lesson on a journey that actually took us five years.

I learned that even though I was 300 pounds and had type 2 diabetes, my body was absolutely perfect the way it was; for the way I was feeding it the way I was moving it and the way I was resting it.

Quite frankly, if I wanted a different body or I want a different health, I had to change the equation somehow.

The second thing I learned was to imagine my future healthy self, and started living that life now.

What kinds of foods, how many calories would I need to maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime?

That would be the way I would achieve my goal.

Psychological Weight Loss Strategies That You Can Live With

I had to come up with strategies that I could live with for: two days two weeks two months two years!

Now, when you do this and you live this way and interesting things happens like magic: you wake up two years later and you’re almost at your goal.

I learned that I had to keep track of everything so I used I phone apps like Noom, and I used my up-band to track how much sleep I was getting and how much exercise I was getting.

Along the way (and this really helped me) to keep the game kind of “rational,” instead of emotional, the way it can get.

Create Small Weight Loss Battles You Can Win (Motivation)

This was a big war I had to break this down to the smallest battle I could win every day; because I have a short attention span. I had to take it down to the cellular level.

What would make my cells happier and healthier every single day?

And, with every drop of glucose or every drop of blood, I fed into my glucose meter, I could tell immediately if I was moving in the right direction. I became my own science experiment, and I learned a lot.

For example, when I didn’t sleep, or I jumped time zones, or took a red-eye, my blood sugar was 20 points higher the next day, and I craved carbohydrates.

Well, I didn’t need to eat what I needed was a nap!

Portions Were a Big Problem

Portions were always my biggest downfall. I come from the land of all-you-can-eat shrimp, and endless platters of pasta. When somebody showed me what a real single portion of something was, it was a huge disconnect for me, so I needed to really figure out how to do that.

I started eating with smaller plates, eating with chopsticks to eat more slowly, and I promised myself I could have anything I wanted, as long as I ate it with the knife and a fork.

Trust me, it feels ridiculous to eat a Snickers bar like this, but it helped me be more conscious of what I was eating.

Don’t Give Up Ice Cream!

I learned to be in perpetual motion all day, every day, looking for ways to move and fidget, because fidgeting can burn 200+ calories a day.

I counted steps, I got a standing desk, and I learned that my one hour of walking every day was as good for my head as it was for my body.

Finally, I learned that life’s too short to live without ice cream. When I was first diagnosed, I made a list of all my favorite foods, and I went and did a personal glycemic index with my glucose meter of each one.

Then, I went back to each food, and I tweaked it, adding a little fat, removing a little sugar, until everything fit in my plan; and, now I plan for a perfect scoop of premium ice cream every day.

Your Body Is An Amazing Machine (So Is Your Mind!)

What I learned is that given half a shot, your body will recover. Your body is an amazing, adaptive, self-healing machine.

Mine did. I lost over 110 pounds, I now have a perfect lipid profile, I have had a healthy normal blood sugar without medication for more than five years. I am no longer a type-2 diabetic.

So, if any of you have a health issue that you need to deal with, or a life change you need to deal with, I urge you to imagine your healthy future self, and start living that life now.

Break your journey down into little battles you can win, become your own science experiment, and come up with strategies that will last for two days or two years.

Most of all, you need to start eating like your life depends on it because it does!

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*Related: New WW Coupons