So hands up if you’re especially talented at depriving yourself over a long period of time? No? Me neither. The good news is that in order to achieve your wedding weight loss goal, you don’t have to be, if you just work smarter, not harder.
But firstly lets understand the psychology that applies to all of us mere humanoids: We are motivated by pain and pleasure. Nothing is more true than in our relationship with food.
Pleasure: Eating gives us immediate pleasure.
It is the ‘quick party’ we try to have. We are particularly good at ‘forgetting’ the impact of immediate gratification on our long-term health. Pleasure always wins because it is armed with immediacy while the pain of being overweight is disarmed by being forgotten in the moment.
Pain: is a more powerful motivator than pleasure. For pain to motivate us we need to sense it as an immediate danger or else it lacks any motivational power. As well as the immediate pleasure of eating, there is pain associated with NOT eating our favourite food. This is called the pain of deprivation. So in that moment when we are contemplating eating our favourite food we have the strong motivator of the promised ‘pleasure’ backed up by the even greater motivator of the ‘pain’ of deprivation if we don’t eat it. In this fight between pleasure and pain, self-control is completely outclassed. We are no less self-controlled than our ancestors, who were dramatically less fat, we simply live in a society that is not engineered for health success. Temptation, convenience gadgets, clever marketing and long work hours all promote over-eating and under-activity.
THE ANSWER = HEALTHY HABITS
Just like a supporting pillar gives structure to a building, so habits gives structure to our lives. Forming healthy habits is not so much about changing our inner world as in rearranging our outer world – simply re-engineering our environment so that temptations are kept to a minimum and health is promoted.
ACTION: Identify 1 habit you will introduce over the next 4 weeks that you feel will help support you the most to achieve your desired wedding weight loss. Eg. Plan your meals, write a shopping list and shop on Sundays so that eating healthy during the week is easy. Recruit an exercise buddy and make a habit of walking or running twice per week
References: Weight Loss for Food Lovers – Dr George Blair