There is a large gap between the usual weight-loss formula of more calories out than calories in equals weight loss.
It takes all the will power we can muster, but it also takes a strong set of learned skills to achieve that body we long for.
How do we develop skills to lose weight? We acquire them through repetition. We’re able to do the things we do well because of skills learned and practiced through repetition.
Take my little 11 year old grandson, Ben, for example. I recently visited my daughter, Denise, my son, Kevin, and my three grandchildren, Ben, Gabriel, and Kayla in Dothan, Alabama. I stayed with Denise and enjoyed conversraions with all of them on her screened-in front porch.
Each morning before school, Ben would join granddaddy and drink a cup of “coffee” with me. We’d review his assignments due that day and practice for his spelling test. I’d call out the words, and he’d spell them back to me like my Dad used to do. If he misspelled a word, I’d correct him, call it out again, and he’d spell it until he got it right. As a result, he made 100 on his spelling test! The 100 came from learning the spelling skills through repetition.
In the same way, we acquire weight loss skills through knowledge, a coach, a weight loss group, and our own repeated trial and error experiences.
Successful weight loss also depends on a positive attitude. “I can do this! I won’t give up!” If I fall off and binge, I’ll get back on the wagon and keep trying like Ben did with his spelling until I make 100 and reach my weight loss goal.
I have to pay attention to my weight, but I can’t obsess over it. I can’t be in a rush to lose the excess pounds. It takes time and persistence. One pound of body fat equals about 3,500 calories. So, over seven days, a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day yields a weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds. It takes time, and any weight loss is a positive thing.
Lifestyle changes must be made. Old habits need to be replaced with new habits like healthy eating and exercise. It takes 20-30 days to form a new habit. Not only will we feel better, but we will also create a slimmer and healthier body, Plus, with this new habit formed, we will likely keep the weight off and maintain our new healthy habits.
I think the first step in weight loss is to acquire a knowledge base of nutrition and understand the why and what of a healthy lifestyle that is followed by implementing that knowledge. We have to know and then do.
I started my weight loss journey by reading I Can Do This Diet by Don Colbert, MD. Then, I read it again and marked and underlined passages that I needed to apply. I learned the basics of nutrition, the difference between healthy and unhealthy food, and the necessity of exercise. I immediately started eating healthy and walking.
I couldn’t passively take in the information like I do when reading a novel. Passive reading about weight loss would have been no help to me. I had to immediately put into practice my new weight loss skills I’d learned which makes my weight management plan work over the long haul.
Another key component to losing weight is motivation. Why do I want to lose weight? For me, it is to honor God with my body. My fat body is a disgrace. The Holy Spirit lives in me. His place of abode has been rather shabby. I want to clean up His residence.
My other motivation is for me. Jesus said, “You shall love yourself” (Matthew 22:39). And from Proverbs 19:8, “Whoever gets sense loves his own soul.”
The way I had been eating unhealthy food along with my lazy-bones lifestyle conveyed total ill-regard for my body. My body, mind you, my body that houses me and the Lord I had no regard for.
But, if you’re like me, motivation doesn’t last. Oh, I get fired-up for a little while. But a little discouragement here and there, and poof, the fire dies down. If the weight is not dropping off like rain pouring down after one of our torrential Southern thunderstorms, I say to myself, “What’s the use? I’m not getting anywhere.”
Another thing, I am easily distracted. It’s like my little Sheltie, Sophie. I can give her a chew bone that she easily gives up when she hears my wife zip open a Little Caesars. When I lose focus of my weight loss efforts, I lose my motivation to gain my health back.
So, what’s the solution when motivation wanes or lapses? The deciding factor that keeps me going is commitment! I’ve made a commitment to God and to myself to get healthy. I am committed to losing weight and all that such commitment entails. When the fire ebbs, I push through it because of my commitment.
It’s like a commercial jet landing incident that we had in Augusta many years ago. The private plane runway at Daniel Field and the commercial jet runway at Bush Field are only ten miles apart. On the night of February 3, 1986, the pilot on a commercial jet got confused as to which runway was which. He made the commitment to land, and with nose down, he suddenly realized he was landing on Daniel Field’s short 3800 foot runway instead of Bush Field’s 6000 foot runway. Realizing it was too late to pull up, he attempted to land on Daniel Field’s runway. He used every inch of pavement and some of the grass at the end of the runway to land the big jetliner. It took all of his learned skills to do it, but miraculously he did it successfully delivering his 106 passengers safely!
The pilot had made the commitment to land, and had to hold to it! There was no way he could change his mind, pull up, and land at Bush Field. That’s what commitment does for us. We push through the obstacles and mistakes to reach our goal because motivation comes and goes.
Another aid to keep the lose-weight desire hot is encouragement. We all need an encourager. The Bible says, “Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG).
Hopefully your spouse or significant other is onboard with your commitment to a healthier lifestyle like mine is. Sometimes when I’m tempted, my wife becomes my food police. Recently, she arrested one of my weaknesses by getting rid of my peanut butter stash. Ouch! She not only polices me, but she also prepares healthy meals and reminds me to take my vitamins. And, she congratulations me when the scale shows a loss of even a tenth of a pound.
Suppport groups through your church are great encouragement too. I’m a member of a weight loss group at my church that meets on Thursday nights. If your church doesn’t have one, start one. Just look around, and you will easily see the ones you can invite to attend. They look like me and you – fat!
I’ve read good things about Weight Watchers. Some member testimonials are inspiring and motivating in the weight they’ve lost by members. There are also online groups like my Christian weight loss group on Facebook. Join a group for encouragement!
Another tool for encouragement is the remarkable Fitbit. I recently bought a Fitbit 2. I love it! When I record a weight loss, it congratulates me. When I reach my daily step goal, it goes nuts. It’s awarded me several trophies. I’ve joined both an online Fitbit challenge group and a Facebook Fitbit group full of encouragers. I’ve found little stuff like that really matters and helps me keep my commitment. After all, I wouldn’t want to disappoint Fitbit or my Fitbit group.
There is a lot more to losing weight than calories out verses calories in. Learning and implementing the skills of weight loss management, a positive attitude, motivation, commitment, and encouragement are essential pieces to make our weight loss efforts come together successfully.
May God bless and help us on our road to healthy living.
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Thank you for reading. I hope and pray this has been helpful.