If You Want To Lose Weight, Don't Focus On Your Weight

Do you have a weight loss goal, say, to lose maybe 10-30 pounds? Do you have a target weight in mind that you’re ready to get to? Do you live and die by the number you see on the scale each morning?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then know that you share the same goals and aspirations of millions of people across the world. Weight loss is one of the most common goals not just at the turn of a New Year but all through the year.

This focus on weight loss creates an interesting catch-22, and maybe you’ve experienced this yourself. Does it feel like the more you focus on your weight, the more difficult it feels to lose weight? I mean, they say where your focus goes, energy flows. You’re focusing on your weight loss goal yet you struggle to reach it, let alone maintain it.

The ultimate challenge with weight loss is there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. Yes, the science behind it simply requires a caloric deficit (you need to burn more than you consume) but there’s more to it than that.

An Incomplete Measurement

Let’s start with the fact that “weight loss,” by definition, means a reduction in body weight. It doesn’t matter if this is fat, muscle, or water. Weight is weight. What I suspect you’re really after is a change in your body composition. You want to drop some body fat and maybe build some muscle to build out that athletic, “toned up” frame.

The number on the scale doesn’t give you that fat/muscle/water breakdown. There’s no way to know your true body composition. It’s an incomplete measurement.

I love the section in James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” that talks about using measurements to track your progress, particularly the discussion about picking the right measurements.

The idea of using measurements and metrics is something I learned in college in one of my very first General Business classes. Clearly a Peter Drucker fan, one of the very first things my professor taught me was that you can only manage what you measure.

It wasn’t until I read Clear’s book that I was able to take this a level deeper. I knew there was value in measurements, but I’ve never had much guidance on “what” to measure and track.

This quote from the book stuck with me (paraphrased and condensed, the latter sentence is a quote from Charles Goodhart and is also referred to as Goodhart’s Law):

"We optimize for what we measure. When what we measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

Where Our Focus Goes, Energy Flows

Let’s talk about what this means by continuing with our weight loss example. If all we do is focus on losing weight, we’ll do anything and everything to lose that weight. If that’s our lone measurement, then we’ll do whatever we can to “optimize” that results.

It’s why so many of us have tried fad diets, crash diets, and cleanses. After all, they promise rapid weight loss which is what we want, right?

Not quite. What we really want is to be strong, confident and powerful. We want to like the way we look in the mirror and how we feel each day. Weight loss, or so we think, is simply a means to that end.

Our focus, while it has good intentions, is a bit misguided. How does the number on the scale show us how strong, confident, and powerful we are? That’s a bit of a rhetorical question because the answer is, “it doesn’t.”

When all of our energy is focused on losing weight, we’re not focusing on doing the things that make us feel strong and confident. Therein lies the catch-22. We think losing weight will make us feel that way but more often than not we’re left feeling discouraged, deflated, and defeated - nearly the polar opposite of strong, confident, and powerful.

So what are we to do? If focusing on our weight is a misguided endeavor, where should we put our focus?

Reframe and Refocus

If you’ve spent any time around me, you’ll know I’m a big believer in this idea: if you want to be a healthy, happy, fit person you need to do the things that healthy, happy, fit people do in a way that works for you.

Healthy, happy, fit people don’t obsess over their weight. Yes, the monitor it, but it’s not their only metric or measurement.

Instead, they focus on their skills, habits, and behaviors. They focus on what they are doing throughout the day that leads to the results they want. At some point, this becomes so automatic they don’t even have to think about it; it becomes a part of who they are.

When you measure, manage, and monitor the behaviors that lead to the outcomes you want, you’re not only doing the right things, you’re becoming the type of person who does that right thing. Things like:

  • Getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats at each meal

  • Learning how to plan and prepare healthy meals

  • Eating slowly and only when hungry

  • Drinking enough water

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Engaging in some type of physical activity they enjoy

  • Spending time with people who support them and lift them up

There’s nothing drastic about anything I just mentioned, and when done correctly, it’s easy to start building in these daily habits and practices both progressively and sustainably.

“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”

You’ll often hear folks utter some pithy phrase like “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” While a bit trite, overused, and sometimes snarky, they’re on to something. When we talk about a “lifestyle,” we’re still only looking at it through the lens of what we do. While that’s a part of it, it’s not all of it.

I mentioned this above, and I’m including it again to help drive home a point: if you want to be a healthy, happy, fit person you need to do the things that healthy, happy, fit people do in a way that works for you.

If you want to BE, you must DO. The first part of that sentence is the key. “Doing” is the means, “becoming” is the end. You don’t become a healthy, happy, fit, strong, confident, powerful person by “dieting;” you’re just…dieting. You’re a person who wants to lose weight, not a person who lives a healthy, empowered lifestyle. Yes, there might be some similarities in what you do, the end result is two very different people.

I know you want to lose weight, but I also know there’s more to it, and more to you, than that. You’re a child of our heavenly Father. You’re beautiful, blessed, and bountiful. There’s more to life than “dieting.” You’re not a “dieter.” You’re strong. You’re confident. You’re powerful. Now it’s time to start acting like.

Don’t focus on the weight you want to lose. Focus instead on the type of person you want to become and match your behavior accordingly. When you do this, not only will the weight come off almost naturally, it’ll seem, dare I say it, easy.

Now What?

Now, you might be thinking, “where do I even start?” You have an idea of what to do but little idea of what to do first or where to start. Now, I know I’ve been on this journey with you from the start of this article but know that now is where I really step in.

As a coach, it’s my job to help support and guide you on your journey toward health, happiness, and success. That’s just a fancy way of saying that I find ways to get you to do the things you know you need to do. I help you do what you need to do to become the type of person you want to become.

I’d work one-on-one with everyone if I could, but I’d be a fool to think that I have the time, energy, or resources to do so. This is why I created my Habit Tracking Success Journal. This isn’t just any old productivity journal with a fitness and nutrition lean. It’s my entire coaching system bundled up in one nice, neat package.

The Journal itself is just the start of it. While powerful on its own, it’s not enough. It’s still too much “what” and not enough “how.” That’s why every Journal comes equipped with your very own Transformation Guide. When you pair this with the Digital Learning Center I created, you have everything you need to make it easy to get started and keep going.

The whole system will walk you step-by-step through everything you need to look, feel, and perform at your best. It’s designed to take you from knowing what to do (information) to doing what you know (implementation and repetition).

If you want to become a healthy, happy, fit person, then my Habit Tracking Success Journal will show you how.

Don’t wait. Become an HDHU Hero. Become the Hero of your own movie. Get your Habit Tracking Success Journal and get started today.

 
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Evan CookComment