There are two quotes I want to share with you that are very relevant to your journey. The first is from Voltaire, a French philosopher, who said: “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”. This means that we need to be content with progress rather than perfection. If you weight 120kg, then you have to be 119kg before you are 80kg. If you want to eat well you have to accept you will probably eat well 80% of the time, rather than 100% of the time. I think this is a much healthier mindset that will reduce feelings of guilt and disappointment,
The second quote comes from the ancient Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius who wisely said “All suffering comes from wrong expectations” and this is especially true for moving towards a healthy weight.
If you expect this to be easy, if you expect you just need to eat a certain diet for a few weeks, if you expect that you don’t need to change your way of life, if you expect you can lose 20kg in 2 months and it will stay off – then you probably have unhealthy expectations that will only cause you more suffering. It will cause you suffering because when things turn out different you may feel angry, or disappointed, or self-hating, or shame and guilt. Obviously, these emotions will likely just take you backwards and hence this is not a path to health and happiness.
Hence, we need healthy expectations from the beginning. Expect you need to change for the long term, expect there to be ups and downs, expect some parts of this journey to be easy and some will be hard, expect that more than your diet has to change and expect some areas will require help from others and some you can do yourself and expect this to take time rather than thinking you can do it once in 8 weeks. Specifically, to your weight goals remember that it is better to set yourself shorter term goals in the right direction. So perhaps that is to lose 1-2kg a month, rather than 20kg in a year. Make these realistic, like 1-2kg/month and make it achievable so you regularly succeed. This is a key point – set yourself up for success early = have expectations that you can meet. The Chinese proverb “it is better to go slow than not at all” is very true here.
For our priorities in a healthy weight, there are 2 considerations here. There are your personal preference priorities and then there are your health priorities.
For example, your personal reasons you want to lose weight are because you want to look different, which is good because it can improve your self-confidence and sense of happiness and joy but we need to have these priorities without too much attachment. As we discussed in principle 8 – you can analyse this further with the “5 why” exercise.
From a health point of view, the priorities could actually be very different. The first priority is not your weight but your life – to eat well, to move, to sleep, to be happy, to evolve our mindset, to improve our relationships and so on are far more important for your long term health than just your weight in kilograms. The second priority is to prevent further weight gain and the third priority is to reduce your weight. It is really interesting because very small amounts of weight loss as we discussed in the previous video can have profound positive impacts. The reason this is is that the first weight we lose is actually the fat around our vital organs like our liver, muscle, pancreas and so on and it is these fat stores that are the most damaging and unhealthy.
So perhaps write down these quotes, or review your goals to set yourself up for success early and regularly. The temptation may be strong to stick to long term or perfect style goals but please, a piece of humble pie will never hurt.