When I talk with people who have lost 50 – 100 pounds and have kept it off, I am struck by a common motivator…mortality. While there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of narcissism and a desire to look good in a bathing suit, appearance doesn’t always appear to be a powerful motivator to sustain weight loss.
In conducting interviews with folks who are successful in their quest to lose weight, I’ve found their success, after years of struggling, often relates to a new health realization. “…And then I realized I might not live to see my kids graduate from college…” “…Then it hit me. I might not live long enough to play with my grandchildren…” “…I was tired of watching my family from the couch…” “…My doctor told me I had diabetes…”
You don’t have to be severely obese to face health risks from the effects of excess weight. Consider someone who is 5’10” and 210 pounds. He is already above the cut off for “mild obesity”, which occurs at a BMI of 30 or higher. The same goes for someone 5’4″ and 175 pounds. Two thirds of Americans are either overweight (BMI of 25 – 29.9) or obese (BMI of 30 or higher). You can check out your BMI at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm.
What are the health risks of excess weight? Diabetes, heart disease, cancer (yes, really!), arthritis, high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, gout, depression, sleep disorders, infertility, back pain, gallstones and so on. Obesity has been linked to job discrimination and even a lower likelihood of marriage. The implications of obesity are incredibly serious and yet as a society, we focus more on the visual, rather than health implications of overeating. That brings me back to my observation about weight loss motivation.
If you need to lose weight, look around you. Take a few minutes to think about those you love and those who love you. Think about what you want to do for fun and who you’d like to keep up with when you travel. Find inspiration in how good you will feel if you can chase your kids or grandkids at the park. It takes a lifetime of hard work and vigilance to lose weight and keep it off, but if you can identify a health motivator, I believe you can achieve your goals! Make it about feeling good & being healthy and less about fitting into that bikini this summer.
Thanks for listening and I wish you the best of health!
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