Setting Success Goals

Most patients set themselves up for failure in that the only goal they have in mind is to reach their “ideal weight”. At the same time, others around them have put that expectation on them as well
(i.e. their spouse, friends, physicians and society in general). In other words, if someone for example, is 75 lbs. overweight, everyone feels that person should lose 75 lbs. to be successful.

We are not saying that an individual can’t lose 75 or more pounds, but what if they only lose 30 – 35 lbs.? Immediately, they think they have failed, they begin to slip and begin to reinforce that they are indeed a failure and proceed to gain back all their weight and usually more. On the same hand, what if that individual lost their 75 lbs., but gained back 5 lbs. Again, they feel they have failed at maintenance and begin to gain all their weight back.

We have worked hard with our patients to set “success goals”. First we advise them to set a goal that for the rest of their life they are going to be below their highest weight. From there it is only a matter of how “successful” they can be. If they lose weight and begin to slip, their positive thoughts will help them turn it around, because they remind themselves of their success. Remember, “success breeds success.

To help convince yourself of this concept, reflect on other areas of your life. In life, if we make some situation better or improve something at home we feel successful and have a sense of accomplishment. It still might not be perfect, but it’s better and we’re happier. The same should apply to your weight control efforts.

To demonstrate this idea, Dr. Lefebre has been known to tease a few of his lawyer patients and have asked them to answer yes or no to this question: “Have you been successful in keeping your weight below your highest weight?” They often respond, “Yea, but …”. he would then interrupt, “Please just answer the question, yes or no”. They smile and say, “Yes, sir”.

Once that goal is firmly committed to, set smaller goals (5, 10, 15 lbs., etc.). In fact, many medical studies show that a 5 – 10% loss from their original weight can lead to an improvement in hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol levels, heartburn, energy, etc. in a good number of patients. The new phrase for improvement in these medical conditions is called “metabolic fitness”.

So remember, when setting weight control goals, focus on being below your highest weight for life. You will feel successful; you will talk nicely to yourself and will look forward to saying, “Let’s just see how good I can get!”

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