Lifestyle Change is Really, Mental Change

We’ve all heard it before. If you really want to lose weight, get fit, and keep that weight off for good, you’ve got to make a lifestyle change. But what if you’re one of those folks who have the best of intentions to make changes in your life, but you just can’t seem to find the commitment to make it happen?

Far too often, we begin by looking only at what the short-term outcome of our desire may be and we just can’t get our head wrapped around the idea that reaching our ideal weight and achieving a physical body that we’re happy with, is more than just cutting back on calories, watching the carbohydrates and walking a couple of times per week.

For many of men, the struggle to lose weight has been long-standing, but episodic in nature. Meaning, we frequently arrive at a point where we’ve reached critical mass and decide, “I’ve got to get this weight off now,” and dive into some random diet, with little forethought and commitment. We soon find that after depriving ourselves for several weeks on end, coupled with a burst or two of exercise that we believe will fit the bill, we fall off course when we don’t see the results we want soon enough.

In fact, losing weight and getting fit require real internal commitment and resolve, and often we are simply not fully prepared mentally to make the lifestyle adjustments that make lasting change a possibility and a probability. In seeing patients in my clinic in Austin, TX, though I have many, many successful patients, there are times when I feel my successes rate is like the batting average of a successful professional baseball player: meaning that I’m hitting only about .333.

There are periods where, although I am delivering the information that I know has the power to “bring the goods,”only one patient out three may actually apply what I am advising. In reality, I realize that a percentage of the patients that I come in contact with, though they have made the decision and the appointment to come in to see me, are just not at a place in their lives where they are ready to truly make the changes that are necessary on a mental, emotional, and internal level.

In fact, I have had patients throughout my career who have gone months without making any progress whatsoever, until one day something just clicks and they make the mental commitment to finally make it happen. They already had the information and the guidance, but for whatever reason, they just weren’t ready from a mental and emotional standpoint.

There’s a lot of truth to the old saying that, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” However, true and lasting change only occurs when the student has reached a place of receptivity and begins to apply what the teacher has taught. This only comes about when we change our internal environment in such a way that we are able to commit fully and emotionally to the goal at hand.

In fact, if we are able to arrive at that place where positive intent intersects with proper mental and emotional receptivity and we become fully committed to reaching a healthy long-term outcome, anything may truly be possible.

You can achieve any goal, as long as you’re committed to traveling the road that takes you to the destination you desire. Making the mental commitment to travel that road is equally as important as taking the first physical step down the path that you have chosen.

Continue to look upwards with faith, hope, optimism and determination. Keep your eye on the prize in anything that you do. Losing weight is no different than the achievement of any other goal in life. It is not out of your reach. You can do it!


Written by Richard Kelley, M.D.

Author of “The Fitness Response’ and ‘The 3 Hour Appetite” series
Physician’s Way Healthy Weight Loss in Austin, Texas

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