COMMANDMENT 5. Thou shalt not covet.
FACT: Setting a realistic, achievable first weight loss goal is critical to our success, because it keeps us psychologically content. After we achieve the first goal, we can then set a new goal that is even better! We can and will repeat this over and over.
Is the envy of someone else’s body hindering the success of our own realistic weight loss goals? Trying to look like celebrities can cripple us psychologically. Why? Because unrealistic, unachievable goals lead to discouragement, which then leads to failure!
Today’s pop culture is obsessed with weight. Television shows focus on radical body makeovers and weight loss challenges while tabloids are teeming with photographs that glamorize emaciated celebrities. At the same time, however, headlines pose the question, “Are They too Skinny?” The result—we are consumed with looking good and less concerned about overall health and well-being.
The grass is not always greener or leaner on the other side of the fence, whether you are famous or French.
French women don’t get fat . . . or do they? If I were to ask you to imagine a French woman in your mind, what would she look like? I bet you are picturing a slender woman, lounging at an outdoor café with a cigarette (hopefully not with her children) and an espresso. Well, recent research has revealed that French women may not be as svelte as we imagine. About 41 percent of French people are overweight, and this number is growing each year.
We can’t let smoke and mirrors warp our perception of reality. Let’s keep it real by choosing to focus on healthy, realistic goals. Understand what I’m saying? Choose a weight loss goal that you know you can achieve. Maybe your first goal is to lose 5 pounds. Let’s lose those 5 pounds then set a new, better goal. Using this stepped approach is a powerful psychological tool for long-term weight loss.
Think about walking down a staircase. It would be silly, dangerous, and scary to try to jump all the way to the bottom, or to even try stepping down more than one step at a time. Instead, we systematically take the first step downward followed by a second step downward and so on. This makes walking down simple and safe.
Setting a first goal that you know is impossible will destroy your success and scare you. We humans are more likely to stay motivated if we are able to meet our goal in a fairly short amount of time. So, it is better to set small, sequential, achievable goals.
Make sure you reward yourself in some small way at each phase, but not with a banana split. Instead get a makeover with friends! Take a day off to yourself to do anything you want to do all day long—sleep in, watch a movie, go shopping or golfing or to a sports or music event. Or, drive to a beautiful place and read a great book.
Celebrating with friends who have also reached their goal is the best calorie-free treat in life.
Let’s choose to take small steps—or in our case, smaller bites—together toward our ultimate goals.