Weight loss is not just a destination, says Dr Carlo Bellini. It’s what you do today that’s going to empower you and get you there.
How can we coach ourselves to lose weight? This is a challenging problem for so many people. Let me share with you my personal struggles with this. I come from a Southern European family, and we love food. It’s not just the food, it’s the community. It’s the element of having a meal, an element of sharing. My father’s Italian. Carbohydrate diets are common with Italians, but what happened when they hopped on the boat and came from Italy to Australia? The portions increased and we’re now used to eating a lot more food than what we need.
Consequently, with my weight, I’ve been very much a ‘yo-yoer’.
Consequently, with my weight, I’ve been very much a ‘yo-yoer’. It goes up, it goes down. I’ve never been really big. I’ve never been skinny. I’m going through some periods of what I call ‘periods of fatness’, ‘periods of fitness’ and all things of in between.
When I was in self-isolation for about five weeks my weight went up. I put on a few kilos quickly, which for me was very much a comfort mechanism. It was the one thing that I could control. It was the one thing that I really enjoyed.
But I got to a point where I thought, I’m just not happy with this and I want to change it” And then I thought, how can I be the coach to myself? Because it’s so easy giving advice to others. It’s really easy knowing what to do, but actually doing it is difficult.
The way that we approach this in coaching is what we call accountability, which we all know is about being accountable to yourself.
In the PreKureME Weight Loss Edition we’re giving you three levers that empower you to make decisions – What we eat, When we eat and How much we eat. (Watch Prof Grant Schofield explain it here.) So which one of the three levers are you going to pull? You’ve got the option of pulling them. It’s giving you a clear, actionable and straightforward mechanism that you can use each day.
You can be your healthy self today.
The second part is, well, how do you actually do it? The route that I want to suggest to you is in your mindset – being ‘fit you’, ‘healthy you’, being the person that can start today. Now, if you have chronic health conditions, it can feel like health is a real struggle and a real challenge. From that perspective, what can you do today that can make it a little bit easier?
What I’d encourage you to do in coaching yourself is don’t think about it as a destination you need to get to in three weeks’ time. Think about it in terms of today – ‘What am I going to do today?’. You can get really granular about it. “Today, I’m going to use the dietary restriction lever. How am I going to do that?” And make a plan for for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of you are planners and like routine – you can plan the whole three weeks. Some of you won’t need to do that. You can consider it on a prospective basis. But don’t think of it as a destination, because then the required immediate activity may get lost. You can be your healthy self today. You can be that person because it’s the decisions you make today that will compound over time and will generate the behaviour you want to get to.
[Losing weight] is important to me because I want to be my strongest, fittest self.
I also urge you to reflect on why weight loss is important to you. Why do you want to shed those extra kilos? Is it that, “I don’t feel right in my body with this extra weight” or “I don’t feel attractive to other people” or “I don’t feel beautiful, I don’t look great at the beach” or “I feel discomfort when I bend down to tie up my shoelaces, I get puffed when I don’t want to get puffed”? What is it that you’re seeking? What is the reason for the change? If we can get clarity over that, then we can try to understand the deeper motivators and connect that motivation to our behaviours.
I’m going to share with you my answer to that question. It’s important to me because I want to be my strongest, fittest self. I want to have a body that is able, and not just able today, but able to take me through my life with as few problems as possible. I know that a really important part of that is managing weight. I also want to be as physically active and as energetic as possible with great sleep, which can be really challenging. I want to be productive and useful to the world without disability, as long as I possibly can. That’s my driver. It’s not just a destination. It’s what I do today that’s going to compound. Embrace the challenge. Identify your ‘why’, clarify it, connect with it deeply, and then think, “What levers am I going to pull now?” Because that’s what’s in your power – what you do right now.
Dr Carlo Bellini is PreKure’s Lead Coach. He teaches the coaching component in the Health Coach Certificate.