A Paradigm Shift

Deb Brown, nsca-cpt, cwc, cns

If you have been trying for years to shed 10-20 pounds, with little or no results, I would like to propose a radical idea. Stop trying to lose weight. You won’t hear that from many personal trainers, but stay with me a bit.

The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I have seen many people obsessed with losing weight over the course of years by adopting crazy diets, starving themselves and/or working out in an unhealthy way. After years of work, guess what? Some people are right where they started. In addition, they are constantly beating themselves up mentally. They feel like failures. They live in a state of constant frustration and stress because they cannot take off the weight. That’s not healthy!

Most people know what they have to do to lose weight. However, there is a significant gap between people knowing what they have to do and actually performing those actions day after day. A certain percentage of people can adhere to new healthier habits. Many are just not willing to make the sacrifices it takes to attain weight loss. If you have significant weight to lose and/or your weight is affecting your health, consider seeking the guidance of a doctor. But, if you are obsessed with losing 10-20 pounds to look better, and you have been working on it for years with little success, it may be time to take a different tack.

I propose a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift is when your perception about the same information or situation changes dramatically, providing a new insight or a new way of looking at things. It was coined by an author named Thomas Kuhn, in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

I propose that you stop focusing on weight loss and, instead, focus on your overall health and longevity. How can you be the healthiest, strongest person possible? How can you treat your body so that you feel good living inside of it and you can take part in the activities you want to? How can you have more energy, be happier and more at peace with yourself? Ensure that you are eating in a healthful way? How long do you want to live and be an active participant in life? If you start to focus on these things and take the actions necessary, you may or may not lose weight, but you will be healthier and feel better in the long run. Life is too short to live in a way where you are constantly mentally beating yourself up. If you are someone who has been trying to lose weight for years on end, consider changing your whole thought pattern. Start to focus more on your overall health and well being and see what happens!

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