Changing your life starting with health and weight loss
December 7, 2007 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Looking for resources and/or your experience with changing your life, stress and it's effects on the body and health, and overall health/taking care of yourself (especially weight loss)... What helped you to be successful?

I'm looking for methods, a summary of your experience, websites, and/or books on the following:

What led you to change your life? Was there a particular wake up call or a series of small ones? How did you stay successful, especially when it felt hard? Did you do it all or nothing or gradually? What inspires and motivates you?

I'm particularly interested in how you define taking care of yourself, and what you think stands in your way of having optimal health/optimal living (fulfilling work, supportive relationships).

I work with people that are trying to lose weight. I'm doing what I can to shift the focus off of the scale and onto the whole picture of how stress affects your health, how your thinking makes a big difference in how you feel and the choices you make, and trying to get them to see the bigger picture. Our current program is set up with exercise, nutrition (guidelines and feedback), and coaching.

I'm aware of Body for Life, Bob Greene, SparkPeople, FitDay. I definitely like strategies and learning more about how to keep people on track and accountable. I'm also very interested in the "change" component because I think that change principles can be applied to any area of your life.

I'm finding that the check in/accountability/education sessions at work turn more into excuse havens and/or counseling type sessions. That's not the direction I want it to go in, yet I want people to understand that the whole picture is definitely important.

Thoughts? How did you do it? What's been your personal and/or professional experience with change, stress, and health? Holistic approaches would be much appreciated.

Thank you!
posted by healthyliving to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
What works for me is having a reason to have a healthy body. I've gotten into shape before, but then I wind up thinking, "now what? What's the point? I don't really have any _use_ for my energetic, fit self. All my life is just about sitting around, which is now torture for me because my body wants to be running and jumping and dancing and doing other things."

So, I guess I'd say, being able to visualize a whole life that's different, that involves _using_ a better physical self, would be very important for someone who thinks like I do.

What motivated me to get fit in the first place was being put in a position where I wanted to do a very, very good job at something that required I be at my physical best, and required physical practice to get better (dancing and singing). I know I'm very lucky to have had these experiences, which makes it all the more difficult to keep up my fitness -- the odds of my having other experiences like these are very small.

I guess a summary statement might be: there just needs to be a reason to do it.
posted by amtho at 11:53 AM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]

For me, frankly it was more about being able to do things that I previously could NOT do. Having something tangible to point to that said-yes, life is different now that I am exercising and taking care of myself. When I first went to the gym the goal was not necessarily weight loss but rather wanting to be able to walk up a hill without panting. The weight loss happened as a side benefit.
posted by konolia at 12:52 PM on December 7, 2007

This is not specific to weight loss, but I read this book a couple months ago and if I took anything away from it, it was the fact that every single decision we make affects our level of "happiness." I believe that to be entirely true. There is also a quote (I can't remember it verbatim) that says that the event is neither good nor bad, we make it whichever we choose.

To me, anyway, it seems that if a person can change on a decision to decision basis, it is the foundation of a happier, healthier, less stressful life. The hardest part is instilling the new belief in others. For that, Ghandi comes to mind...

"We must become the change we want to see in the world."

Ok, enough of my babbling. Just my thoughts on this matter...
posted by cdmwebs at 1:13 PM on December 7, 2007

Also, some previous threads might help. Click on your tag "weightloss" to see many examples.
Here's a great one, for example.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:55 PM on December 7, 2007

The Gandhi quote above made me think of another one: "To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest," which seems (to me) like the cool way of saying "Don't be a poseur."

This helps me bridge the gap between thought//good intentions and, you know, DOING something about it. Nobody really wants to be the sort of person who wants to do something but can't. Ideally, your clients will go from saying "I want to try to lose weight" to "I'm making myself healthier."
posted by oldtimey at 3:57 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have really bad knees and for me, realizing that the more sedentary I am and the more weight I put on my body, the more pain and problems I have. The idea of not being able to run down a flight of stairs, get up out of a chair or walk long distances has really scared the crap out of me. So that motivates me. When I exercise and take care of my body, I feel like I'm staving off frailty and dependence.
posted by pluckysparrow at 4:03 PM on December 7, 2007

For me, the wake-up call was when I was carrying a load of laundry upstairs; it occurred to me that you're not supposed to be breathing heavy when you climb one flight of stairs.

So I changed two major things:

First, I bought a kitchen scale and started weighing my food. I forced myself to eat only one serving of whatever I was eating at each meal. One serving is a surprisingly small amount of food, but eventually you get used to eating smaller portions. I never deprived myself of anything that I craved, but I did limit whatever it was to one and only one serving.

Second, I started running. I found a 5k fun run that was scheduled about 10 weeks from when I started, and I signed up for it. I could barely make it to the end of the block those first few times out, but the goal of completing a 3.1 mile race kept me motivated. Completing that race was motivation enough for me to keep going.

Over the course of that year, I lost over 60 pounds. That kind of weight loss brings its own motivation in terms of improving self-image and not wanting to go back to the way it used to be; the compliments you get from friends and coworkers doesn't hurt either.
posted by jknecht at 10:01 PM on December 7, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your thoughts so far. I'd also really love to hear about other life changes besides weight loss. Tell me your inspirations and wake up calls.
posted by healthyliving at 10:11 PM on December 7, 2007

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