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Commitment, One of Six Mental Roadblocks to Weight Loss.

Change: A Mental Makeover
Dr. John H. Sklare
Part V

Welcome to the fifth entry of my six part series regarding the six most common mental roadblocks to successful weight loss.  In this post, I will address the fifth most common mental roadblock called Commitment.  The essence of this issue, can be found in the following questions:

  • Does the person simply refuse to diet forever?
  • Does the person truly intend to change their eating habits for the rest of their life?
  • Does the person believe that dieting periodically is the best way to control their weight?

Understanding and accepting what it takes to achieve long term weight control and healthy lifestyle change is critical for success.  A lack of commitment toward long term lifestyle change indicates that the individual has not yet acquired the mindset necessary to be successful at weight control.  As the motto to The Inner Diet so aptly states, You Can’t Change Your Weight…Until You Change Your Mind!,

The commitment level scale measures the amount of motivation or internal resolve that the person has regarding making a serious lifestyle change.  Individuals who struggle with this issue tend to view weight management as a short term endeavor.  Their ultimate intention is to change their eating habits temporarily, until the weight is gone, as opposed to changing them for the rest of their life.  The problem with short term commitment is that it directly leads to short term success at best.  Whereas, life time commitment lays the foundation for life time success.  Your chances of being successful at long term weight control, while harboring a short term commitment, are about as good as wanting to take a shower without getting wet.  It just isn’t going to happen.

This kind of mindset reminds me of that dream that almost all of us have had at one time in our lives as students.  You remember the one where you suddenly find yourself sitting in class and the teacher is passing out a test that you didn’t know you were having.  And there you sit totally unprepared and, as a result, doomed to failure.  Well, trying to control your weight without the right mental commitment will also leave you totally unprepared and doomed to failure.  The good news, however, is that this is not a dream and you can change this outcome!

As a matter of fact, one of the most important ingredients in the recipe for successful weight loss and healthy lifestyle change is commitment.  However, commitment is a word that strikes terror into the hearts of many dieters.  The reality is that truly committing yourself to something is actually not very common.  Just think about that for a moment.  How many things are you truly committed to in the purest sense of the word?  Regarding your clients, the pertinent question is this:  Are they just involved in weight loss and healthy lifestyle change or are they truly committed to it?  The answer to this question may be one of the most significant and telling bits of information that you can have regarding their potential for success.

I once read that the difference between commitment and involvement can be compared to a bacon and egg breakfast in the following way:  The chicken was involved but the pig was committed.  Please excuse the imagery of that example but I just love that statement.  It paints such a clear picture because the reality is that there is a major and significant difference between commitment and involvement and it’s so important that people understand this distinction.  Because the truth is that most dieters are only involved in wellness and weight loss while very few of them are truly committed.  Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have all of your clients truly committed to change?  What a wonderful world that would be!  Unfortunately, most people don’t truly understand the difference between commitment and involvement!  In order to help people see where they fall, on the commitment versus involvement scale, I created the following short exercise. I call this The Commitment Window and it is based on the reality that there are two basic underlying factors that influence an individual’s commitment.

The reality is that most dieters lack the deep commitment necessary for successful lifestyle change.  Most of your clients are simply involved in weight loss and healthy living while very few of them are truly committed.  Don’t get me wrong because a lot of your clients will be very involved indeed but there is no substitute for the passion and determination that accompany true commitment.  It’s not unlike the impact that true commitment has regarding marriage.  Those couples that are truly committed to each other will often move mountains in an attempt to stay together.  On the other hand, those spouses who lack a strong commitment to each another find divorce a much easier thought to consider and a more acceptable path to follow.  In short, the more committed your clients are to weight loss and healthy living the better their compliance will be and the more success your practice will experience.  Thank you for your time today and I look forward to seeing you in my next blog post where I will introduce you to what ranks sixth on my list of the six most common mental roadblocks to weight loss called…Secondary Gain!

Wishing You Great Health,

Dr. John H. Sklare

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AuthorCommitment, One of Six Mental Roadblocks to Weight Loss.