How Badly Do You Want to Lose Weight?
Dr. Robert Jones - August 20, 2012
The biggest battle I face in helping people get healthy isn't hormonal problems. No - it's that they don't want it enough. The greatest desire will always win out.
Most of the women we see at the Utah Wellness Institute want to lose weight. Sometimes it’s what I call “vanity weight”. Other times it’s over a hundred pounds. It doesn’t really matter the amount. Of course we’ll run some blood tests to see if their thyroid has a problem (most of the time it does—which obviously slows down their metabolism) or to see if their other hormones might be causing fat-storing issues. We can generally treat those things successfully with bio-identical hormones. But that’s not the biggest battle we face with these overweight women (and men, of course).
No, the biggest problem with them can be illustrated with the following story which is repeated almost daily in our clinic:
I had a young lady in my office a little while ago and we were talking about her health—in particular her weight. She stated that her social life was “not very good right now.” She said she knew that if she could lose 25 pounds things would improve. So I asked her how she felt about her life in general. She said that in reality, she was miserable and that “life really stinks.” I could tell it really revolved around her weight and appearance. She wasn’t happy with herself.
“I really want to lose weight in the worst way,” she kept saying. But this statement was followed up with the following actions: eating sugary foods at night while watching hours of television; going over to her friends’ house and listening to “tunes”; clothes shopping/mall browsing; surfing the Internet and Facebooking.
Then she steps on the scale and says that she is just not able to lose weight at all. That is the ultimate cop out. The truth is that she desires to do all those other things because she likes doing them more. But at the same time she is miserable.
This is the point: If she is not taking action towards the thing she wants, she doesn’t want it enough. Instead of her saying, “I want to lose weight,” she should be truthful and say, “I want to lose weight to a point, but not enough to take action.”
We know it’s not really easy to do, but you have to be honest with yourself if you are going to end the misery or unhappiness in your life. Don’t tell your spouse or best friend you really want to change if you are not willing to get up and do something about it. It is commonplace for many people to lie to themselves and others about how badly they want to change that they never look at the truth. Take the blindfold off: people usually do what they want to do, not what they have to do.
If we shine some light on our desires we find that everyone wants to grow in all areas of their lives: be more physically fit, earn more money, be emotionally perfectly stable—but not everyone wants those things to the same degree. If you don’t take charge and act, you don’t want it enough, and that’s the truth about it.
• I want to lose 25 lbs. but I still eat junk food = I don’t want to lose 25 lbs. enough.
• I want to get better grades in school, but I spend my study time surfing the Internet =
I don’t want to get better grades enough.
• I want to make new friends, but I stay at home on weekend nights and watch TV =
I don’t want to make new friends enough.
• I want to have better feelings about myself and I want to stop comparing myself to
others, but I make no mental effort to change my thinking = I don’t want those things
Surprisingly, this is good news. When you actually realize that you are not getting what you want as far as change in your life is concerned, it can be very empowering. It helps you see why you are stuck where you are at this point in your life. Some people drive themselves crazy trying to figure out why they can’t lose weight, when it wasn’t procrastination or even laziness at all. The simple fact is this: they didn’t want it enough. The greatest desire will always win out. Always.
I know, I know. This is a little harsh. But dealing with all the patients I deal with clinically, I see it all the time—not just with wanting to lose weight, but also with many other aspects of their lives. For instance, just last week a blood test came back on a woman that showed that she had a gluten intolerance, which means she shouldn’t be eating anything with wheat such as breads and pastas. When I told her this, and that I thought this was one of the main reasons for her obesity, her anxiety, and her fatigue, she just stared at me and then laughed. There was “no way” that she could give up those foods. “No way.”
She doesn’t want to be healthy enough. It’s not yet the priority of her life. And that’s okay. It’s her choice. I can tell her how to get better but it comes back to that old Indian word I learned many years ago: “Yagotawanna.” Do you?
This article is sponsored by Dr. Robert Jones, Clinic Director at the Utah Wellness Institute/Center for Hormone Therapy in Draper Utah - 801.576.1155 or utahwellnessinstitute.com.
© LDS Living, 2012.