Archive for October, 2012

Psychological reason why it is hard to maintain long-term weight management


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What makes long-term weight management so difficult?

While it is a combination of physiological, behavioral and psychological reasons, I’m going to focus on the primary psychological reason why people fail to maintain commitment to their fat loss plan. The simple answer is boredom.

Boredom

What is boredom? Many people may simply define boredom as dullness, disengagement, lack of interest, repetition, having too much free time, etc. In my opinion, while these meanings can be somewhat correct by simplified form, there is actually a much deeper reason why we experience boredom. Coming across with this article by accident, it made me realized that boredom is in fact the perfect psychological reason why many of us fail to adhere to our weight/ fat loss plan in the long run.

Excerpt from the article that I linked above:

Existential boredom defines an inability to find not just particular things but all of life interesting. It manifests itself as a mood in which, for no reason you can articulate, nothing seems to satisfy—even things that normally do. When you find yourself flipping from Internet site to Internet site; picking up a book, reading a few pages, and then putting it back down; walking around your apartment or house in search of something to do but finding nothing to engage you.

In short, we actually experience boredom because we fail to find a meaning or a purpose of something that we do or an event that is happening to us. In reality, anything can be boring or uninteresting be it watching tv, surfing the net, studying, reading, working out, etc. It appears like the key to counter react to boredom is to find the value or significance of that something to us.

Boredom in fitness

While we can have a boring diet due to monotonous variety of foods in a specific diet, that would be physical rather than psychological reason why people fail to adhere to their fitness plan. You may say what about doing the same repetitive boring workout plan? Is there actually a thing? In my opinion, any workout or diet plan can be psychologically restraining if we fail to see it’s significance to us. Think of it this way, when you first start your diet or a new exercise program, you are so motivated to do it because you have a reason why you need to do that. You probably want to look better naked, you want to have visible abs or what have you but my point here is we need to keep ourselves focused to that reason so that whatever we do, we will constantly find that something meaningful to us. That is how we prevent getting bored to our fitness plan in my opinion.

Why do you think I consistently update this blog for free while I could have been doing something else that is more productive? Because I find writing about fat loss meaningful to me and I want to share it to the world. See, it’s all about finding the real value of our fat loss plan to us. This is what makes us psychologically bulletproof from failing to be consistent in our fitness plan.

Have some degree of vanity to be lean and stay lean


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Before you create some judgement that vanity is bad blah blah, let us first define vanity. According to dictionary.com, vanity means
excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain; conceit. It can also be an instance or display of this quality or feeling, talent, abilities, possession, etc. Everyone is vain of some sort or possesses this trait at varying degrees and level. From evolutionary standpoint, vanity may have been a part of our survival by making a specific gene pool attractive to a potential mate. Back then, if our ancestors possesses desirable traits such as muscularity for males, ideal waist-to-hip ratio for females, abundance in food supplies, etc., their success rate for mating becomes higher. Remember that when it comes to survival of the fittest, the word fittest means those who are capable of multiplying their offspring; the word fittest simply evolved in our modern culture that it has to do with strength, speed or any other physical capability. Anyway, these days, we’re vain for one reason: to become more socially acceptable. Everyone is guilty of vanity in different ways, just try to browse your Facebook’s news feeds. You have friends who posts pictures of their new car, jewelries, latest gadgetry, expensive clothes, fancy places where they eat, a picture of their well-toned physique and so forth. Vanity can also be in the form of showing intelligence, knowledge or abilities such as singing/ dancing talent, how much they know by posting trivia, etc. See, I told you, everyone is vain of some sort; we just all express it in different ways or forms. It seems like vanity is actually encoded in our DNAs for survival.

Backpedalling to the importance of vanity in fat loss success, honestly speaking, most of us actually get into fitness program whether it’s diet or exercise to improve our appearance whether to look better on clothes or even without clothes, to look good in pictures, to look good on special occasions, etc. The bottom line is, we all want to be more socially acceptable. So, how can vanity help us diet successfully? Think of it this way. Imagine that your fat loss goal is a fireplace and vanity is our fire wood that we constantly put in the fire to keep the flame burning. Part of successful long-term fat loss program is the alteration of our psychology with regards to our fitness goal. If you start your diet with 100% vanity, then keep it that way; the most important thing is that it has to be there always to fuel our intrinsic motivation.

As long as you are not trespassing someone else with your fat loss goal, I don’t see anything wrong in becoming vain at some degree. Don’t mind what the other people say because whether we something or not, people will always be judgmental. In my observation, most fitness peeps who are vain also tend to have a high success rate on maintaining their physique because they constantly track their progress.

On the bright side, vanity in return can improve our self-esteem, boost our feel-good hormone dopamine and it can aid us stick to our diet and exercise plan which equates consistency.