People put the weight right back on, fail to stick to a workout routine, or procrastinate, never getting started -- NOT because they lack the will power, self control, or the time, but because they are sabotaged by their own self image.
Let's say you lost 15 pounds. You have more energy, you like the way you look now, your clothes fit better, and your number-one says you look GREAT! Despite all these reasons to keep the weight off, you put it right back on. Why? Good question!
Is it because you have no self control, no will power? If this were the case, you wouldn't be able to hold down a job or be trusted to take care of a young child in your charge. Is it because you have no time -- you're too busy? Probably not, because if I offered to pay you $1,000 or even just $50 for each hour you exercised, you'd willingly sacrifice a little TV or computer time to head for the gym or take a walk during your lunch break.
No, the real culprit is your self-image. Your self-image is how you see yourself -- it's your identity. It's who you are! Your self-image could be, for example: a business owner, the mother of three, a coin collector, trustworthy, honest, good with crossword puzzles and fat. Er, I mean, 20 pounds overweight.
This is how you see yourself -- it is your self-image, or identity. If you were to eliminate one of these aspects of yourself, it would be like the annihilation of part of you. A piece of you will have become extinct -- another endangered species has bitten the dust, so to speak.
The self-image's job is to create stability and consistency in your life. It therefore fights change, because lasting change means that a part of who-you-are has been destroyed.
If you were a beer drinker one day, a teetotaler the next, and a connoisseur of fine wines the next, you'd have no consistent identity. Your beer-guzzling buddies would be confused. You wouldn't be able to relate to them and they to you as a teetotaler or a wine connoisseur. Life would get very confusing and untenable.
When you lose 15 pounds, there is a "disconnect" between the current physical you that you temporarily become and the self-image version of who you "really" are or are "supposed" to be. This causes angst and discomfort in your mind/body system. Your self-image self -- your subconscious mind -- will then work to bring your physical self and its new weight back in line with your subconsciously-established view of your body. Therefore, it will slow your metabolism down, increase your appetite, make you sluggish so you won't want to work out, and give you one excuse after another why you should skip your exercise class or eat that last half of the cheesecake.
If you take action without dealing with your self-image first, you are most likely doomed to failure. No self improvement, including weight loss, can last unless you change your self-image -- change how you see yourself.
You'll find out how to change your self-image in The Real Reason ... part 2.
Ed Mayhew is a speaker and the author of Fitter After 50 and Fitter for Life