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Permanent Weight Loss: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

Aug 18, 2007
I'm going to be straight with you. Permanent weight loss is different than the quick fix.

It is different in its scope: the changes made are long-term as opposed to limited in duration.

It is different in its approach: changing mental and emotional attitudes leads to healthier behavior with food rather than simply attempting to change old behaviors through willpower. As a professional life coach, I call this "change from the inside out."
It is different in its duration: permanent weight loss tends to be slower and steadier than highly restrictive diets.

So, while it may take more time, permanent weight loss is what we all dream about. It's freedom. It's fulfillment. It's peace with food and your body.

Now, I have a question for you: Does changing old, deeply engrained behaviors and attitudes sound like hard work?

Well, like everything that comes along in life, it can be an obstacle or an opportunity, depending on how you CHOOSE to look at it.

Focusing on opportunity means you see the potential rewards and growth involved.

Focusing on obstacles means you see potential risk and loss.

Many of my weight loss clients will ask, "You want me to look at hard work as an opportunity?"

Yes! After all, it's a chance to lead a happier life without being a slave to food impulses. It's a chance to get what you want. Not everyone steps up to the plate and takes a swing at really getting what they want! It's a chance to grow in a new direction.

The rewards go way beyond just changing your weight too! With this type of change, you'll build an excitement in your life that is truly motivating.

Simply dieting may become boring and rigid. Excessive exercise can lead to injury. But, changing attitudes and stripping away negativity in your life is extremely exciting, uplifting and life-affirming. Becoming more positive can affect your entire life, not just the number on your scale.

I speak from experience. When I weighed 240 pounds, I only saw my weight as an obstacle. I saw losing weight as an even bigger obstacle. It's no wonder I saw obstacles everywhere else in life too.

As I lost weight and worked my way through the layers of resistance, sabotage, and negativity, I realized losing weight gave me some great opportunities:

- the opportunity to step out of hiding and be myself;

- the possibility of taking charge of my future; and

- a chance to stop defining myself by society's rules, the fashion industry's standards, and the insurance company charts.

I've come to believe there's opportunity in every obstacle or roadblock that appears in our lives.

Is taking the time to prepare and take your lunch to work an obstacle, or an opportunity to show that you really care about your health and happiness?

Is telling your best friend you don't want to continue your ritual of binging and watching movies together when you're both dateless on a Saturday night a dreaded task or a chance to stick up for yourself and be really honest about your feelings?

Is avoiding the company holiday party when you're under a lot of stress an obstacle that might affect your career and make you look bad to the boss or is it a gift you can give yourself? After all, some richly deserved alone time can help you de-stress and take care of yourself.

Is your family's love of big meals an obstacle that threatens your own eating style or is it a great tool by which you can measure your success? Or perhaps an opportunity to get creative with meal planning?

You get the idea. ANYTHING can be seen as an obstacle or opportunity. Finding the opportunity inside any situation is part of the fun.

Along the way to permanent weight loss, coming up against an obstacle will happen often and it can be the turning point in your weight loss quest:

Let an event, dilemma or problem get the better of you and you're headed for the place you came from.

Turn that event, dilemma or problem into an opportunity and you're cruising ahead to more success!

Focusing on opportunities on a regular basis will create a habit of looking for things that will HELP, rather than hinder your efforts. The word choice applies again. And given choice, isn't it beneficial to do everything possible to help yourself rather than get in your own way?

This may be one of the biggest keys to success in the quest for a permanent change in your weight.
About the Author
Pat Barone earned her title "America's Weight Loss Catalyst" by coaching thousands of clients toward permanent weight loss. Her status as an expert is heightened by her own personal weight loss success. Receive her free newsletter "The Catalyst" by visiting http://www.patbarone.com.
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