Have you ever visited Paris and had the pleasure of climbing the Eiffel Tower? The dizzying heights overlooking majestic Paris! Even if you have not experienced this wonder, just close your eyes now and feel the moment. It is a true moment of awe and wonder. Now, did any of you notice the guard rails in place keeping you safe? No, I am sure you were too busy enjoying the views thanks to the presence of the guard rails. Your attention was on the view, not the guard rails, although subconsciously you were aware of their protective role.
In his recent blog, Seth Godin, a New York marketing guru, suggested that we demand guard rails. He wrote: "It's tempting to believe that left to our own devices, we'll all maximize our health, make smart investment decisions and generally follow our instincts on the road to happiness. But it turns out that cigarettes are addictive, that financial distress causes people to make short-term decisions that are damaging, and that we even have trouble doing smart and easy things with 401k."
How does this relate to your weight loss journey?
Many people say that diets don't work. Well, they do. It is the excuses and obstacles that people create that causes them not to work.
In your quest to lose weight, you need guard rails to be put in place to successfully achieve the weight loss you are looking for. Unfortunately, it is the guard rails that people rally against. They believe that they do not need help, that guard rails are only for the weak and make them feel insecure when in reality they are doing the opposite.
What is needed, is a change in perspective and you will see that the guard rails are not put in to restrict you but are there to give you freedom.
Once you allow yourself to relax against the guard rails, just like you relaxed while taking in the Parisian views, you can enjoy the moment without needing to be conscious of the risk. The rail allows you to be fully present and be successful in what you want to achieve.
How do you place a weight loss guard rail?
You become accountable and make some ground rules. You do this not because you are forced to but because you have decided that you no longer want to be overweight, tired and irritable but want to lose weight and have a determination to achieve it.
You have worked out your values and priorities and suddenly the guard rails are necessary and help to keep you on the path you are envisioning. An example here may be that you want to lose weight to decrease the strain on your joints, or it may be simply that you want to look great for an upcoming event.
You learn to love the guard rails because you will not see them as a hindrance, but allow you to concentrate on your desired outcome.
Steps to create your guard rails.
- Work out your main goal.
Is your goal to lose 10kg before a wedding or do you dream of having more energy in your day? You need a short term goal as well as a long-term goal. A short term goal could be losing 3kg (6lb) in a month, with a long-term goal of 12kg (24lb) in 6 months. This might sound simple, but unless you have a clear vision of what you are aiming for, you do not know where to place your barriers and what it is that you want to achieve. Once you have a goal to aim for, you have a vision.
This is important so you do not get despondent and realize halfway into your weight loss journey that you on this journey because it is a journey you thought you had to do. These are your values and priorities and no-one else. You have to do this journey for your own self-development and not for someone else.
By knowing what you value, what you prioritize and what is important to you, then you can start to realize and work out what you are prepared to suffer and what you want to enjoy today.
The reason for this step is to see how robust your guardrail needs to be. If you want to lose weight, but refuse to change your diet, then there needs to be some kind of mechanism to protect you from yourself. It is only when you get transparent with how you are dealing with your weight issues that you have any chance of doing anything about it.
This is the structure of your guard rail. It might involve cleaning out your pantry, doing a shop so you have all the foods you need in order to follow a healthy meal plan. It might also include avoiding too many nights out with friends where temptation be your downfall.
Having guard rails in place is one thing, but you must also employ a police force to regulate behavior. Your accountability partner may be your partner, a friend, a mentor or health coach. The important thing to remember is that this is someone who will be keeping tabs on what you are doing and is given permission to call you out on your behavior if it does not align with what you want to achieve.
Once everything is set up, the guard rails are in place and the accountability is organized, it is time to start. This step seems simple but is often the missing final step. We can spend so much time on our vision board and work on our mindset that we actually forget, or may be too afraid or find it too hard to actually start the journey.
Guard rails are a much more elegant way to think about restrictions you are putting in place rather than talking about diets and deprivation.
That is because it is about a change in perspective.
So what will you now do? Will you concentrate all your energy on the guard rails, or will you raise your sight above the guard rails and enjoy the view?
Julie Dargan is a Nurse, Naturopath BHSc and has worked in the wellness industry for over 30 years. Julie's FREE 5 Day Kickstart Program is excellent to get you on the right track to help you lose weight and find hormonal harmony in the menopause.
Julie has also released an exciting eBook that explores why diets do not work and how to get you in the correct mind frame to lose weight. Julie also has a Facebook page for women over 50 and looking for solutions to halt weight gain in the menopause.