Recently, the news has been full of stories about beauty pageant winner Bree Boyce, Miss South Carolina. What makes Bree so special is the fact that she used to weigh 112 pounds more than what she now weighs. Through hard work and determination, she was able to lose the weight, and keep it off. Her efforts have turned her into a role model for women struggling with weight issues. However, the things she learned along the journey of weight loss can be applied to any challenge or struggle in life. Here are a few things about weight loss that you can apply to any struggle:
- Take it slow and steady. Losing weight, along with overcoming any challenge, is a process, not an overnight solution. It takes a long time to change habits from something destructive to something constructive. It’s easy to start to feel discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. This can be a horrible trap to fall into and is the reason why most people eventually give up on diets or kicking that old habit. You have to learn how to take a broader perspective of the situation. It’s hard, but possible,, to train yourself to look at the big picture and not just an individual day.
- Figure out, and then avoid, your triggers. All habits come with triggers. Triggers are things that you have made a habit of associating with an action. For example, let’s say that every time you have a test in one of your classes, you munch on a bag of M&Ms to help you stay focused as you study. When the test is over, you go and eat a huge bowl of ice cream to reward yourself. Pretty soon, you start munching on M&Ms every time something is stressing you out, whether it’s a test or something else in life. And when something good happens, you start to crave a big bowl of ice cream. The stress is a trigger for eating, as well as the relief of that stress. The only way to avoid this pattern is by changing your reaction to triggers, or at least channeling them into something healthier, such as eating a salad or exercising.
- One bad day doesn’t ruin everything. Changing your habits, as mentioned before, takes a long time. You can’t expect to be perfect at it. Even after years of staying away from something, it can come back if you get lazy. However, it’s also important not to beat yourself up about one bad day, as long as that’s all it is, one day. Forgive yourself for eating half a pizza that day, and think of tomorrow as a fresh start. Changing is a process, accept it and move on if you should mess up one day.
- Be forever diligent. As alluded to in point 3, it’s possible to fall back into your bad habits if you allow yourself. Thus, for the rest of your life you need to be diligent. If you see yourself drifting off track, then put a few checks in place to help you get righted, such as counting calories, or not eating after 8 p.m. The sooner you correct yourself, the easier it will be to get on track again. Even 20 or 30 years down the line, you might loosen up and go back to old habits. It will get easier, but that’s no excuse for letting bad habits take control again.