Weight Loss Lessons from a Funeral

Weight Loss Lessons From A Funeral

Learning Weight Loss Lessons the Hard Way

I will always remember 2012 through 2014 as my ‘annus horribilis thricitus” (or whatever three really horrible years is in Latin). And while there were many horrible things that happened in those three years, the one I want to tell you about today is the death of my Mother.

Mum died on the 7th of October 2013.  She had been in an aged care facility since 2008.  In the end, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk, she couldn’t feed herself.  The last thing I fed her was half a Lindt ball (she couldn’t open her mouth wide enough to fit the whole thing in at once).

Her funeral was a few days later.  I wanted to do the eulogy.  I know Mum wanted me to do the eulogy.  You see, in my former-fat-life I was a speech and drama teacher.  But before I became a speech and drama teacher I was an avid speech and drama eisteddfod competitor.

Mum was my side-kick.  Her first eisteddfod experience was sitting through 60 x 9 year old kids saying the same poem, over and over again.  It’s a wonder she came back for more.  But she did.  Seven long years of more.  She wasn’t a stage Mum.  She was always honest in her appraisals, “that boy deserved to win” or “you were robbed” or “that adjudicator was mean” but always, most importantly, she always said to me “as long as you did your best”.

Many years later, I had the honour of adjudicating eisteddfods. And one time, Mum wanted to come with me.  I will never, ever forget the look of pride on her face as she watched me adjudicate.  I’d come full circle and she’d been with me all the way.

So I wanted to speak at her funeral.  And I mean speak, not read.  I didn’t write down what I wanted to say, there was no script.  If I stopped, if I couldn’t go through with it, if I was too overcome with emotion to speak, there would be no one to come up and read my words for me.  There was no back up.  There was no way out.  There was no easier option.  There was no way I could cop out.  There would just be me.  I gave myself no choice.

And I did it!

!The fastest way to lose weight is to do it once, so you never have to do it again - Weight Loss Lessons From A Funeral

Don’t Give Yourself Any Other Option

Sometimes, if you give yourself no other choice, you have to do things – like them or not – simply because you have no option.  We all know what we ‘should’ do to lose weight.  In a non-stressed, time-rich, happy state it’s easy to think about these things.  However, in a super-stressed, time-poor, emotionally wrought time… well, you know what happens.

But consider what would happen if you gave yourself no choice?  If you had no option. The whole concept of real life weight loss melts away into simple survival.

I always remember a conversation I had with a personal trainer. A client of hers had lost 20kg because the trainer would go over to her house 4 times a week at 5 am and drag her out of bed (quite literally a couple of times) and then flog her ass off (again quite literally) for an hour and a half of exercise.  The woman had no choice – she was going to lose 20kg!

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Successful weight loss is all about engineering your environment so you cannot fail.  Part of that is about engineering your mind – replacing the unhelpful habits with those that are much more helpful.  That bit takes times, but it also increases your weight loss motivation as it leads to success.

I am actually originally from a cattle property. While I’m no expert horsewoman, one thing I do remember about breaking in a horse is to make it harder for the horse to do the wrong thing and easier for the horse to do the right thing. You create more and more barriers between the horse and where you don’t want it to go, or what you don’t want it to do, and fewer and fewer barriers (or, indeed, no barrier at all) between the horse and what you do want it to do.

As human beings, we haven’t evolved so much from animals that this tactic doesn’t work with us as well, particularly when losing weight. Studies show that if you don’t go down the junk food aisle at the supermarket, you’re much less likely to buy, and thus eat, junk food. Studies also show that if you find a gym five minutes away from where you live or work, you’re much more likely to go regularly than if you join a gym twenty minutes away.

!Pleasure is a gift.  Love Your Weight Loss. - Weight Loss Lessons From A Funeral

So here’s what you can do to engineer your environment for weight loss success and thus increase your motivation for weight loss as you achieve your weight loss goals.

  • Consider some of your current unhealthy habits. What additional barriers can you create between you and this behaviour to make it more difficult for you to do?
  • Consider some of the healthy habits that you wish to adopt in the future. What barriers can you work on eliminating to make it easier to adopt these habits in the future?

Then, plan ahead.

When you’re making a meal or snack for yourself at home, get into the habit of putting all the ingredients away BEFORE you sit down to eat. It’s harder to get it all out again if you want seconds.

If you’re at a buffet, seat yourself somewhere so you aren’t directly looking at the food.

If you are at a party, stay away from the food table.

If you know you are going to have a busy week at work and won’t feel like cooking when you get home, make a giant pot of something on Sunday and have leftovers for the first three days for dinner.  Buy some healthy emergency frozen meals for the other two.

If alcohol is your downfall and you are going out for drinks then make sure you drive there (and obviously then don’t drink and drive)

If you can’t stand to leave food on your plate then buy a smaller plate.

If you can’t stop at only one lolly then don’t start with one.

If you never feel satisfied after a salad then eat a bigger salad!

If you have to taste everything when you bake then wear a mouthguard so you can’t taste along the way (and trust your own good cooking skills!)

If you have troubled getting focused on weight loss because of the ‘ugly body’ you see in front of the mirror every morning then cover up your mirrors!

I could go on… but you get the idea…. Create the conditions for your own weight loss success.

It’s not that hard to do.  Believe me.  I know.

About The Author

Sally Symonds

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