Having a compelling reason

In the last week, a couple of different women (both about half my age) have asked me about losing weight. In each conversation, I told them what I have done and immediately the questions started flying:

But don’t you eat sweets?

What about cookies?

Don’t you ever want to just eat junk food?

Milk? You don’t drink milk? What about yogurt?!

Followed quickly by the protestations:

I could never do that!

First of all, both of these women look great. So I had to ask: Why do you want to lose weight?

The first one mumbled something about her parents coming up for graduation.

The second said that she wanted to look better. When I pushed on her why she wanted to look better, she really struggled to find a compelling reason.

She then said that she had a lot of time in which to exercise, so she thought she should work out more. I told her that if having too much time on her hands was her only reason then maybe she should try reading Anna Karenina or taking up belly dancing.

If you don’t have a compelling reason to lose weight, you won’t. You’ve got to want something bad enough to give up the cookies, the chocolate croissants, the peanut butter, the wine with dinner, the chips straight out of the bag before bed…well, you get the picture.

And if you don’t have a compelling enough reason, maybe you’re fine as you are. Or maybe you will eventually find the reason — either in terms of a failed goal, a bad knee, a weight related health condition, having to buy two seats on an airline, not being able to wear your favorite suit, or any number of other situations. But it can’t be some half baked desire; those never work. And it certainly won’t work if the only reason that you’re doing it is because someone else thinks you should!

Don’t you ever just want a cookie? She asked disbelievingly, glancing over at a display case teeming with chocolate cakes, Napoleons, and cream stuffed horns (ironically we were having this conversation in a bakery). Yes, I do, I answered honestly, but not nearly as bad as I want to be thin.

And why do I want to be thin? Believe me, I have my reasons. And they are, if nothing else, compelling.

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