Monday, March 28, 2011

Discipline and Losing Weight

Photos from the blog of Henry James, March 31, 2010

Discipline and Losing Weight

The last blog featured the role of external motivation systems for weight loss. This blog demonstrates how intrinsic motivation can be used as a basis for losing weight.

Recently, Harry Chapman of Dallas, Texas was featured in the Times-Picayune, the MoneyWalker’s daily newspaper. Harry, always fitness conscious throughout his 30s, was shocked to realize by his late forties he had a 44 inch waist line. With the stress and responsibilities of his job, he lost time for exercise and was overeating. Moreover, all his life quality indicators were trending in the wrong direction.

First he determined to change his behavior by focusing on health rather than losing pounds. He opted for intrinsic motivation to develop a plan of action. He also sought encouragement from significant others. The plan was to exercise six days a week and follow a calorie restricted diet. Two years later he had lost 100 pounds.

Harry’s advice to is to take action with what you can do. For him it was swimming. He supports small realistic goals. Harry’s first goal was to move from lane 1 to lane 2. Lane 1 of his 50 meter pool was for the really slow swimmers. Harry could just make one length of the 50 meter pool when he started. With discipline and consistency he slowly moved up lanes until he reached lane five, the lane reserved for his club’s fastest swimmers. He now belongs to the Dallas Aquatic Masters Swim Club and competes with other masters. Says Harry, “Find a regiment and stick with it.”

Now the bad news, Harry warns that just because you are running, or walking, going to the gym, or swimming; and you are doing everything right in terms of exercise, there is no guarantee that you will lose weight. It is the “eating aspect” that is the most important, not the exercise he cautions. Harry’s final advice is biting but true: “The battle is at the table.” “You cannot work out enough to overcome overeating.“


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