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What Makes People Decide to Change?

Now that I am almost a year into my weight loss journey, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where I have been and where I am now. A year ago, I was in pain and didn't know what my future held regarding my physical capabilities after having a major neck surgery and then a back surgery 7-months later. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and I think most critically, I had lost hope.

It wasn't like a switch flipped overnight. There were thoughts of making a change along the way, but as they say, I had to hit rock bottom to come to the conclusion that I didn't have anything to lose. I couldn't keep going the way I was. One of the biggest barriers in my mind to starting was that I had tried before only to put the weight back on or had physically hurt my body which kept me from exercising. I had the all-or-nothing thinking that I had tried before and failed, what would make this time different? What was different, was that I needed to get to the root cause of why I was eating and change my mindset from "living to eat" and overindulging in food, to "eating to live" and listening to what my body needed.

What I have learned in my 18 years as a Physical Therapist is that 95% of a person achieving their goal, whether learning to walk again after having a stroke or recovering from a total knee replacement, is his or her mindset. If the person makes the decision, has the vision of the outcome they want to achieve, and the determination to do it, the person will succeed. Someone else wanting you to make a change will not help. My self-talk was my biggest limitation. I believed the lies that I told myself: that I was a failure, and I wasn't worth investing in. It was the devil on my shoulder feeding me lies to keep me stuck.

If you can relate, please know that you ARE worth it and you are NOT a failure. No one is perfect. On your journey there will be ups and downs, but each time you slip,

have a growth mindset and learn. Ask yourself "why?" like a relentless 2-year-old until you discover what is really going on at the core. Are you bored? Stressed? Tired? Learn from the slips and come up with a plan of attack for the next time. Awareness is the key to defeating old behaviors and habits.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What would be a warning sign to let you know that this is a problem?

  • What have you tried to change in the past?

  • What things have helped you in the past, and what would help you now?

Where to start

Pick one thing. That's it. Start small. Gain some small wins and keep the momentum going. Some ideas could be drinking more water, get more steps in, or get more sleep. Whatever it is, name it and measure it. We hold ourselves more accountable when we track it and when we share our goals with others who can help us stay on the right path. You can do, just keeping making the next right move, brush off the dust when you sleep, and keep going! I believe you!

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