Q&A How Can I Regain My Focus on Weight Loss? Dr. John H. Sklare, Ed.D
Q: I have recently lost a lot of weight and I am very proud of myself for it.
However, I feel like I have lost my focus. I havent been to the gym in three
weeks and Im just not pumped up about getting as healthy as I was. Any advice?
A: Great question and congratulations on your weight loss! I have seen this
happen countless times over the years, so please dont feel alone. Whenever
someone loses focus at or near the end of their weight loss journey, in my
experience, it is typically due to one of two reasons. One of the reasons has
to do with where your motivation comes from, and the other reason is tied to an
issue I call The Family Feud.
Lets start with the motivation issue. I used to teach Educational Psychology
and one of the topics that I covered dealt with motivation. There are two types
of motivation: Intrinsic Motivation (internal motivation) and Extrinsic
Motivation (external motivation). To help you better understand the difference,
use the example of learning in school. Some students are motivated to study
because theyre offered some monetary reward from their parents for good grades,
like $5 for every A they get on their report card. This is an example of an
externally motivated person. If you dont offer some reward, they usually dont
see the sense in putting in the effort. On the other hand, the internally
motivated student is motivated to study and gets As for the pure personal
satisfaction one gets from doing well and excelling. Both of these students may
get As, but the internally motivated person will find it easier to stay on task
and will do better overall in life. If pounds lost
is your primary motivation, youre an externally motivated person. When you get
near or reach your goal weight and your weight loss slows or stops, you lose
your motivation. But if healthy living is your primary goal, youre an
internally motivated person and more likely to keep going, regardless of weight
The other possibility is tied to The Family Feud, the name Ive given to the
mental battle that goes on inside your head between your responsible, health
conscious ADULT part and your compulsive, I want what I want when I want it
CHILD. As you get near or reach your weight goal, the ADULT tends to get a
little lax and lets her guard down. This often opens up the door for that
impulsive inner child to start weakening your will by whispering her unhealthy
desires softly into your ear. She does this by creating distractions that cause
you to lose your focus and feel out of control. Regardless of what the issue is
here, the antidote is action. This is a critical juncture in your wellness
journey, Nicole, and how you respond will set the stage for your life later on.
Make healthy living your motivation and put that responsible, health-conscious
inner Adult in charge and youll find yourself right smack dab in the middle of
the Yellow Brick Road again. Make it happen!
This is your moment and you are worth the effort.
Yep, potholes hurt sometimes. But remember: You're STILL going FORWARD.
(Just keep your finger out of your nose and it'll be juuuuuust fine.)