Staying in the here-and-now can helps you keep your head straight as you try to lose weight.
Many people think constantly in terms of alternate realities—sometimes to the point where the lines between what is real, what is attainable and what is unprecedented become blurred. We think of the past, we think of the future and we come up with dozens of ‘what ifs’ that we then hold ourselves accountable for not attaining. What if I moved to New York? What if I became a doctor or a lawyer? What if I stayed in that relationship? Some of these what ifs focus on the past, others are founded in the future—all of them are based on fictional premises of our own lives, and as we dwell on them we fill an alternative reality with ammunition to use on ourselves.
Living in the future is just as bad as living in the past. We tend to applaud those who have five year plans, but how often do we hear about the four year plan or three year plan—you know, the time adjustment that we all should be making to those five year plans as the years go on. More often than not a year goes by and we still think in terms of the five year plan, constantly pushing off the future for another half decade until time passes us by.
Some people trying to lose weight have trouble living in the moment. There is a lot to think about in the past. You might still be trying to sort through when your struggle with obesity began, or you might hold resentment against your past self for the time you spent overweight or indulging in an unhealthy lifestyle.
Others put blinders on and look to the future, thinking of all the healthy and wonderful things they can do with their life after they have lost weight. You can’t just look to your future fit self and tell yourself that everything will be great one day. While it is wonderful to have such a positive outlook on your weight loss progress and life in general, if you aren’t connecting your past and present self with your future goals and taking the actions now to make those dreams happen then you are creating yet another alternate reality that you are unlikely to attain.
There is nothing wrong with daydreaming or coming up with pipe dreams. It is fun to think about what your life would have been like if you were born 200 years earlier or on the other side of the world. It gives us a kick to picture our lives in movie scenarios or to play out in our heads different scenes from our favorite books. When you do this, make sure you aren’t putting your realistic hopes and aspirations into the same category of these out-of-reach daydreams.
Your medical weight loss program is setting you up to lose weight, so a future fitter you isn’t a pipe dream and it doesn’t have to be part of an alternate reality. Make the realization that your present self is creating the future you, and give yourself credit for that. By bringing your efforts back down to earth you might have a better shot at achieving the many goals you’ve set for yourself!