Weight Loss

Trying to Lose Weight? Here’s Why Defining Your “Why” is Key

Shift your perspective for sustained weight loss & improved overall health!

By: Lexy Parsons

While wanting to lose weight or tone up can be a valid and healthy goal, solely fixating on aesthetics can lead to an unhealthy mindset. And, thanks to societal norms, social media, and peer pressure, it’s easy to fall into this thought pattern. However, what you may not know is that while these surface goals seemingly provide temporary motivation, they often fail to sustain long-term success. This is where the concept of defining your “why” comes in. Rather than solely focusing on how you want to look, getting clear on your “why” involves considering how you want to feel, both physically and emotionally. It teaches you to move beyond aesthetics and, instead, shifts your focus to overall health and longevity.

Ahead, learn the power behind defining your “why” and how it can lead to long-term weight loss that’s attainable, sustainable, and even enjoyable!

The Importance of Defining Your “Why”

Defining your “why” refers to identifying the deeper reasons behind your weight loss goals. It’s about uncovering the underlying motivations that go beyond aesthetics and surface-level goals, and understanding the deeper motivations that propel you forward.

When you adopt this approach, you tap into the emotional, psychological, and even spiritual aspects of your journey. It becomes about more than just shedding pounds; it’s about reclaiming your health, vitality, and overall well-being. This becomes particularly important when you face challenges and setbacks, as these deeper intrinsic motivating factors are what will push you forward and provide a sense of purpose, even when you’re ready to toss in the towel.

In fact, there’s research to suggest that intrinsic motivation, which is driven by our own satisfaction and joy (rather than external desires, like compliments or recognition) is much more likely to create long-lasting change and enhance the success of weight loss interventions. 

Not to mention, an unhealthy obsession with achieving a certain body size or extreme caloric restriction can increase stress levels, leading to the release of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. If chronic, elevated cortisol levels can lead to weight gain or make it difficult to lose weight, creating a vicious cycle that can plateau and even slow progress.

The Benefits of Defining Your Why & Shifting Your Focus to Health

Sustained Motivation

When motivation stems from improving your overall well-being, you’re more likely to stay committed and sustain your goals in the long run, despite setbacks or temptations. In fact, according to recent 2023 research, individuals motivated by health and fitness goals not only achieved greater weight loss compared to individuals with aesthetic weight loss goals, but they were also more likely to stay committed and less likely to drop out of the study. If your goal is to lower your cholesterol or reduce your risk of diabetes, for instance, your incentive for maintaining healthy habits over time is much greater than someone wanting to fit into a smaller pair of jeans.

Increased Resilience

Beyond motivation, defining your “why” can help you become much more resilient throughout your weight loss journey. If we’re being honest, weight loss journeys are rarely linear or predictable. In fact, they’re usually the opposite — they often come with unexpected setbacks, temptations, triggers, and moments of doubt. Without a strong sense of purpose, it’s easy to toss in the towel and convince yourself you’ll “start again tomorrow”. However, when you have a clear understanding of your “why,” you’re better equipped to navigate these obstacles. In fact, overcoming these obstacles is often a necessary part of growth! And while it may seem scary or discouraging, we all face them. But, by coming back to your deeper motivations, you’ll often find that it’s easier to get back on track when you veer off course.

Improved Overall Health, Beyond Weight 

While aesthetic goals may help you attain weight loss, these goals often neglect the bigger picture of long-term health and well-being. Not to mention, the aforementioned weight loss is often short-lived. By defining your “why” beyond surface-level goals, however, you shift your focus towards creating sustainable lifestyle changes that promote overall health. If, for example, you want to lose weight in order to reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote healthy aging, you’re likely going to make other lifestyle choices that benefit your mind and body beyond weight loss, such as reducing stress, improving sleep, and opting for nutrient-dense foods.

How To Define Your “Why”: Simple Steps To Get Started

Jot Down Your Values & Goals

Beyond weight loss and appearance, what truly matters to you? Is it reduced risk of chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease? Is it longevity, so that you may maintain your youth as a healthy and active parent or grandparent? Jot down what truly matters to you, and consider how weight loss plays a role in achieving these goals. 

Set “SMART” Goals

Once you’ve gotten clear on your goals, it’s time to put them into play the “smart” way! By this we mean make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For example, rather than focusing on losing five pounds, make it your goal to prioritize actions that promote health, such as incorporating more colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet, or walking a certain number of steps per day. Here’s a detailed guide on how to get started!

Practice Visualization

Whether it’s creating a vision board, repeating positive affirmations every morning, listening to a visualization meditation, or simply envisioning what your successful weight loss journey would look like, consider adopting a visualization practice. This simple technique may help you reach your goals while also improving confidence and reducing fear!

Seek Support

No matter your reasons for wanting to lose weight, tackling this journey alone can be challenging. Consider surrounding yourself with a supportive community, whether it’s FitOn, friends and family, co-workers, or even a healthcare professional. Build your support army! It will help you stay committed, accountable, and motivated.

The Takeaway

If you’re getting started with your weight loss journey, remember that a simple perspective shift can change the game. By shifting your focus towards deeper goals that include long-term health and overall well-being, you not only enhance your chances of success but also cultivate a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. Use these tools to help you get clear on your “why,” and remember to continue coming back to it throughout your journey!