Engage (verb): to participate or become involved in. To assume an obligation.
We often hear this in our groups “I had a bad week, yet I still lost a pound. I don’t know how that happened.” And then they go on to describe several instances where they made sligthly better choices, or choices that were less bad than if they had not been engaged with the process.
In spite of whatever else happened that week, they did this one thing: they remained engaged with the process. They came one week, and in the back of their mind they knew they were coming to the group session the following week. And in the interim, thousands of small lifestyle decisions were subtly influenced by their engagement. Engagement is key.
Even if you don’t come to our groups, you can still find engagement in whatever way works for you. Perhaps you are working with a trainer, or are involved in another weight loss program…the fact that you have regular engagement guarantees success over the long term, even if in the short term you don’t feel like you are succeeding.
There are also many people who lose weight (and keep it off) entirely on their own. While they don’t have the accountability of a group or professional, what these people have in common is a method of remaining engaged at regular intervals (daily is best). It can be as simple as checking the scale, logging food into an app, or regularly reading books about weight loss. Whatever the case, they remain engaged through bad days and good, plateaus, setbacks, and low motivation.
Engagement exposes you to feedback. Whether it is the feedback of group members, the scale, or information from a book, this steady feedback exerts a subtle influence. It gets in our heads–in a good way. This is why engagement is so powerful. It is estimated that we make over 200 food-related decisions each day. Add to that all of the other lifestyle decisions, and you have an astounding number of choice points that are either going to be influenced by your old habits, or more helpful habits. It has been said that 80% of success is in just showing up. I believe there is a lot of truth to that! The reverse is also true. The more distance there is between you and feedback, the more likely you are to revert to old habits.
So if weight loss seems daunting, remember that if you just stay engaged, you will succeed. That is the only commitment you need to make, and you don’t need to think too far beyond that.
If you just do this one thing, your bad decisions will be less bad, your bad days will not become bad weeks, and the number of positive decisions will gradually increase.
So take heart and relax. And if you have disengaged from the process, and want to get back on the road to success, make the commitment to re-engage. What’s stopping you?