Today I was impressed with a gentleman who has been losing weight, and has been very diligent about not giving in to summertime temptations. He acknowledged the fact that denying himself ice cream and cupcakes at his son’s birthday wasn’t easy, but he realizes he must change habits otherwise he will re-gain his weight just as he has done on every other diet he has tried.

However, it was the matter of fact, yet succinct, way in which he stated the obvious that intrigued me: “You know, it’s really not hard to say to someone, ‘You go ahead and have that cake, I don’t want it thank you’.” He states this from the perspective of: “It’s my life, my health, and I must be firm in my commitment to these important aspects.”

Saying “no” is not easy. People encourage us to eat, almost force us to eat and sometimes make us feel guilty if we refuse. Our goal, however, should be our own purpose for eating a certain way and we can’t give in to the waiter, friend, or spouse. Indeed, if we really want not only to lose weight but keep it off, we must develop determination to eat what we want, and how much we want.

Having said that, it becomes easier if we have a clear purpose of WHY we want to do this. In this case, the man wants to improve his health and wants to enjoy many more years of playing golf. Excess weight was holding back his quality of life; he wasn’t enjoying things as much anymore, and was much less active. As the weight has come down he is feeling much better and is much more active; he wants to sustain this and improve even more. Thus, he refuses to give in to unnecessary treats, as much as they taste good ‘in the moment.’

What is your purpose for losing weight? Do you have a clear purpose? If we don’t have a definitive purpose, give in to temptations. (I know, only to feel guilty about our indiscretions the following morning). Whenever you have a quiet moment, visualize what you want to look like and how you want to feel. As you do this, go over in your mind what it is you have to do to achieve that state. For most of us, it is either giving up, or having much less of treats that we allow ourselves in the evening or at events.

Another patient today told me he gave up his six daily Tim Bits and nightly ice cream; over about 7 weeks he has lost over 15 pounds simply by stopping these sugary treats and continuing his exercise. In the latter case, this gentleman is learning to say “no” to himself for these unnecessary calories and now feels the benefit. He does, however, have a clear goal of how much he want to weigh and how he wants to look in a few months’ time.

Learn to say ‘no’ to offers of food you don’t want, or know you don’t want to have. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes.

Understand and truly know WHY you are going to say ‘no.’ By not having these treats, how will you look and feel in one month’s time? It’s called delayed gratification. It’s worth it!

Just keep on trying and never give up. I know it’s not easy, but constantly visualize what you ultimately want to achieve. I know you can do it.

Dr. Doug