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  • Clive Vanderwagen

You don't need to lose weight! You need more...

Updated: Jan 1

I'm writing this at the end of a year. In a day's time we will be walking into a fresh new year with new hopes and dreams brewing in our mind. And perhaps a few goals in our side pocket. Let's not call them resolutions, okay!



In my last post I wrote about how a new year instinctively creates a need for something new in our lives, or signifies a shift in something we want to do differently.


So 2022 represents a clean slate to some or a shift for others.


Most people decide what they want less of in a new year.


You decide certain things that you think will make your life better. You decide you'll lose weight. You'll stop smoking. You'll eat less sugar. You'll work less.You'll quit or reduce the bottle of wine a night. You'll be less moody.

Saying you want to stop doing something or want to do less of it will probably mean that two weeks into the new year, you'll have already failed or given up.

Why? Because less of anything is negative. As soon as you feel like you're denying yourself something, you'll want more of it.


Don't think of a pink zebra!


What are you thinking of? A pink zebra. A clichéd example, but a reminder that what we want to think less of is imprinted in our mind.


When I first decided to stop drinking, cracking open a bottle of wine was all I could think of. In fact, I dreamt about it. And every time I gave in I felt like a failure and beat myself up for having no self-control and for being weak. So I drank more to numb those feelings.


See the vicious cycle?


I've been sober for over 15 months now, and I've been reflecting on how I've done it, and how I stick to it. Lord knows, I don't want to go back to my bottle of wine a night habit, or reset my alcohol free days to zero.


How did I get sober?


I reframed my goals.


I never decided to have less wine. I decided to have a healthy relationship with alcohol. And eventually that meant divorce due to irreconcilable differences.


Reframe what you want less of into what you want more of.

I wanted a healthy relationship with alcohol. Not to stop drinking. Whenever I resolved to stop drinking, I couldn't. My psychological addiction and craving for a dopamine rush became too strong. A healthy relationship with alcohol doesn't exist in my world, so stopping was a natural progression.



How do you reframe your goals?


Let's look at weight – that's one I hear in my coaching practice almost every December.


Saying you want to lose weight isn't always helpful. Usually it comes with a resolution to stop drinking sugary drinks, or to eat shakes instead of meals, or to start some fad diet. The problem is that when you then cave and have a sugary drink, eat that slice of cake, or gain a kilo you feel like you've failed and give up completely.


Rather focus on what you want more of that may lead to weight loss.


Next year I want to be fitter (positive goal), and that may result in weight loss. If I run a bit more and do a 21km I'll feel like I've achieved and celebrate that, rather than berating myself every time I have a pizza. Instead I'll just run an extra kilometre or 5 minutes longer the next time I run if I tuck into the carbs.


Lets reframe some of the other goals I mentioned earlier:

  • I want to lose weight becomes I want to add more unprocessed foods into my eating.

  • I want to quit smoking becomes I want to be healthier next year.

  • I want to eat less sugar becomes I want to eat more natural foods that don't have sugar in the first 5 in the ingredients' list.

  • I want to drink less alcohol becomes I want to wake up feeling fresh and with a clear head every morning.

  • I want to work less becomes I want to schedule in more family time because I adore my kids.

You getting the gist of it?


Don't go into 2022 with a list of things you're stopping. Go into the year with a list of things you want in your life, and let what you do lose or stop be an added benefit.


So if you end 2022 a bit fitter but with no weight loss (although I promise you there will be centimetre loss), the year hasn't been a failure.


If you have more unprocessed food, and eat less sugar as a result, the year has been successful. Then we just build on that in 2023.


Go easy on yourself. Choose what you want to add into your life, and it will immediately ease what you want less of.


Have an amazing start to 2022! Sending love.