When you think about your weight loss goal or the number on the scale, why do you want to weigh that number? Whatever your reason is, it’s not a random choice. It’s most likely connected to the thing you most value, but you might not be quite aware of it.
When it comes to weight loss, or really any goal for that matter, we will never make decisions that line up with our values if we’re not present and connected.
If you’re not quite sure of what values are most important to you, don’t worry because I’m sharing a couple of exercises that will help you get tuned in, and from there, you’ll be able to make value-aligned decisions in any moment.
Connecting your weight loss goal to your values
When you think about your weight loss goal, why do you want to weigh that number? The reason you want that number to show up on the scale is typically because of what you think life will look like when you get there.
Maybe it’s so you can be more active with your family, hiking and biking and playing.
Maybe it’s so you can open up some real estate in your brain. Instead of thinking about your body and food and weight loss, you can start focusing your time and energy on a new hobby or business pursuit.
Maybe it’s so you can feel confident, so you can put on anything and feel good in it and go anywhere with anyone and be comfortable in your skin and not focused on what they’re thinking about you.
These aren’t random choices. They are connected to the things we most value. We may not be aware of what those values are, but we can figure it out by drilling down here.
Why does being able to be physically active with your family matter? How does it connect to your values? Maybe because you want to be the kind of person who prioritizes health and can participate fully and lovingly in your relationships. You value your health and nurturing your relationships.
9 questions to ask to find your weight loss values
If you’re unsure of what you value, here are some questions and exercises to get you there.
Fast forward to yourself at 80 years old. What would your 80-year-old self tell you to stop worrying about? What would she say she wished she did more of?
You can also think about eavesdropping on your funeral and seeing all the people you love and care about gathered there. What do you hope they say about you? How do they describe you and your life?
Or spend some time with these questions:
- Deep down, what really matters to me?
- What’s the truest, most beautiful me I can imagine? (That one is from Untamed, which I’m loving so much right now)
- If I were my ideal self, how would I show up for myself in my relationships, in my job, in my free time?
- What do I want my life to be about?
- If I wasn’t thinking about others’ opinions and judgments, what would I do differently in my life?
You can also try completing this sentence: “I want to be the kind of person who ______.”
Once you have an idea of the kind of person you want to be, you can start connecting your weight goal to your values. It takes your goal from “I want to lose 50 pounds, period” to “I want to lose this weight and get to this goal because ________.”
If your goal is for other people
You may find that your inquiry into this gets you somewhere like, “I want to lose this weight and get to this goal because I don’t want other people to judge me anymore.”
If you find that other people are involved in your answer, it’s totally fine. Just keep drilling down until you get to what it means for you.
Ask “Why” and “So what?” until you get there.
When you ask, “Why don’t I want other people to judge me?” maybe you find out it’s because when you’re worried about other people judging you, you don’t show up as your authentic self, and being authentic is something you really value.
Pause before a decision and reconnect with your values
Some of the biggest obstacles to weight loss success happen during the in-the-moment decisions to eat things that don’t align with our goal.
There’s a lot of, “This won’t matter,” and “Screw it. I don’t even care anymore,” and “Might as well.” That purposeful disconnection from what does matter and our value-driven goal in the moment never leads us closer to where we want to be.
“Might as well” is rarely followed by, “Just eat some veggies.” We’re never saying, “I might as well just eat some veggies.” We’re saying, “I might as well eat this whole cake.”
Might-as-well moments never lead to value-aligned decisions. Just doesn’t happen.
Once you’ve connected your goals to your values, it’s important to then connect this moment to your goals.
I love this quote by Rollo May:
“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between stimulus and response. And in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight.”
There’s power in the pause. That moment before you react. This pause allows you to get conscious and to make value-aligned decisions.
The best tool here is a powerful question.
- Does this get me closer to the person I want to be?
- Does this help me create the life I want?
- Does this help me in the long run?
- How will I feel an hour from now, tomorrow, next month about this?
Questions have the power to raise your consciousness in the moment so that you can connect to what really matters to you.
It’s much less likely that you will pull into the drive-thru for fries and a shake that aren’t on your plan if you pause and ask, “Will these fries get me closer to the person I want to be? Does this shake help me create the life I want? Does this decision support my values of health and integrity with myself?”
Work backwards from your ultimate goal
Another obstacle to weight loss success is our disconnection from the big goal because it seems so far away from where we are now.
That’s why I love to connect the dots from your big goal back to this moment in time.
Set your goal and work backwards from there through each month, each week, and each day, all the way to the moment where it matters.
If you have 50 pounds to lose and you want to lose it in one year, how much weight will you have to lose on average each month, each week, and each day to get to your goal? What do you need to do each day, each week, each month to lose it?
We get closer to our goal a moment at a time. One small decision at a time.
So when we say, “It doesn’t matter, it’s not that big of a deal,” it actually is. It is always a big deal.
The decision you make in this moment is a big deal because it’s part of your journey to the goal. It’s all part of becoming the kind of person you want to become.
It’s a big deal because you are a big deal.
The Mindful Meal Exercise
The final part of this connection in the moment of decision is the connection to our bodies, to what particular foods feel like in our bodies, to what hunger and satiety feel like in our bodies, to what our feelings feel like in our bodies.
Much of our desire to eat comes from a desire to numb and to escape emotion, to disconnect from feeling. So being present in our bodies is a willingness to reconnect. One of the ways you can do this is to set aside time to have a mindful meal.
Download my free worksheets to this exercise and the hunger scale worksheet to try this out. You can even fill it out digitally so you don’t even have to print it because I’m fancy like that.
So your goal here is to stay present and to raise your awareness of your body throughout the meal. You’re going to take your time and assess your body before the meal, at several points during the meal, right after the meal, and then an hour after the meal.
So before you begin, ask yourself these questions:
- How does my body feel right now?
- What’s my energy level?
- Check in with different parts of your body. Your stomach, your head, your mouth.
- What emotion am I experiencing?
- Where am I at on the hunger scale?
- How hungry am I right now?
And then as you eat, set a timer for every minute or two and pause and ask, how does this particular food feel in my body? Check in with your mouth and your throat and your stomach. Ask again, what emotion am I experiencing? Where am I at on the hunger scale?
Do the same thing right after you finish. And then revisit the questions an hour later as well. Sometimes the effect of food on our bodies takes a little while to show up so you want to just reflect and think about how you’re physically feeling after some time has passed as well.
Can you imagine if you started living more present in your body, in the moment, and connected to a value-based goal, how different your decisions and your weight loss journey will be?
Connection is the key to success here, my friends. So try some of these things out. Connect to the weight loss process in a new way and see what happens.
And if you want to learn more from me about how to lose weight for the last time, watch my free video about how to lose the first five pounds — and keep going.