Commitment Phobia: Pick a Fat Loss Plan and Stick With It

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By JJ Virgin

A few months ago, two friends and I drove from Palm Desert to Los Angeles, where we planned some heavy-lifting Saturday morning shopping at The Grove.

At least, the plan involved hitting the sales racks by 11 a.m. Our driver had another strategy. First she made a Starbucks detour. Cool, I thought, I could use a caffeinated boost to maneuver through those clearance racks.

Then she needed gas, so we made another detour. Suddenly lunchtime arrived, so of course she became hungry. We finally hit The Grove about 2:30 p.m., certainly full and hydrated if a little haggard, and drove around nearly 30 minutes to find a parking place.

Those copious detours reminded me of certain clients who “diet shop,” as I call it. These plan-hoppers appear entirely enthusiastic in the beginning. Their first week almost always goes well. Five pounds lighter, they euphorically proclaim on online forums their jeans fit a little looser and they love my program. They’ve even rallied their spouse or best friend to try it.

Inevitably, things slow down. For some people, that might happen during the second week. For others, it occurs a little further down the line. Rather than work through obstacles every dieter experiences at some point, they decide to jump ship and look for another plan. Some do this gracefully. Others complain loudly their former plan doesn’t work.

Still others want to combine programs. They do well with certain aspects within my plan, but they also want to incorporate elements in other programs. They mingle among forums, discussing specific programs’ merits and drawbacks. When they can’t maintain momentum, they completely jump ship and abandon that program.

Eventually, many of these folks do succeed, but staying the course and not detouring would get them to their goals a lot faster.

Pick a Plan and Commit 100 Percent

Well-designed plans have tried-and-true strategies that make fat loss and optimal health attainable goals. I “battle tested” The Virgin Diet for years before it became a New York Times bestseller. Along the way, I tweaked, modified, and developed a plan that, with commitment, remains effective and sustainable throughout life.

An intelligently-designed fat loss program can help you reach your goals if you commit and stick to the plan. You’ll hit some challenging obstacles along the way, hopefully learn more about yourself, yet when you commit to the program wholeheartedly you can reach your destination.

I’ve long argued that weight loss is a metaphor for life. How you do one thing is how you do everything. If you commit to yourself to lose weight, look younger, and feel terrific, your whole life will benefit. Many of my clients have found their whole lives changed. I’ve seen it over and over again: Things shift as you start to put yourself at the top of the list.

Find a plan that works for you and stick with it. Write a self-contract where you commit 100 percent. Rally your friends, jump on the plan’s online forum, and hire a coach who keeps you accountable and compliant. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t believe it when people say, “You’re gaining weight. That’s the way it is. You will always look that way. That’s aging.” That’s simply not true.

At the same time, you need to be prepared for some bumps along the road because they eventually happen to everybody. Instead of bailing during those tough moments, you can come out stronger and better than when you went in. The important thing is to figure out your own definition of personal best and not let anyone else impose limitations on your goals. That requires commitment.

Making this kind of change will change everything. When you become your best self emotionally, physically, and spiritually, you can achieve your life’s purpose. Nothing is more important.

What lofty goal keeps you on course? It might be volunteering, doing some type of work, or raising kids. If you’re not fulfilling your purpose, you’re denying your best self — and that’s never a good thing to do.

Remember the bigger picture when you hit obstacles. Combine purpose and commitment, and you will hit your goal. That can’t happen when you go through fat loss plans like you’re shopping the clearance rack at Barneys.

What one fat loss plan worked best for you, and what “big goal” helped you commit to the finish line? Share your thoughts below.

Have a question for JJ? Email AskJJ@jjvirgin.com

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