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Weight Loss: 7 Disciplines to Help You Stay the Course

During a particularly difficult part of my life, I copied the following words down on a scrap of paper. They are the simple lyrics to a well-known Shaker hymn — a message for all times, an encouraging word for you about simplicity, freedom, humility, and being in a place that’s right.

‘Tis the gift to be simple

‘Tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down

Where we ought to be;

And when we find ourselves

In the place just right

‘Twill be in the valley of light and delight.

Simplicity. Getting the clutter out of your life and focusing on the really important issues like faith, hope, and love. Finding the place that’s right for you, far from the madding array of past guilts, fears, obsessions, and compulsions. Not being afraid to bend your head in humility, recognizing that you wear no shroud of shame when you face your past, but that, in fact, only by turning, turning, and turning again will you make the corrections you must make.

Someone has said we humans have a tendency to crucify ourselves between two thieves: the regret of yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. They rob us of precious years of productive labor and love. We cannot change our past, only accept it. Yet the regrets and the “if only’s” keep us from living in the present and looking to a better future with excitement and joy. So how will you stay the course? How will you remain part of the two percent of people who manage to lose weight permanently?

Let’s look at 7 proven, creative ways to help you meet your objectives.

1) Let discipline start at home. When there is little or no discipline at the center of your life, you leak. If you wish to lose weight permanently, you will not allow the many distractions of life to throw you off course. Be too large for worry, too hopeful for despair, and too committed to ever give up.

2) Discipline your priorities. Just as sometimes there is a difference between a person’s character and reputation, so there is sometimes a chasm between what one says and what one does. Your success depends on being consistent.

3) Discipline your nerve. General Omar Bradley said, “Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.” Don’t foresake permanent weight loss for lack of courage to do what’s right.

4) Discipline your follow-through. Why do 98 percent of dieters fail to keep weight off permanently? They don’t follow through.

5) Discipline your time. People who lose weight permanently know what it takes to lose it and keep it off. The process cannot be rushed. This is a journey of progress, not perfection.

6) Discipline yourself to what is. “If I were only younger, or thinner, or smarter, or richer, or lived in a different neighborhood, or had a better background….” These are the words of one who lives in a world of fantasy. You will begin to achieve success when you know where the battle lines are drawn, and then fight on those lines.

7) Discipline your disciplines. Real freedom is not staged. It flows. Unless you are careful with the rules you set up for yourself, you may feel there is little joy left for you, with all of these nots cramping your style. That’s why eventually you will want to bury your disciplines deep in your consciousness where they will work naturally for you, not against you.

SOURCE: Chapter 9, “Maintain Membership in the Two Percent Club,” in Losing Weight Permanently by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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