Healthy Habits

Clinical Corner – Personal Progression

Boy, father, and grandfather fishing at a lake

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

Clinical Corner
With Becca Rick, MS, RD

Several years ago, I attended a wellness conference and still remember a concept introduced by one of the speakers, Rachel Drunkenmiller. She labeled a concept that I and other dietitians often speak to conceptually, but I love the term she coined – “weightless why.” This simply represents identifying the why behind any weight-based goals but can be applied to any goal.

In the beginning of 2023, we introduced a year of intention and encouraged our readers to be more thoughtful on the why behind new year’s resolutions. It’s common to see weight-related resolutions, and it’s almost just as common to see these goals abandoned soon after being set. Why is that? Well, beyond overwhelming research to support that weight loss is not simply a matter of “calories in, calories out” and the biggest predictor of weight gain is dieting, there’s more. People need to identify with a purpose beyond losing weight or a similar surface-level goal.

One strategy to employ in uncovering your “weightless why” is to ask seven questions that start with “why.” The idea behind this exercise is to ask “why” until you get to the root of an issue and can uncover the deepest meaning.

  • Why do I want to lose weight? Because I’ve been told losing weight will help me be healthy.
  • Why do I want to be healthy? So I can have a long life.
  • Why do I want to have a long life? Because I want to enjoy a relationship with my grandkids.
  • Why do I want to enjoy a relationship with my grandkids? Because I want them to have memories of us together.
  • Why do you want them to have memories of you together? Because I didn’t get to have that with my own grandfather.
  • Why didn’t you get to have that with your own grandfather? Because he passed from health issues when I was young.
  • Why did he pass from health issues when you were young? Because he didn’t take care of himself in a way that best supported his health and longevity.

In this example, an individual wants to take care of themselves in a way that best supports health and longevity so they can be around to enjoy a relationship with their grandkids. Now THAT is a good motivation for practicing healthy habits day in and day out!

Another way I like to teach goal setting is to consider your future self – what does life look like once you’ve met your goal or new year resolution (or as we’ve been encouraging, a new year “intention”)? Visualizing this future can help you paint a picture of how to get there and exploit potential barriers or challenges you may face along the way. But more importantly, it can be a reality check on whether this goal is even one worth pursuing. A surface-level goal like fitting into smaller pants or seeing a lower number on the scale seems trivial compared to a visual of moving freely and comfortably in your body, walking or running your dog without pain, having the stamina to play with your kids or grandkids, or bringing your best energy to your work or hobbies each day.

When we connect to a bigger purpose or intention behind the goals we set, we put ourselves in a position to make choices that support the outcome we desire.

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