Procrastination and Weight Loss

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the midst of what I like to call my “whirling dervish of weight loss” thoughts. You know those thoughts that seem to come at your brain from all directions and swirl around in your head like an unrelenting tornado that is bent on destroying your sanity? It goes something like this: “This is just UNACCEPTABLE! I have to do something about my weight NOW! But what am I going to do? I’ve already done everything and nothing has worked! But maybe I just didn’t try hard enough…maybe if I try EVEN HARDER… oh gosh I just don’t think I have to energy to start over AGAIN with that plan…I’ll never lose weight, I’ll never be thin again…I might as well just accept that this is how it’s always going to be. I can’t think about this now, I’ll worry about it later…oooh, is that a cupcake?!? I can’t believe I just ate that cupcake. My weight is out of control. This is just UNACCEPTABLE!” and so it goes around and around until my self esteem is left shattered and splintered like an old wooden fence in a storm.

After the dust had settled and I looked at the piles of work on my desk which were going untouched, I wondered if procrastination and weight loss struggles could somehow be related. I Googled “weight loss for procrastinators” and what I found surprised me. There were several articles about this very subject and after going through six or seven of them, I discovered that they all had a few pieces of advice in common, and I thought I would share them with you. I’m also linking the 3 articles that I thought were most informative and helpful.

  1. Have appropriate goals. This article had a sentence that sort of smacked me in the face: “Consider the goals you have for this diet. Perhaps you do not even realize some of the ways in which these goals are more like hopes, dreams and fantasies.” Wow. If your goals are something along the lines of “I want to walk on the beach in a skimpy bathing suit while adoring eyes behold my exquisite beauty” – that might be a fantasy and NOT an actionable goal. I have been guilty of this – having pie in the sky goals keeps me from having to deal with the not-so-exciting goals like walking 3 times per week.
  2. Acknowledge and celebrate small successes. “People who are successful, give themselves credit for their successes (big as well as small), Procrastinators often do the opposite and continually put themselves down. To be successful we have to learn to accept that if we have 6 out of 7 good days, it was a good week and be happy with these results. Remember-“Success Breeds Success”. I would even argue that 4 out of 7 days is successful and to build up to 6 out of 7 days. Give yourself credit for every single success, no matter how small (this is one that I need to take to heart).
  3. Break the task into smaller, easily attainable tasks. Use the Ten Minute Rule (telling yourself you only have to spend ten minutes on the treadmill, for example) or break the task down into teeny tiny baby steps (Put on your walking shoes, then fill up your water bottle, then take ten steps out your front door, etc) can help you at least get started on the task at hand and most importantly, give you a feeling of success when you actually accomplish them.

After reading several articles, it occurred to me that, oh yeah, I have a book about procrastination that’s been sitting on my kitchen table for 3 weeks that I need to review. The irony is not lost on me that I procrastinated reading a book about overcoming procrastination. :/ I’m happy to report that since then, I have read half of the book and already have half of my review written! Yay me! I’m awesome! (See tip #2 above) So look for that in the near future. In fact, I think I’m going to dedicate the month of August to the topic of procrastination – discussing the book and putting its advice into practice. I’ll share here on the blog how I’m coming along with that and I’ll try to check in at least weekly with my progress.

Do you think you are a procrastinator and if so, do you think it plays in to your weight loss struggles? Have you found ways to overcome procrastination? Share in the comments below!

11 thoughts on “Procrastination and Weight Loss

  1. I think those articles are great!! I am a big time procrastinator for things I am not fond of; especially with workouts. The best way that I overcome that is by going to the gym at 5:30 in the morning when my boyfriend goes to work. If I get up when he gets up then I just get it done first thing.

  2. I’ve found that it’s all about stringing good days together (and I’m currently on Day 71 since deciding to get back after it). I spent the first two weeks grousing and feeling miserable, but – as it always does – things got easier, I found I had more energy and I (re)discovered what we all already know: that keeping the ball rolling is so, so, so much easier than getting the ball rolling.

    And thanks for the reminder that I need to finish coming up with my 2015 New Year’s resolutions…

  3. Goals are so important and acknowledging the small intermittent goals along the way are equally important. I wanted to be able to do push-ups. I could not do even one in December. I set my mind to doing them and every time I could do one, I was excited. Then when I could do two, four, five…up until I could do my goal of three sets of ten, I was ecstatic. I can max out at 30 push-ups now, so the excitement isn’t there anymore. But it is so important to have a goal and then work towards it. Then add a new goal. Think about your weight loss more of a journey towards health and fitness. As long as the scale is heading in the right direction, you’ll be ok. Don’t stress. Just re-evaluate and make adjustments. Drink lots of water and fruits and vegetables!!!

  4. I am a recovering procrastinator 🙂 I never thought about that being related to weight loss. For me, I think they are different–the weight loss can be more of a conscious rebellion. I think of procrastination more as a whiny ” I don’ wanna do that” in my life.

    I liked what Jack said–its so much easier to keep the ball rolling than getting the ball rolling.

  5. I realised in my university days that I’m a procrastinator! It occurred to me when I was able to get pretty much everything else done except that assessment that was due. It’s funny because I actually worked out a lot back then because I was avoiding doing what was ‘needed’ to be done. I even stumbled across a thing called ‘avoidance theory’ which sums it up. Fast forward 10 years, throw in a few kids and my health took a back seat in my life. I hated that I knew I put my health last but the procrastination was in full swing. I tried so many things over the years but nothing seemed to work for me. Until last year my health forced my hand and I could no longer put off taking care of myself. I found a simple system of natural products that simplified things (no weighing, measuring, counting calories etc) and decided to give it a try after seeing what it did for some friends. Well just wow! My life was not only simplified but I easily released 6.5kg in the first month, a further 10kg over the next 2 months and have kept it all off for nearly a year now! Id like to say I exercise often (or even consistently) but I always seem to find I have so many other things that need doing 😉 I love your article, it’s so very ‘me’ and I dare say, many other people are going to relate too!!!

  6. Does the book you are reading discuss “overwhelm” as a source of procrastination. Or me, it’s being overwhelmed with a to-do list (which usually includes everyone else’s needs –including the house’s– but my own), overwhelmed with a sugar addiction (“Oh! A cupcake!”), or overwhelmed with a loss of hope (those negative thoughts that whatever I do, I’m just gonna fail, again).

    Last week, I read something from Joe Cross. He’s the guy from the documentary, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” He was discussing switching to a plant-based way of eating and juicing and said that even if you think you’ve failed by (eating that cupcake), you haven’t failed at all because of the great benefit your body has been receiving from the veggies and fruits you’ve been eating. It’s not all lost.

      1. Gina, it does actually discuss all of that! It’s a really interesting book and I’m learning a lot. I’m only just now getting to the part where he discusses how to overcome all that. Hope to have my review done by next week. 🙂 (((hugs))) to you Sister!

  7. If I try to workout 3-4 days a week, I often end up with 0. If I just do something every day (varying what I do) it goes much better for me. Habit.

    I have looked like a procrastinator in the past, but actually I think it was anxiety. I think I can get paralyzed by anxiety. And then I get sucked in a swirling vortex of thoughts, as you described.

    I work on habits which get me where I want to be and then keep me there. I avoid goal talk (as you described goal talk). Daily habits are my focus.

  8. I have several friends using several different types of methods to lose weight. I was fortunately able to hear about from one of my friend. I am currently pregnant so I can’t do anything now however, I am skeptical whether I should be following their “” instruction or not after my pregnancy. I say this because one of my friends started using them when and she absolutely loves them. I won’t say she’s lost a ton of weight but I have noticed a significant weight loss after. So, I would like to ask all the experts here to give me their opinion and advices.

  9. I can say that yes, I am a procrastinator not only in my diet but in other goals that I want to achieve. Number one reason for that is I am lazy, or just tired to get on with it. But thanks to your advice, especially tip #2, it enlightened me that I should take things one step at a time, rather than looking at the bigger picture directly. I realized that I am looking at my goal of losing 150 pounds and it is such a hard thing to do, almost impossible. Then I get lazy because it’s going to take while to lose that tons of weight. but if I say I want to lose 2 or 3 pounds this week, it seems easier to take in.

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