3 Lessons From Losing 25kgs of Weight That Will Help You Find Your Passion

3 Lessons From Losing 25kgs of Weight That Will Help You Find Your Passion

I went for a run this morning and a brilliant idea came to me. Why not write about what I learnt from losing 25kgs of weight and how that can help people find and pursue their passion.

I’ll cut to it – the 3 lessons in no particular order are:

#1: Giving up is just as difficult as pushing through

#2: Use how you are wired to your advantage

#3: Get help

For a bit of context I lost all that weight roughly 13 years ago, and am extremely proud that I have kept most of it off. I only realized how big a deal the second bit is – keeping it off – very recently. Through a fair few conversations I learnt that that there’s quite a few people that have lost a lot of weight, but most struggle with keeping it off. I guess I should count myself lucky and perhaps there’s some lessons in what I did which might be useful to share – hence this post.

Now for a bit more context around my weight loss. I didn’t go into it with a target of 25 kgs. I joined a gym, engaged a personal trainer and just said why not lose some weight. Whenever people hear that I lost that much weight without a goal, they find it very strange.

The one thing that was non negotiable for me was getting a personal trainer. The reason was I have a bad back (probably a topic for another post, or maybe a book!) and therefore I did not want to stuff it up further as I worked hard at the gym.

Here’s more detail on my 3 lessons –

#1: Giving up is just as difficult as pushing through

I reckon this is THE biggest learning I got from losing all that weight. One that has held me in good stead and continues to help me on my journey.

The thing about losing 25kgs of weight is it’s difficult. You have to change what you’re doing, be it exercise, your lifestyle, what you eat or a combination of these 3 things. By virtue of having to do something different, there is going to be resistance. It’s just nature.

What I found with my cardio activity is I would inevitably hit a brick wall. At a certain point of the exercise routine I’d want to give up. I would typically start off pretty well and then at some point I would go I’ve had enough, I can’t do this anymore. Some of the self talk running through my head was “This is too hard…just quit” or “I can’t take this anymore…make this pain go away!”.

I wanted to hit that stop button and give up but I didn’t. I had committed to the training and wasn’t about to cave. And then a funny thing seemed to always happen. After a few minutes of sticking with the exercise and in spite of the strong desire to quit, the pain would reduce. The activity would feel a bit easier. My legs would feel a bit lighter. It was as though I was in a state of flow.

I would ride this sensation as long as it lasted. Sometimes it took me all the way to the end of the exercise. At other times I might hit a brick wall again and then I’d just push on till I re-entered a state of flow.

After a few weeks at the gym I realized that the brick wall was showing up every single time. And each and every time I had a choice to quit or keep going, and I kept choosing the latter option.

So I asked myself – what keeps me going?

I had realized that if I hit the stop button on the treadmill, or bike, or whatever that I would be so pissed with myself. I would feel like I quit rather than accomplish what I set out to do.

I was afraid to fail.

I know a fear of failure can be unhealthy and drive toxic behaviour however in this circumstance I harnessed its positive energy. I realized that the short term pain of pushing through the brick wall was just as difficult as giving up and having to live with myself.

And so the emotions were the same, but the outcomes were significantly different. If I’d quit, the physical pain would disappear but the emotional pain from not completing the activity would consume me. If I kept going, the physical pain would disappear but I’d be proud of myself for pushing through and I’d also lose weight!

And so my options were:

Quit = No physical pain + Emotional pain (from quitting) + No weight loss

OR

Push through = Short term physical pain + Positive emotions (pride!) + Weight loss!

When I realized this equation it was like everything clicked and it seemed somewhat simple.

So how is this formula relevant to pursuing your passion –

Ask yourself how would you feel if you didn’t pursue your passion and continued doing whatever you currently do? What would your state of well-being be? Would feel just as bad for not pursuing your passion as pushing on and reaping the benefits of doing what you love?

If so then you know what you need to do…

#2: Use how you are wired to your advantage

At that point in my life, back in 2004, I was afraid to let people down. If I committed something to someone and if I didn’t follow through I would feel terrible.

Now I am aware that this behavior can be dangerous because you can become a people pleaser rather than living for yourself. Since I came to this realization I’ve made a shift in my mindset so that I am living more for myself.

At the time though I was aware that I didn’t like letting people down. And so I knew in the context of losing weight under the guidance of a personal trainer I was afraid to let him down. I didn’t want to quit on an exercise because that would mean quitting on him.

And so I realized that my work wasn’t at all about working hard when I got to the gym. My work was to get to the gym. Once I was there I would work hard because if I didn’t I’d be letting him down.

I’d like to stress that I’m not at all suggesting you please people to achieve your objectives. The key lesson here is to know what drives you and then use this to your advantage.

Let’s say you feed off the energy of others. You love being around people. Perhaps when it comes to pursuing your passion then you go to a co-working space and feed off like minded people which might help you find and pursue what you love.

I also don’t think you need to spend years figuring out how you’re wired. A quick reflection on how you respond or act in certain scenarios is sufficient to form a view then take action.

The key here is knowing yourself and working within your make up to achieve what you want.

#3: Get help

I’ve mentioned a few times that I engaged a personal trainer to help me with my weight loss. The reason was because I had a bad back and didn’t want to aggravate my injury with hardcore gym activity.

So to break it down I engaged a personal trainer to manage the risk of injury. And in the process I learnt that I couldn’t have lost all that weight without his help. A very different outcome and the unintended consequence ended up working out really well for me.

The reason why I couldn’t have done it without him is firstly because of how I’m wired. I would have probably quit when the going got tough because there was no one there for me to be accountable to. And because I would have quit I would not have learnt the priceless lesson #1 – it’s just as emotionally painful to quit as it is to keep going.

When it comes to finding and pursuing your passion – get help.

Whether it’s around finding what you might love to do, or once you have a picture of what they might be and you need to take action – get help.

Ask your loved ones, friends, co-workers, whoever.

Get help.

I know there can be a lot of bravado in going at it alone and achieving success. Sometimes the taste of success can be sweeter because you did it by yourself. The reality though is very few people achieve success by themselves. There is a much higher likelihood of finding and pursuing what you love by seeking the help of others.

It is also far more enjoyable to work with others and achieve something. You get to share in the success which is a wonderful feeling. It can often be a lot smoother because you are drawing on the insights and experience of others – which can help you fast track the process and achieve what you want.

So reflecting on these lessons there’s not much I learnt about actual weight loss which I suppose is ironic. Whilst the weight came, and has stayed off, I have gotten so much more from these 3 lessons in how I approach every facet of life.

By |2018-01-02T11:41:34+00:00February 27th, 2017|Passion|0 Comments