Your compelling reason

Any time we achieve something big in our lives, we first make a commitment.

When you first decided to sign up to take the MCAT, you made a commitment to study and to do the best you could on the test.

But behind that commitment, you had a compelling reason. The compelling reason was what drove you to study even when you didn’t want to and to try your hardest on the test.

That compelling reason was that you really wanted to get into medical school.

Then in medical school, you spent many, many hours memorizing and studying for tests and practicing your developing examination skills, even when you were exhausted and didn’t feel like it at all. You had a compelling reason behind these actions too.

The compelling reason was that you really wanted to graduate from medical school with your degree. You really didn’t want to drop out, not have the degree, but still have all the debt to pay off.

When you moved on to residency and possibly fellowship, did you always want to take call? I’m going to take a wild guess and say no. ­čÖé But you did anyway, no matter how sick you were or how much you needed to sleep. You had a compelling reason that drove you to stay committed to finishing your training program.

Your compelling reason was that you were this close to being able to be a practicing doctor and this long, strenuous, exhausting path was the only way to get there. Dropping out was not an option.

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you likely either didn’t drink alcohol or severely limited your consumption during that time. Yep! You had a compelling reason to not drink.

The compelling reason was the health of your unborn child.

Think of the lifelong smoker who is diagnosed with cancer. Although they have been trying to quit smoking for decades, this diagnosis drives them to quit cold turkey.

They finally have a reason to quit that is compelling enough. They don’t want to die.

I give you all these examples because what they show is that time and again, you have proven that you have the meta-skill of making a commitment and sticking to it, no matter how hard or uncomfortable life got.

So what you need to do now, is to transfer that skill over to your goal of not eating for emotional reasons and getting to your goal weight.

When you started down the medical training path, you were clear on what your desired result was. You knew why you wanted to be a doctor. You knew what it would cost you if you didn’t commit or follow through. You knew you needed to believe that you could do it and you tapped into the feeling that belief brought you. You knew that you had to stop believing the doubtful thoughts that snuck into your brain from time to time and to focus on the goal ahead, even though the achievement of that goal was many years away.

Whenever you start thinking that losing weight is too hard, or takes too long, or is not possible because of any number of reasons (age, genetics, time constraints, etc.), think back to where you stood as an applicant to medical school. Would you have gone through all your training if you thought it was too hard, took too long, you were too old or too young, you weren’t intellectually gifted enough, or that it was too much of a time commitment?

The first step you need to take when making the commitment to yourself to lose weight and conquer the emotional overeating is finding that compelling reason.

Your compelling reason is why you really want to lose weight, keep it off permanently, and learn to manage your thoughts and emotions instead of turning to food to make you feel better.

Your compelling reason can’t be about a certain size of clothes that you will wear once you lose weight and it can’t be about how other people will treat you or think about you once you’ve lost the weight.

Once you’re in a size 6 for a while, staying in a size 6 just isn’t that compelling anymore. Staying in the same size clothes doesn’t usually really motivate you to stay on track with your eating and exercise protocol.

We can’t ever control or predict what other people will say or think about us and how they’ll treat us, so we’re in for a big disappointment if we think that once we lose weight, other people will be different.

So what is your compelling reason? Why do you really want to end this overeating struggle?

Once you know what your compelling reason is, all you have to do is apply the same massive action that you applied throughout your medical training journey to get to your goal. It’s the commitment to yourself that you will keep trying and keep persevering until your goal is reached.

You can do this because you already have.

It’s the same set of skills that you’ve already carefully cultivated, just applied to a different goal.

You’ve got this.


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