How I've Reframed My Thinking on Weight Loss and Started (Finally!) Losing Weight

04/20/2015 12:44 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015
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I've tried thinking of my weight loss as a journey, but that word -- "journey" -- is so overused and tired, especially when it comes to describing weight loss. People always want to call it a journey. That word is so... namaste.

As if they're heading off on a long trip to the wilderness, where they'll "find themselves" and become enlightened to The Reason they gained weight in the first place. (Which, by the way, will not make the weight come off.)

No, not for me. Losing weight is not a journey. It's an "I've-tried-everything-under-the-sun-but-it-never-works-and-do-I-really-care-anyway-because-I-don't-look-THAT-bad" type situation.

I've tried low-carb, I've tried no-carb, I've tried green smoothies, clean eating, Weight Watchers, Body for Life, Sugar Busters, Slim-Fast, Biggest Loser, South Beach Diet, Dr. Phil's 20/20, and the Zone. I've bought quite possibly every single weight loss book on the planet.

I won't say that none of them worked. I will say that none of them worked for me, mainly because I haven't given them a chance. I'm too impatient, and I swear I've created a mental block surrounding my weight loss.

But this time it's different.

A few months ago, I had a little revelation. I thought about how odd it is that I've always been such a great employee (if I do say so myself), working my little fingers to the bone (my smallest body part) for someone else and on projects that don't benefit me at all (except for the paycheck, which, okay... that does benefit me).

I'm an advertising media planner by trade, which means I'm a trained professional planner. An experienced veteran of the advertising industry, with more than 20 years of evaluating a company's starting point and their goals for an end point, and developing a plan to take them from one to the other within a certain amount of time, using a certain amount of money.

The process is quite a puzzle, and there are always a lot of moving parts to make the plan work. Almost always, the plans require tweaks and adjustments as we check data and see areas we can optimize to keep the advertiser on track toward reaching their goals.

So, to put that in a nutshell, I'm quite capable of managing projects on an enormous scale, creating plans based on, in many cases, millions of dollars. But I haven't been able to wrangle in this much, much smaller number: 80.

I'm aware that 80 isn't a small number when it comes to weight loss. And let me be clear: Losing 80 pounds will put me just slightly above my ideal body weight, so it's not like I'm shooting for an unrealistic or unhealthy weight. (Sidebar: Who are the a-holes that create those "ideal body weight" charts?)

But I digress...

Motivated by pats on the back from my employers and clients, I pride myself on giving 100 percent in my jobs. Not to brag or anything, but I'm pretty smokin' awesome at being able to take big projects, chunking them down into manageable timelines, and getting real results.

But only when it comes to work stuff. Not when it has to do with losing weight.

I realized I had to reframe my thinking, and instead approach my weight loss as a work project. I had to stop thinking about needing to lose weight, in that way that people always say it and feel it, but never do it.

It's too personal, too close. Too easy to get bogged down by the Whatever It Is that keeps us from action.

So now I'm working on losing weight as if it were my freakin' job.

I've got my overall plan, I chunked it down into manageable tasks, and I just plug away every day on those tasks, as if they were a project that I'd be turning in for that pat on the back.

And it's working!

I'm down 22 pounds. It's hard, but really not that hard. I just started cutting back on sugar and carbs, and I've been doing cardio and minor weight lifting at least three times a week.

It's interesting, really, that after removing the emotion out of the equation, and tackling my weight loss more pragmatically -- in a more businesslike manner -- I'm finally seeing results. I'm training myself to be motivated by my own pats on the back, instead of needing them from others. It's a process.

Maybe it is a journey. Nope, I still can't do it.