I’m reading a book called Brain-Powered Weight Loss by Eliza Kingsford in which the author talks about the concept of a “healthy obsession” as a means to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. I’ve only ever thought of obsessions as being unhealthy or a least dangerous, and so it’s been interesting to consider an alternative viewpoint. I’ve been obsessing about the concept of having a healthy obsession with weight loss ever since (heh, see what I did there?).
is there such a thing?
Is the fine line between a healthy obsession and unhealthy (or even neutral) obsession, just the object or result of the obsession? Wanting to have a clean house is a great thing, but bleaching every surface daily would probably be considered an unhealthy obsession. On the other hand, insisting on making your bed every morning would probably be considered a healthy obsession. It’s interesting to consider because when it comes to almost anything, but weight loss definitely – if something is not front of mind for me, it probably won’t happen.
healthy obsession versus habits
I really do believe in baby steps and creating habits that become second-nature. For example, several years ago, I was a horrible flosser: I rarely did it. I made a new years resolution at one point to floss every day and I set up a reminder system to get me into the habit. I’m not sure how long it took to become ingrained, but now I can’t imagine not flossing every day. It would feel very strange. It’s truly a habit versus an obsession.
But weight loss, the reason I’m reading Eliza’s book in the first place, seems to be a different animal. When I am focused, I can lose weight and maintain that weight loss (though, honestly, I’ve never experienced the latter). When I am not focused, I will gain weight. I did a program two years ago that was fabulous: it introduced a new habit every two weeks over the course of a year. The idea was that at the end, the habits needed to maintain a healthy weight would be solidified in the psyche.
But here’s the thing: at the end of the program, I lost that healthy obsession that I had when I was doing the program. There are lot of reasons why (life events), but the result was that my habits drifted away and I gained weight. Maybe it’s unfair to compare daily flossing – a sixty second exercise – with the effort it takes every waking hour of every single day to lose weight and maintain it. The latter is comprised of a series of daily habits and decisions all day long; not a “one and done” situation.
how to have a healthy obsession
I’ve concluded that I need to be obsessed with my weight loss/maintenance goal to be successful. Having this healthy obsession will keep my healthy habits front of mind and keep me motivated and interested. The challenge for me will be how I manifest this in real life. For example, if as part of my obsession I read a lot of books on weight loss, I need to make sure that I’m not trying the “latest thing” every other week. Or, if I read many weight loss blogs, I need to avoid developing any feelings of inadequacies from comparing myself to the bloggers.
Do you feel like you have a healthy obsession? How do you ensure it remains healthy?