How your values in life determine your weight

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What is important to you in life? What principles do you live by? What do you value most of all?

If you’ve been struggling with your weight for a while, the answers to the above questions may help you reveal the real reason you’ve been stuck trying to lose weight.

You see your values in life determine your weight.

Let’s say that again.

What you value most in your life will influence your weight.

Before we explain why, we need to understand what values are.

What are values?

Our values are the things that we believe are important in the way we live. None of us are born with values. They are acquired through our lives. Many of our values may be unconscious because we learn them from a very young age. Our values are influenced by our beliefs, upbringing, culture, education, past experiences and social networks. 

All of us have different values and these can change over time.

But the one thing you can be sure of, is that your values will influence what you do, and therefore your weight and happiness.

How do our values impact our weight and happiness?

Our values in life give us clues as to what is important to us and the way we live. Our values guide our life and our decision-making. That means, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us, according to our values. 

Your values can either be positive or negative.

Positive values include physical and mental health, family, integrity, hard work, time etc.

Negative values include money, material possessions, status, popularity, etc. 

The reason that people struggle with their weight is because they value the wrong things at the expense of health and wellbeing, family, time, personal fulfilment and happiness.

The most common life values that get in the way of health and happiness are money and material possessions, and status.

To explain this further, let’s look at an example.

Darren was a successful executive who worked long hours at his job. Being successful, having the respect of others, and earning good money was always important to Darren. For years, he worked long hours, living on little sleep, so he could continue to climb the corporate ladder. He invested a lot of time at work, because he knew that the more he put in, the better positions he would get, the more impressive his job title would sound, and the more money he would make.

Darren became quite well off. He had a large house, a holiday home, a boat, caravan, expensive cars, including a 4WD to tow his boat and caravan, and enjoyed yearly overseas trips with his family. His kids went to private school and his wife never needed to worry about money at all. He felt proud of the things he had, and loved the fact that he could talk about how successful he was and how well he provided for his family. He loved wearing expensive clothes and feeling that he was ‘better’ than other people because he had more money than they did. He secretly enjoyed knowing that others were jealous of all he had.

However, Darren’s dedication to his job and his desire to earn money to buy more possessions meant that he never had quality time with his wife, or his kids. As his kids got older, they relied less and less on him and came to see their mother as the primary carer and ‘go-to’ person in their lives. Darren’s wife often felt she was a single parent – the only difference was she didn’t have to struggle financially to put food on the table.

Because Darren was so focused on earning money, he never had time to look after his physical and mental health. As he climbed further up the corporate ladder, the pressure and stress continued to increase. Darren turned to alcohol as a way to soothe his stress. He also spent a lot of time eating fast food at his desk and never had any time to exercise. On the weekends he was so exhausted from working that he lazed on the couch watching his big TV, drinking beer.

When his kids became teenagers, the cracks in Darren’s marriage became bigger. Because he had never spent time with his wife and was never emotionally available to her, they ended up getting divorced. The divorce was ugly and expensive. The kids sided with their mother, because they too felt let down by their father because he never made time for them.

The family home and all their assets were sold and divided between Darren and his wife.

Darren’s already compromised mental health became worse as a result of the stress of the divorce. He started drinking more. He also relied on fast food because he had never learned how to cook for himself, and he kept himself busy with work. Eventually, Darren ended up having a heart attack and had to take an early retirement because his health was in such bad shape. 

In the story above, Darren lost his family, his job, his money, his possessions, his marriage, his kids, and his health, all because he put his value and focus on earning money, buying material possessions, and gaining status.

While there is nothing wrong with having money and material things, or being held in high regard, there is a problem when you focus all your attention and energy on achieving these things.

Let’s look at Darren’s values in a little more detail and explain why they are detrimental to your health and overall happiness.

Money and material possessions

Having money or material possessions isn’t a problem. But if you value money and material possessions over your physical and mental health, or you sacrifice your physical or mental health in order to make more money, or have more things, then that’s a problem. 

In the example above, Darren’s life focused on making money so he could have more things, at the expense of his physical and mental health. He had no time for healthy eating, exercise, or sleep. He also had no time for quality time with his wife or his kids. In the end, the compromises to his mental and physical health ended up costing him his family and his job. The irony is that chasing money and material possessions ended up costing him money and possessions and his health.

If Darren had valued his health and mental wellbeing, he would have made time for exercise, sleep and healthy eating. These things would have helped him manage the stress of his job, which would have meant he wouldn’t have turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. He would have been more productive at work, more successful and would have earned more money in the long-term. He also would have kept his family together, and wouldn’t have lost everything he’d worked for in an expensive, ugly divorce. We cover this concept in our blog How body transformation leads to business success.

Clues you prioritise money and possessions over your health

  • You put work before your health
  • You have time for work, but nothing else
  • You work longer hours to make more money, at the expense of your health
  • Anything to do with your health is expensive, but you’ll happily spend money on expensive possessions
  • You’re willing to trade time and your physical and mental health for money
  • You’re always looking for ways to save money or make money
  • You equate money with security
  • You see everything as a ‘cost’ or rather than an investment
  • Your whole life revolves around protecting your wealth
  • You don’t see the importance of investing in yourself
  • You put a timeline on your results because you think about how much a transformation program will ‘cost’ if you don’t get your results in a certain time 
  • You feel entitled to results because you’re ‘paying for a premium program’. 

How valuing money impacts your weight

Putting a high value on money and material possessions mean that you will prioritise work over other things, working longer hours to make more money. This often leaves little time or energy for anything else, including healthy meal prepping, regular exercise, or getting enough sleep — all things that will help you lose weight and maintain your results.

People who value money and possessions more than their physical and mental health try to save money at the expense of their health. This explains why many people think paying for a transformation program is a ‘luxury’, yet have no problem buying an expensive car or booking an overseas holiday. 

A lot of people think that working on themselves and undergoing transformation is a luxury that they can’t afford. But can you afford to go through life feeling unhappy, or too sick to enjoy your material success?

Status

There is nothing wrong with being successful. But if you spend your life chasing success at the expense of your physical and mental health, you have a problem.

One of the things that makes status so attractive to some people is the sense of power and control it gives that person. They also enjoy the respect and admiration others give them because of their status. 

In the example above, Darren reveled in his status. Because he was impressed with his job titles and progression up the corporate ladder, he believed others would be too. He also enjoyed other people feeling envious of his lifestyle and all he had. He loved being able to talk about sending his kids to private school and letting people know that he provided well for his family.

However, if Darren wasn’t chasing status, he would have realised that the best way to provide for his family was to be there for them. He would have understood that the real value wasn’t in giving them material things, but in giving them time, attention and love. If he understood this, he probably wouldn’t have got divorced, and he would have had a great relationship with his kids. Once again, the irony here is that Darren valuing status set him on a path that would ultimately lead to him losing that status, in the form of losing his job and his possessions. Not to mention that he had a failed marriage and estranged kids as part of his legacy.

Clues you value status

  • Status makes you feel worthy because you lack self-worth
  • Having money or power is your top priority, even at the expense of your health
  • You’re obsessed with your possessions 
  • You’re obsessed with brands
  • You comparing or competing with someone else’s possessions
  • Your self-worth relies on your lifestyle
  • You love people looking up to you or envying you because of what you have
  • You lack self-worth so you need other people to validate and praise you to feel good about yourself
  • You talk about your achievements a lot
  • You believe that people are not equal: some are inferior and some are superior
  • You want others to think well of you
  • Before deciding to do something, you consider what others might think
  • You try to control other people’s reactions and thoughts about you, by behaving in certain ways.

How it impacts your weight

The behaviours above are all signs that you value status. This stems from low self-worth. When you lack self-worth, you end up doing things that compromise your health in order to gain status, so other people will like and admire you because you don’t like yourself. To find out how more about this, read our blog How low self-worth affects your weight.

If you value status, this can lead to you being a people-pleaser which means you’ll spend your time doing things that will please and impress other people, rather than what’s right for you and your goals. For example, you may be afraid to admit that your weight is a problem because you don’t want people to think less of you. So instead of seeking help and appearing vulnerable, you continue to hide, try diet after diet, and not speak up.

Seeking status and valuing other people’s opinions of you also means that you’ll spend your time trying to control other people’s perception of you, instead of doing the things that will help you lose weight and keep it off. For example, instead of limiting drinking and eating out, you might continue to dine in expensive restaurants and order expensive champagne, because you believe that will impress other people.

What can you do?

If you can relate to any of the above, you might be wondering what you need to do to lose weight.

The good news is that changing your life values will help enormously. 

Because as we said earlier, your values dictate your habits. So developing values that align with weight loss will mean you’re more likely to engage in habits that will support long-term weight loss. 

Develop different values

Now, we’re not going to tell you what values you should and shouldn’t have. However, we thought it was worth listing some examples of values in life that will make it easier to lose weight.

Health and wellness

Valuing your health and wellness will mean you’ll automatically prioritise things that will help you lose weight. You’ll make time for your workouts, your walks and for your weekly meal prep. You’ll put more focus on getting a good night’s sleep, and you’ll put yourself and your health above trying to impress other people.

You’ll also take a more sensible, holistic approach to weight loss. You’ll no longer follow diets, deprive yourself of food and count calories in order to lose weight so you can look good. Instead, you’ll focus on looking after yourself by feeding your body the correct nutrition, and incorporating the right kind of exercise — the by-products of which are sustainable, long-term weight loss.

Family

A lot of people say they value family, but their focus is very much on buying things for them. But are you emotionally available to them? How is your marriage? What about the legacy you want to leave your family? Do you want to be a good role model for your kids? What about your health as you get older? How will that impact your family? Will you be fit and healthy and able to keep up with your grandkids? Or will you need your children to take you to a myriad of doctor’s appointments, or end up caring for you as you battle chronic disease and illness? 

When you start to think about the legacy you want to leave for your family, chances are you’ll start taking steps to ensure that you’ll be healthier for them…and you. You may even realise that working longer hours, to earn more money to buy your family more things or expensive holidays is counter-productive to the legacy that you want to leave behind. The good news is that you can involve your family on your weight loss journey as well. Be sure to read our blog How to involve the whole family in your weight loss journey to find out how.

Personal growth

People who value personal growth are less likely to be caught up in material possessions, other people’s opinions, or keeping others happy. Instead, they focus on becoming the best version of themselves, which often includes being healthy. People who value personal growth are not driven by the end result, achieving their goal, or other people’s praise. Instead, they’re more excited about the journey they travel, and the person they become, in order to achieve their goal. 

When it comes to weight loss, valuing personal growth will mean that you’ll value the work required and embrace the lessons along the way, instead of getting stressed out about achieving a certain weight. You’ll also be more open to changing your habits so you can enjoy long-term results, rather than having a diet mindset which will mean you want to lose weight as quickly as possible. And you’ll be more likely to stick with it long-term instead of giving up when it gets tough. To understand what’s involved in a Body & Lifestyle Transformation, be sure to read our blogs The Seasons of Body Transformation and The stages of a Body Transformation.

Personal fulfilment and happiness 

Valuing your own happiness and fulfilment will go a long way towards helping you reach your weight loss goals. Instead of spending time and energy trying to impress other people, or trying to control what other people think of you, you’ll be free to focus on doing things that will make you feel good about yourself. This may include doing early morning workouts, learning to cook healthy meals, taking time to rest and rejuvenate, surrounding yourself with people who will lift you up and encourage you to grow, and celebrating your achievements. 

As you can see, your values strongly influence your weight and your health.

So if you’ve been struggling to lose weight for a while now, maybe it’s your values in life that need an overhaul, rather than your diet.

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