Determine Your Boundaries to Achieve Weight Loss

I think it’s symbolic of our true human nature to want to push our boundaries. We have a knack for pushing the limits.

It’s the kid inside of us that still touches the oven after our mother tells us not to turn the knob. It’s the “let’s see if we can get away with a little more” syndrome. With this in mind, we occasionally need to protect ourselves from, well, ourselves, and define the most appropriate boundaries.

When redefining yourself, it’s very easy to tell you to live a perfect life, and then you’ll achieve ultimate happiness. You’ll be safer if you drive the speed limit all the time. You’d reach your ideal weight if you eat just a little bit less than you normally do. Unfortunately, we have too many distractions in life and also enjoy the freedom of doing what we want.

Instead of the all or nothing approach, I employ the following analogy as a way a life. I found through trial and error that I don’t receive tickets when I drive no more than nine miles per hour over the speed limit. How fast can I drive without getting a ticket? Nine seems to be the answer for where I live.

Once I hit ten, though, it’s a different story. Many police officers consider speeds of ten miles per hour or more over the speed limit more dangerous, and you are more likely to receive a ticket. There is a legitimate reason for this assumption. The state has determined the speed limit for a particular road as the most ideal based on the conditions. As you speed further from this number, the likelihood of an accident increases. For this reason, the court system assigns higher penalties for this class of ticket.

I’m taking a risk by acting beyond these limits, but I’m also mindful of an appropriate boundary. I refer to this behavior as "living in the gray." You may say, “But I don’t want live by any boundaries or a rule system!” Although many books will sell the idea of life without rules, it isn’t possible. All of us need boundaries or a rule system. Without them, we would probably harm ourselves or others.

Besides, you already live by a set of boundaries and rules. Now you only need to redefine them. Would you eat a piece of candy lying on the wet alley pavement? Let’s assume you and everyone else wouldn’t. You have established this rule about food as a safety precaution.

The behavior of my weight loss clients is another example. Their weight always tends to fluctuate between the same high and low numbers. It’s as if they retreat to their old habits once they reach a particular weight loss low. We learn that these figures are their tramlines, or boundaries, for their weight. Unconsciously, my personal training clients in Chicago modify their behavior when they reach a specific high or low number, for better or worse. These boundaries mark their patterns of behavior, and the tramlines must be redefined in order to achieve a healthy weight range.

What is your rule system? Is it good for you? Are you a healthier person physically, mentally, and emotionally for it? If your system and behaviors aren’t in line with what you need, there’s a chance you’re causing yourself stress. It should be in line with your homeostasis —your philosophical, efficient state of being. It’s whatever you do for your mind and body that make it work best. If you don’t know what this perfect state of being is for you, then you’re living a life of chance, pushing random boundaries. Any choice you make is a risk.

Up to this point, I hope you have been learning about YOU. Now, you must stop choosing boundaries that work for someone else and begin determining what works for your own body and mind. It doesn’t matter if it works for someone else. It doesn’t mean it will work for you.

When you know yourself well enough, you deserve the occasional slack to live a life outside the strict daily regiment. Disregard the teachings of many popular philosophers, pundits, and anyone else that has thrown their opinion at you. They may tell you to live this way or that way. But no matter what they say, you need to determine your boundaries based on what you discover about YOU. There isn’t a perfect way to live, after all.

I greatly encourage you to “live in the gray” a little bit. It will lead to valuable lessons about your spirit. Never forget, though, that you need to base your new boundaries on your needs instead of your wants. Test your limits but keep your true self in mind. You’ll be thankful when you KNOW why your weight increased while meeting with a Chicago personal trainer, why your spouse is upset with you, or why you received a speeding ticket.

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Determine Your Boundaries to Achieve Weight Loss
Determining your boundaries with your personal trainer in Chicago.