You know that feeling when you try to do something you absolutely detest? Perhaps you dislike getting out of bed early in the morning, hate those mid-afternoon meetings, or despise hitting the gym.
It’s a struggle! Sure, you can drag your bones from beneath the covers, chime in a few helpful comments at those meetings, or pull yourself into those workout clothes to hit the treadmill, but none of these activities are going to make you happy and you’ll trouble sticking to them over a longer period of time.
Your mind and attitude play a significant role in your life and your success, and that includes your overall health and fitness. In recent years, we’ve seen a movement away from a solely calorie-counting culture into a focus on overall well-being. Getting in the mindset to lose weight or meet another fitness goal is a massive part of that – even the famous dieting organization WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is jumping on board!
So, why should you focus on your mind first and body second, and how can a change to your mindset help you lose weight?
Why your mind matters
Got a cold? There’s medicine for that. Broke a bone? You may need a cast. Just got a nasty papercut? A plaster will help. But, when it comes to weight loss, that quick-fix solution doesn’t work; at least not in the long term.
The truth is weight loss isn’t just about losing weight, quite the opposite – it’s about gaining health. So, when we seek to fix it with a short-term solution, we often find ourselves hitting a brick wall.
That’s where the mind comes in.
Thinking about your ‘trouble areas’ and a ‘fatty’ body, provide your mind only with negative reinforcement and set you up for failure as you’re seeking a quick fix using something you hate. And this means you’re more likely to stick it out for the short term only.
However, by shifting that thinking to focus and concentrating more on the long-term outcome, you can achieve success. This is because you will start to see weight loss as part of something bigger and better – a lifestyle change.
But, don’t worry, this latest ‘health kick’ won’t be a battle. Let’s see how the mind can help.
How to get your mind set on losing weight – 7 tips
The number one question anyone struggling to budge that number of the scales is asking. And the longer those digits stay unchanged or, even worse, rise, the more disheartening it can become.
When you put a lot of effort into your dieting success and fail to see the result you can start to believe weight loss is a failure, a scam, and this only creates a cycle in which well-being become impossible.
But, by following some simple steps you can start to change the way you think and feel about your body.
1. Set realistic goals
Losing 10lbs by Friday might be achievable if you don’t eat between now and then, but there’s also no guarantee you won’t see a quick regain and more by Sunday morning. Plus you’ll be starving, grumpy, and overall an unhappy person; even if those dream jeans fit.
When you start your weight loss journey, start with realistic goals that are right for you, your health, and your body.
Remember, long-term change is a lifestyle change. This is set number one to get in the right mindset to lose weight. So, consider what is achievable to you, what do you enjoy doing and what do you hate. Use these 3 keystones to form the basis of your lifestyle change and start to love the new you.
2. View weight loss as simply a part of being a healthier you
We constantly hear: “bikini season is just around the corner,” “I need to lose weight for my wedding,” “I must fit in that dress!” and while looking a feeling great may be important, looking at weight loss through a short-term lens isn’t good for your health. It’s an obsession.
That’s why instead of looking at the numbers, the dress size or whatever else. Look a little deeper inside yourself – how do you want to feel in one month? Six months? A year?
Maybe more energetic, happier, healthier? Do you want to be able to run a 5K, eat that one cake without the feeling of guilt? Or be able to keep up with your kids?
Whatever the reason, make it your reason. And change the message from “I want to see X number” to “I want to be a healthier, happier me.”
3. Throw out those thoughts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food
Diets are forbidding. They make us secretly crave those foods we can’t have and increase the likelihood of a binge eating scenario.
Instead, let’s flip that dialog and put everything – yes, even the junk food – on the ‘OK’ list. This is about having a positive relationship with food, not defining it in solely good or bad terms.
Focus on your overall diet and keeping it healthy. But if you really, really want that biscuit, then have it. Forbidding it will only help make that sneaky snack into a habit.
Just think before you eat – how will this food make me feel? And you’ll start yourself on the right track.
4. Stop being mean to yourself
We are our own worst enemies. We criticize our looks, how well we do, and everything in between. But the fact of the matter is, who is going to stick up for you, if not you.
Stop focusing on those negatives and those ‘problem areas.’ Instead, change your self-discussion from one of criticism to positive affirmations and reinforcement that YOU ARE IMPORTANT.
Start and end each day by looking directly in the mirror and saying something positive about yourself – “I did my best today,” “I aced that test,” “I look great,” “I ate well,” – whatever works for you.
Then once you’ve done that focus on those self-fulfilling prophesies – “Today/tomorrow I will…”We know the first few times will be awkward, but soon you’ll see a change in how you feel about yourself and your self-esteem.
5. Hide those scales
Digits are a tempting thing to go by, but your journey is about health, not weight, those numbers can be damaging to your success.
Instead of focusing on that little display, raise your self-worth high and focus on how your feel. Did you feel good after that walk? How amazing did that dinner taste? And are you looking forward to doing the same thing again tomorrow?
That’s important, and it’s that feeling that make you more likely to stick to it in the long run. So for now hide those scales and focus on you.
6. Take a little me time
Rushing about here, there, and everywhere is a recipe for well-being disaster. When your life is scattered, your mind will be too and that has a knock-on effect on your body.
You need to slow down and take a little me time. The world will wait for at least one heartbeat. We know you have a busy schedule, that you have that important meeting, but running yourself into the ground isn’t going to work.
Step back and take a breath. Once you calm your mind and soul, you’ll start to make healthier, more informed diet and exercise decisions that you will stick to, and that will bring you one step closer your goals.
7. Don’t give up!
Some days are better than others, and on those days where things aren’t going your way, it can be easy to throw in the towel and say – “I’m done”.
Don’t do that. Even one terrible, disastrous day of terrible food and exercise choices, doesn’t spell the end. Get back on the horse and start again. You can do it!
In doing so, you are not simply choosing weight loss every day, you are choosing your health. You are choosing you – and you are worth it!