Weight loss always starts in the mind, everything we do starts from our mind. If we only focus on the food and exercise, we are not addressing the engine of our body. We are not focussing on the very thing causing us to eat. As our emotions come from our thoughts, if our mindset is causing us to eat, it is only logical that we can change our mindset to help us to lose weight. But often we do not know where to start, so here are some tips.
What stories are you making up?
What we say to ourselves we believe to be inherently true. Whether it is categorically true or not is irrelevant in this context because often what we say is subjective. However we don’t question what we believe and because we believe it to be absolutely the truth we behave as if it is absolutely true and the whole thing becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. In other words, we believe and expect something to be true and therefore it turns out to be true. Further enhancing our belief that this thing is true.
For example A story might be- to lose weight, I have to stop eating pizza’s, exercise everyday and I’m going to be miserable.
Ask yourself – Is this true? And in the case above, it is totally subjective, but because you believe it to be true it will be.
Now some of these stories will have positive outcomes for us and others will have negative outcomes.
The trick is then to listen to what we are saying to ourselves and asking these questions
- How do I know this is true?
- How do I know this is not true?
- What do I want to be true?
Tackle your negative stories
Now that you’re listening to the stories you are saying, listen for the negative ones. These are the thoughts that are stopping us get to where we want to be. Like our example above – To lose weight, I have to stop eating pizzas and start exercising and I’m going to be miserable. This is negative because the belief that you are going to be miserable stops you from exercising and giving up pizzas which stops you from doing positive actions to lose weight.
The negative one’s generally start with I can’t, I’m not good, I’m not able, I won’t be good at or doing X will lead to Y and Y is something negative.
Now if you think of yourself as someone who– I can’t lose weight , I am not good on diets, diets do not work for me – they are all negative because they are not leading to something that is positive. They are leading to something that you don’t want. We are creating that self fulfilling prophecy only a result we don’t want. If we can make something up that is negative then it’s possible that we can change it to a positive. This is the key to make it easier for us to get to where we want.
To change your negative to a positive, you find the opposite or positive. For example I am not good on diets to I am good on diets and you find a reason why – because I lasted one day. I can’t lose weight to I can lose weight, I just have to work out how to keep it off.
Tackle your emotions
Emotions get left out on diet plans, yet a high percentage of what is driving us to eat are our emotions.
Boredom, anger, frustration, sadness, happiness. Eating takes us away from those feelings. We have become so good at emotional eating that we often don’t even feel those emotions, we just go to eat and we don’t know why. Now unless we tackle these emotions we will always have a reaction to them. It’s time to feel those feelings. If you have never felt your feelings before this can be daunting and scary. Just know, you are not going to die, you will be ok and do it all at your pace.
The trick is to next time you want to snack or pick at food, set your timer on your phone for 2 minutes and sit and feel what you are feeling. Keep doing that and you will get to know your feelings. Eventually you will learn to be able to feel those feelings and not run away from them and your body will get used to feeling them and not be so reactive. You will also learn the big feelings that are causing you to eat so you can work on those.
Consistency is the hidden ingredient that gets us from A-B. Being consistent can be boring. Doing the same thing day in and out is hard work. As humans we naturally crave variety. For this to work though, consistency does not have to mean the exact same every day. Set some boundaries to stick within, yet still give yourself some variety. For instance you have a weekly goal of how much exercise you do, if you miss a day incorporate other forms of exercise. Have a guideline of how much you should be eating, so if you eat too much in one day you cut back on others. Each day do at least one positive habit and keep doing it until you no longer think about it. Each week stick within the boundary and eating less food and moving more for your weight loss to continually go in the right direction.
Weight loss is not a linear line. It is more like a roller coaster; therefore we need something to help keep us motivated. Positive reminders of why we are doing this. I like to have post it notes with positives quotes around my mirror. A picture of how we want to look, up somewhere. Clothes we want to get into, hanging where we can see it to motivate us. What motivates you? Each week have that small goal that you want to achieve and have a reward (not food) for when you get there. Keep focusing on the positive of the goal. In other words, I want to eat an apple each day instead of I want to lose 1lb. Focus on the actions that will help you to lose weight, as this is what is in your control. Most important is to keep going, always keep going. If you slip up, it is ok and keep going with those small positive habits as they will add massive benefit in the long run.