When you’re setting out to lose weight, it’s important to cultivate a mental attitude that positions you for success. Permanent weight loss is not an overnight change – you can’t sprint there. Instead, you need to develop a more enduring approach, utilizing mental strategies that support lifestyle change. One small step at a time will get you a long way. Let’s talk about getting perspective on weight loss.
Your Attitude Can Affect Your Weight Loss
For example, if you take a moment before each meal to envision your future body – without beating up on yourself, but simply reminding yourself of your goal, it’s easier to remember to eat reasonably and perhaps stop at 80% full, instead of 120%.
Speaking of goals, setting realistic goals, instead of making them out of reach and guaranteed to fail, is another way to position your attitude for success.
Choose exercises you enjoy. Try to combine them with things you like. If you have a favorite TV show, perhaps you can get on the treadmill while watching, or at least do bicep curls. If you love the outdoors, walking is a great way to get started exercising.
Measure your success in ways other than the scale. If you’ve lost belly fat and your pants are easier to do up, that’s a success. If you don’t get winded going up the stairs any longer, you’re moving in the right direction. When you notice that you’ve got more muscle definition in your arms, remind yourself that every pound of muscle you build burns an additional 50 calories per day – a great way to boost metabolism for long-term weight loss.
Long-Term Perspective is Important
Think about the choices you are making. A croissant instead of oatmeal for breakfast means you’ll be hungry again in an hour. Pizza over grilled chicken for lunch may mean you’re going to feel bloated, or even find yourself with the digestive issues that wheat creates for many people. Think even further out – how will you feel when you’ve gained weight this week, and gained even more at the end of the year?
Ponder the alternative – if you chose healthy food, you’ll not only feel better in the next hour or two, but you’re going to look better in a bathing suit next summer. Decide that you choose to feel strong, healthy, and confident, which is going to feel better than a momentary indulgence. Remember that you can have treats – there are dozens of healthy treats – you just choose to avoid the unhealthy and fattening ones.
Also, plan ahead to avoid situations where you’ll have to make bad choices. This may mean refusing some invitations, or bringing along your own food to a family event. It may mean bagging a lunch from home because only fast food is available at your day’s destination. Carry healthy snacks, and don’t get caught “having no choice” about eating poorly.
Thinking Yourself Thin
Thinking thin really does help, but it requires patience and kindness with yourself when you slip up. Don’t over-dramatize a short-term weight gain, just get back on track to the goals you’ve chosen. If you can do a bit better than you did yesterday, over the long run you’re going to get there.
Get Help If You Need It
If you’re consistently sabotaging yourself at the mental game of weight loss, it’s time to get help. Sometimes journaling is enough, or enrolling a friend to help you stay on track to your goals. When that doesn’t work, a coach, counselor, or a professional weight loss physician can help. If you’re in Hawaii, call us at (808) 551-4348 to book a complementary initial appointment with me.