Steps to weight loss – part 4 Mindset
“Claim your power, see yourself from a different perspective, stop holding onto the past, look ahead in a new direction, Take your glory and run” Oprah
1) Choose to let go of past experiences
Your mindset can be one of the biggest obstacles to losing weight. I find that people can be so weary and conditioned from all the diets they have tried and ‘failed’ that they start to expect all their attempts to be fruitless. Diets have failed them in the past and they translate that failure into personal failure which it isn’t at all. Diets don’t work – 90-95% of people who lose weight on a diet regain it all, that statistic speaks for itself!
This approach is about a gradual lifestyle change that will stay with you well beyond the 8 weeks – there is nothing to fail. You are not ‘on’ or ‘off’ this program and you can’t ‘fall off the wagon’. What you can do is make more and more healthy choices and seeing and experiencing the benefits will encourage you to continue with those healthy choices.
So, you need to let go of your past experiences and wipe the slate clean. Your past is not your potential! This a new day, a new approach and a fresh start – embrace it and go for it!
2) Claim your power
Where you currently are with your weight is the sum total of all the small decisions you have made, every bite you have taken and every mile you have walked (or not!). Many of these decisions you have made consciously and many others subconsciously. The subconscious ones which we aren’t fully aware of are obviously trickier to identify but I find they are usually linked to not wanting to step out of our comfort zones. The conscious decisions around unhealthy behaviours usually stem from social and emotional factors. Our childhood can have a big influence on our eating habits and one of the strongest of the messages that tends to stick with many people is the one to ‘finish your plate.’ This has encouraged many of us to ignore our natural hunger signals and created a very unhealthy habit.
As adults, however, you can choose today to let go and unplug from those messages that no longer serve us.
Emotional factors also play a big role, particularly with women. Emotional eating is a way of protecting ourselves from having to deal with uncomfortable emotions. Ideally we need to find a better way of managing our emotions and more importantly addressing the issues that are giving rise to the emotions. However, that takes time so in the meantime, you can use the HALT tool – next time you recognise your emotional eating habit ask yourself “Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired?’ Once you name something and bring awareness to it, it is a lot easier to start to change it.
When we start to understand our conditioning and habits, it is easier to let them go. This is the point where we need to claim our power and decide that we no longer need to be a slave to the messages or habits we have had in the past. This also means not giving others power over our decisions. This is your body, your life and your opportunity to really create the body and health habits you want. This is the turning point where you start to choose the new habits you want to start creating.
3) Create your new story
Once we let go of our past experiences and start to reclaim our power, it’s time to recreate a new sense of self…a new story. Your idea about who you are shapes way more about you, your diet, your health and your life than you could ever imagine. We all have ‘factual’ statements about who we are “I’m the kind of person… or I’m just wired this way..” As a result of who we believe ourselves to be, we have played out that role, just like an actor on a stage and everything in our life right now reflects that. If we are not happy with our current weight and health, then we know we need to start changing the script! Rewriting our story can be scary but can be exciting too.
We need to create a strong vision around where it is we want to go and keep focused on that vision. Start to see yourself as a slim person who is temporarily in a body that is too big. Shifting your mentality like this is really powerful – the more you see yourself at your ideal weight and stay focused on that image the more likely it is to happen. The vision board will help you with this as will the visualisations you will be practising during the program.
Start to really experience and live like the ‘new’ you, for example, stop buying clothes at your current size as you know that soon they will no longer fit. Letting people know about your intention to recreate yourself will cement your commitment and make you accountable too! It’s time now to start seeing yourself from a difference perspective and looking forward with hope and optimism.
4) Positive thinking
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t your right” Henry Ford
This naturally stems from our creation of our new story and it will make it much easier to achieve if we can start to change the way we think and talk about our weight, food and exercise. We know that our thoughts shape our beliefs, which shape our behaviour. Our thoughts are like magnets – we attract what we think about.
Affirmations can really help with reprogramming our thoughts. Affirmations are simply positive statements used to program the subconscious mind with positive messages. It is best to create your own affirmations so that they are meaningful to you but here are some sample affirmations:
- “I can feel myself getting thinner and thinner every day”
- “I eat mindfully” “I enjoy exercising every day”
- “My body is catching up with the skinny person that lives inside it”
- “I choose nutrient rich healthy foods everyday”
You can write them about any aspect of weight loss that you need help with. Keep them in the present tense and also positive, avoid using terms like: ‘don’t, won’t’ etc. Take some time now to create a few of your own. You can post them in prominent places to remind you of your intentions (including on the fridge!) and you could add them to your vision board as well.
Being grateful can also really help to support positive thinking. When we focus on all the things we are grateful for it shifts us from ‘victim’ mode where we feel sorry for ourselves to a more powerful and confident place. This quote really helps me to focus on all the things I am grateful for “What if you woke up tomorrow with only what you were grateful for today.”
So, hopefully some of information here resonates with you and can help you create the right mindset which will really enhance all your weight loss efforts.