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A critical area that I feel is much overlooked, in the weight loss realm, is psychology and weight loss.
Yes, we all reach a point when we say “enough is enough”, my life has got to change. That is great, it is the starting point for our weight loss journey.
The first few days are not too difficult to put into practice a weight loss program. You are stilled juiced up to accomplish these great weight loss goals; but, how do you overcome these hurdles that inevitably show up when you deviate from the program.
Now comes the psychological aspects of weight loss and if you believe that you will never stumble on the path to weight loss, you are a much better person than me.
Noom is one of the few weight loss programs, that I have seen, that incorporates the psychological aspects of weight loss as part of their program.
Psychological Blocks to Weight Loss
The following are a few of the issues you may have to confront on your weight loss journey:
- Restrictive diet – Don’t start a restrictive diet, better yet, don’t start a diet period. Diets, themselves, create self-destructive behavior. You will obsess over what you can’t have and it will be at the forefront of your mind. You know that portion control and eating a proper balance of fruit and vegetables will get you where you want to be
- Food is not an emotional blanket. Do not use food as a comfort mechanism. Yes, it is enjoyable, but there is more to life than eating
- Listen to your body signals, not your mind – Your body will tell you what it needs to function best
- Do not believe in willpower – Don’t believe that your willpower can overcome everything. Try to eliminate temptations, as much as possible
- Weight loss is not do-or-die – In most cases, weight loss is not a do-or-die situation. If you stumble, just pick your self up, dust yourself off, and continue on the correct path
- Stay off the demon scales – Your scales should not control your life. Weigh yourself once a week. You know whether you are gaining or losing weight, without stepping on the scales. Your weight fluctuates daily, there is no sense in getting depressed looking at the scale
- Enjoy the Journey – Live your life. It is necessarily going to change dramatically because you lose weight.
- Enjoy your workouts – Don’t use the gym or your workouts to beat yourself up. Enjoy how your body feels when you have completed a good workout
- Body Shame – This is a huge psychological block that you will need to overcome. You are not alone in this weight loss journey, certainly not in this day and age
- Be cognizant of what goes in your mouth – By this, I mean, know what, why, and when you are eating. Do not eat because you are bored, emotionally down, or just in a funk. You will only get into trouble with your weight loss program in you open your mouth and insert food
Mental Tips to Lose Weight
The following are some approaches to helping you lose weight. This is just a short list of tips to help you in your journey:
- Workout partner – When I was getting back into shape for college baseball, after having spent the last 4 years in the Navy, the first thing the trainer did was pair me with a workout partner. This works because I never wanted to miss a training session and disappoint a teammate. The same philosophy will work for you if you have a workout buddy to share the pain and gain
- Be aware who you hang with – You want to spend your time around people who are going through the same type of weight loss journey. It is hard to cheat around a group of like-minded weight reducers
- Health Conscious – Become know as a health conscious eater, not a fast foodie
- Don’t obsess over skinny people – Be happy in your own skin, especially as it is shrinking
Mental Strengths to Develop for Weight Loss
The following are some mental strengths to develop that will help you in successfully completing your weight loss journey:
- Don’t give food the power to control you or your actions. You are stronger than your food choices
- Embrace the Change – As with all things human, most of us shy away from change. This is a good change, grab it and run with it
- Guard your emotions – Do not get emotionally down on yourself. OK, I am fat, you know that, this is what you are trying to change, so stop feeling sorry for yourself, and get on with the journey
- Worry about what you can control – Don’t sweat the things that you can’t control, worry about what you can.
- Please yourself – Remember, this weight loss program is all about you. You are not out to please others
- OK, you stumbled – OK, it you fall off the horse, don’t dwell on it, it is in the past, get right back on. Do try to examine what happened and try not to repeat the same mistakes
- Failure – Remember, failure isn’t permanent, only if you quit trying
- Patience – Do not expect immediate results, You didn’t get in your present shape in one day and you won’t get where you want in one day, either.
How to Gain the Mindset to Lose Weight
You need to spend some time getting your mind calibrated for weight loss. It is easy to say that you are ready to lose weight, but not always so easy to accomplish.
Here are a few ways to get your mindset on the weight loss path:
- Positive Affirmations – I am a great believer in positive affirmations. I don’t mean these to be some “pie-in-the-sky” plan; but, positive goals that you wish to see happen. One of mind is “I will weight 175 lbs by Dec. 31, 2020”, this is my main affirmation. I use daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly affirmations. I do these on a daily basis. I have written down my daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals on an index card that I carry with me. I also have a set on my nightstand that I review before sleep and again, when I arise
- LSW Mind Cards – You might wish to take a look at LSW Mindcards. They are an excellent source of inspiration (LSWMindCards.com)
- Visualization – Visualize seeing yourself in your ideal weight. Imagine yourself as you would look at your goal weight. Some of the greatest athletes in the world use visualization techniques as an integral part of their success programs. If it works for them, it can certainly work for you
- Stay Positive – Focus on the positives. Yes, there will be negatives along the way, but these are just speed bumps that you blow over to reach your goals
- Celebrate all successes – No matter how small they may be, celebrate your successes. Remember, small successes add up to big changes
How to Stay Patient in Your Weight Loss Journey
As the late Jim Valvanno stated, “don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t ever give up”.
- Reduce your obsession with the scales – I have mentioned this earlier in this article, but it is worth repeating. Weigh yourself once a week, your weight is notorious for fluctuating daily, don’t let the scales play mind-games with you
- Chunk your goals – break your goals into bite size increments that are more easily obtainable and you can manage them
- Set realistic goals – Make your goals realistic. As I have said before, you didn’t get where you are in a day, don’t expect to get where you want in a day, either
- Keep a journal – Track your weight loss in a journal. Note your successes and your failures. As you reach your goals, reset your limits upwards and keep on trucking
For many of us, this has been more than a one time excursion in a weight loss journey. I, myself, have been down this path more that once.
I would like to think that it has given me a decent perspective on what it takes to develop a solid weight loss mindset.
If this helps one person reach their weight loss goals, I will be very proud and glad that I published this article.