Mindset is so important in many areas of life. Do you think you qualify for that promotion? Or you don’t really think you deserve it, so then you don’t go for it? Do you believe you can make your body stronger through exercise? Or do you think your body isn’t really built that way so you give up without much effort?
People do not like inconsistency in their thinking; It is a very uncomfortable feeling. If you truly believe you are a yo-yo dieter your subconscious will find a way to make that true. If you truly believe that you can improve your diet and exercise choices to lose weight and keep it off, your subconscious will find a way to make that true. If you don’t have the right mindset, you are setting yourself up to fail. You have to believe it is possible for you to achieve your goals.
Changing your mindset can have a major impact on your success for losing weight.
Do you tend to think of yourself in negative terms?
“I’m am an overweight person”
“I’m always going back to the dessert bar”
“I can never lose weight”
“I am so ashamed of myself”
“I have a slow metabolism. I’m never going to be thin”
“My body isn’t built for exercise”
“I have no self discipline”
These are examples of a fixed mindset. They imply that you are intrinsically a certain way and cannot change. If you want to lose weight, start with changing your internal dialogue to be what is called a growth mindset.
A growth mindset means you think your mind can stretch, learn new things, change for the better, and tackle new challenges.
“I can make small improvements every day for my health”
“I know I can lose weight. It is a matter of making changes to my diet and lifestyle.”
“As I exercise and learn healthy ways to eat, I am making my body stronger and better at burning fat”
“Even though I have struggled in the past, I can learn and try new strategies for losing weight”
“Exercise feels hard, but I know if I stick with it it will get easier as my body gets more used to it”
“Willpower is like a muscle: the more I use it the stronger it will get”
Do you hear the difference in those sentences? Make sure you keep your internal dialogue on the growth mindset scale and that you really believe you can achieve your goals. Be like the little engine that could “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”
Get your head in a place where it really believes that you can achieve your goals. Affirmations can be helpful in shifting your mindset. If you are having trouble believing in your ability to lose weight, write out some positive statements and read them to yourself each morning as you brush your teeth. It could be along the lines of “I am getting healthier and stronger every day”.
Change how you think of yourself. Do you think of yourself as an overweight person? Try thinking of yourself as a healthy person. When confronted with a choice, ask yourself, “What would a healthy person do in this situation?” As you take actions to become more healthy, it will reinforce the image you have of yourself as a healthy person.
Are you afraid to succeed? It may seem like a funny thing to ask but fear of failure can get in the way of successful weight loss. For example, you may fear feeling deprived or not being able to socialize with your friends the same way. You may worry that you won’t have time to do other things you enjoy. You may have tried dieting many times before and fear that you won’t succeed. To combat this, make your goals small and achievable. For example, if going to the gym seems unattainable, set a goal of putting on your work out clothes. That’s it, just put on your workout clothes at a specific time of day, perhaps right after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Use small steps like these to build up your belief that you can succeed.
Don’t wait until you are thin to be happy. Many people set goals and work towards those goals thinking that once they achieve their goals they will then be happy. But by doing this they are postponing their happiness. Let’s face it, most of the time we are working towards goals, not achieving them. Do you want to spend most of your life waiting to be happy? Instead, work on your happiness and self acceptance TODAY. You deserve the good feelings that come with knowing you are ok the way you are. Work on your self acceptance as work towards your weight loss goals, not after. The better you feel about yourself right now, the easier it will be to make positive changes to your lifestyle.
Think of something that you are not comfortable doing today because you don’t believe you are thin enough. For me, it was wearing a bikini. As a stretch goal on working on my self acceptance, I wore my bikini in public three times this summer. No one stared at me. No one told me “you’re not thin enough to wear that”. That was all in my head and I have to say it was scary but liberating. Can you think of one thing that you are putting off doing until you are thin enough? Make a pact with yourself to not put of living your full life until someday when you think you will be good enough; Work on doing it today. It could be going to that party that your friends will be at. It could be standing in the front row of a group photo. It could be wearing shorts at the beach. Think of something, and make a plan to do it. It is your life an you only get to live it once.
Now, I challenge you, what can you do today to improve your mindset?
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